Brooklyn, NY -- A Brooklyn church pastor and landlord was charged with manslaughter after ignoring citations and demands to vacate the occupancy before a fatal fire. The fire killed a 24 year old tenant and injured nine others.
Luckner Lorient, 78, operated an illegal single occupancy business in his three story building, ignoring citations for over a decade. Lorient operated a church on the ground floor - Eglise Baptiste Clarte Celeste. The two upper floors were converted from one-family railroad apartments to single room occupancy housing. Lorient converted the the top two floors into 11 different single occupancy rooms and rented them to 23 people.
On November 19, 2014, a fire broke out in the building when an overloaded electrical outlet burst into flames. Almost all of the tenants were home and asleep at the time of the fire.
Over 100 firefighters reported to the fire and it was knocked out within 2 hours. Firefighters rescued several tenants who were overcome by smoke and passed out. However, 24 year old Jeff Frederic was not so lucky and he died at the scene.
"This defendant was well aware of the danger of running an illegal SRO," said Ken Thompson. "[Mr. Lorient] chose to ignore numerous violations and cavate orders issued over many years resulting in this devastating fire that killed a young man and injured many others."
Lorient was charged with reckless endangerment, third degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleased not guilty and was held on a $1 million bond.
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