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Thread: FDNY LODD Three Firefighters Dead, Four Critical in Bronx, Brooklyn Blazes

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    FDNY LODD Three Firefighters Dead, Four Critical in Bronx, Brooklyn Blazes

    Updated: 01-23-2005 07:38:23 PM

    Three Firefighters Dead, Four Critical in Bronx, Brooklyn Blazes


    NEW YORK -- Three veteran firefighters died in blazes in Brooklyn and the Bronx on Sunday, a day their union bosses called one of the saddest in fire department history.

    Two firefighters were killed and four others were badly hurt when they were forced to jump from a fourth-floor window of a burning building in the Bronx. Later, a third firefighter died after tackling a basement blaze in Brooklyn.

    Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, of Battalion 26, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27, died after battling the Bronx blaze on East 178th Street in the Morris Heights section, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference at St. Barnabas Hospital. Three firefighters were in critical condition at St. Barnabas, and a fourth was in serious condition at Jacobi Medical Center.

    The Brooklyn firefighter, Richard Sclafani, 37, died at a hospital after being injured at a two-alarm fire in the East New York section, the mayor said.

    The six Bronx firefighters became trapped in the building while searching for people on the fourth floor, Bloomberg said.

    ``When the fire from the third floor broke through to the fourth, they were faced with a horrifying choice,'' he said. ``They jumped out a fourth-floor window, knowing that they would be critically injured.''

    Meyran, a father of three and 15-year veteran of the fire department who was decorated twice for bravery, died shortly after 9 a.m., the mayor's office said. Bellew, who had been a firefighter for a decade and was a father of four, died at about 1 p.m.

    Bloomberg, who met with relatives before speaking to reporters, said, ``No words can comfort the families who have lost these courageous fathers and husbands. But I can tell them we will never forget these brave men.''

    Meyran's widow, Jeanette Meyran, reached by telephone, said, ``My husband was one who would put other people's safety before his own.''

    She said her husband loved his job and his children, ages 16, 10 and 6.

    ``We're going to be lost without him for quite some time,'' she said.

    His older brother, Glenn Meyran, said the family, of Malverne, on Long Island, was stunned.

    ``But you know when you take this job there's a risk with it,'' the brother said, ``and he knew that, too.''

    Witnesses said it looked as though the Bronx firefighters were blown from the building.

    Vanessa Whitehurst, 47, was asleep in her apartment next to the building when she was awakened by a strong smell of smoke. She got up to investigate and pulled back her window blinds to see firefighters falling from the burning apartment.

    ``The fire pushed them out the window,'' Whitehurst said. ``It was really devastating. The fire was at such a high flame, then other firefighters were coming down the fire escape like they were trying to get away.''

    Mary Taylor, who lives nearby, said she heard the sirens and commotion and looked out her window to see what was going on.

    ``It looked really bad,'' she said. ``They fell out the building. The flames seemed to force them out.''

    The critically injured firefighters at St. Barnabas were Jeffery Cool, of Rescue 3, and Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley, both of Ladder 27. Cawley's brother, Michael Cawley, a firefighter with Ladder 136 in Queens, died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

    ``When I was a kid, he used to tell me that I had to be a firefighter,'' Brendan Cawley told Newsday after the terrorist attack. ``When I asked him why, he told me it was because being a firefighter was the greatest job in the world.''

    On Sunday, Bloomberg said, ``The Cawleys have given a lot for this great city, and we pray that God doesn't take another member of this wonderful family.''

    Joseph DiBernardo, of Rescue 3, was at Jacobi hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries, the mayor said.

    The Bronx blaze, which started just before 8 a.m. in a third-floor apartment, was brought under control by about 10:10 a.m. The cause was under investigation.

    In Brooklyn, doctors declared Sclafani, of Ladder 103, dead at 2:30 p.m. The 10-year fire department veteran from Bayside, Queens, is survived by his mother and sister, Bloomberg said.

    ``Richard made the ultimate sacrifice,'' the mayor said at a Brooklyn news conference. ``This guy was somebody that everybody loved and respected.''

    The firefighters' union called Sunday one of its darkest days.

    ``Today is an immensely sad day in the history of the department,'' Uniformed Firefighters Association president Steve Cassidy said in a statement. ``Sadly, these dual tragedies serve as a reminder to New York of the extreme dangers firefighters face. We ask the public to pray for the families and recovery of our injured firefighters.''

