Arrests made in adult home fire in Evergreen, DA says
SPRING VALLEY – Authorities arrested a village building inspector and others in the fatal blaze in which another volunteer firefighter and facility resident died in hell and the building collapsed.
Rockland District Attorney Thomas Walsh plans to announce details of the multiple arrests and the status of the three-month-old investigation at a press conference scheduled today at 3 p.m. in his New City office . New York State fire prevention and control officials will be in attendance.
Spring Valley volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd died on March 23 when parts of the Evergreen Court Home for Adults collapsed while he was helping rescue residents of the Lafayette Street facility. Oliver Hueston, a 79-year-old resident, died in hell, as Lloyd and other firefighters brought more than 100 people to safety. Lloyd is survived by two young sons.
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The arrests follow the seizure of boxes of documents on June 25 during a search authorized by the prosecutor’s office at the village town hall, supported by state fire inspectors, state police and the homeland security of the United States. They carried around 20 to 30 boxes during the operation, which lasted more than four hours.
For years, problems of fire and security breaches have plagued the densely packed 2½ square mile working-class village of over 32,000 people, including large Caribbean, Haitian, Hispanic and African American populations and of the Hasidic Jewish communities.
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While Spring Valley officials claim to have handed over inspection records and other documents, questions remain as to whether the adult home complied with fire and safety codes and had recently been inspected by the village.
At one point, just before the March fire, the facility cut its connection to the county fire communications center so that a rabbi and staff could clean the ovens with torches to prepare for the fire. Jewish celebration of Passover. If the installation reconnected with the communication center remains unanswered, which could slow down the response of local firefighters.
Investigators are also looking at the lack of water pressure that blocked firefighters who battled the March blaze. The SUEZ-NY water company declined to comment on water pressure issues in the village.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and look for a live stream of the 3pm press conference today.