In 2009, a house fire killed Gabriel Pineda and his two young sons. Their Cajon Street home contained no smoke detectors in the house.

Later that year, the Hesperia City Council required landlords to certify annually that they had working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their rental properties. (State law requires both detectors.)

Three years later, unconvinced that the program has done anything more than charge landlords an annual fee, the Hesperia City Council has scrapped the program.

"There were some questions about whether family members renting rooms from other family members counted under the rental property ordinance, because that wasn't originally addressed," city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said.

In March, the City Council asked staff to look at how the program had worked out, and in June, announced their intention to repeal it.

On June 19, that's just what they did, by a 3-2 vote, with Mayor Russ Blewett and Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith dissenting.

"We have a massive problem with rentals and this kind of puts a little bit of a leash on landlords," Blewett said later. "Quite often, the landlords live out of town. They don't look at their property as long as they get a check."

Blewett, who owns rental property in Hesperia, paid the $65 fee annually.

"I think it was well-intentioned," Councilman Bill Holland said later. "It missed the mark a bit, that's all. I don't think it accomplished that it intended to accomplish."

Starting in mid-August, Hesperia Code Enforcement will investigate reports of rental properties without working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors based on residents' complaints.

Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at Follow us on Facebook at