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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?


Join The Conversation
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
I would think that putting up false walls would be a fire code violation as well as a building code violation. I'm surprised that it is not.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
It's a tough one. I think they should be fined/punished appropriately based on the building codes they broke. I hope that this taught all renters that this is a major safety issue and firefighters that this is yet another thing they have to consider.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
If only to provide information to others who are thinking about illegally putting up walls.
ashleyroselong ashleyroselong 8 years a way I feel sorry for them because you know they never meant for the fire fighters to lose their lives. Then again, they should definitely be punished because this could have been easily avoidable if they had only followed the rules.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
You mean to tell me that every firefighter exams the architectural plans of every building on fire before entering. I am very familiar with the NYCFD fire codes, the are amongst strict and comprehensive in the world. I think they would have to prove the fire code violation caused the disorientation and how. It certainly would help if it showed up as a fire code violation, and subject to correction.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I do think they should have been held criminally responsible for their actions, but I think manslaughter was too severe a charge.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I wonder if there were (fire code) violations Michelann, since the article makes no mention of fire codes. It only says that building codes were violated but I would gather that both were violated. Hard call to make here. Fire Fighters are suppose to be prepared for anything even the unexpected. The tenents should at the very least be fined according to the codes they broke. I think the out come of the situation will be punishment enough.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
Yes, the tenents should be held responsible.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Fire codes are there to make sure people don't die unnecessarily in fires. If you violate those laws, and somebody dies, it only makes sense that you should be held responsible for that.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
What a horrible story. They should be charged with something since it's illegal to put those fake walls up.
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