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Nathaniel Sommer, Aaron Sommer reach plea deal in Spring Valley fire that killed Firefighter Jared Lloyd

Victim's family upset with plea deal in deadly Spring Valley fire
Victim's family upset with plea deal in deadly Spring Valley fire 02:12

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. -- A grieving family feels betrayed following a plea deal in a fatal Rockland County fire.

It will mean no prison time for the two rabbis responsible for starting the deadly blaze in 2021.

"We serve our own life sentence, visiting Jared at his cemetery. Meanwhile, they're off celebrating their holidays," said Sabrail Davenport, Jared Lloyd's mother.

Davenport's anger was evident and it was shared by dozens of first responders.

"It's a sad day," volunteer firefighter Frank Voce said.

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Voce was upset after a plea deal that will mean probation instead of prison for the rabbis whose actions destroyed Evergreen Court Assisted Living. killing 79-year old Oliver Hueston and firefighter Lloyd, who was heroically evacuating residents.

On Tuesday, Rabbi Nathaniel Sommer pleaded guilty to felony manslaughter. His son, Aaron, pleaded to misdemeanor reckless endangerment. They admitted to unsafe use of torches and charcoal during a ritual pre-Passover cleansing of the Evergreen Court kitchen.

"This introduction of heat caused smoldering to occur within the wall space undetected, correct?" prosecutor Mike Dugandzic asked.

"Yes," Nathanial Sommer responded.

The unseen fire spread and grew into a five-alarm inferno.

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As for the plea deal, Jared Lloyd's father, Calvin, said, "With us not having a say in anything here, it was a terrible decision."

Lloyd's father says Judge Kevin Russo and District Attorney Tom Walsh let the family down, adding the punishment -- probation -- doesn't match the magnitude of the rabbis' crime.

"These people haven't even apologized to us or said they're sorry. There's no remorse," Davenport said.

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Rockland County Fire Coordinator Chris Kear worked with the DA on the case and shares the family's anger.

"I lost my faith in the judicial system today," Kear said.

The rabbis will be sentenced in September. Lloyd's parents will speak and also listen. They hope to hear the DA and judge explain the reasoning behind the plea deal.

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