Tag Archives: FDNY

Two dead after boat capsizes in Jamaica Bay

| amatua@queenscourier.com

A fishing boat capsized on the waters of Jamaica Bay Friday night, killing two people and injuring three during a night of heavy wind and rain.

At about 7:46 p.m., two men who had been on the boat swam to shore and alerted an on-duty guard at the NYPD’s aviation base at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn that their boat had capsized and that three other friends were in the water.

Police and FDNY harbor boats found two men near the shore and had to rescue a third. Authorities transported them to local hospitals.

The two men who died, ages 42 and 50, were rushed to Mount Sinai Beth Israel after suffering from cardiac arrest. They were pronounced dead on Friday night, police said. According to authorities, both men are Brooklyn residents.

The two men who alerted authorities and a friend — ages 48, 33, and 37 — were taken to Coney Island Hospital with minor injuries, according to police. Their identities have not been released, pending family notification.

Though Hurricane Joaquin is not expected to hit Queens, the area has experienced heavy wind and rain as remnants of the storm pass through. A coastal flood advisory was in effect for New York City and a high surf advisory remains in place for southern Queens and the south shore of Long Island until Sunday.


Whitestone firehouse celebrates 100 years of service

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

Firefighters past and present gathered at the headquarters of Engine Company 295 and Ladder Company 144 in Whitestone on Thursday to celebrate the units’ 100 years of service in the community.

The ceremony commemorated the service of every person who walked through the doors of the firehouse at 12-49 149th St. Active and retired firefighters, along with elected officials, spoke about the important duty this line of work demands.

Chief of Department James E. Leonard addressed the crowd to relay the impact that each individual has on Whitestone and surrounding communities.

“We’re the largest fire department in the country, but it still comes down to individual firefighters and companies protecting individual neighborhoods,” Leonard said. “So to the retired firefighters here, thank you for laying the foundation and we are standing on the shoulders of giants. You created where we are today.”

During the ceremony, the stories of three firefighters who lost their lives were relayed to the crowd to illustrate the sacrifice that is ultimately a part of the job. Frederick Zeigler and William Austin were killed while responding to a boat fire in the East River in 1947. The gas tank on the boat exploded, badly injuring Zeigler and Austin. Both men died of their injuries at Flushing Hospital. Walter Voight, a first responder during 9/11, died from illness related to the attacks.


“Though they served in far different times, each firefighter served in the exact same way — with true bravery and valor,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said. “They never hesitated in their sworn duty. They went towards the danger trying to save others. That is act which defines this department — and it is a tradition, much like their memory, which will always live within these walls.”

Firefighters were honored with a plaque to hang in their 100-year-old fire house. Captain Ken Ruggerio of Engine Company 295 said he knew he wanted to be a firefighter when, as a young boy living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, he would see firefighters rush to the scene of a tragedy and use their problem-solving skills to diffuse any situation.

“To me it’s the dedication, the commitment, the bravery and knowing that any problem that arises in the neighborhood, a firefighter is ready to help,” Ruggerio said. “When you call the Fire Department, we’re here to fix the problem.”


Construction worker rescued on top of Kosciuszko Bridge pillar in Maspeth

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/FDNY

Firefighters rescued a construction worker who passed out atop a pillar for the new Kosciuszko Bridge in Maspeth on Tuesday afternoon, police reported.

At about 12:16 p.m., the NYPD and FDNY responded to a call alerting them to an unconscious man at 56th Road and Laurel Hill Boulevard.

The construction worker, whose identity has not been released, was working on the new $555 million project to replace the existing bridge when he fainted, according to FDNY officials.

He was found conscious and rushed to Elmhurst Hospital in serious but stable condition.


Nineteen rescued from East River after dragon boat capsizes in College Point

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

The FDNY helped pull 19 people out of the East River near College Point on Sunday after a dragon boat overturned, according to reports.

The people in the boat were all taken to take to the College Point Yacht Club after the rescue at 1:43 p.m. There were no injuries.

According to multiple reports, the people on the boat were members of a team that races in Flushing‘s annual two-day Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.

The rowers reportedly started practice that day by rowing out from the World’s Fair Marina near Citi Field. All were wearing life jackets which helped to keep them afloat after the accident. 

One of the team members reportedly proposed to his girlfriend during the outing, and she had just accepted his offer before the accident occurred.


PHOTOS: New York Mets pay visit to Woodside firehouse

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook/New York Mets

The hottest team in baseball took time out of their pursuit of a pennant Tuesday afternoon to visit members of Engine Co. 292 and Rescue 4 in Woodside.

