What to Know
- A raging blaze destroyed a Rockland County adult home in March, killing one resident and one firefighter
- The fire was intense enough to cause parts of the Evergreen Court building to collapse
- Investigators said in the days afterwards that it appeared the automated alarm system was offline at the time of the fire
County, state and federal investigators conducted a raid on the Spring Valley Village Hall Wednesday afternoon, in connection with the probe into a deadly March fire at a Rockland County adult home.
A source familiar with the investigation tells News 4 that village documents connected to the fatal Evergreen Court fire in March are suspected to be potentially fraudulent. The scope of the investigation is now expanding to include the entire village, the source added.
The Rockland County District Attorney's Office was leading the raid along with New York state fire inspectors and agents from the federal Department of Homeland Security, the source said.
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Spring Valley Mayor Alan Simon - a disbarred former judge who was removed from the bench for misconduct - declined to answer News 4's questions about the raid.
Investigators had said two days after the blaze destroyed the facility that its automated alarm system was offline at the time of the fire.
Multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of the investigation tell News 4 that the automated alarm system was not connected to the county's central dispatch when the fire broke out, meaning someone in the facility had to call 911 and report the fire manually. In fact, the system had been taken offline the evening before the deadly blaze, sources told NBC New York.
It is not clear, however, if that caused any delay in the response to the deadly blaze.
Officials would not confirm that the automated system at the Spring Valley center had been disconnected.
Rockland County volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd was one of two casualties in the blaze that gutted the Spring Valley nursing home. A resident, whose identity has not been released, died as well.
Officials say Lloyd was one of the first firefighters to arrive at the scene. He was on the third floor trying to put out the flames when he became disoriented and eventually trapped there. Lloyd was last heard from when he issued a mayday call, and did not make it out of the building as it collapsed.
A GoFundMe page was set up for Lloyd's children, which raised more than $644,000.
According to Rockland County officials, smoke detector and sprinkler reports, which are not directly overseen by the Health Department but which were reviewed, were found in compliance by RCDOH when checked last in December 2019.
Denise Kerr, director of the Evergreen Court Home for Adults, called the fire "an unspeakable tragedy," adding that home officials are cooperating with all state and local authorities as the investigation into the blaze continues, and they have launched their own internal investigation as well.
Kerr said in a later statement the center was inspected multiple times by the Department of Health and local authorities in 2020, and no citations or violations related to fire safety were found.