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Architect charged with death of LA firefighter

Architect charged with involuntary manslaughter in ceiling collapse death of LA firefighter By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) ' The architect of a Hollywood Hills mansion where a ceiling collapsed and killed a firefighter during a blaze was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter as a result of his shoddy work, prosecutors said.

Gerhard Becker, 48, was charged after investigators found grossly negligent construction at the newly built, 12,500-square-foot home, authorities said.

Becker left the country after last year's fire and was arrested when he flew from Spain to Los Angeles on Saturday. He remained jailed and, if convicted, could be sentenced to up to four years in state prison.

It could not be immediately determined if Becker had a lawyer.

Becker, a German citizen, was the designer and main contractor for the three-story home that caught fire on Feb. 16, 2011. The reality TV show "Germany's Next Top Model" had been set to film there.

The blaze was started by a fireplace inside the home that was designed only for outdoor use, prosecutors said. The flames burned through a plastic sprinkler pipe and filled the attic with water until the ceiling collapsed on 61-year-old firefighter Glen Allen. Five other firefighters also were injured.

Allen died two days later. The firefighter-paramedic had nearly 40 years with the department and was less than a year away from retirement.

Allen was the first city firefighter to be killed in the line of duty since March 2008, when Brent Lovrien died in an explosion near Los Angeles International Airport as he investigated an earlier blast that blew manhole covers into the air.

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Related Keywords:Firefighter-Ceiling Collapse,Fires,Accidents and disasters,Crime,Violent crime,General news,Television programs,Entertainment,Arts and entertainment


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