New York Mets players Michael Cuddyer, Steven Matz, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell joined the team’s chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro for the visit to the Queens Boulevard firehouse, where they met with active and retired firefighters and family members.

The visit was part of the Mets’ ongoing support of the Fire Department and the FDNY Foundation. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — which claimed the lives of 343 firefighters — members of the club have made trips to firehouses in September to both mark the anniversary of the attacks and offer tokens of gratitude to New York’s Bravest.

During Tuesday’s trip, the Mets distributed T-shirts to firefighters and enjoyed lunch with them. They also paused at the 9/11 memorial within the firehouse to remember those who died in the attacks.

The Mets had their eight-game winning streak last night, but have an 8 1/2-game lead in the National League Eastern Division. They play the Miami Marlins tonight before a three-game series this weekend against their crosstown rival Yankees.


Four injured after minivan slams into Woodside therapy center

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A minivan slammed into a therapy center on Queens Boulevard in Woodside on Thursday, injuring four people, according to the FDNY.

The green Honda Odyssey jumped the curb and hit the Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Center of Queens at 65-35 Queens Blvd., shattering a window at about 9:21 a.m. Four people were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the FDNY said.

According to published reports, the vehicle was trying to avoid hitting another car and swerved, causing the crash. The car knocked a hole into the wall and was wedged halfway inside.

Kids Time, a daycare center next door, was evacuated as a precaution, published reports indicated.


Six injured after bus crashes into Rego Park building

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Aaron Amrhein

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 25 10:37 a.m. 

Six people were injured after a Resorts World Casino bus crashed into a Rego Park building Monday afternoon after trying to avoid hitting another vehicle, authorities said.

Fire officials responded to a call at 2:24 p.m. of a bus transporting people slamming into a two-story building located at 87-17 63rd Ave., the FDNY said.

According to officials, six people were hurt in the crash, including one person who was inside the building, and were taken to Jamaica Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens.

The 39-year-old driver of the bus — who was the most seriously injured and taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens with cuts and bruises on his face and hands — was trying to avoid a Toyota that made a sharp right turn in front of him at the intersection of 63rd Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard before losing control, according to police.

The bus, which was traveling on a designated bus lane on Woodhaven Boulevard, then hit the Toyota before going into the building and also striking a second vehicle that was parked.

The 37-year-old driver of the Toyota, who was not injured, was later issued a summons for an improper turn, according to police.

An investigation to determine the cause of the accident is still ongoing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the bus accident,” Resorts World said in a statement following the crash. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities in the investigation.”


FDNY triumphs over NYPD at first annual Resorts World cook-off

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Resorts World Casino

Mouths watered and cooking skills were put to the test this weekend as the city’s Finest and Bravest battled it out over the grill.

Members of the FDNY and NYPD participated in the Battle of the Badges: FDNY vs. NYPD Cook-Off this Sunday at Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd.

The contest, which was hosted by former FDNY firefighter and host of PBS’s “Firehouse Kitchen” Ray Cooney, featured dishes cooked by 10 members of each team.

After going head to head and putting all their hard work on their individual dishes, one firefighter came out the top dog in the competition.

Khalid Baylor of Ladder 14 in East Harlem won the Battle of the Badges Cook-Off alongside his son after grilling up Tennessee apple smoked ribs, served with apple coleslaw and roasted sweet potato.

Celebrity judges for the event included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Robert Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio; Chef Bruno Egea, executive chef for Resorts World Casino; Cedric Dew, executive director of the Jamaica YMCA; entertainer George Lamond; and Deputy Inspector Matthew Galvin French, a Culinary Institute graduate who has appeared on shows with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray.

The contest was part of Resorts World Casino’s Community Fun Day filled with family-friendly activities.


FDNY, NYPD to face off at Resorts World cooking competition

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Resorts World Casino

The city’s Finest and Bravest are putting on their aprons, turning on the stoves and going head-to-head this weekend to see who has what it takes to be crowned a top chef.

Members of the FDNY and NYPD will show off their cooking skills this Sunday at Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., for the Battle of the Badges: FDNY vs. NYPD Cook-off.

The contest, which will take place from noon to 5 p.m. and is free to the public, will be hosted by Ray Cooney, a former FDNY firefighter and host of PBS’s “Firehouse Kitchen” and will feature dishes prepared by 10 members of each team.

Celebrity judges for the event include Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Robert Clarke, CEO of Irie Jam Radio; Chef Bruno Egea, executive chef for Resorts World Casino; Cedric Dew, executive director of the Jamaica YMCA; entertainer George Lamond; and Deputy Inspector Matthew Galvin French, a Culinary Institute graduate who has appeared on shows with Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray.

