LITTLE FERRY — The owner and manager of an apartment building where a fire killed two people last August is facing criminal charges after authorities say he violated the state fire code.

Gary L'Heureux, 59, was charged by Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal in connection with the deaths of Margaret Colon and her 5-year-old granddaughter Maribella after an explosion and fire on the third floor of a multifamily dwelling on Washington Avenue.

The family was trapped on the third floor by the fire. Stephanie Colon, the mother of the little girl, jumped out a window to escape.

Firefighters were able to rescue residents of the second floor, according to Grewal.

Grewal said investigators determined that L'Heureux did not install required hard-wired smoke detectors, self-closing doors and a proper fire escape.

L'Heureux was charged with two counts of second-degree knowingly violating the fire code in connection to the deaths, and two counts of third-degree violating the fire code in connection to the serious injuries suffered by Stephanie Colon and David Lucero, a resident of the second floor.

The fire started in a garage rented out to store motorcycles, according to Grewal.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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