Archive for the tag 'Coney Island'

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Marcell Dockery, the 16-year-old who confessed to setting a mattress on fire in the hallway of a Coney Island public housing building last week, has been charged with an additional count of felony murder after one of the two police officers critically injured in the blaze passed away.

If convicted, Dockery faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

“The senseless act of setting that fire tragically led to the death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. His partner Officer Rosa Rodriguez suffered critical injuries. Both dedicated and courageous officers did not hesitate to risk their lives to save others. We will bring the Defendant to justice for these terrible and horrific crimes,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson in a statement Friday evening.

Guerra, 38, a married father of four, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday morning. His partner, Rodriguez, remain in critical condition but has a more optimistic prognosis.

The two were the first emergency responders to respond to the Sunday fire at 2007 Surf Avenue. They rode the elevator to the 13th floor, where the fire was believed to be. As the doors opened, they were engulfed in thick black smoke, and collapsed due to lack of oxygen.

Funeral services were held this morning for Guerra, and a wake was held over the weekend.

His death broke a three-year streak during which no police officer had been killed in the line of duty.

The NYPD is now overhauling its fire response protocol, including basic fire training that could have saved Guerra’s life. Officers are being instructed to take the stairs when possible. If they must use the elevator, they’re being told to check open shafts for smoke and to stop at least two floors below the fire.

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

The death of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra, who succumbed yesterday to injuries sustained from the Coney Island fire set by a “bored” teen, marked a tragic milestone for the entire city. At 6:50 a.m. yesterday, he became the first cop to be killed in the line of duty since December 2011.

Hundreds of friends, family and colleagues gathered outside the hospital looked on as approximately 100 officers stood at attention in silence as Guerra’s flag-draped body was wheeled out of the hospital and into an ambulance.

The memorial service and funeral are still being planned. His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, remains in critical condition, although her doctors are optimistic about her recovery.

Meanwhile, the family of 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, the teen who confessed to lighting a mattress in the hallway on fire out of boredom, came forward yesterday to apologize for Dockery’s actions.

“This has been a tragedy, not only for one family but for many families. So, right now we are just apologizing, openly apologizing and saying God be with those officers,” a family spokesperson told News 12.

The incident will also lead to a policy change at the NYPD, according to Commissioner Bill Bratton. Currently, the NYPD does not have a policy in place about officers using an elevator when responding to a fire, even though elevators can become deadly traps. When firefighters use them during a fire, they take the elevator to a nearby floor below the fire, and use the stairs the remainder of the way. The NYPD will assess the best way of responding in such incidents, and create a policy to better protect officers in the future.

Guerra (Source: NYPD)

Guerra (Source: NYPD)

The flag at Brooklyn Borough Hall has been lowered in memory of Dennis Guerra, the police officer who this morning passed away from injuries sustained when he responded to a call of a fire in Coney Island.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued the following statement:

Brooklyn mourns the tragic passing of NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra. This is a tragedy for his family and loved ones, the dedicated men and women of New York’s Finest and Brooklynites from all corners of the borough. This eight-year veteran of the Department, a son of a police officer himself, died in the line of duty, risking his life to save others in the midst of a fire in Coney Island. My heart goes out to his wife Cathy and their four children: Kathleen, Jonathan, Alyssa, and Zachary. As a veteran of the NYPD, I know too well the danger that the job can present every single day, and I know that Officer Guerra demonstrated professionalism and great courage responding to the crisis as he did and following in the career path of his father, who was also an NYPD officer. Today, the flags at Borough Hall will stand at half-staff in honor of his life and the sacrifice that he made

Officer Dennis Guerra, one of the two officers critically injured after rushing into a burning Coney Island apartment building to help residents, died from his injuries early this morning.

Guerra, 38, a married father or four, was first declared brain dead and on life support yesterday. This morning, at 6:50 a.m., he further slipped away and was pronounced dead at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, according to the New York Post.

“We lost a good man this morning. Officer Guerra was exemplary – he went to try to help people in need. Our hearts go out to the Guerra family – we will stand by them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I have gotten to know his family in the past few days, a wonderful family,” the mayor said. “On behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, our hearts go out to them.”

