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Homeowner Charged in Fire Deaths

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The owner of a Los Angeles home where four people died in a fire is facing criminal charges.

The city attorney's office claims Leonarda Duenez Aguilar illegally turned a Sylmar barn into living quarters with unlicensed plumbing and electrical work, including adding a bathroom and kitchen without permits. Prosecutors also say there were no smoke alarms.

A fire there in January killed Uriel and Maria Estrada, their 12-year-old daughter, Isabel, and 7-year-old son, Alejandro.     

Duenez Aguilar was charged Friday with six criminal counts. Each carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The owner's lawyer, Brian Weinberger, disputes the allegations and says the building was provided with smoke detectors. He also says his client remains distraught over the deaths.

 

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