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Officials: Owner of exploded home fails to show in court

Suffolk County Fire and Arson investigator at the

Suffolk County Fire and Arson investigator at the house that exploded on Prospect Drive in Brentwood. (Aug. 15, 2012) Photo Credit: John Roca

The owner of the Brentwood home that exploded last summer, killing two people, failed to appear Wednesday in court, where he had been expected to request more time to pay fines for housing violations, officials said.

Marcel Richard, 63, of Brooklyn, told a court clerk on Monday that he needed additional time to pay the rest of the $2,400 in fines lodged against him after Town of Islip housing inspectors, who described the home as an illegal rooming house, recorded 10 violations last year.

Richard had pleaded guilty to the charges and paid about $1,000 in fines, according to court records.

The clerk scheduled a hearing Wednesday for Richard to argue his case in Fifth District Court in Ronkonkoma, said assistant Islip Town Attorney Kerry Bassett.

Judges routinely rule on such requests, she said, adding that the town would have opposed any payment extension. The roughly $1,400 remaining debt will become a judgment against Richard and attached to the home's title, accruing interest at 9 percent annually, she said.

Richard could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Aug. 14 blast at 12 Prospect Dr. killed Rah-Quan Palmer, an 18-month-old toddler who lived there with his family, and Patricia Salegna-Maqueda, 46, of North Babylon, an insurance agent inspecting the basement after a flood claim. Seventeen others were injured.

Suffolk County investigators say the blast was a propane explosion, but they have not said what caused it. No criminal charges have been filed.

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