A Brooklyn landlord has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after one of his tenants fatally jumped out of a window to escape a fire.
Evener Leon, 62, who owned a building in the neighbourhood of Flatbush, did not pay for any heat utilities but instead illegally gave his tenants individual heaters and hot plates.
Fire marshals said the cord of a space heater on the second floor of the building where Leon lived with his family started a fire early in the morning. The blaze spread to the third floor, trapping tenant, James Yves Lalanne to have no choice but to jump out of his window to try to escape. He did not survive the fall. Lalanne, occupied a front room with no exit.
Eight adults and five children escaped through a fire escape on the back of the building, though many were treated for injuries from smoke inhalation, prosecutors said.
“This is an unfortunate incident,” Alain Massena, an attorney for Leon said. “Mr. Leon is a hard-working father and maintains his innocence, and will seek justice in the courts of law.”
Leon was released without bail with a hearing June 30 and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The fire incident happened in 2019.