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Phila. Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Lying To Fire Investigators

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(The fire at the Buck Hosiery Company, in Kensington, took the lives of Philadelphia firefighters Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney.  File photo)

(The fire at the Buck Hosiery Company, in Kensington, took the lives of Philadelphia firefighters Robert Neary and Daniel Sweeney. File photo)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s been a minor guilty plea in the aftermath of the 2012 Kensington warehouse inferno that killed two Philadelphia firefighters (see related story).

Forty-two year old Richard Knellinger has accepted a plea deal stemming from his appearance before a grand jury investigating the April 9th, 2012 five-alarmer.

Knellinger owned a furniture store adjacent to the vacant Buck Hosiery Warehouse, on East York Street, near Front.  A warehouse wall collapsed onto the store and killed fire lieutenant Robert Neary and firefighter Daniel Sweeney.

During questioning under oath, Knellinger said falsely that he did not know the owners of the warehouse nor a man identified as Jay, who, it was revealed, worked as one of Knellinger’s drivers.

Today, Knellinger pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of false reporting and was sentenced to two years’ probation.

Of great consternation to firefighters and the victims’ families is that no charges were filed regarding criminal responsibility for the fire itself.  A civil suit has been filed but awaits resolution.

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