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Parents of tot killed in Brentwood explosion file suit

Rah-Quan Palmer was killed in a Brentwood house

Rah-Quan Palmer was killed in a Brentwood house explosion. (Aug. 14, 2012) Credit: Chris Ware ; Handout

The family of a toddler killed in a propane explosion that leveled their rented home in Brentwood in August filed a lawsuit Tuesday for unspecified monetary damages against the owners of the house.

The lawsuit against Marcel Richard, 63, was filed in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn by the family of Rah-Quan Palmer, who was 18 months old when he died in the explosion at 12 Prospect Dr. on Aug. 14. The suit also named Richard's wife, Monise, and two relatives whose names appear on property records as defendants.

The suit alleges that Richard, a Brooklyn resident, was negligent in several matters, including the failure to get permits from the Town of Islip to use two 200-pound exterior propane tanks for heat and hot water.

The explosion occurred after gas from the tanks exploded inside the house, police said, killing Rah-Quan and Patricia Salegna-Maqueda, 46. She was a North Babylon insurance agent who was inspecting the basement after a flood claim.

A Palmer family attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, said Tuesday that Islip Town and other parties could be added as defendants, depending on the information he develops during pretrial discovery.

Richard did not respond to phone messages left Tuesday.

Richard failed to appear in Fifth District Court in Ronkonkoma on Dec. 5 to pay the $1,400 he still owed on $2,400 in fines for prior housing violations lodged against him by the town.

That payment had not been made by Tuesday, a town spokeswoman said.

The landlord had racked up the fines from 10 violations during 2011 and pleaded guilty June 28 to six of them.

They includedoperating a multifamily dwelling without a permit, renting without a permit, illegally converting the basement into a dwelling unit, and failing to have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

Suffolk police said an investigation was continuing.

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