Electrical wiring could have caused group home fire that killed 10 people in Missouri
ANDERSON, Mo. – Faulty electrical wiring may have sparked a fire that killed 10 people at a group home for the elderly and mentally ill, authorities said Wednesday.State Fire Marshal Randy Cole said the exact cause of the blaze that gutted the Anderson Guest House may never be known because wiring was destroyed in the attic where the fire started.But investigators found the remains of improperly spliced wiring in the other end of the group home. Cole said the wiring was the only thing in the attic that could have sparked the flames.Fire damage indicated that the blaze “had burned undetected for an undetermined amount of time before breaking through into the living space of the home,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jason Clark said.All 10 victims died of smoke inhalation, authorities said. Two dozen others escaped from the building, and 18 were still hospitalized Wednesday.Investigators also reviewed whether the owners of the home had been negligent. Cole said the improperly spliced wiring was a violation of national building codes.If there is any potential for criminal charges, “obviously we’re going to pursue that,” Cole said.Joplin-based River of Life Ministries, which ran the home in the Ozark hills of southwest Missouri, declined to comment on the findings. A woman who answered the phone Wednesday told The Associated Press to call back later because its officers were busy.The home had fire alarms but no sprinklers. Under state law, it was not required to have sprinklers, because it was only one story high and because it was built before 1980.Gov. Matt Blunt said Wednesday that he had ordered the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Department of Mental Health to review safety laws and regulations related to residential care facilities.The governor asked for a report with recommendations by the end of the year.