Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Today a Manhattan jury cleared foreman Salvatore DePaola of charges that he should have known a crucial water standpipe was damaged in the former Deutsche Bank building at Ground Zero which caught fire in August 2007, killing 2 firefighters in the Line of Duty.

The jury was still deliberating the case of Jeffrey Melofchik, the building site safety manager, who like DePaola was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the blaze.

Also charged are the building's toxin cleanup director Mitchell Alvo and the Galt Corp., the subcontractor that employed Alvo and DePaola. They have chosen to have Judge Rena Uviller, not the jury, rule on their cases and the judge has not yet ruled. The jury found DePaola not guilty of all charges.

Firefighters Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33, died in the Line of Duty of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning when they became trapped in the nine-floor fire.

The defense argued that the construction managers removing asbestos could not have anticipated the circumstances that led to the firefighters' deaths.

They had argued that if local government inspectors had repeatedly failed to identify a damaged water pipe in the basement, it was unreasonable to expect construction supervisors with less expertise to recognize the potential danger. The defense argued that the conditions were caused not by a lack of water but by a fan system that pulled smoke downward, leaving firefighters blind and disoriented.

Source: The Secret List 6-28-11 / 2147 Hours