New Jersey, January17, 2007
Two NRIs, Randhir Maisuria, 39 and Prakash Patel, 37, the owners
of the Irvington Motor Lodge, were charged with aggravated manslaughter,
accused of causing the deaths during a fire in their motel by
repeatedly ignoring safety regulations, including chaining exits
The fire started on Oct. 2, 2005 at 10:30 a.m. in a first-floor
room. There were 60 people staying in the 80-room motel at the
time. It is said that exit doors were reportedly illegally locked
and people could not escape. Three people died of smoke inhalation.
Investigators say before the fire swept through the motel, its
owners had been fined on two separate occasions. One cited in
February and 2nd cited in April 2005 for chained and locked exit
doors. Firefighters cut the chains and they were fined $2,000
after the second offense.
Both men were arrested at their homes in Roselle Park and held
Wednesday on $500,000 bail each.
Defense attorney Michael Critchley says his clients are not criminally
responsible for the guests who died in the fire. "My clients
were not charged with causing the fire. They are the proprietors
of an institution where someone else set the fire," he said.
Both men pleaded not guilty today during their arraignment. They
are facing first degree aggrivated manslaughter, and several other
charges. If convicted, Maisuria and Patel each face up to 30-years
Mostly who had lost their homes were staying there. Most of the
time, false alarms were triggered by the people who smoke crack
cocaine and it was a frequent problem for the township