A Tenafly, New Jersey, man was arrested in connection with a deadly fire in Little Ferry last year, officials said Wednesday.
After a lengthy investigation into the August 2016 blaze on Washington Avenue, officials said Gary L’Heureux knowingly violated New Jersey fire code, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal said.
Emergency responders raced to the scene of the blaze last year after an explosion and fire at a multi-family home owned by L’Heureux, officials said.
Crews were able to save the second-floor residents from the building, but they suffered minor injuries. However, one man was hospitalized, according to Grewal.
The third-floor family was trapped by the fire causing one victim to jump from the third-story window, officials said. The other two, a mother and 5-year-old daughter, were eventually saved by firefighters before all three were taken to area hospitals, where the mother and 5-year-old girl died, authorities said.
Investigators later determined the explosion and fire originated in the garage, and found that L’Heureux failed to make the necessary upgrades to the home as required by state regulations, including failure to maintain or install hard-wired smoke detectors, failure to provide a secondary egress or fire escape, as well as failure to provide apartment doors on the second and third floors that were required to have self-closure devices, officials said.
L’Heureux on Wednesday was charged with two counts of second-degree knowingly violating state fire code and two counts of third-degree knowingly violating state fire code, prosecutors said.
It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could comment on the allegations.