Guerra was an eight-year veteran of the force.

His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, remains in critical condition, and a family member told the Daily News that “She’s doing much better,” and that doctors believe she may make a full recovery.

The two were injured after they rushed into a New York City Housing Authority building at 2007 Surf Avenue in response to a fire on Monday. They arrived mere minutes after the call and took the elevator up to the 13th floor.

When the doors opened, thick black smoke blasted into the elevator. Rodriguez and Guerra called for backup, and were heard over the police scanners gasping for breath before becoming unresponsive to the dispatcher’s calls.

Dockery (Source: Facebook)

Dockery (Source: Facebook)

Police arrested 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, a tenant in the building who reportedly confessed to lighting a mattress on fire in the hallway because he was “bored.” The fire spread more quickly than he anticipated, and he fled to his apartment on another floor.

Dockery has been charged with two counts of assault, one count of arson, and one count of reckless endangerment.

The district attorney may tack on felony murder charges for the death of Guerra.

His mother also faces eviction from the building because of his actions.

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Police arrested 16-year-old Marcell Dockery yesterday, charging him with setting the fire on the 13th floor of the Coney Island apartment building at 2007 Surf Avenue that left two cops fighting for their lives.

Dockery (Source: Facebook)

Dockery (Source: Facebook)

Dockery was also charged separately yesterday in connection to the armed robbery of a 60-year-old neighbor.

The Daily News reports:

Dockery, 16, was hit with two counts of assault, one count of arson and one count of reckless endangerment, officials said.

And if either officer dies, he could face felony murder.

“He said he was bored,” a police source said. “He’s a firebug.”

Dockery, whose rap sheet includes a previous arrest for lighting a fire, started the inferno Sunday by torching a mattress in the 13th floor hallway of the NYCHA building where he lives, police said.

When the flames became too fierce, Dockery tried to stomp them out and then ran to his cousin’s pad on the same floor for help, according to cops.

They returned to the burning mattress, but the fire was burning out of control so they ran downstairs to Dockery’s 12th floor apartment and called 911 for help, the sources said.

Dockery confessed to the crime after the arrest.

Later in the day, cops tacked on robbery and grand larceny charges after a 60-year-old neighbor told police she recognized Dockery as the teen who threatened her with a razor blade and stole $10 on March 7.

The New York City Housing Authority plans to terminate Dockery’s mother’s lease as a result of her son’s actions, although she could be given a reprieve if she signs a document barring Dockery from the property for life.

The two officers critically injured in the blaze, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, and Dennis Guerra, 38, continue to fight for their lives in the hospital.

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Two of New York’s Finest are in critical condition after a fire ripped through the 13th floor of 2007 Surf Avenue in Coney Island. The fire appears to have been set on purpose, when someone ignited a mattress.

NYPD Housing cops Rosa Rodriguez, 36, and Dennis Guerra, 38, were the first on the scene 12:30 p.m., and took the elevator to the 13th floor.

When the elevator doors opened, they were engulfed thick, black smoke. They took a few steps out before falling to the ground and suffering smoke inhalation.

A recording of the police radio broadcasts posted to YouTube captures the terrifying moments after Rodriguez and Guerra took on the smoke.

“85! 85!” Guerra breathlessly shouts into the radio after the elevator doors open, indicating a call for assistance. Rodriguez is also heard giving the location through gasps. Other officers began scrambling to the location from across the command.

“Can’t breathe! Can’t breathe!” shouted Guerra. Moments later he shouted his location – “13!”

It was the last communique from either Guerra or Rodriguez. The dispatcher’s calls to “housing portable” – the designation for Rodriguez and Guerra – were met with long moments of silence.

Another housing officer who had been watching on the building’s surveillance cameras directed other police and the FDNY to their location.

“They were heading upstairs and as soon as the elevator doors opened the smoke went in there. So they should be in there. They never had the time to come out,” the officer told her colleagues over the radio. Her view of them was cut off as soon as the smoke rolled into the elevator’s cab.

