LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A Las Vegas woman is facing 12 to 30 months in prison in connection with an unlicensed group home fire that killed a resident.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, Shawna Virginia Cuff, 41, of Las Vegas was sentenced on Wednesday on neglect charges related to the fire.

During the fire, one of the vulnerable residents in Cuff’s unlicensed group home remained trapped in a room that was “altered without proper permits.” Investigators discovered that the room had no windows or exit signs, and did not have fire extinguishers, an evacuation plan, or a sprinkler system.

The resident trapped in the house sustained “second-degree burns” to her entire body and ultimately died.

Cuff was found guilty of attempted neglect of a vulnerable person and sentenced to 12 to 30 months in the Nevada Department of Corrections by the Honorable Michael Villani. She was also ordered to pay more than $30,000 in costs and penalties, according to AG Ford.

The investigation of this case began after the North Las Vegas Police Department reported a case of possible neglect in the group home. The North Las Vegas Fire Department then reported that there was a fire at the facility resulting in one person being critically injured, and “not likely to survive.”

Investigators determined that Cuff had rented out a closet to the vulnerable individual knowing that they were unable to care for themselves. It was also discovered that the egress door for the large bedroom and the closet door were “off-set,” so when both doors opened together, there was not enough room for a person to walk through the doorway.

The closet also had no means of escape, investigators noted.

“The State of Nevada requires facilities like this to be licensed and for qualified caregivers to be present whenever residents are in the facility,” said AG Ford. “These laws are designed to protect individuals from unfortunate tragedies like the one here resulting from this fire. Like Judge Villani, we are appalled at the facts of this case, but we are pleased with the fair and just sentence. My office continues to vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals who assume responsibility for the elderly and vulnerable for their abusive and neglectful conduct.”


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