‘You want to see him again:’ 1 year after Evergreen Court fire, Lloyd’s loss, questions linger

“Eric Cich and Jared Lloyd entered the Evergreen Court Home for Adults together.

Jared Lloyd Photo: Ramapo Police Department

The Spring Valley firefighters were part of a crew sent into the inferno on March 23, 2021, in hopes of rescuing residents. Lloyd was among the first on the scene.

But at some point, Cich lost track of Lloyd. And, at some point, a section of the Lafayette Avenue building collapsed.

“One minute I was with him the next I wasn’t,” Cich said. “Somehow we got separated in a matter of feet. I still don’t know what happened to this day. We were working to remove the final resident from the building. It’s surreal to think.” It’s been one year since Lloyd, a 35-year-old single father of two young sons, died while he and his fellow firefighters evacuated 112 residents. One resident, 79-year-old Oliver Hueston, died.

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Firefighters like Cich and Aaron Lerer still live with Lloyd on their minds.

“I think of Jared every day,” said Lerer, now a Monsey firefighter. “I’ve known him for more than 20 years. We went to high school together. We played football together. It’s more than our brotherhood as firefighters. I think of Jared the person.  “We talk about him often,” Lerer said. “We laugh about the things Jared used to do, what he said. It’s not all sadness. There are funny memories. We do miss him. I feel he’s with me always.”

But while Lloyd’s memory has endured, so have the questions regarding what led to the Spring Valley conflagration, which drew a response from more than 25 fire departments and emergency response units. Investigators have been tight-lipped, as have government officials, regarding the status of inspections at the century-old building, which firefighters said featured narrow hallways and stairwells.

An investigation into the fire has led to criminal prosecutions against two then-village building inspectors and two rabbis accused of manslaughter and arson. Charges against two others were resolved without convictions late last year.

The tragedy also sparked action: Lloyd’s death has been credited for pushing the state to task Rockland County with taking over Spring Valley’s building department. Lloyd will be remembered Wednesday. A candlelight service is planned for 7:30 p.m. at Spring Valley High School, where family, friends, and fire service members will gather.”

Read the complete Journal News story here.