Who’s responsible for replacing security bars?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- As the memorial outside the home on Severson Avenue grows, so does concern from officials that if homes have bars they are properly outfitted.

If not, who is liable?

"You wanna keep people out but at the same time you wanna be able to get out too."

This neighbor watched from his home Monday morning as ambulances and fire engines flooded his South Memphis neighborhood.

"Your mind starts puzzling when a tragedy like this happens."

Fire investigators told us it's unclear if any of the nine people, including six children, tried to escape from the home that had bars on its doors and windows.

The family had owned the home in the community for years. People we talked to said the bars have been on the doors and windows for years too.

According to the Shelby County Code Office recent code states any new security bars put on a house or apartment must have an inside safety release for easy escape in case of a fire.

Allen Medlock with code enforcement said this applies to landlords too.

"If the landlord put the bars on the windows it is his responsibility for not only that but smoke detectors too."

Medlock said those who live in homes without current up to code security bars aren't required to change them.

"We can't go back on 'em. We can just advise them it's unsafe conditions."

He said his department has urged homeowners to have an escape plan.