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Renters Innocent in Firefighter Deaths Caused by Fake Walls

If you live in a high-rent city, you may have played the role of architect before. Often, (illegal) partition walls are set up to create two rooms where there once was one.

Similar creativity caused two firefighters to become disoriented while fighting a fire in the Bronx. Prosecutors argued that the tenants were guilty of manslaughter, since the disorientation caused the two rescuers to jump from a window hoping to escape, instead falling their deaths.

The prosecutors argued that the illegal walls created a death trap for firefighters. The defendant blamed the deaths on faulty equipment and procedures. In the end the jury sided with tenants, acquitting them on all charges yesterday.

Assuming it could be proven, do you think tenants should be held criminally responsible when their building code violations put firefighters in danger?


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