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Thread: NYC Gas Explosion-- A Suicide Atempt?!?!?

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    NYC Gas Explosion-- A Suicide Atempt?!?!?

    Gas Explosion Blamed for N.Y. Building Collapse
    Stuart Ramson/Associated Press

    By JOHN HOLUSHA
    Published: July 10, 2006

    A gas explosion flattened a landmarked town house on the Upper East Side this morning and left buried in the rubble a doctor who used his portable telephone to talk to rescue workers as he lay in the burning debris.NYC Gas

    The doctor, Nicholas Bartha, was the sole occupant of the building, at 34 East 62nd Street between Madison and Park, when the blast occurred about 8:45 a.m., said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. Another doctor who practices from that building was outside the building, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.

    Dr. Bartha, the owner of the building where he has an apartment and medical offices, was extracted from the bottom of the pile of rubble shortly after 10 a.m. and was in critical condition with burns and other injuries, the commissioner said.

    Michael Weinlein, the assistant chief of operations for the Fire Department, said that when the first firefighters reached the rubble, they could hear Dr. Bartha calling out to them.

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    FDNY Rescue Co.4 Pulls Owner From Building Explosion

    FDNY Rescue Co.4 Pulls Owner From Building Explosion


    Updated: 07-11-2006 11:42:26 AM


    By LUIS PEREZ and ALEJANDRO LAZO
    Newsday



    By the time six firefighters from the elite Rescue Company 4 in Woodside got there, there was only a flaming pile of rubble at 32 East 62nd St.

    It was 9 a.m., 10 minutes after a 911 call announcing that the four-story Upper East Side building collapsed in a loud boom, burying its owner, Nicholas Bartha, 66.

    As ladder companies doused the flames with water, three members of the team inched forward, sifting through piles of charred wood, pancaked layers of flooring, acrid smoke, cement and bricks. With gas meters in their hands, the firefighters tried to gauge the extent of the explosive chemical in the air.

    Then, firefighter Richard Schmidt, 44, heard a cry for help.

    "Is anybody down there?" Schmidt recalled shouting. The cries were faint, but Schmidt made out the third one.

    "Could you help me?" he said Bartha pleaded.

    In seconds, Schmidt and firefighter Charles Weiman shouted orders to cut the water hoses and the rescue operation began.

    Under 30 feet of rubble, Bartha was trapped in a 6- by 6- foot room that was part of the building's cellar. Firefighters slowly began picking rubble off from above, where flames still flickered.

    Firefighters in Rescue Company 4 could not speak to Bartha. But at some point, while he was under the rubble, he used his cell phone to speak with other emergency personal, officials said.

    Soon, through an opening not far from the sidewalk in front of the townhouse, they could see the man. A metal door with a piece of glass was on top of him and debris held the victim in from all sides. Bartha was covered in second- and third-degree burns.

    For several minutes, before firefighters brought an emergency oxygen kit, Schmidt placed his own oxygen mask on the doctor's face, he said.

    "Anything could have happened," Schmidt later said. "It wasn't a good place to be, but he was there. That's what we do."

    Bartha, the only victim who was trapped in the rubble, was carried out on a stretcher that the firefighters lifted out from the hole. He was listed in critical condition at New-York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center last night.

    At 1 p.m., hours after the fire was brought under control by more than 200 firefighters, construction crews began to remove the smoking debris.

    The firefighters described the room as, "The only place he could have survived."

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=50172

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