06/16/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Toms River, NJ – The operators of Bright New Horizons, a group home located in Toms River, NJ, were charged Tuesday, June 15, 2010, in connection with a fire last summer that killed a resident, as reported by NJ.com.
According to federal and state authorities, James and Donna Beerman allowed overcrowding at the home. The facility also had no fire suppression or alarm system, which proved fatal when a blaze started on August 5, 2009. As a result of the lack of precautions, 23-year-old Frank Klekner died in the fire.
Authorities charged the Beermans with failing to comply with a law that protects health and safety. It is a second-degree offense and holds up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The charges were filed by Toms River police, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office after a 10-month investigation into the man’s death.
Bright New Horizons was considered a group home that provided transitional housing for those recovering from addiction. The facility leased a three-bedroom home on Lakewood Road. It was permitted to house only six full-time residents. At the time of the fire, 11 people were residing in the home.
The day before the fire, Klekner had complained to his mother about the living situation.
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