Supervisor acquitted of deaths in Deutsche Bank fire
A Manhattan jury Wednesday acquitted another supervisor implicated in the deaths of two firefighters battling flames at the Deutsche Bank building in 2007.
Jeffrey Melofchik, 49, of Westfield, N.J., had tears in his eyes after the verdict, calling the trial “hell.”
“Thank God for the jurors. They saw through this nonsense,” said the site safety manager, who was charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Tuesday the same jury cleared asbestos foreman Salvatore DePaola, 56, of Staten Island, of similar charges.
The defense had said the men did not realize that a pipe in the building was allowed to be cut in 2006 – one that would have carried water to fight the fire that led to the deaths of Robert Beddia, 53, and Joseph Graffagnino, 33.
Charges are still pending against a third man, Mitchel Alvo, who oversaw asbestos abatement in the entire building and his employer, the John Galt Corp. of the Bronx.
Lawyers for the defendants contend they were merely scapegoats, and that the hazardous situation was allowed to fester by the FDNY, the general contractor and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.