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Phila. Firefighters’ Union Demands Prosecution of Building Owners in Deadly 2012 Fire

(Philadelphia firefighters' union president Joe Schulle calls for prosecution of the owners of a building where two firefighters died in 2012.  Photo by Pat Loeb)

(Philadelphia firefighters’ union president Joe Schulle calls for prosecution of the owners of a building where two firefighters died in 2012. Photo by Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia firefighters’ union is asking district attorney Seth Williams to reconsider his decision not to pursue criminal charges in relation to the fire that caused the death of two firemen in 2012 (see related story).

The union wants the building owners prosecuted.

Local 22 president Joe Schulle says the families of firefighters Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney were devastated by the DA’s announcement yesterday that no charges would be filed in connection with the fire at the former Buck Hosiery Co. warehouse, in Kensington, where the two men died.

The families have filed a civil suit against the owners — Yechiel Lichtenstein (who also goes by Michael) and his father, Nahman, both of Brooklyn, NY — but Schulle says that is not justice for the victims.

“It’s just a huge injustice to our membership that the people that caused this tragedy to occur are just allowed to walk around like nothing happened.  They actually put in a claim to collect on the million-dollar insurance policy on the building, so they are trying to benefit from this occurring,” Schulle said.

The building was deteriorated, unsealed, and tax delinquent when it caught fire (see related stories).  DA Williams based his decision on a grand jury report that said the exact cause of the fire could not be determined.

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