Firefighters first checked the elevators, but found them empty. The victims had made it a few steps out before collapsing.

As firefighters headed to the floor to rescue them, police coordinated an escort for the EMS to hospitals. The road to the Belt Parkway was shut down, as was the highway itself.

Guerra was taken first to Coney Island Hospital. A helicopter landed on Lincoln High School’s field nearby, which was used to airlift Guerra to Jacobi Medical Center.

Both cops remain in critical condition. The Daily News reports:

A hyperbaric chamber was being used to treat Rodriguez, a mother of four, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell. Her esophagus was burned, sources said.

Doctors at Jacobi were treating Guerra, a father of four, officials said.

The New York Times reports:

The police said that a mattress, found burned in the hallway, appeared to have played a role in the blaze, which drew more than 70 firefighters.

… The fire was brought under control by 1:30 p.m., the Fire Department said. Three firefighters and nine residents were treated at the scene; one resident was hospitalized at Coney Island Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The building was not evacuated.

The New York Post is reporting that someone had intentionally lit a mattress on fire in the hallway.

A resident who saw the blaze through her apartment peephole said someone had lit a mattress in the hallway, sparking the blaze.

“Housing usually comes in the morning and takes trash down. Today, someone pulled out a mattress from a back stairwell and didn’t bring it down,’’ said 13th-floor resident Yolanda Vargas.

“By the time I looked through my peephole, all I could see was flames,” Vargas said.

“I went to the back window, opened the window and waited for the firefighters to tell us what to do,” she said.

A woman and a young man who appeared to be around 15 were taken from the scene by officers for questioning, sources said.

The Daily News reports that a suspect was in custody as of late Sunday night.

The Trump (Source: Google Maps)

Luna Park Houses (Source: Google Maps)

A 93-year-old survivor of the Holocaust died Monday morning after a fire ripped through his 15th floor apartment.

Lipa Briks, who fled Poland in the 1930s, was pulled unconscious from his burning apartment at the Luna Park complex at 2954 West 8th Street shortly after 1:15 a.m.

He was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

He lived alone inside the apartment.

Fire marshals said yesterday that the blaze was caused by faulty electrical wiring.

“He escaped the Nazis, he escaped the Soviet army, he escaped an anti-Semitic Polish regime, but he couldn’t escape the fire,” Briks’ friend and neighbor Michael Bar told the Daily News. “He was the only one in his very large family to survive the Holocaust.”

Clarification: The original version of this article said the victim was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he died. To clarify, he was dead on arrival and was pronounced so at the hospital. The article has been amended to reflect this.

NYCHA Making Public Housing Residents Without Heat, Hot Water, or Electricity Pay Rent in Full

Coney Island public houses have broken down on the winter’s coldest days (Source: forum.skyscraperpage.com)

After struggling through mid-winter breakdowns of heating equipment, residents of the 110 New York City Housing Authority buildings damaged in Superstorm Sandy are set to get some relief within the next six months as FEMA has agreed to cover the cost of new permanent boilers.

Issues with the boilers came to light after the February hearing of the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, where local pols took NYCHA and FEMA officials to task for leaving residents in the cold. Temporary boilers, which the city has paid approximately $3 million per month to rent, proved to be shoddy replacements that failed to withstand New York winters, and many broke down in the coldest days of winter.

NYCHA told the committee that repairs were not slated until 2016, by which time they’ll have cost taxpayers at least $120 million to rent.

“For more than 16 months, bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied NYCHA residents the most basic of necessities — reliable heat and hot water,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, as he stood beside Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference announcing the deal.

Federal and city authorities announced on Sunday that all of the affected housing buildings, which serve 8,862 apartments, will get new boilers with the process kicking off within six months.

Under the deal, FEMA is sending the cash-strapped agency more than $100 million to cover the estimated costs to replace 60 boilers. The federal agency has agreed to also cover the $56 million the public housing authority has so far spent renting the temporary equipment. It is not yet clear if that is a separate allotment, or is being taken from the $100 million price tag.

