Ramapo landlords face legal actions after fatal Spring Valley fire that killed 5

“The owners of a Spring Valley house in which five people died in a March inferno face legal actions from tenants who claim substandard conditions at the Lake Street house caused the fatal blaze.

separate legal action by the Town of Ramapo seeks to potentially close down a rental house operated by the same owners on Debaun Place for dangerous violations of fire and safety codes. The town wants the property used in conformity with its certificate of occupancy and in compliance with the laws.

The fatal fire on March 4 brought government scrutiny of Jacob Jeremias and his wife Esty and their property holdings in Spring Valley and Ramapo. The couple has not been charged with crimes but has been issued hundreds of building and fire code violations.

Five people − including two children ages 4 and 13 − died in the fire at 118 Lake St. Investigators initially determined electrical problems, including a faulty wall socket, set off the blaze. Spring Valley police said 18 people lived in the two-story, wood-framed house − nine on each floor.

Spring Valley fatal fire: Inspectors find hundreds of code violations from landlord

Cause of the fire: Electrical issues likely sparked the fatal Spring Valley fire, authorities say. What we know

Spring Valley response: Police officers recount harrowing moments from Lake Street fire

Two survivors file lawsuits

Two tenants who survived the fire have filed legal actions in New York State Supreme Court accusing Jeremias of failing to maintain or make repairs at the house, contending his negligence allowed for dangerous 

Marisol Diaz Dias contends she suffered severe and permanent injuries, including burns and scarring. Jendri Geovanny Climaco Interiano says she too sustained permanent injuries, including lung damage, scarring, and burns.

They are seeking a financial judgment and legal costs determined at trial, according to their six-page lawsuits filed by attorney Andrew Buchsman of Friedman, James and Buchsman in Manhattan. Buchsman didn’t return messages seeking comment. “Fire was caused by the negligence of the defendant and or his agents by permitting or allowing dangerous and/or defective condition(s)” to remain, the lawsuit says, in part. The landlord is accused of failing to remove or repair dangerous conditions.

Jeremias could not be reached for comment. The legal actions filed on March 30 said he is unrepresented.

Rockland County Building Inspector, Jack Lavalasse, Fire Inspector, Willer Franck, and Director of the Office of Buildings and Codes, Ed Markunas, inspect a house next to a two-family house where there was a fatal fire on Lake Street in Spring Valley March 6, 2023. Peter Carr / The Journal News

Since the fire, the Rockland Office of Buildings and Codes and the Health Department’s Center for Rockland Codes Investigations have been inspecting the properties in Spring Valley owned by Jeremias, his wife Esther “Esty” Jeremias, and those properties under his corporation, 7 Ohio LLC.

Hundreds of notices of violations have been issued to Jeremias, who owns up to 12 rental properties in the village, according to the Spring Valley tax roll for 2022. His holdings include properties on Lake Street, two on Ohio Avenue, and single properties on Cole Avenue, Sherwood Avenue, and Jay Street.

The next Supreme Court appearance is scheduled for April 24. Esty Jeremias also must appear in Ramapo Justice Court to answer the violation notices.”

Read the complete Journal News story here.