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Older brother arraigned in 5-year-old’s fire death

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Diego Guallpa, 24, was given an action in contemplation of dismissal, the Queens district attorney's office said, meaning if he stays out of trouble for the next six months, the charge will be dismissed.If Guallpa were convicted of the charge, he would face up to one year in jail, the DA's office said.The fire broke out the morning of Feb. 21. The boy, Jason Guallpa, had been left in his older brother's care while his parents worked, family members said. But Diego Guallpa stepped out - to have his taxes done, an aide to Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) said - leaving Jason alone.Firefighters said the blaze started in the kitchen of the Guallpas' apartment. Jason was found hiding in the adjacent bedroom, wedged between the television and the wall, FDNY officials said.Diego Gualpa was arrested the evening after the fire on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, police said. He was issued a desk appearance ticket and released.After the fire, Peralta announced he had set up a fund for the family at Citibank to help the Ecuadorian immigrants pay for funeral expenses and replace personal goods lost in the fire.Donors can make checks out to Elvia Guazhco, Jason's mother, at account No. 9962150115, or mail them to Peralta's office at 82-11 37th Ave., Suite 705, Jackson Heights, NY 11372.Corona has seen more than its share of child tragedies this year. Jason's death was followed a week later by the abandonment of a 6-month-old girl at a Corona firehouse. Police were still searching for the 27-year-old father, who conspired with his sister and a livery cab driver to drop the child off.Then on March 12, a fetus was brought to Corona's Our Lady of Sorrows Church, prompting a brief manhunt for the mother. Police now believe the fetus was a miscarriage.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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