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COMMONWEALTH v. KAUFMAN (11/15/56)

November 15, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
KAUFMAN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 71, Oct. T., 1956, from judgment and sentence of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, March T., 1953, No. 1458, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Louis Kaufman. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Sidney Ginsberg, with him Isadore A. Shrager, for appellant.

Thomas M. Reed, Assistant District Attorney, with him James N. Lafferty, Deputy District Attorney, Victor H. Blanc, District Attorney, and Vincent G. Panati, First Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Carr, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).

Author: Gunther

[ 182 Pa. Super. Page 198]

OPINION BY GUNTHER, J.

This is an appeal from the conviction and sentence for the crime of arson which arose in the City of Philadelphia. Appellant, Louis Kaufman, was charged and convicted by a jury of setting fire to a warehouse leased by Furniture Fair, Inc., in which he owned one-third of the capital stock and approximately one-fourth of the voting stock. Furniture Fair, Inc., was engaged in the retail sale of furniture at Market Street in the City of Philadelphia, and for the storage of its furniture stock, it leased a warehouse located at 5407-09 Wyalusing Avenue.

In the late morning of Saturday, August 23, 1952, a fire broke out in the warehouse on Wyalusing Avenue. The alarm was received by Engine Company No. 65 of the Philadelphia Fire Department at 11:52 A.M., and within the space of a minute the firemen were at the scene of the fire which was about two blocks away from the engine house. Immediately upon arrival, a one inch and a two inch water line were stretched, and, with the aid of a ladder company, forcible entry was made into that warehouse. The warehouse was a large, one-story building with slanting roof and several large skylights. Entrance to the warehouse was made through a small door forming a part of a sliding door covering the front of the warehouse.

Captain DiRomaldo, the first officer to arrive from the fire department, testified that one of his men entered

[ 182 Pa. Super. Page 199]

    the warehouse through the small door and then opened the sliding door so as to expose the entire front of the furniture warehouse. He further testified that he and his men fought "four or five unconnected fires" which were "coming from the floor up." He was unable to see these separate fires at one and the same time because of the dense smoke, but came upon each fire as he and his men advanced further into the warehouse. Under cross-examination, he reiterated that he and his men had to fight four or five "individual fires" spreading up from the floor. He was asked if these fires could have been caused by sparks from a single fire leaping from one place to another. He replied that while such was possible, he did not consider that probable because the base of all these fires was at the floor area, and if the fires had been caused by leaping sparks, they would have been burning from the top and not from the bottom.

Captain DiRomaldo also testified that he saw "from about eight to ten" sulphur candles partially consumed at some time but that during the entire performance of his duties in extinguishing the fires he could not detect the odor of any sulphur dioxide, thereby inferring that the sulphur candles were not burning during the conflagration.

The next witness, Captain Putz, testified that he came to the scene with a ladder company and went immediately to the roof of the building to ventilate the burning warehouse and in order to rid it of the smoke and fumes. He and his men broke a skylight and placed a one inch water hose down into it. He was able to see little flecks of fire around the ventilators that had come off but, because of the smoke, could not ...


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