A New Hyde Park man and his son were indicted Thursday on manslaughter charges stemming from a 2010 fire in an illegally subdivided building in Brooklyn that killed five tenants, officials said.
Vasilios Gerazounis, 68, and Argyrios Gerazounis, 37, of Brooklyn, joint owners of the building at 2033 86th St. in Bensonhurst that was gutted by the fire Jan. 30, 2010, pleaded not guilty.
They were charged with five counts of second-degree manslaughter, five counts of reckless endangerment and first-degree assault, said a spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. They were being held on $200,000 bail late Thursday, said defense attorney George Vomvolakis.
Authorities said a drunk guest of one of the tenants started the blaze. That guest, Daniel Ignacio, 30, is awaiting trial on five counts of second-degree murder.
Thursday's indictment alleged that, while the Gerazounis' building was supposed to have one-family units on its second and third floors, it had been illegally converted to hold more. The second floor was converted for two families, and the third floor was reconfigured to house four families, the indictment charged.
Prosecutors said about 10 people lived on each of the two floors, all illegal immigrants from Guatemala working as day laborers or retail clerks.
Defense attorney Vomvolakis said city inspectors had given the building a clean bill of health before the fire. He said the elder Gerazounis was devastated by the tragedy.
"He and his wife have been living with this for two years, knowing that five people died . . .," Vomvolakis said. "He suffered through a bout of depression after the fire, and his wife almost had a nervous breakdown."
With Alison Barnwell