New York Daily News

April 7, 2014


 

 

Two NYPD cops critically injured, suspect in custody in Coney Island fire caused by burning mattress 


NYPD Housing Bureau Officers Rosa Rodriguez, 36, and Dennis Guerra, 38, were found unconscious on the 13th floor of a building on Surf Ave. Sunday. The officers, who were responding to the blaze when they were overcome by smoke, are being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation.

BY MARK MORALES , CAITLIN NOLAN , CHELSIA ROSE MARCIUS , TINA MOORE

NORMAN Y. LONO FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Two NYPD cops are critically injured after they were overcome by smoke while responding to a high-rise fire Sunday afternoon in Coney Island.

Two NYPD housing cops suffered critical injuries Sunday when they rushed into a Brooklyn high-rise for a suspicious fire and suddenly became overcome by smoke, police said.

The blaze at 2007 Surf Ave. in Coney Island began about 12:30 p.m. on the 13th floor when somebody set fire to a mattress, cops said.

NYPD Housing Bureau Officers Rosa Rodriguez, 36, and Dennis Guerra, 38, responding to 911 calls, ran inside the 18-story NYCHA building and boarded an elevator, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

“As soon as that elevator door opened, they were overcome by smoke in the hallway,” Bratton said at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx on Sunday.

“Fire Department personnel arrived at the building and made their way up to the 13th floor, where they located both police officers unconscious and unresponsive.”

Firefighters “pulled both officers back into the elevator and brought them downstairs to the main entrance,” Bratton said.

Cops said late Sunday a suspect was in custody.

Meanwhile, both cops remained in critical condition and were being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation, the city’s top cop said.

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.

Three firefighters and eight other people were treated at the scene. One civilian was taken to Coney Island Hospital with minor injuries.

Mayor de Blasio praised the officers and promised his support to their families.

“It’s incredibly difficult work that these men and women do,” he said. “And I can say this on behalf of all New Yorkers: Our hearts go out to these families, and we will stand by them.”

A woman and a young man were taken from the building by detectives, but cops wouldn’t say if they were being questioned in the mattress fire.

Sean Foster, 40, lives nearby and saw emergency responders trying to resuscitate the officers.

“When they brought the first officer out, the male, they were pumping his chest,” Foster said.

“They saved him before they put him in the ambulance,” Foster continued. “The lady, they took her straight to the hospital. They weren’t pumping her chest. They just had the oxygen mask on her.”

Rodriguez has nearly four years on the job, and Guerra has almost eight. Rodriguez lives with her mother, officials said.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch praised the firefighters for rushing to aid the cops.

“They treated our brother and sister like it was their brother and sister,” he said. “That means a lot to us. There’s no difference when one of our uniforms is laying on the floor.”

With Ryan Sit and Rocco Parascandola

tmoore@nydailynews.com