Two Niagara Falls men sentenced to prison for roles in deadly July 2020 fire in Niagara Falls

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LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two Niagara Falls men have been sentenced to state prison for their roles in a July 2020 fire that claimed the life of a man.

Zachary Preisch, 19, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in September. He was sentenced on Tuesday to one and one-third to four years in prison. He was also sentenced on two unrelated weapons convictions, that will be served concurrently, for a total of five years in prison.

Damion Ellis, 19, pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter in September. He was sentenced Tuesday to one to three years in prison.

The fire, which happened on Niagara Street on July 6, 2020, took the life of 52-year-old Ward Schaal of Niagara Falls.

Both defendants were 18 years old at the time of the fire. Their applications for youthful offender status were denied.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

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