'Next Top Model' house architect faces charges

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16 Feb, 2012 Updated Thu 16 Feb 2012 07:32 CEST
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A prominent German architect has been charged with involuntary manslaughter of a fireman who died fighting a blaze in a housee meant to play host to Germany’s Next Top Model.

Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday, the LA Weekly newspaper reported.

Officials alleged that Becker’s blueprints for the $7 million Hollywood Hills house showed that he had been “grossly negligent” in designing the home.

Becker had billed a huge “oversize indoor fire pit” in the fancy three story house, despite being warned that it was dangerous and potentially illegal, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported.

The Associated Press reported that a fireplace on the third floor where a fire last year may have started was designed only for outdoor use.

More than 60 fire fighters responded to the blaze and fire fighter Glenn Allen – a 61-year-old just a year away from retirement – was killed when a ceiling collapsed on top of him.

Supermodel Heidi Klum and German television producers had to scramble last year to find a new location for the filming of their reality TV show after the fire, according to the Radar Online entertainment news website.

They had already secured a filming permit and were scheduled to move in with several young German models a few weeks after the blaze.

Becker was arrested over the weekend when he returned to the United States from a trip abroad. He remains in jail and bail has been set at $2 million (€1.5 million).

The Local/mdm



2012/02/16 07:32

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