ASHVILLE, Alabama – A judge this week ordered a St. Clair County landlord to pay $500,000 to a woman whose
11-year-old daughter died in a 2008 fire in which the rental mobile home did not have working smoke detectors.
In his ruling issued late Thursday afternoon, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Bill Weathington Jr., ordered William G.
Swindall to pay the money to Angela Roddy, whose daughter, Carrie Louise Crowder, died in the Jan. 18, 2008 fire
off Crawfords Cove Road near Ashville.
The judge wrote in his 4-page ruling that other fires had previously occurred in rental properties owned by Swindall,
including one in which a man died.
"Based on the findings of fact, the court concludes that defendant William Swindall was aware of his legal duty to
provide operational smoke detectors in the mobile home he leased to Angela Roddy; that he had knowledge that the
mobile home did not have operational smoke detectors while Ms. Roddy and her daughter were living there; that he
was aware that a pre-teenage child was living in that home; and that he had already had the experience of having a
tenant die in a fire, thus he knew first hand of the injury that would likely or probably result should a fire occur,"
according to the judge's ruling.
The judge went on to write that Swindall "knowingly and intentionally disregarded the potential risk and failed and
refused to install operational smoke detectors in the dwelling leased by Ms. Roddy."
Roddy's attorney, Stan Glasscox, said Friday that they were pleased and grateful to the judge and to the deputy
state fire marshal who testified. "No amount of money can bring this young lady back to her family," he said.
"I hope it (the verdict) sends a message to slum lords that they can't ignore the law, and if they do they will
eventually get caught and there are consequences, and in this case, the death of a child," Glasscox said.
Attorney Gary L. Weaver also represented Roddy in the case.
Efforts to reach Swindall or his attorney Friday were unsuccessful.
Weathington had held a bench trial on July 10 in which he heard testimony and looked at evidence submitted by both
Deputy State Fire Marshall Andy Yarbrough, according to the ruling, testified that he had "warned" Swindall of this