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Friend of boy, 9, killed in DC fire: He wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be an engineer. And we were going to Harvard together.

Four inspectors have been suspended. A police officer documented life-threatening conditions months before the deadly fire.

WASHINGTON — There's still no clear explanation for the city inspection failure that left a 9-year-old boy and another man to die in a fire in a warren of rooms in a Northwest D.C. row house.

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has suspended four workers as it tries to figure out why even a police officer's complaint failed to get an urgent response.

There was wailing and anger at the funeral Wednesday for 9-year-old Yafet Solomon. Classmates remember him as a bright star at Barnard Elementary School. "He wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to be a businessman. And we were going to Harvard together. And we would have a good life," said Yafet's friend, Emmanuel Ashby, before breaking into tears. 

Five months before the fire on Kennedy Street that killed Yafet, a D.C. police officer repeatedly notified fire and housing inspectors of life-threatening conditions at what appeared to be an unlicensed rooming house: barred windows and locked doors, no marked fire exits, nor working smoke detectors.

RELATED: 4 DC employees on paid leave after house fire that killed a 9-year-old boy

Months later, a DCRA inspector stopped at the house three times, but when no one answered, he failed to follow up.

Citlalli Velasquez of the D.C. Tenants' Union said she's not surprised. "This is standard. Sometimes it takes three months to schedule an inspection. If a police officer can't get an inspection, what message does that send to tenants across the city who are trying to get an inspection scheduled?" she said.

Mayor Bowser said the review of what went wrong is on-going.

There was no answer at the house on Whittier Place that landlord James Walker also owns and grew up in, according to neighbors. The second home is now plastered with violation notices from DCRA.

RELATED: Fatal DC fire that killed 9-year-old referred for criminal investigation, Mayor Bowser says

Walker also owns two houses in Portsmouth, Virginia that were also in bad shape the last time they were photographed by Google.

The police officer who reported the problems months ago turned on his body camera inside the row house to record the horrible conditions. Mayor Bowser said she's unsure of the status of that recording.

RELATED: 9-year-old rescued from Northwest DC fire has died, officials say

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