The news was warmly received by Councilman Mark Treyger, who chairs the Recovery and Resiliency Comittee and represents many of the affected buildings in Coney Island.

“This announcement is a great step towards returning a sense of normalcy to the lives of people impacted by the devastation of Superstorm Sandy,” said Treyger. “Residents in these buildings have gone far too long without dependable and safe living conditions. No one should have to live through the winter not knowing if they will have heat and hot water from one day to the next. Continuing to invest in our critical infrastructure, like replacing damaged boilers in NYCHA developments, is the only way for our city to fully recover. I applaud Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their efforts in securing this funding and am committed to continuing the fight on behalf of all Sandy impacted communities.”

There may be more funding on the way.  Schumer is pushing for $175 million in federal funding to raise boilers, backup generators and change the way several NYCHA complexes receive their heat and electricity. Schumer said yesterday that he expects NYCHA to receive some type of mitigation funding to raise boilers out of the flood zone.

seagate5

Need a beach home for your family? And your brother’s family? A couple of cousins, maybe a neighbor and an old college buddy? And still have a room to spare for the help?

Fortunately, there’s a home in Seagate on the market that’s got you covered. A 7,989-square-foot two-story mansion hit the market last week, sporting 11 bedrooms, 11 full bathrooms and a “south facing beach exposure [that] provides unparalleled experience from sunrise to sunset where every moment is different and unique.” Uhuh. And here I thought once you’ve seen one sunrise, you’ve seen ‘em all.

seagate4

Anyway, the property is at 4050 Atlantic Avenue – the ocean facing street that saw several homes obliterated during Superstorm Sandy. But according to the broker, the “outdoor living season is long and mild.” Nevermind the superstorms. We can’t imagine why the current owners are heading for the hills.

Some of the neater amenities include three wood-burning fireplaces, an ocean-facing deck, a penthouse master suite, and a “library/music room with Philippines Mohagany wood paneling.” Also: rooftop gardens.

seagate3

There’s no mention of Superstorm Sandy or flood damage at all – and, really, who would put that in a real estate post. In fact, they even omit the tell-tale “newly renovated” boast that pervades every Zone A listing we’ve seen. Oh, but wait, there is a hint: “This property is equipped with massive new mechanicals: Two Weil McLain furnaces, one with hot water circulating system and one with steam, two huge Smith boilers and a new electric system.”

seagate2

Still, pretty property and a relatively low asking price. Would you buy a home this close to the water in the post-Sandy age?

seagate1

[via Curbed]

Atlas on NY1

Atlas on NY1

At this point, just about every resident of Southern Brooklyn’s boardwalk communities knows Gary Atlas – if not by name, then by sight.

He’s the guy you see out there every morning, regardless of the weather, running shirtless and in thin shorts before taking a plunge in the ocean.

He’s done this every day for 2,369 consecutive days – or six years and counting.

NY1 caught up with him earlier this month, spotlighting his continuous effort to hit 4,000 consecutive runs even throughout this particularly nasty winter.

As workers with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation spreaded salt on the latest dusting of snow Monday, Gary Atlas emerged from his building shirtless and ready to run. About his only acknowledgment of the cold was the socks that he wears on his hands.

“The fingers tend to freeze up, so socks work better than gloves,” he said. “Gloves, after a while, my fingers will get cold. Socks has a mitten effect. The hands stay warmer.”

The cold itself hasn’t been bothering Atlas, it’s the snow, which makes the six-mile treck a particularly difficult slog. But he handled the worst of the days by detouring to the streets and running in the plow’s wake – the second time in seven years he’s had to leave the boardwalk.

Atlas began the routine in 2007 to clear his mind while his mother struggled with health issues. He continues to do it to honor his mother.

“While I’m running, it keeps the memory of my mother alive,” he says. “She was here when I started, and she’s still with me on every run.”

Check out the full profile here.

And, of course, we’ve had our own little Atlas sighting on Sheepshead Bites. On the morning of October 29, 2012, as Superstorm Sandy lapped at our coastline, a reader snapped this shot of him emerging from the rough waters:

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