Saturday, June 23News That Matters

Building manager takes the stand in Jay Street fire trial

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The trial for a man believed to be responsible for a massive fire that killed four people in 2015 continues.

Kenneth Tyree was the building inspector during the time of the Jay street fire in Schenectady.

He faces several charges including manslaughter.

Jason Sacks has been on the stand much of the day, he’s the man who was the manager of 104 Jay Street at the time of the fire.

He has previously pleaded guilty to four counts of criminally negligent homicide for the part he played in the fire.

Sacks testified extensively about the day before the fire when he and Kenneth Tyree walked through the building for an inspection.

Sacks says Tyree checked the smoke alarms saying “if they’re blinking green they work.”

He also talked about checking the alarms in the apartment of Harry Simpson, the apartment that was later determined to be where the deadly fire started.

Sacks saying he is “99-percent” sure they checked every alarm.

He also recalled the day of the fire saying he “jumped out of bed” when he found out and when he arrived at the building “flames were shooting out.”

Under cross-examination, Sacks said he had no responsibility for the alarm system at the building saying the monitoring was between the company and the owner of the building.

He says from what he was told by the previous building manager the emergency monitoring system would beep first then the alarms would go off afterward.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Tyree has been sitting in the courtroom listening to this testimony. His lawyer claims he wasn’t qualified to inspect this kind of building and has become the scapegoat for the fire.

Tyree is accused of ignoring several safety violations during his inspection the day before the fire. He does plan to take the stand at some point to tell his side of the story.