The Bronx DA's office says an 83-year-old engineer lied about using steel in a building that caught fire and collapsed and left two firefighters dead in 2006. Jose Vargas, who pleaded not guilty, was arraigned in court yesterday.

The three-alarm fire broke out at a 99-cent store on Walton Avenue on August 27, 2006; the building's roof and first floor collapsed, killing Lieutenant Howard Carpluk Jr. and firefighter Michael Reilly. Vargas, who signed inspection papers of the store, had indicated that steel was used and even told as much to investigators after the fire.

However the FDNY inspection showed no steel - only "rotting wooden columns" and it's suggested that if Vargas properly inspected the building, he "would have discovered the rot." Vargas' lawyer said that the floor and roof collapsed due to the weight of water and that his client was answering inspectors' questions based on his plans - which had called for steel.

The NY Times explains that an "honor system" "allows professional engineers and architects to approve certain building alterations" Notably, architect Robert Scarano has been charged with violated city building standards after signing off on unsafe conditions at a sit where a construction worked was crushed to death.