Suspect charged in deadly 2015 Schenectady fire out on bail

March 03, 2017 05:35 PM

SCHENECTADY - Kenneth Tyree, 63, a code enforcement officer in Schenectady, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. He made bail after a quick court appearance Friday morning.

"I'm disappointed - whenever you have a public employee in this situation where their actions have been mis-documentation that may have resulted in a tragic fire. It's unfortunate," said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

Tyree is accused of lying about the condition of the fire alarm system at 104 Jay Street. Investigators said he was the one who inspected that building the day before the massive fire that killed four people and injured seven others on March 6, 2015. Newschannel 13 was told Tyree did warn the building manager, Jason Sacks, 39. But Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said there was no written citation and that Tyree knew the system wasn't working and should have taken immediate action. Tyree is also accused of lying to city officials in his application for the job.

"To run a criminal history in New York State there's restrictions," McCarthy told Newschannel 13. "You can do it for law enforcement purposes. You can't necessarily do it for employment purposes."

Mayor McCarthy said the restrictions are different if the prospective employee would be dealing with children, like in a school setting. But he said Tyree slipped through the cracks with a background check focused on prior employment and references.

Now the city is looking at the hiring process. They're also working with the state comptroller's office that has been in Schenectady conducting an audit on code enforcement, including the documents in the Jay Street fire.

"We're reviewing that and working with them to look to see what gaps there may have been in the system," he said.

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Dan Bazile

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