Landlord, management firm charged in fatal Hempstead fire
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A Long Island landlord is to appear in Nassau County District Court next week on charges filed against him and his property management company in connection with a fatal Hempstead Village apartment fire last year.
Guadalupe Ramirez, 37, and her son, Fernando, 8, died in the February 2013 blaze in the 78-apartment complex at 9-17 St. Pauls Rd. N.
Several others were injured and hundreds of residents were forced out into snow-covered streets.
Bradford Mott, 53, of Mill Neck, was arraigned and charged in January with failure to maintain a fire alarm system and failure to maintain portable fire extinguishers, both misdemeanors.
He also was charged with failure to have single-station smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, both code violations. He faces a maximum of 2 years in jail and as much as $4,000 in fines. He is to return to court on May 9.
"The charges were filed based on available evidence, and we plan to prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law," Paul Leonard, a spokesman for the Nassau district attorney's office, said Thursday "The investigation is ongoing into potential additional charges in this case."
Ramirez's Oyster Bay-based company, Dorchester LLC, was charged with 11 code violations, including failure to conduct emergency lighting tests, comply with orders by the fire marshal, have carbon monoxide detectors, properly maintain fire escapes. Dorchester faces as much as $55,000 in fines.
Mott, his attorney Christopher Daly of Uniondale, and Dorchester officials did not respond to requests for comment.
In March 2013, three residents of the building filed a lawsuit in Nassau County Supreme Court against Mott and Dorchester seeking compensation for spinal injuries they said they suffered while trying to escape the blaze, which investigators said started in the third-floor apartment where they lived.
"It has become abundantly clear in the litigation that the negligence of Bradford Mott and Dorchester led directly to the fire occurring and the catastrophic injuries and deaths that ensued," plaintiffs' attorney, Marc S. Albert, of Astoria wrote in an email.
The Nassau fire marshal's office cited the complex with several violations and management had been ordered before Oct. 29, 2012, to install an automatic fire alarm system, county fire officials have said.
The alarm system was being installed when the fire started.