Rockland fire departments call for DA to step down over plea deal in 2021 fatal fire
A number of Rockland County fire departments are calling for District Attorney Thomas Walsh to resign over a plea deal in the 2021 Spring Valley fire that killed a resident and firefighter.
Rockland's volunteer firefighters first raised their voices at the county courthouse on Tuesday. They continued to speak out on Thursday, with many demanding Walsh resign because of the plea deal given to father-and-son Rabbis Nathaniel and Aaron Sommer. They will receive probation, fines and no jail time.
Authorities accused the two of sparking the deadly fire at the Evergreen Assisted Living facility in March 2021 while koshering the kitchen with a blowtorch.
The fire killed Spring Valley firefighter Jared Lloyd and a facility resident, 79-year-old Oliver Hueston.
"Justice wasn't served. It was even less than a slap on the wrist what happened to these individuals," said Sloatsburg Fire Department Chief Matthew Swanson.
The Sloatsburg Fire Department, which has about 40 active members, was one of the first to publicly call on Walsh to step down. The department said Walsh and anyone from his office can no longer attend their events.
"Everybody's thinking the same way we are," Swanson said.
The Rockland County Fire Chiefs Association is now calling on Walsh to resign.
Hillburn, West Haverstraw's Volunteer Hose Company No. 2, and Stony Point's Wayne Hose Company have followed suit with letters of their own.
Walsh is running unopposed in this upcoming election .
News 12 reached out to Walsh for comment but had not heard back as of Thursday evening.