The winner of the cook-off will receive a Weber grill and a trip to Resorts World Casino Bimini in the Bahamas.

The contest is part of Resorts World Casino’s Community Fun Day on Sunday which features family-friendly activities, food trucks, musical entertainment, face painting, pony rides and games for all ages.


Man dies in two-alarm inferno at Glen Oaks home

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated Monday, Aug. 17, 12:30 p.m.

Firefighters found a 58-year-old man dead in the basement of a Glen Oaks home following a two-alarm fire Thursday morning, according to police.

More than 100 firefighters and the 105th Precinct responded to the blaze that broke out at 6:29 a.m. at the home on 265th Street near 79th Avenue.

According to the FDNY, efforts to extinguish the flames were complicated after firefighters encountered “Collyers’ mansion” conditions — piles of debris throughout the home.

Once the fire was brought under control nearly two hours later, firefighters found the man — whose identity was withheld pending family notification — in the basement and removed him from the home; paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

His body was transported to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death.

According to the Fire Department, the blaze was believed to have been sparked by electrical problems. Reportedly, the home did not have a working smoke detector.


Firefighters and chefs compete in Kew Gardens culinary competition

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Atria Kew Gardens


Atria Kew Gardens, a senior living facility in Kew Gardens, hosted a Culinary Competition Cook-Off on July 29 along with members of the Fire Department in celebration of National Culinary Arts Month.

Barry McWilliams, Richard Nerko and  Martin Vanschil, all firefighters and firehouse chefs from the Forest Hills fire station (Engine Co. 305 and Ladder Co. 151), competed against Atria Kew Gardens’ Director of Culinary Services Amanda Ciniglio and Chef Kevin Hernandez.

A crowd of Atria residents watched the competition and eagerly sampled each of the four appetizers the two teams made. The firefighters prepared guacamole, a hot spinach artichoke dip, salmon mousse on crackers and Moroccan carrot and beet salad. The Atria team also served guacamole, as well as salmon mousse on toast, a cold spinach artichoke dip and lemon ricotta with beet.

The Atria team won the cook-off — and a trophy — by a slim margin.

“They were very worthy competitors,” Ciniglio said. “They were very into their dishes. They took it very seriously, which was very nice. They really took pride in their food. They were so engaging with the residents, and the residents were so happy to have them. They were very good with them. The interactions were very good.”

In addition to the cook-off, Atria will also be celebrating National Culinary Arts Month by preparing recipes for the residents provided by the residents themselves.

As a token of appreciation for the firefighters’ visit and participation, the Atria Kew Gardens culinary team will be serving lunch and dinner at the firehouse during the following week, including a pork crown roast.


Driver injured after train strikes truck in Maspeth

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

The driver of a tractor-trailer was hospitalized after his rig was struck by a train at a Maspeth railroad crossing early Wednesday morning, according to police.

Police said the accident occurred just before 1 a.m. in the area of Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street.

Reportedly, the New York and Atlantic Railway engine was traveling eastbound when it hit the truck that was on the four-track crossing on Maspeth Avenue. The impact caused the truck to burst into flames.

Officers from the 104th Precinct along with EMS and Fire Department units responded to the scene. The truck driver was taken to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition; no other injuries were reported.

An investigation is ongoing.


Pols call for rejection of resubmitted proposal for Pan Am homeless shelter

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The fight continues for Elmhurst community members who continue to stand together hoping the city will again reject the proposal to convert the former Pan American Hotel into a permanent homeless shelter, which was resubmitted last month.

Local elected officials gathered with residents and community activists on Tuesday morning outside the facility to call for the rejection of Samaritan Village’s proposal that would turn the emergency shelter into a permanent one.

“We cannot address the growing homeless population at the expense of homeless families and children, or the community as a whole,” said state Senator Tony Avella, who previously voiced his opposition of the homeless shelter and its conditions. “We must look to fix this broken system.”

The emergency homeless shelter at the former hotel was supposed to close last December, yet even after facing large opposition from community members, an application was submitted to convert it into a permanent shelter under a five-year, $42 million contract with the Department of Homeless Services.

In May, the proposal was rejected by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer due to health and safety concerns, such as fire code violations and lack of kitchen facilities in the units, but it was resubmitted on June 12 and now Stringer must decide to accept or reject it by next week.

“Mr. Stringer, as an elected official, as a civil servant and as the comptroller of the city of New York, we demand that you permanently reject the Pan Am contract,” said Anna Orjuela, a member of Elmhurst United and an Elmhurst resident for more than 30 years. “It is time for you to restore the people’s faith in our system of government and remind everyone that no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth, title or position of power.”

