SPRING VALLEY, Rockland County (WABC) -- A fatal fire at an assisted living facility in Spring Valley claimed the lives of one resident and a volunteer firefighter and the families of those victims want justice.
Rabbi Daniel Sommer, 72, and his son Aaron Sommer, 29, started the fire while using a blow torch during a religious ritual to cleanse the facility's ovens ahead of Passover which caused the Evergreen Home for Adults to be engulfed in a large fire that killed volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd and Oliver Hueston back in March 2021.
Both pled guilty in court on Tuesday, and after accepting their pleas Judge Kevin Russo said he intends to impose lesser sentences for both men that would require no jail time.
The deal infuriates the victims' families who gathered outside of the courthouse with supporters.
"Probation, five years and three years and $350 dollars," said Jared's mother Sabrail Davenport through tears outside of the courthouse.
"It's a slap in the face to firefighters across the whole United States, its a shame," Jared's stepfather John Davenport said.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day is a former first responder and said in a statement that he's "appalled at the fact that the Lloyd and Hurston families will not get the justice they deserve."
"I have spoken at length with the family of Fire Lieutenant Jared Lloyd," Day said. "There is an unanimity in their position that regardless if there is a guilty verdict by plea or by trial that some jail time is warranted. Their position is that the victims are serving a death sentence and the families are serving a life sentence. With that they tell me that closure and justice will not be achieved without a jail sentence for the guilty parties."
At age 35, Lloyd served the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department for 15 years. His day job was with the cable company Altice.
Eyewitness News spoke with his father, a former member of the NYPD who lives in Queens after the fire. He requested privacy, but he said Lloyd was an only child who also leaves behind two young children of his own, one of whom had a birthday Wednesday.
The flames broke out inside the Evergreen Court For Adults on Lafayette Street early in the morning on March 23.
Lloyd rushed into the burning building to rescue residents, and officials believe he became disoriented and could not find his way out. He was one of the first on the scene and transmitted a mayday, but other firefighters were unable to rescue him.
It took more than six hours to get the fire under control, and firefighters spent the day battling "a ton of hot spots" and struggled with water supply problems.
The facility, which offers assisted living, nursing home facilities, and continuing care for older adults, is a total loss.
Formal sentencing is scheduled for September 20.
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