    The three deaths were the most recent tragedy for the fire department, which lost 343 members in the trade center attack.

    Since then, 41-year-old James J. O'Shea died of a heart attack after battling a blaze in Queens on Sept. 27, 2003, and 30-year-old Thomas Brick was killed while battling a fire at a Manhattan warehouse on Dec. 16, 2003. On Nov. 29, 2004, Firefighter Christian Engeldrum died in Iraq while on active duty for the Army.

    Three firefighters were killed Father's Day 2001 when a five-alarm fire set off an explosion in the basement of a Queens hardware store.

    Harry Ford, 50, and John Downing, 40, were outside the building opening windows to ventilate it when the explosion occurred and were crushed to death when the roof and facade tumbled onto them. Brian Fahey, 46, died after being trapped in the store for hours. All three were married with children.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=38568

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    LODD Lt. Curtis Meyran Battalion 26

    Lt. Curtis Meyran FDNY
    Photo Below
    New York City Fire Department

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    LODD FDNY Firefighter John Bellew Ladder 27

    Firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27
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    New York City Fire Department

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    INFERNOS KILL 3 FIREFIGHTERS

    By MURRAY WEISS, LARRY CELONA and ANDY GELLER

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    January 24, 2005 -- Three hero firefighters perished in blazes in The Bronx and Brooklyn yesterday

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    TRAGIC BOND OF BROTHERS

    By BRIDGET HARRISON, DAN KADISON and HEATHER GILMORE

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    January 24, 2005 -- One of the Bravest fighting for his life after yesterday's Bronx blaze is a 31-year-old hero who joined the FDNY after his brother died on 9/11.

    "When I was a kid, he used to tell me that I had to be a firefighter," Brendan Cawley had said of his brother, Michael, after the terror attacks. "When I asked him why, he told me it was because being a firefighter was the greatest job in the world."

    Cawley was in serious condition after leaping from a burning building on East 178th Street where he and five comrades were searching for trapped occupants.

    "Brendan is brand new, but he has a tremendous attitude," said his battalion chief, John Sullivan.

    The three heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in The Bronx blaze and another in Brooklyn were:

    * Lt. Curtis Meyran, a 15-year veteran, who died after jumping from the fourth floor window at East 178th Street.

    Twice decorated for bravery

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    Life without dad is kids' biggest test

    Life without dad is kids' biggest test

    After their mother told them their father had been killed, the two little girls came out of the bedroom in tears.

    The older of Fire Lt. Curtis Meyran's daughters turned to a family friend named Jimmy Boyle who was standing in the living room.

    "What happened?" 10-year-old Angela now asked.

    Boyle had been up at St. Barnabas Hospital with the girls' mother. He is the former president of the firefighters union. He lost his son at the World Trade Center. He now tried to explain to Angela and her 6-year-old sister, Danine, how their father and another firefighter had perished at a fire in the Bronx.

    "Your father went off a building, but he saved everybody," Boyle said by his recollection. "Everybody got saved. He's a hero's hero."

    "Wow," Angela said. "That's nice."

    She was at her grandparents' house, the sun outside glinting off the snow. She had planned to go out when her daddy got home.

    "He was supposed to take me sleigh riding," Angela told Boyle.

    The little girl stood there with the enormity of life without her father. She began speaking of school, saying that she had a big test coming up.

    "I don't think I'll do that well because I love my daddy so much," Angela said. "I can't believe he's gone."

    "Your father's here with us now," Boyle would remember telling her. "You've got to believe he's sitting right on your shoulder and he's with my son also."

    Boyle said that he was sure she would do fine on the test, but she might take it a little later.

    "I think you're going to be helping Mommy," Boyle said.

    Angela told Boyle her father was her best friend, the one who watched the Yankees with her. She hugged Boyle and said her sister keeps a holy card from his son Michael's wake on her shelf.

    "Say a prayer tonight for Daddy," Boyle said. "Your daddy's with my son now. He's with the boys."

    Boyle looked at Danine, who had a heart defect as an infant and had been so tiny. She underwent five hours of open-heart surgery and here she was six years later, a healthy miracle of life, uncomprehending in the shadow of her father's death.

    "Mr. Boyle, I'm 40 pounds!" Danine announced.

    Angela said that Danine had not grasped that their daddy was never coming home.

