'The truth will come out.' Spring Valley assistant building speaks ahead of fatal fire trial
The deadly fire at Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley was an unthinkable but predicted tragedy that thrust the issue of lax code enforcement back into the spotlight.
Spring Valley assistant building inspector Raymond Canario is at the center of the fallout but claims he's being used as a scapegoat to mask more serious loopholes at the state Office of Building Standards and Codes.
"There's a lot of loopholes in the system - how are you supposed to do your job when you have no backing from Albany?" says Canario.
The eight-count felony complaint filed against him alleges he filed fraudulent information with the state in inspection documents connected to Evergreen dating back to 2017. He's facing up to four years in prison.
Canario claims he did nothing more than make innocent mistakes on a form and does not deserve to be imprisoned.
"New York state codes are very confusing. Even the new guys who just become code-certified, they shake their heads and say, you know I can't say the actual word on TV, but they shake their heads, and they try to figure out what the code is… there's a lot of loopholes in the state and it's by people in Albany who make these codes," says Canario.
He spoke out exclusively to News 12 just ahead of his felony trial next week and pointed fingers at the state officials who he claims ignored his pleas for help in filling out inspection reports for the Evergreen Court Home for Adults, years before the fire.
He says that the year that's followed has been filled with so much physical and emotional pain that he agreed to break his silence "only" if News 12 agreed to hide his face while he's awaiting trial.
"I don't have a problem speaking to people," he says. "If I have something to hide, I wouldn't speak to people. I'd hide."
When asked what he would have done differently, Canario replied: "I'll never take this job, I'll tell you that. I never want to know what New York state codes are ... I'll clean bathrooms, less stress."
Canario told News 12 he looks forward to the trial starting next week so he can clear his name and get back to grieving the loss of his friend - Jared Lloyd, a firefighter who died battling the flames at Evergreen Court Home of Adults.
"The truth will come out," he says. "That's what I'm looking for. The truth would definitely come out."
News 12 reached out repeatedly to the Office of Buildings Standards and Codes, but all interview requests have been denied.