Archive for the tag 'fires'

2007 Surf Avenue (Source: Google Maps)

Marcell Dockery, charged with setting the Coney Island fire that led to the death of police officer Dennis Guerra and the severe injury of Rosa Rodriguez, pleaded not guilty last week to several charges, including murder.

According to the Daily News, Dockery spent May 1 in court, wearing a brown prison jumpsuit with handcuffs around his wrists to enter a plea of not guilty to charges of second degree murder, assault and robbery.

The defense attorney representing the 16-year old, Jesse Young, told the media that the confession Dockery made to authorities on the day of the incident should be disregarded.

“I was bored,” Dockery supposedly said to police soon after he allegedly lit a mattress in the 2007 Surf Avenue building’s hallway on fire. “I was bored and I felt like doing it, so I lit the mattress.”

But the defense lawyer said  that he “adamantly denies any alleged statements attributed to him in an oral statement, in a written statement, in a videotaped statement made to prosecutors,” adding that “the confession was not voluntary.”

The Daily News reported from the scene of the Brooklyn court:

“Marcell Dockery disregarded the safety of those who lived in that apartment house and of those who would respond to the fire that he set,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch.

“His indifference to the well-being of others makes him a danger to society and he must be … held punished for the irreversible loss to the families of these two police officers.”

Dockery’s rap sheet includes a prior arrest for lighting a fire. He also faces robbery and larceny charges for using a razor in a March 7 mugging of a 60-year-old neighbor.

His next court date is set for May 29.

Officer Rosa Rodriguez, still recovering from injuries sustained during a Coney Island fire that killed her partner, will receive a reduced disability pension under new NYPD rules.

Photo: GREAT NEWS!! PO Rosa Rodriguez who was critically injured in the arson on April 6th opened her eyes yesterday for the first time and saw her children and gave them a thumbs up as they were talking to her. Please continue to keep Rosa and her family in your prayers as she continues to fight!!

Source: New York Police Department Hispanic Society

DNAinfo broke the story:

A pension change enacted five years ago says police officers and firefighters hired after July 2009 who become disabled in the line of duty are no longer eligible for the traditional tax-free pension calculated at three-quarters of their final year’s salary.

Instead, these newer members of New York’s Finest and Bravest will receive pensions equal to 50 percent of their final year’s salary.

And officials say that pension will be further cut by an amount equivalent to half of any Social Security disability payments they receive.

Officer Rosa Rodriguez, a 36-year-old mother of four, joined the force in July 2010 and is making $53,270 a year.

Had she been hired a year earlier, Rodriguez would have received a combined disability pay of $61,552. But because of the new rule, that will be slashed nearly in half, to $37,400.

The outlet notes that Rodriguez will likely be forced to retire due to her injuries.

Sixteen-year-old Marcell Dockery is accused of starting the April 6 fire in 2007 Surf Avenue’s high-rise building because he was bored, and he has been indicted.

Photo: GREAT NEWS!! PO Rosa Rodriguez who was critically injured in the arson on April 6th opened her eyes yesterday for the first time and saw her children and gave them a thumbs up as they were talking to her. Please continue to keep Rosa and her family in your prayers as she continues to fight!!

Source: Courtesy of the New York Police Department Hispanic Society

Rosa Rodriguez, one of two police officers who responded to a Coney Island fire on April 6, is showing signs of improvement, according to the New York Police Department Hispanic Society.

The group posted on Facebook that Rodriguez “opened her eyes [Friday] for the first time and saw her children and gave them a thumbs up as they were talking to her.”

Her partner Dennis Guerra fared worse, making citywide headlines when he succumbed to his injuries three days after the fire. Sixteen-year-old Marcell Dockery is accused of starting the fire in 2007 Surf Avenue’s high-rise building because he was bored, and he has been indicted.

According to Brooklyn News 12, Dockery is the sole suspect in the case and faces charges of second-degree murder, assault in the first degree, arson in the fourth degree and reckless endangerment charges. If convicted, Dockery faces a maximum sentence of 25 years-to-life in prison.

Rodriguez is not expected to leave the hospital any time soon since “she continues to fight” her injuries, according to the Hispanic Society.

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.

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Source: Clayton Collier/Twitter

UPDATE (11:55 a.m.): The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory until 11 p.m. tonight. Those with respiratory concerns should reduce outdoor activity.

Original story:

A brush fire in a state park in New Jersey is throwing up smoke, blowing north into New York City, filling communities in Southern Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island with an acrid smell this morning.

The New York Post reports:

“Due to a brush fire in the Wharton State Park in New Jersey, residents in Staten Island & Brooklyn may smell smoke,” tweeted the NYC Office of Emergency Management at around 1:45 a.m.

The nearly 123,000-acre park, located in Burlington County, is roughly 70 miles from the southern tip of New York City. Odors were reported from Staten Island to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

DNAinfo adds:

About 30 acres of the park ignited Sunday night and sent a plume of smoke into the sky that could be seen from miles around, according to NBC, which added that the flames haven’t injured anyone or burned any buildings.

The smoke smell remained in the area until late morning.

An AP report says no one has been injured and no structures damaged in the fire. As of 9:30 a.m., firefighters had managed to contain about 30 percent of the blaze.

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.

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