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Architect Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter in Hollywood Hills Firefighter Death

Glenn Allen, 61, died Feb. 17, 2011 of his injuries while battling a house fire in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive.

An architect who designed and oversaw the construction of a luxury home in the Hollywood Hills a year ago was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a veteran firefighter who was killed when a burning ceiling collapsed on the property.

Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Los Angeles Fire Department Firefighter Glenn Allen, 61, died Feb. 17, 2011, of injuries he suffered while battling a house fire in the 1500 block of North Viewsite Drive.

Allen, who was stationed out of  in Studio City, was injured when the ceiling of the mansion collapsed on him, according to the LAFD. One day after Allen died, his daughter gave birth to a son, his family told CBS2. Allen was a 38-year veteran of the LAFD and was about one year from retirement. Five other firefighters were also injured in the blaze.

On Feb. 25, 2011, a  was held at  in Studio City (see attached video). In August, members of Station 97  in Allen's honor.

The fire may have been caused by a problem with a natural gas-fireplace, according to the LAFD. Within days, police said they had declared the home a crime scene and were investigating to determine whether fire codes had been violated. The home was newly built three-story house with 12,500 square feet, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced Wednesday morning that it would be holding a press conference at its downtown headquarters at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to "notify the public of an arrest of a suspect who murdered a Firefighter."

— City News Service contributed to this report.

Scott Zwartz February 16, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Google maps show 1500 North Viewsite drive to be ZIP 90069 which makes it part of West Hollywood. Google can be wrong. Exactly where is the dividing line between L.A. City and WeHo? This is important since the mansion appears to have been contrary to code, implying that either WeHo or LA was also negligent in its duties to the public, including to its own fire personnel, in its allowing "non-conforming construction."
steward February 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM
and your point?
Scott Zwartz February 17, 2012 at 06:47 PM
My point can be found in the words following "This is important . . . " I will explain in more detail. If a corrupt building depart allowed substandard construction, we need to know which city is involved. Part of CD4 extends over the Sunset Strip and it is not clear if this home was in LA City or WeHo. Thus, the news media should find out which city was involved and tells us. Then whoever lives in that city can undertake the burden to have that city improve its inspections. I cannot imagine another reason for the manslaughter arrest of the architect-builder other than the City allowed a substandard structure to be inhabited.

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