Muddasir Bari, 63, and Nargis Bhatti, 55, both of Everett, were arraigned on Tuesday in Malden District Court in connection with allegations that they violated building codes as landlords of the multifamily dwelling located at 15 Morris St. in Everett that was the location of a three-alarm fire on July 13, 2018. In an attempt to contain the fire and rescue an occupant, two Everett firefighters were seriously injured.
“Firefighters put themselves at risk whenever they respond to a fire, and that is why there are laws in place to minimize risk to first responders and to the public. In this case, through their alleged violation of the building codes, the defendants are alleged to have created a dangerous situation that ultimately led to two firefighters sustaining serious injuries,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “District Attorney Ryan’s prosecution of individuals who flouted the fire and building codes is important to protecting the public as well as first responders. Holding them accountable shows support for local firefighters and building officials who enforce the codes.”
Everett Fire Chief Anthony Carli said, “This case is a worst case scenario of what can happen when overcrowding and serious fire and building codes are ignored. I appreciate the District Attorney taking on this case and taking these matters as seriously as the City of Everett does.”
Bari and Bhatti have been charged with wanton and reckless disregard of fire or building codes that result in serious bodily injuries under the Comprehensive Fire Safety Act, which was passed as a result of the 2003 fire at The Station nightclub. They pleaded not guilty.
On July 13 shortly after 2:00 p.m., Everett firefighters responded to the multifamily Morris Street dwelling, which was engulfed in flames. When the firefighters arrived, they were met with heavy fire on the second floor of the two-and-a-half-story, three-family, wood-frame building. Investigators subsequently determined that the fire started at the electrical panel as a result of the circuit being overloaded.
This incident was jointly investigated by the Everett Fire and Police Departments, State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and State Police assigned to the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.