Spring Valley firefighters express outrage over plea deal offered in 2021 fatal Evergreen fire case
Firefighters in Spring Valley say they are outraged after learning about a plea deal in the 2021 fatal Evergreen fire case.
Some, including Spring Valley firefighter Justin Schwartz, are calling on Rockland District Attorney Tom Walsh to step down.
Walsh originally charged six people in connection to the March 2021 fire at the Evergreen Assisted Living Facility that killed firefighter Jared Lloyd and a 79-year-old resident.
MORE: Playing With Fire Nathaniel Sommer and his son Aaron Sommer were charged with manslaughter. Charges against two village building inspectors were eventually dropped, and the two Evergreen employees pleaded guilty and will not have to serve any time in jail.
News 12 learned Wednesday from several sources that Walsh allegedly made a deal with the father-and-son rabbis accused of starting the fire. News 12 was told the deal will allow both to avoid prison time if the judge signs off on the deal.
"We go in day in and day out to fight fires, and then we don't come home. Nobody gives a damn," says Schwartz.
Investigators said the Sommers started the Evergreen fire while using a blowtorch to kosherize the kitchen.
Three months after the fire, Walsh stood with Lloyd's family at a news conference, promising accountability for those involved.
"We owe them justice and again, we offer our condolences," said Walsh. News 12 spoke with Lloyd's father Wednesday, who said he was devastated by the development.
"We waited two years with many different delays ... and tonight we get word that the father and son are going to be given probation. That's not the outcome we were looking for," says Calvin Lloyd.
News 12 was told that the plea deal is going to be finalized on Tuesday in Rockland County Court. It is ultimately up to the judge to approve the terms of the deal. The Lloyd family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit, which is still in play. They're seeking money damages from the village, the Evergreen's owner, Nathaniel Sommer and Aaron Sommer.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Justin Schwartz as a fire captain. Schwartz is a firefighter.