Updated 12/09/2008 11:40 PM
Report: Manhattan DA To Charge Deutsche Bank Subcontractor With Manslaughter
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Reports said Tuesday afternoon that a contractor that worked at the former Deutsche Bank building could be charged with manslaughter in connection with the August 2007 fire that took the lives of two firefighters.
Sources tell the Daily News that Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau plans to ask a grand jury to bring the charges against the John Galt Corporation, which was hired to remove asbestos from the building.
Galt has already been fined nearly $500,000 for 44 safety and health violations related to the August 18th fire.
Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia were killed in the fire, which was sparked by a discarded cigarette.
A standpipe that should have provided water to the upper floors was not in working order. It was later discovered the Fire Department did not do proper inspections to the building, which was being dismantled after suffering severe damage in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not confirm the charges against Galt Tuesday, but said what's most important is to make sure that something like this never happens again.
"Two brave firefighters lost their lives. That's the first thing that happened here, and let's not forget that," said the mayor. "It is a terrible tragedy. I don't think anybody thinks anybody willfully caused their deaths. There may have been some negligence."
The mayor said the city is negotiating some kind of settlement with the district attorney's office.