    "My sister, she doesn't really understand yet," Angela said. "She's crying because I'm crying and Mommy's crying."

    Boyle took a moment to speak to the fallen firefighter's 16-year-old son, Dennis.

    "Your dad's gone," Boyle would recall saying. "He's a hero. At this point, we need you. You've got to step up. Make us all proud. You've got two little sisters."

    Dennis embraced Boyle. The boy would have to be as strong and brave as his father.

    "I will," Dennis said.

    The time came for the mother, Jeanette, to take the children through the snowy streets to the home that suddenly had no father. Jeanette had told Boyle earlier that she was sure this was all some horrible dream.

    "This isn't true, is it?" she had asked.

    She now went off with the kids into what was as real as the world's monumental unfairness. Her husband had time after time gone into fires to save others, once pulling two little girls from a blazing basement. Now he would never see his own children grow up and start families of their own. The firefighter who died with him, John Bellew, had four kids - 5 months to 6 years.

    Boyle was catching a ride home with Fire Chaplain John Delendick when the priest's phone rang. Another firefighter had been fatally injured, this one in Brooklyn.

    Delendick dropped Boyle off and raced to Brookdale University Hospital. Boyle remained at home. He recounted a moment at the hospital, after he had gone in with Jeanette Meyran to see her husband's body.

    "I just held her and I told her I loved her and I told her how much Curt loved her," Boyle said.

    Boyle then spoke again of 10-year-old Angela.

    "Such a little lady," Boyle said. "And so devastated."

    Originally published on January 24, 2005


    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-234883c.html

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    It was jump or die in the flames

    It was jump or die in the flames

    Their horrifying choice as 3 Bravest killed in worst day since 9/11

    This story was reported by: LISA L. COLANGELO, LORETTA CHAO, MICHAEL DALY, NANCY DILLON, BILL EGBERT, TAMER EL-GHOBASHY, ALISON GENDAR, MELISSA GRACE, PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY, DEREK ROSE, TONY SCLAFANI and LAURA WILLIAMS
    It was written by: DAVE GOLDINER

    Three hero firefighters were killed yesterday - two in a Bronx fireball and one in a smoky Brooklyn blaze - turning a snowy Sunday into the deadliest day for New York's Bravest since 9/11.

    Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, a twice-decorated FDNY veteran, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, died when they and four colleagues were forced by a huge burst of flames to leap 50 feet out the windows of a burning Tremont building.

    "They were faced with the horrifying choice of jumping from the fourth floor or being burnt to death," Mayor Bloomberg said of the duo, who leave behind a combined seven children. "They jumped, knowing they would be critically injured."

    Hours later, the FDNY's flood of tears deepened when Firefighter Richard Sclafani, 37, was killed by smoke and flames as he searched for children at a birthday party in a burning East New York building.

    "Every firefighter and everybody in the city should be shedding a tear for three brave men," Bloomberg said. "They made the ultimate sacrifice so we could live safely."

    It was the worst loss of life for the FDNY since Sept. 11, 2001, and the first time in memory that firefighters died in two separate blazes on the same day.

    Apart from the 343 FDNY members killed at the World Trade Center, yesterday was the deadliest day for the department since the Father's Day inferno killed three Bravest in Queens on June 17, 2001.

    Four other firefighters were seriously hurt in the Bronx fire, including Brendan Cawley, whose firefighter brother died on 9/11, and Jeffrey Cool, whose bravery made him a Daily News Hero of the Month in August.

    Last night, Cool underwent surgery and was in critical condition; Cawley was taken off a respirator and was in serious condition, and Eugene Stolowski was in critical but stable condition. Those three firefighters were at St. Barnabas Hospital, while Joseph DiBernardo was in serious condition at Jacobi Medical Center.

    Fire officials blamed the Bronx blaze on a faulty electrical cord and said a shortage of water hampered efforts to douse the blaze.

    The tragedy unfolded about 8 a.m. when sparks from the cord attached to a space heater ignited a bedspread in a third-floor flat of an E.178th St. building.

    Terrified residents fled into the blowing snow and 10-degree cold, shouting to their neighbors to run for their lives.

    Fearing people were trapped inside, firefighters raced up into the top floor of the burning building. But they wound up trapped themselves as the raging flames blew up like a blowtorch below them. Rescuers on the roof tried to lower oxygen masks to the six men, but it was too late, sources said.