During Tuesday’s rally, elected officials also urged the state Assembly to pass companion legislation to state Senator Jeff Klein’s bill, which would require the city’s Planning Commission to hold a public community forum before the approval, modification or rejection of a homeless shelter site. The bill has already passed in the state Senate.

This process would allow community members to learn about the shelter and also provide their input on the idea, according to Klein.

“This situation is playing out across the city. An emergency homeless shelter moves into a neighborhood without community input and then the city seeks to make it permanent. This is simply unacceptable,” Klein said. “The residents of this community deserve to be heard, and the residents in this family shelter who live with rat infestations, improper garbage disposal and other serious health violations deserve better.”

Last week, grassroots organization Elmhurst United, which has been voicing its opposition to the shelter since day one, sent out a newsletter looking to inform local residents as to why the shelter is not suitable for the community and also encourage people to reach out to their elected officials.

In the newsletter, the group highlights issues such as School District 24 being the most overcrowded in the city, lack of a child care facility at the site, numerous FDNY violations, a façade violation, and much more.

“Everyone should care about what happens in their neighborhood,” the newsletter reads. “Speak up now before it is too late. Once the contract is signed, it becomes a much harder fight.”


Op-ed: End critical delays in EMS response time

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The need for our EMS to be unparalleled here in New York City is increasingly great. As a city, we must make critical policy changes that will decrease response time and save lives. This February, the average response time to life-threatening medical emergencies in Queens was 10 minutes and 15 seconds, which is not acceptable.

The City Council passed a law that would track end-to-end response times for both fire and medical emergencies, and further require the FDNY to report that response time. New Yorkers need to know the truth. This involves recording not only the time it took for an emergency unit to be dispatched, but also the time it took to process the call.

The law was named for Ariel Russo who was tragically killed when she was struck by a reckless driver trying to evade the police. After the crash, there was a clear error in dispatching an EMS unit and emergency personnel lost at least four critical minutes. The “Ariel Russo Emergency 9-1-1 Response Time Reporting Act” now provides a more transparent record of response times.

Last year, two young siblings, Ayina and Jai’Launi Tinglin, were killed in a Far Rockaway fire. EMS personnel did not reach the scene until 20 minutes after the call was received. The city found that personnel errors preceding the dispatch caused delays in reaching the children, but we see this as only half of the truth. Reports from dangerous, deadly fires have shown that the FDNY only dispatches ambulances after an FDNY unit on the scene confirms it is a structural fire. In this case, had the need for EMS to wait not existed, they could have been dispatched more than six minutes earlier. A lack of resources is likely the main reason the FDNY delays the EMS dispatch.

We believe the FDNY must dispatch EMS units once the report of a structural fire comes in through 9-1-1 and make it part of the many units dispatched within a first-alarm fire.
The FDNY again wasted critical time by waiting to dispatch EMS during a structural fire in Midwood. The fire killed seven children in the Sassoon family: David, Yehoshua, Moshe, Yaakov, Eliane, Rivka and Sarah. It took nearly 14 minutes for EMS to get to the scene.

We write this op-ed to call on the fire department to make three critical policy changes that would reduce response times and improve the level of pre-hospital care.

First, the fire department must change its dispatch policy and immediately send an ambulance upon receipt of a 9-1-1 call reporting a structural fire as part of a “first-alarm.”
Second, we need to greatly expand the number of department ambulance tours. This is the surest way to reduce response times, and the additional tours managed correctly will not only save lives but could also generate revenue for the city.

Lastly, in order to increase department professionalism, promotional civil service exams must be instituted for upper-ranking officers, just like those for the fire department’s firefighters and other public safety agencies. This would also bring the city into compliance with federal and state guidelines to ensure emergency scenes are properly and efficiently handled.

Our EMS personnel work every day to keep us alive, and for that they deserve not only our unconditional gratitude but effective procedures to abide by. Let’s make our EMS stronger for today and always.


Man falls into LIC sidewalk grate while trying to retrieve keys

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@Appleguysnake

Updated 2:52 p.m. 

Authorities had to rescue a man after he reportedly fell down a sidewalk grate in Long Island City Tuesday morning after slipping off a ladder he placed into the grate while attempting to retrieve his keys.

According to the MTA, at about 11:30 a.m. a man dropped his keys into the sidewalk grating in front of 24-20 Jackson Ave. just above the Court Square subway station. The man, who has not been identified, then opened the grate and placed an A-frame ladder into the grate. While climbing down the ladder he lost his footing and fell.

The man suffered minor head and leg injuries and after fire officials got him out of the hole, he was transferred to Bellevue Hospital, the FDNY said.

There is no visual defect to the grate and it was secured after the incident, according to the MTA.