UTAH

“Makeshift” apartment leads to charges in Provo fire death

Nov 28, 2018, 5:37 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2018, 8:04 am
makeshift apartment fire provo...

PROVO — Investigators say two men who knowingly allowed people to rent a makeshift, unsafe apartment are now facing charges in the death of a Provo woman who died in a fire in June.

Donna Clegg and her pet dog were killed in the early morning blaze on June 1, and when fire crews arrived, the apartment was fully engulfed with flames shooting through the roof.

However, fire officials say Clegg should have never been allowed to live there.  The probable cause statement says property owner, Kelly Ellis, even used words like “tinderbox” to describe how dangerous it was.

“Mr. Ellis did, in fact, describe it as a ‘death trap.’ He knew the building was unsafe.  He had been denied insurance coverage,” according to Provo Fire Investigator Lynn Schofield.

Investigators say the residence never cleared zoning regulations to be used as an apartment.  It was once used as a video rental store.  Schofield says it had no fire alarms, the windows were boarded up and the doors wouldn’t open as wide as they needed to.

In late May, the property manager, Homer Workman, cut off the electricity to reportedly force Clegg out of the building, however, Fire Chief Jim Miguel says that’s not the legal way to evict someone.

“There is no indication that they used legal means to try and evict the people that were in the building.  That legal process requires the sheriff and the constable,” Miguel says.

Clegg reportedly used candles for lighting, and Miguel says that could be the cause of the fire.

Karleen Holland, a representative of Clegg’s children, read a statement shortly after the charges were announced.

“Donna would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need.  Due to the tragic event, she is missing out on watching her grandchildren and soon-to-be grandchildren grow,” Holland says.

Both Ellis and Workman are charged with manslaughter, or in the alternative negligent homicide.  They’re also charged with failing to meet minimum health and safety standards.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
22 hours ago
snow shovel driveway dialysis...
Mark Jones

Cold weather causes late start for Logan City School District Wednesday

The Logan City School District and the Cache County School District will be on two-hour late starts on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
22 hours ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
22 hours ago
Centerville Police department...
Elizabeth Weiler

Centerville Police restate “guardian over warrior” mantra

"Our role in Centerville and in policing in general ... is as a Guardian instead of the Warrior" Sgt. Dingman said. "The relationships we build with the community and how they are treated by our officers is still a priority."
22 hours ago
A bill working its way through the Utah Legislature could open the door for online, private, charte...
Adam Small

Non-public-school students could more easily play sports under a new bill

Bill sponsor, Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, said the bill would level the playing field for some students.
22 hours ago
A west valley police car is pictured. Police are investigating a hit and run...
Elizabeth Weiler

Two employees found unconscious at Northrop Grumman, died later at hospital

Two employees who were reported unconscious at Northrop Grumman Space Systems on Monday later died at a hospital.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
“Makeshift” apartment leads to charges in Provo fire death