    "Every time the wind blew, the flames would shoot out like 12 feet high," said Ray Cruz, 34, a neighbor.

    The six Bravest faced a wrenching decision: jump to a concrete courtyard or face near-certain death from the flames.

    "They had no choice," said Francisco Rodriguez, 22, a superintendent of a neighboring building. "They did all they could. They're very brave."

    Luis Mateo watched in horror as the firefighters plunged from the burning building, some hitting the ground and others slamming into a staircase. "One hit the stairs; he hit hard," said Mateo, 70. "I said, 'Every bone in his body must be broken.'"

    Another firefighter tried to shimmy down a rope, but couldn't hold on.

    Meyran, a 16-year FDNY veteran and father of three, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital. Bellew, a father of four who joined the department a decade ago, died hours later at St. Barnabas.

    Fire officials said the effort to rescue the trapped men and douse the blaze was hampered by a dip in water pressure. Investigators said the water shortage was not weather-related and was not linked to a frozen hydrant on the block, but they were probing what went wrong.

    Cops were questioning residents of the apartment where the blaze started - a flat neighbors said was divided into rooms for rent.

    Anguish gripped the FDNY, but the agony had only begun.

    In Brooklyn, firefighters raced to a house on Jerome St. after residents preparing for a child's birthday party smelled smoke downstairs and called 911 about 1:30 p.m.

    Flames were pouring out of the two-story building and neighbors were shouting that children were trapped inside when 10-year FDNY veteran Sclafani arrived on the first truck at the scene.

    "People were saying they think someone was in the basement," said neighbor Sherman Greene, 26.

    Sclafani dived into the choking smoke and flames of the basement stairs, not knowing the kids and their parents had already gotten out safely.

    He somehow got separated from fellow firefighters. By the time his comrades found him on the stairs, he was unconscious and badly burned.

    Sclafani was pronounced dead a short time later at Brookdale University Hospital, where hundreds of firefighters gathered in grief. The cause of the fire was under investigation, but heavy, sooty smokes had fire marshals looking into whether a faulty oil burner triggered the blaze.

    "This is just another really terrible example of what firefighters do every day," said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.

    "Today is an immensely sad day in the history of the department," said firefighters union chief Steve Cassidy.

    Originally published on January 24, 2005

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-234880c.html

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    Dedicated to the job

    Bravest who perished lived for the chance to save others

    BY DEREK ROSE, LAURA WILLIAMS and DAVE GOLDINER
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

    One was a decorated firefighter who once pulled an unconscious kid out of a burning Brooklyn building; another was a one-time businessman who joined the FDNY because he loved to help people.

    A third was a firefighter's firefighter who prided himself on being the first through the door of every blaze he battled.

    Here's a look at the three Bravest who made the ultimate sacrifice yesterday:

    Life above all else

    When it came to rescuing people, Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, was "a cut above."

    He loved his wife and three children, and loved his job - especially saving those in need.

    "Curt was the best, as brave as he could be," said Anthony Portigiano, 50, his brother-in-law. "He was a cut above. He put life above anything and he would do anything to save another person."

    Long before his death, Meyran proved his mettle as a hero. He was honored twice for bravery, including a citation for pulling a barely alive toddler out of her burning Brooklyn home. "It's beyond description what [he] did," the grateful mother of the girl said at the time.

    Born in the Bronx, Meyran moved to Long Island as a child and settled across the street from the house where he was raised. He joined the FDNY in 1989 after a stint working in a lumberyard and rose to the rank of lieutenant, assigned to Battalion 26 in the Bronx.

    He lived for his wife, Jeanette, and three children, whom he often took to amusement parks. Meyran coached his son's baseball team, worked out with weights in his garage and spent hours fixing his car.

    "He was a family man," said Glenn Meyran, 56, the the lieutenant's brother, who lives across the street. "I know people say that when someone dies. But he really was."

    Loved helping people

    Some people say they were born to be firefighters. It took Firefighter John Bellew a little longer to find his calling.

    Bellew, 37, a dedicated father and husband, joined the FDNY after deciding he didn't fit in the corporate world.

    "It was something he fell in love with," said his brother Danny Bellew, 50. "He loved the camaraderie, the brotherhood, the physicality of the work. He loved helping people."

