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A jury has determined that a fire in a Route 9 building that killed five people in February 2000 was fueled in part by unsafe conditions caused by the owner. A wrongful death lawsuit relating to the same fire was settled in October.

The main cause of the deadly fire is still unknown, but lawyers for many displaced business owners convinced the jury that the owner Sidney Kriensky was aware of several code violations that helped contribute to the severity of the fire, Frank Fragomeni stated. Middlesex Superior Court civil trial started on November 6th and ended last month, stated a court clerk.

The jury deliberated approximately 10 hours before finding Kiriensky, owner of G & K LLC, negligent, said Fragomeni.

“There were about eight or nine deficiencies in the building that were allowed to continue over the years,” he said. Fragomeni said the code violations were found by inspectors after the Feb. 10, 2000, fire, and included fire doors that were not closed and not fire rated, and a fourth-floor addition that was built over the tar of the existing roof.

The tar, he said, is what allowed the fire to grow out of control. “That building was a disaster waiting to happen,” said Fragomeni, who represented the owners of Gamelan Interactive Inc. and Photography by Drew.

A separate jury will decide next year what Kriensky has to pay. It is estimated that damages for loss of business and materials are in the $5 million range.

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