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Thread: 'Black Sunday' FDNY Widow Files Suit

  1. #1
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    South West

    Family Of Firefighter Killed In Bronx Blaze Indicates Intent To Sue City

    Family Of Firefighter Killed In Bronx Blaze Indicates Intent To Sue City

    Updated: 03-11-2005 10:34:49 PM

    Associated Press Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The family of one of two firefighters killed when they were forced to leap from a burning building in the Bronx in January has filed notice of intent to sue the city for failing to provide the men with safety ropes, a lawyer for the family said Friday.

    Three other firefighters who were badly injured when they jumped from the building's fourth floor also notified the city that they intend to sue, according to Michael Block, a lawyer representing the men and their families.

    Six firefighters were forced to jump from the building when their escape exits were blocked by the rapidly spreading fire on Jan. 23. Two of the men _ Firefighter John Bellew and Lt. Curtis W. Meyran _ were killed.

    Block filed the notice of claim with the city on Friday on behalf of Bellew's wife, Eileen, and the couple's four children. The city has 30 days to respond with a settlement offer before a lawsuit will be filed, Block said.

    The three injured firefighters who have filed notices of claim are Jeffery Cool, Joseph DiBernardo, and Eugene Stolowski, who are all in rehabilitation, Block said.

    Papers for Cool and DiBernardo were filed on Friday; Stolowski's notice of claim was filed earlier and amended Friday to indicate that the city's 30-day period to respond had expired, according to Block. Stolowski will now sue, Block said.

    The firefighters claim the city was negligent for ``irrationally failing to provide appropriate safety equipment, including, but not limited to, safety ropes to firefighters,'' according to the notices of claim, which were obtained by The Associated Press.

    No monetary amounts were specified.

    The legal action ``is based on the fact that the Fire Department somewhat inexplicably took the safety ropes away and we think it was sadly inevitable that sooner or later a firefighter would find himself in need of a rope to get to safety,'' Block said.

    The department stopped issuing safety ropes in 2000, claiming after the January blaze that they were withdrawn because they were bulky and burdensome to carry.

    The reason for the withdrawl was disputed by the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, which said the city had been trying to save money. The department has said it hopes to re-equip firefighters with safety ropes and harnesses following a review.

    ``We are certainly glad that the fire department has decided to purchase ropes for firefighters,'' Block said. ``But it is extremely sad that a tragedy like this had to be the motivating factor in the decision.''

    A spokeswoman for the city's law department said the office had not yet reviewed the claims.

    ``We have not received the legal papers yet,'' said the spokeswoman, Kate O'Brien Ahlers. ``Obviously it involves a very tragic incident and we will look at the claims very thoroughly.''

    The Fire Department did not respond to a request for comment Friday evening.

    Bellew's family and the three injured firefighters will also sue the owner of the building, Block said, contending that fire code violations including an illegally built partition hampered their escape routes.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    'Black Sunday' FDNY Widow Files Suit

    'Black Sunday' FDNY Widow Files Suit

    Courtesy of New York Post

    September 29, 2005 -- A firefighter widow charges that the FDNY's failure to issue her husband a rope led to his death in a fire earlier this year.

    "I'm angry. A lousy piece of rope could've brought him down 10 feet to the next window," a tearful Jeanette Meyran said.

    Her lawyer, Donnalynn Darling, held a rope outside Bronx Supreme Court, where they announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against the city and the Bronx building's landlord.

    Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, of Battalion 26, died along with firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27, on "Black Sunday"

  3. #3
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    South West

    New Rope System: 'Lifeline' for New York's Bravest

    New Rope System: 'Lifeline' for New York's Bravest
    Training Starts Today for All Members of the FDNY

    Updated: 10-05-2005 01:52:42 PM

    Courtesy of WABC News - New York

    (Randalls Island-WABC, October 4, 2005) - They've called for a lifeline, but this is no game, it is about life, and the sanctity of the FDNY issues ropes to it's Bravest, so they can remain that way.

    Eyewitness News reporter Ken Rosato has the story.

    The ropes are being re-issued after six firefighters were forced to jump from a burning building in the Bronx nine months ago.

    Two of them didn't make it, but their legacy, as their families say, lives with these ropes.

    Lt. Curtis Meyran died alongside firefighter John Bellew. Their widows are suing the fire department and the tragedy pushed the Firefighters union and the FDNY into a testy reexamination of the department's rope policy.

    The fire department stopped providing ropes in 2000. Firefighters had complained the ropes were too heavy and hard to use.

    Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta ordered a new rope system developed with $11 million in emergency funding.

    At around one o'clock today firefighters from the Bronx and Harlem will be in the first class to train with the new personal safety system. It includes a harness and a lightweight rope. The training will be conducted at the department's facility on Randalls Island.

    The FDNY expects to have all of its firefighters and officers fully trained within eight months. After, every member from the department will have to carry the lifesaving device.

    The new rope system was developed in-house by firefighters, fire-officers and the department's own research and development group.
    (Copyright 2005 WABC-TV)

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