A handyman whose basement marijuana-growing operation resulted in a smoky fire that killed two city firefighters was convicted Monday of two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Daniel Brough, 37, faces three to 12 months on each count when he is sentenced Nov. 29. Jurors rejected two charges of third-degree murder, which would have each carried a prison terms of six to 20 years.
Prosecutor Ed Cameron said Brough caused the fire by placing his marijuana plants too close to a hot light inside a basement closet of his home. Defense attorney William Cannon maintained that the fire started elsewhere.
Fire Capt. John Taylor, 53, and firefighter Rey Rubio, 42, died in the blaze.
"My brother is dead, but I can't hate him," Xiomara Rubio said afterward. However, she questioned why Brough _ who lived with his mother, wife and children _ risked the safety of his own family and neighbors.
"What he did was wrong," Rubio said. "He should have never created that type of situation."
According to accounts from fire officials, Rubio became disoriented in the smoky basement of Brough's house in the Port Richmond section of the city on Aug. 20, 2004.
With his oxygen running out and his equipment blaring a warning alarm, Rubio apparently became entangled amid debris scattered about the small space. Taylor, officials said, sought to rescue Rubio and died at his side.
The jury also convicted Brough of risking a catastrophe and a misdemeanor drug-manufacturing charge, rejecting his testimony that he was growing the marijuana solely for his own use. Brough testified that he was a heavy pot smoker for some 20 years, but kept the numerous fans and other equipment in the closet in working order.
"He was convinced in his own mind that the grow closet could not have been the source of the fire," Cannon said.
The judge revoked Brough's bail after the jury, which began deliberating Thursday, returned with the verdict.