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National Briefing / New York

Tenants acquitted in fireman deaths

February 14, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Two tenants were acquitted of creating a deadly maze of illegal walls in their apartment building, forcing two firefighters responding to a blaze to jump to their deaths.

Caridad Coste and Rafael Castillo had faced manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and other charges that could have resulted in up to 15 years in prison. A second jury considering similar charges against the building's former and current owners was to resume deliberations Tuesday.

Six firefighters were trapped in the building on Jan. 23, 2005. John Bellew and Lt. Curtis Meyran died after jumping from a fourth-floor window. Two others who jumped survived.

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