Authorities: 5 dead, including 2 children, in overnight fire at Spring Valley home
Five people were killed in an early Saturday morning fire in a two-story multifamily home in Spring Valley, officials said.
Two of the deceased were under the age of 18.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the fire engulfed the home at 118 Lake St. at 4:03 a.m.
Spring Valley police and fire departments, and six other fire departments, responded to the scene after receiving multiple 911 calls. By 4:40 a.m., the fire was declared under control.
Officials said there were multiple people trapped inside the upper level during the blaze. Firefighters said it was impossible to get inside the home and search for victims until the flames were completely under control.
The five victims were taken to hospitals, where they were later pronounced dead. Their names and ages had not yet been released as of Saturday night. It was not immediately clear if they were all members of the same family.
The exact number of people who resided in the home was also not known.
Five other residents were injured in the fire. A firefighter also suffered a minor injury and is expected to be OK.
Sources told News 12 that residents had previously complained to the landlord about electrical issues in the home. News 12 was told on Saturday night that the cause of the fire may have been electrical.
Authorities said there were previous building code violations at the residence, but a subsequent search of the home confirmed that they had resolved all the issues and there were no code violations at the time of the fire.
"We did find that there were two municipal searches. The searches conducted returned a number of violations. They were subsequently cleared. The second title search recently cleared all the violations and no violations were noted. That's where we stand now," said the director of Rockland County Office of Building and Codes Ed Markunas.
The deed for the property lists Jacob Jeremias as the owner.
Multiple sources told News 12 that Jeremias owns several properties in the neighborhood and throughout the Hudson Valley.
News 12 tried to reach Jeremias by telephone and email to no avail.
A News 12 crew also went to his last known home address in Spring Valley but was told by a woman there that he no longer lived at that address.
Another resident also said he had moved some years ago.
Authorities also confirmed that water pressure was not an issue for firefighters as they tried to douse the flames.
Spring Valley Police Chief Richard Oleszczuk said the investigation is still in its infancy.
"We've seen these tragedies before. It's traumatic not only for the victims, but also for those that respond to try and help them during times of crises,” he said. “We are providing aid to anyone who was involved and working with the Red Cross. If anyone is in need of aid from this incident, please contact the SVPD at 845-356-7400."
Detective Phil Fantasia is leading the investigation. He can be contacted at 845-517-1178.