A local business owner has been arrested on a total of 14 counts of Reckless Endangerment.
Ellis Golden, age 71 of Breman, Georgia – owner of Golden Beverage, located on the Chesnut Bypass in Centre, was booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center, just prior to 9:00 Monday morning.
WEIS Radio News has been informed that a warrant for Golden’s arrest was signed by State Fire Marshall Michael Gore following an investigation into three homes housing individuals in need of care or considered mentally challenged.
According to reports those three homes – all of which are owned by Golden, and are located on South River Street in Centre – were inspected by Fire Marshal’s last week, and as a result were shut down, with all the residents being removed and relocated to safe environments.
We spoke with Alabama Fire Marshal Ed Paulk on Friday, and he commented that members of his department had been looking into possible violations at the facility.
Tuesday we spoke with Fire Marshal Ray Cumby who informed us the homes had no smoke detectors and were not outfitted with proper locks.
A “Closure Order” was served Monday, which effectively shut down the operation.
There has also been some question as to whether or not the facility was properly licensed.
An investigation was launched after an individual who had brought someone to that facility noticed that the address she had been given, didn’t match up with where those homes were actually located, sending up a “red flag”. An Incident Report was taken by the Centre Police Department and upon further investigation the State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted by the department, which ultimately led to arrests being made.
Also booked into jail at around the same time as Golden Monday morning was a 51 year old Centre woman – identified as Phyllis Renee Cullen; 20 year old Leesburg resident Dylan Ray Vaughn was booked in at around 1:30pm. Both Cullen and Vaughn were charged exactly as Golden – with 14 counts of Reckless Endangerment.
Bond for each was set at $7,000 and all three have since been released after making bond.
Cumby said that no additional charges are likely to be brought by the Fire Marshal’s Office – however he was unaware whether or not any charges would be brought by any other entity in connection with the case.
We’ll have more information as the story develops.