    John Bellew, of Ladder Co. 27, was the youngest of five kids in a Howard Beach, Queens, family. He went to Archbishop Molloy High School and Manhattan College. He tried business, but a decade ago decided to join several cousins who work as firefighters. About the same time, he met his future wife, Eileen, at a party in Brielle, N.J., and a year later they were married.

    When Eileen Bellew, a middle school science teacher, gave birth to their first daughter, they named her Brielle in honor of their meeting place. One more girl, Katreana, and two boys, Jack and Kieren, followed. The family lived in Pearl River, Rockland County, in a neighborhood thick with families of police and firefighters who know firsthand the pain of sacrifice.

    "He loved every one of them," Danny Bellew said of his brother's children. "He'll miss them as much as they'll miss him."

    Believed in brotherhood

    When his mom would ask Richard Sclafani why he always rushed to get inside a burning building, he explained he had an unshakeable bond with his fellow firefighters.

    "Ma, I have to go," he would reply, mom Joan Sclafani recalled. "It's a brotherhood."

    A single guy, the Brooklyn firefighter believed he should be the first one to spring into the smoke and flames - ahead of his comrades with wives and children.

    It was no different yesterday - even after he heard about the two Bravest who had died in the Bronx earlier.

    "He was very concerned," said Firefighter Eric Dellaquila. "And then an hour later, he was gone. It's just been a crazy day. It starts to feel like 9/11."

    Sclafani, 37, grew up in Queens, joined the FDNY a decade ago, and made the job his life. He transferred to Ladder 103 because it was busier than other firehouses he served in.

    "My brother liked putting out fires," said Joann Asch, 33, of Staten Island. "He always went in first. He always sacrificed himself."

    Sclafani loved to work out, tinker with his motorbike and eat health food. Even though he had no kids of his own, he doted on his two nephews, but never got to see his sister's 3-week-old daughter.

    He just got a black-and-white Boston terrier named Mugsy, which he left behind at the firehouse.

    "I never thought he would die in a fire," Asch said. "Never, ever, ever, ever. It must've been some fire."

    With Tamer El-Ghobashy and Melissa Grace


    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...p-234879c.html

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    The city mourns fallen fire heroes

    Editorials

    While most of us were snug in our beds yesterday morning, New York's Bravest were out in the whirling snow and bitter cold, risking their lives to protect others. Three of those lives were lost. Four other firefighters were severely injured.

    Lt. Curtis Meyran of Battalion 26, Firefighter John Bellew of Ladder Co. 27 and four other firefighters were on the top floor of a four-story apartment building on E. 178th St. in the Bronx, searching for residents who might be trapped by a blaze on the floor below. When flames exploded from beneath them, their only prayer of escape was a 50-foot plunge out the window.

    Meyran, 46, a 15-year veteran, and Bellew, 37, a 10-year veteran, jumped. So did did Firefighters Joseph DiBernardo and Jeffery Cool of Rescue 3 and Firefighters Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley of Ladder 27. Meyran and Bellew suffered fatal injuries. Cool, Stolowski and Cawley - whose brother Michael was one of the 343 FDNY members killed at the World Trade Center - were in critical condition last night. DiBernardo was reported in serious condition.

    Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Firefighter Richard Sclafani, 37, was fatally injured while searching a burning home on Jerome St. for children feared trapped in the basement.

    Meyran, Bellew, Sclafani, DiBernardo, Cool, Stolowski and Cawley placed themselves in jeopardy to ensure that no New Yorker was in danger. There is no clearer definition of the heroism displayed routinely by the FDNY. It was only last June that Cool carried a man to safety by rappelling from the roof of a burning building.

    It is something one never gets used to: the wail of the bagpipes, "Amazing Grace" echoing through the streets, the muffled drums, the coffins on the fire engines, the black-and-purple bunting on the firehouses, the grieving widows, the children left fatherless - seven more as of yesterday - the weeping parents and sisters and brothers. But amid all the prayers and the solemn ceremony, there is something else sure and certain.

    Those who answer the call and wear the uniform of the FDNY are a breed apart. So are their families. We need no more reminders of that, but the reminders are inevitable. Death in the line of duty is inevitable. Could you accept a job where death was a fact of life? Would you willingly give your life for strangers?

    Yesterday, three more of our Bravest did just that.

