Fire at 2320 South Eads

What really happened on May 25, 1997?
Is it OK for a landlord to withhold
relevant information from a Fire Investigator?

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Officer Kenneth Kent
Fire Investigator
Officer of the Law
Deputy Fire Marshall
Arlington County Fire Department

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Louis Pappas

Landlord and Inheritor of his mother's
millions in real estate, Pappas Realty Trust
Conveniently "forgets" to tell  Investigator
Fire Marshall Kenneth Kent about

Marvin's warnings of electrical problems.

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Marvin Edmunds

Handy Man
Contractor to Pappas Realty
Most familiar with the physical real estate.
Pappas never told Investigator about Marvin.

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Kitchen lights with
faulty electrical wiring

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2320 South Eads Street

Arlington, VA  22202
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Parking lot, near back door
Back porch lights electrical
wiring was prone to fire.

As an experienced investigator, Fire Marshall Kenneth Kent certainly asked
Louie Pappas if he knew of anyone or anything that might have started the fire.
As an experienced liar, Louie concealed his own potential liability by
withholding information about electrical problems, his handy man's identity,
and sent the Investigator on a "wild good chase" to interview improbable suspects.


1994 - 1997
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Marvin Edmunds Pappas' handy man for over 15 years, tells Pappas that the electrical wiring near the back porch and in the kitchen of 2320 South Eads is unsafe.  Marvin strongly recommends fixing the wiring from the back porch to the kitchen.    He tells Pappas that it might last only 30-60 days.  Marvin reminded Pappas for years.   Pappas neglects to make the repair 

Marvin has told the truth on the witness stand in other matters, knowing it might cost him his job with Pappas, and is the #1 person the Fire Investigator should have had an opportunity to interview..

Sunday afternoon
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Fire at 2320 South Eads, which started near back porch and kitchen, apparently electrical in origin. 
5:00 PM
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Tenant Rick Shaddock returns home from client (Cascade Rehabilitation Inc., Purceville VA) to find Fire Department there, his house burned, and many of his belongings destroyed.  Shaddock lost thousands of dollars in personal items, including his irreplaceable Eagle Scout badge. 
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Fire Marshall Kenneth Kent closes the house for investigation as to the cause, and asks Pappas who might know anything about the cause of the fire.  Pappas never tells Kent about Marvin Edmunds's warnings about the wiring, or even of his existence.  Marvin was the man most familiar with the physical structure of the house and the condition of its electrical wiring.  Marshall Kent interviews all people found to be associated with the property, even Shaddock's girl friend at the time.
1997-May-26 Pappas meets with Shaddock to discuss what to do.  Shaddock has lease good through November 1997.  They agreed rent payments will be suspended until home is repaired.  Shaddock can keep his belongings in the house in the basement which was untouched by the fire. He will naturally sleep elsewhere, and keep out of the way of construction.  They expect it will take about a month for repair, then rent payments will resume.
1997-Jun-__ After completion of his investigation of the premises, Fire Marshall Kent gives keys back to Rick Shaddock for re-entry into the house.  Cause remains unconfirmed, and the investigation remains open.
1997-June Work begins on the house with fire restoration company
1997-Summer Shaddock pays for Water Bill (for bathroom), electricity (for their tools), and some refreshments (including gift certificates to the nearby SportsPub) so that Fire Restoration construction workers will make 2320 a priority, and complete the job as soon as possible.
1997-August Shaddock notices that workmen are often not at the house for days.   He began to tell Pappas that it should not take this long for the house to be repaired, and that if the house is not repaired soon, he will report the delay to the Insurance company.  (Year later he learned that a major reason for the delays was that the Insurance company and Pappas were disputing over who should pay for the fire restoration.)
1997-Aug-15 In apparent retaliation, Pappas alleges that Shaddock is unlawfully entering the house, without any evidence of such notice, and contrary to existence of his active role in the reconstruction, and active lease.
1997-Oct-1 Shaddock buy a home in Iowa and moves his belongings out of the house.   Pappas does not return security deposit in the manner promised.
1997-Nov Work on the house is completed.  House has new kitchen and looks better than ever.
1997-Nov Insurance company stalls on paying Pappas, because Pappas' innocence of the fault of the fire could not be established.
1997-Nov Pappas refuses to pay Remodelling Inc. for over $30,000 in materials and work performed by their construction workers during the Summer of 1997, requiring many collection calls.
1998 Owner of Fire Reconstruction company had to pay the workers for months of work out his own pocket.  
2001 Property value of 2320 South Eads increased from $188,900 in 1997 to $246,400 - an increase of $57,500 for Pappas, due in large part to the work done by the fire reconstruction company.
2001-Sep-25 Pappas found guilty in Arlington County Small Claims Court of trying to steal security deposits from two young lady tenants, with the help of the Pappas Tenant Association
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney (apparently unaware of Pappas' role in the fire, or reputation for invalid utterances) allocates public resources for Pappas by prosecuting bogus accusations against the founder of the Pappas Tenant Association, which the jury found him not guilty of.  For example, Pappas alleged that his keys were stolen, when there was ample evidence during the trial that he had his old keys all the time, and that the locks on his properties were not changed as he testified under oath.
January 2002 At a hearing attended by Shaddock, Marvin, and Deputy Fire Marshall Kenneth Kent,  Shaddock meets Marvin for the first time since 1997, and is surprised to find out Marvin did not know who Marshall Kent was.  Shaddock reports this to the Fire Marshall's office to help complete the investigation.

Pappas' 40+ Lies to 10+ Arlington Authorities
Probable Cause for an Investigation of Louis A. Pappas

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Arlington County Fire Department

First Heroes to Respond at the Pentagon
September 11, 2001


Who to contact with information about fires

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Fire Department
Edward Plaugher, Chief

Email Form

1020 North Hudson Street
Arlington, VA 22201-2186
703-228-4655 fax

Fire Marshall Shawn Kelly

Deputy Fire Marshall
Kenneth Kent
703-228-3600 x9514

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Station 5 - Jefferson District / Aurora Highlands
1750 South Hayes Street - Arlington, VA 22202
703.228.0105 (phone) - 703.228.0135 (fax)