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1 Acquitted in Fatal Deutsche Bank Blaze Near Ground Zero

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ground floor of the Deutsche Bank building in lower Manhattan where there are only a few stories left to demolish. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A supervisor of a construction company has been acquitted of manslaughter and all other charges in a fire that killed two firefighters at a condemned tower near Ground Zero.

Construction foreman Salvatore DePaola was handed his verdict Tuesday. The jury will continue to deliberate charges for Jeffrey Melofchik, and a judge hasn't rendered a verdict for a third defendant and the company.

"I haven't slept in four years," DePaola said.

Firefighters Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33, were killed in the August 2007 fire at the former Deutsche Bank Building after they became trapped in thick black smoke and ran out of air in their oxygen tanks.

Prosecutors argued a break in the building's standpipe โ€” which delivers water to firefighters โ€” was a crucial factor in the deaths of the firefighters, who spent about an hour getting water to the flames.

The building was in the process of being taken down because it was damaged and contaminated on September 11, 2001, when the fatal blaze broke out.

With the Associated Press

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Comments [1]

kathy from queens

It is disgusting that these guys didn't get charged with murder. For 1 to be aquitted! bs. I am in the construction business it is a joke as far as the safety people that are supposed to look for hazards but no they bitch to the workers when they wear cut off sleeves, not wearing safety glasses. Where was the saftey person on that job? They hire day laborers to mix with union workers and that is where the problem lies/ In this case I think they took it out to scrap it for money that's what is done on a demo job

Jun. 28 2011 10:03 PM

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