    May they rest in peace and the glory of Lord.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/idea...p-234790c.html

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    LODD FDNY Firefighter Richard T. Sclafani Ladder 103

    FDNY Firefighter Richard T. Sclafani Ladder 103
    photo below FDNY

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    I HAVE NOT SEEN RICHIE FOR ABOUT 17 YEARS AND WHEN I DID IT WAS LIKE SEEING A MODEL. HE HAD BEAUTIFUL GREEN EYES AND A NICE BUILD HE WAS ALWAYS TO HIMSELF FROM WHAT I HAD SEEN. HE SEEMED VERY SWEET AND VERY MUCH THE LONER, HE LIVED WITH HIS DAD AT THE TIME I KNEW HIM. I DO HAVE TO SAY THAT HE WAS SOMEONE THAT BRIGHTENED UP MY DAY. MY HEART GOES OUT TO HIS FAMILY WHAT A HORRIBLE TRAGEDY THIS IS. GOD BLESS YOU IN HEAVEN RICHIE WITH THE ANGELS, MAY YOU HAVE ETERNAL SUNSHINE. I PRAY FOR GOD TO WATCH OVER THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS YOU LEFT BEHIND, UNTIL WE CAN ALL MEET AGAIN.

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    Viewing & Funeral Arrangements for FDNY Bravest Lost January 23

    Updated: 01-24-2005 08:47:43 PM

    Viewing & Funeral Arrangements for FDNY Bravest Lost January 23


    FIRE DEPARTMENT OF NEW YORK
    Official Press Release

    Wake and Funeral Services for Lieutenant Curtis W. Meyran


    WAKE:
    Krauss Funeral Home
    1097 Hempstead Turnpike
    Franklin Square, NY

    Thursday, January 27, 2005
    Friday, January 28, 2005
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    7:00 PM - 10:00 PM


    FUNERAL:
    Our Lady of Lourdes
    65 Wright Avenue
    Malverne, NY

    Saturday, January 29, 2005 at 10:00 AM **
    ** This Time May Change To 11:00 AM

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Wake and Funeral Services for Firefighter John G. Bellew

    WAKE:
    Joseph W. Sorce Funeral Home
    728 West Nyack Road
    West Nyack, NY

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005
    Wednesday, January 26, 2005
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


    FUNERAL:
    St Margaret

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    HE PROMISED ME I'D NEVER BE A FIRE WIDOW

    By JEANE MacINTOSH, LORENA MONGELLI, DAN KADISON and BRIDGET HARRISON

    January 25, 2005 -- Eileen Bellew never wanted to be a firefighter's widow, splashed on the front page of a newspaper with people feeling sorry for her.

    After her husband left his job on Wall Street 10 years ago to join the FDNY, she made him swear he'd never get hurt.

    "I made him promise me there would never be a picture of me on the front page . . . And he promised me that would never happen," she said.

    Instead, the 35-year-old teacher found herself at the bedside of her dying hero husband on Sunday, clasping pictures of their four young children, begging him to make it through.

    Veteran firefighter John Bellew, 37, had sustained fatal injuries after he leaped with five comrades from a burning building in The Bronx shortly after 8:30 a.m.

    "When Eileen spoke to him, I noticed the monitor jump. He recognized her voice when she spoke about the kids," said Ladder 27's Lt. John Sullivan, also at Bellew's bedside in St. Barnabas Hospital.

    "John was a fighter and he fought to the bitter end."

    Now back at her home in suburban Pearl River, the new widow must explain to her children, Brielle, 6, Jack, 3, Katreana, 2, and Kieran, 5 months, that Daddy isn't coming home.

    "They realize it," she said yesterday, but they still can't quite comprehend the meaning.

    Jack asked if there was a phone in heaven and if his dad could ski on the clouds. Katreana said "Daddy's playing with God."

    The kids worshiped their father, especially Jack, who wants to be a firefighter, too.

    "I just feel guilty that I am going to be able to see them growing up and he is not going to be able to see any of it," said Eileen, fighting back tears. "I want them to remember him."

    Eileen and Bellew met in the summer of 1993, at a party at the Brielle Yacht Club on the Jersey Shore. Both had gone home that night remembering the other's beautiful eyes.

    They married two years later, by which time Bellew had already left his job at Brown Brothers Harriman to join the FDNY. His brother and cousins were firefighters and he had a calling, she said.

