BUFFALO, N.Y. — With the ATF investigation now complete, the quest for justice for fallen hero Jason Arno is now in the hands of the Erie County District Attorney.
“We are in the course of trying to determine … what exactly happened inside that building? And my role, obviously, is to determine if, in fact, any criminal conduct is going to result from that fire,” Erie County DA John Flynn said.
The district attorney is still staying tight-lipped on what could have caused the fire but said he is now looking into possible criminal charges based on three levels of conduct — reckless, negligent, and intentional.
“I'd be surprised if we find anything intentional at this point, but again, it's not ruled out yet though,” Flynn said.
According to legal experts, anyone involved in the construction believed to be tied to the fire could be liable — from the workers to those who ordered the work.
Experts are pointing to possible charges that could result in up to four years behind bars for criminally negligent homicide or an even higher sentence for manslaughter.
But according to legal expert Barry Covert, that will not be easy to charge.
“It's gross negligence,” Covert said. “The jury is specifically told that it is a higher level of negligence than is available in civil cases. So it's a very high level for the district attorney to have to try to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
And with an emergency demolition set to begin in less than 24 hours, the Buffalo community now waits for justice to rise from the rubble.