NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A father and son are among six people facing charges in connection with the deadly March fire at a Spring Valley assisted living center.
The massive blaze at Evergreen Court killed a resident, and a veteran volunteer firefighter, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.READ MORE: NYPD: 3 Shot In Washington Heights, No Arrests
Firefighter Jared Lloyd died while bringing residents to safety. Resident Oliver Hueston, 79, also was killed.
Now charged with manslaughter and arson are Nathaniel Sommer and his son, Aaron Sommer, who were reportedly using a blowtorch in the facility’s kitchen while preparing it for the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Rockland County District Attorney Tom Walsh offered the following information on the arson charge, saying, “One count of arson in the fourth degree for recklessly damaging a building,” indicating their actions were allegedly unsafe to the point of criminal.NYPD: 2 Gunman Wanted After 10 Shot Outside Queens Laundromat
Two officials are charged with falsifying records — Buildings and DPW chief Wayne Ballard and Buildings Inspector Ray Canario, who also serves as a local volunteer fire chief.
Two employees of Evergreen Court were also charged, executive director Denise Kerr, with reckless endangerment, and one member of her support staff, Manuel Lema, with criminal impersonation and obstructing governmental administration.
A statement issued on behalf of Evergreen Court said, “From the beginning, Evergreen has cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. We know from our investigation that the facility’s fire mitigation systems were all operational and functioned as intended the night of the fire. One thing we do not yet know is the extent to which the area’s historic water pressure problems prevented the fire from being contained. As a longstanding member of the community, we continue to make and support every effort to get to the bottom of this tragic loss of life.”
Again, officials did not detail the alleged actions that support the charges. Emergency Services Coordinator Chris Kear said of the investigation, “It has been thorough and painstaking and, as previously indicated, it’s not over.”MORE NEWS: COVID In New York: Mask Mandates Not Being Re-Imposed Just Yet As Concern Grows Over Delta Variant
Stick with CBS2, CBSN New York and CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story.