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Architect pleas not guilty in firefighter death

Firefighter Funeral

Nick Ut/AP

A fire truck carrying the remains of fallen Los Angeles Firefighter Glenn Allen passes in review outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Friday, Feb 25, 2011 in Los Angeles. Allen was fatally injured last week while battling a blaze in a Hollywood Hills mansion. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Architect and German national Gerhard Becker, 48, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter in the Feb. 2011 death of firefighter Glenn Allen. Becker was arrested Saturday.

Allen was killed when the ceiling of a three-story house on fire in the Hollywood Hills fell in on him. Becker was chief architect and the main contractor for the luxury home.

Officials say that after the permit process was completed and the house had undergone inspection, Becker illegally installed several gas fireplaces that were not up to code. Authorities believe this was the direct cause of the fire which later killed Allen.

"It's tragic all the way around," said Commander Andrew Smith of the LAPD. "This was basically gonna be [Allen's] last fire. He was getting ready to retire, he had a grandson that was born two days after his death. It's just a terrible situation."

Police have been investigating possible negligence in the construction of the property for "a long time," according to Smith. Officers worked with building inspectors, arson investigators and various members from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Becker was arrested as he flew into LAX Saturday and was arraigned Wednesday afternoon. He is currently being held on $2 million bail.

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