    "When he got called for the FDNY I asked him not to take the job, and he postponed it and postponed it. But once he became a fireman, he was a totally different person, he was a happy, happy person," Eileen recalled.

    "Every time he left, I would say, 'Be careful' and, 'Promise me you will return to me,' and he would promise

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    DOOMED MEN'S FINAL WORDS

    By MURRAY WEISS, JOHN DOYLE and ANDY GELLER


    January 25, 2005 -- Chilling audiotapes that captured two doomed firefighters' final moments in a Bronx inferno Sunday reveal desperate pleas for help as flames suddenly engulfed them.

    "We can't get out!" screamed one panicked firefighter trapped alongside the pair on the fourth floor of the building at 236 E. 178th St. in the Morris Heights section, according to recordings of the Fire Department's radio communications.

    "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Fire in the apartment!" one of the tragic two firefighters is heard yelling.

    A stricken firefighter who is watching in horror from outside the rear of the building screams to comrades:

    "They're at the windows! They're at the windows!

    "There's heavy smoke! Heavy smoke and fire!" he yells. Then, as six trapped firefighters begin to jump from a window

  15. #15
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Bronx firemen doomed by a series of failures

    BY NANCY DILLON, TAMER EL-GHOBASHY and ALISON GENDAR
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

    A possibly broken water pump, a blocked fire escape and a lack of safety ropes may have contributed to the deaths of two Bronx firefighters, FDNY brass said yesterday as they pledged to consider reforms.

    Fire officials were able to piece together the final fatal seconds because the Bronx firefighters' hand-held radio transmissions were being recorded as part of a pilot program.

    "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" yelled one of six firefighters trapped by shooting flames in a fourth-floor apartment Sunday morning.

    Moments later, Lt. Curtis Meyran and Firefighter John Bellew leaped out a window to their deaths. Four other firefighters survived the 50-foot plunge with serious injuries.

    An overheated extension cord was being blamed for starting the Tremont blaze - but officials were investigating whether a series of failures turned the fire into a tragedy.

    Bronx Engine 42 was taken out of service to see if the rig's engine caused a sudden, and potentially deadly, loss of water pressure at the E. 178th St. fire.

    Officials initially believed a ruptured fire hose was to blame. But no breaks were found, leaving officials to question whether the engine itself jammed when pumping the water.

    When the pressure dropped, firefighters had to pull water lines back from the fourth floor, the floor above the fire. That's when a fireball shot up through the fourth floor, trapping the six firefighters.

    Officials were able to hear firefighters say the fourth-floor flat had been chopped into a warren of single-occupancy rooms. Makeshift walls blocked access to the fire escape, leaving the Bravest with a terrible choice as flames shot around them: burn or jump.

    They could not lower themselves down with ropes because the Fire Department stopped issuing firefighters their own safety ropes in 2000. Officials cited a variety of reasons yesterday, including the ropes' weight.

    Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced the department would review whether it should issue lightweight ropes to every firefighter.

    At least one of the injured firefighters, possibly Joseph DiBernardo, carried his own rope, friends said. A charred piece was found in the yard, and witnesses said they saw one firefighter fall as he tried to shinny down a rope.

    Scoppetta also ordered the pilot program that taped hand-held radio transmission in the Bronx be extended citywide.

    There were no such tapes at the Brooklyn fire that took the life of Firefighter Richard Sclafani hours after the Bronx blaze.

    Fire marshals' preliminary verdict was the East New York fire was caused by combustible materials left next to an electric space heater in the basement.

    Black and purple bunting was hung at the firehouses of the lost heroes, as the FDNY struggled to cope with its deadliest day since 9/11.

    "We're still numb. Yesterday's events were surreal," said a teary-eyed Lt. Mike McVey at Ladder 103 in Brooklyn, where Sclafani worked.

    Firefighters from Ladder Co. 27 took turns visiting nearby St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, where Firefighter Brendan Cawley was in serious condition and Firefighter Eugene Stolowski was in critical condition.

    DiBernardo, of Rescue 3 in the Bronx, remained inserious condition at Jacobi Medical Center with a broken pelvis and two broken feet. "He's in and out of consciousness," said a firefighter friend. "He said it feels like there's cement in his boots."

    Rescue 3's Jeffery Cool was in critical condition at St. Barnabas as he underwent tests to check on his internal bleeding and fractured skull.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/sto...p-235126c.html

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