It started with an unpaid gas bill. Tatiana Meakens' attorney blamed the fire on the conditions imposed upon Meakens and her family on the landlord, who she argued cut off the gas as part of an attempt to evict the family at Christmas time. The landlord, Daniel Spaulding, told FOX Chicago that the gas was turned off by People's Gas, and the meter removed, because Meakens had not paid her bill. He tried to discuss the matter with the gas company but was unable to because he was not on the bill.
He did, however, warn her not to use space heaters due to the fire risk.
It wasn't exactly a space heater that led to the fire. It was a hot plate, which was being used to heat the children's bedroom. Both Javaris, 2, and Jariyah, 3, died in the fire. Darnell, 7, and Marquis, 4, escaped the blaze.