Tag Archives: FDNY

FDNY firefighter made fake 911 calls to steal money


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

FDNY firefighter Joseph Keene pulled the false alarm, making phony calls to various firehouses. Once firefighters responded to the call, Keene crept into the fire stations and made off with others’ cash, according to a report released by the Department of Investigation (DOI).

The investigation shows that Keene, through a series of thefts, made several false 9-1-1 calls which initiated an FDNY response so that he could enter various firehouses and steal money from firefighters’ personal belongings.

Keene was reportedly interviewed last week and admitted to his crimes to the DOI.

In one incident in early June, a 9-1-1 call was made reporting a gas odor at Jamaica Avenue and Little Neck Parkway. Local Engine 251 responded to the area, but the call was determined unfounded. While the firetruck was out, Keene entered the firehouse and stole roughly $1,200.

During the investigation, video surveillance found an individual who appeared to be Keene exiting a car and entering the firehouse after the Engine Company had left. The car the individual traveled in was one similar to Keene’s.

Keene later admitted it was him in the video.

The investigation reports Keene having stolen over $2,000 from different firehouses throughout Queens County and Richmond County, in Staten Island.

Keene was charged Friday by the District Attorney with falsely reporting an incident, grand larceny and burglary, all felonies, as well as petit larceny. The Richmond County District Attorney will separately charge Keene as appropriate.

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Retired Maspeth firefighter saves toddler from drowning


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Manzione

While millions were preparing to watch the fireworks, John Manzione sprang into action.

A retired firefighter, Manzione, a Maspeth native, saved a toddler from drowning, preventing an Independence Day tragedy.

Manzione was celebrating America’s birthday with family and friends in his yard when he heard neighbors scream “call 9-1-1” from two houses away.

Manzione, 57, who retired from engine 291 in Ridgewood after 32 years of service, rushed to see what was happening. When he arrived he found a motionless two-year-old. The boy had fallen into a small blow-up pool with about two-feet of water.

“He was unresponsive, limp, no pulse and his eyes were rolled in the back of his head,” Manzione said. “It doesn’t take much for them to be in distress.”

Manzione moved fast. Using his First Responder training, he initiated CPR on the boy until he detected faint breathing. EMS services arrived minutes later and put the child on an oxygen machine to help him breath.

They then took the toddler to Elmhurst Hospital, where he arrived in critical condition. He is now stable, according to Fire Department officials.

This was not the first time Manzione has aided people outside of fighting a blaze. He once had to help a man that went into cardiac arrest and he helped a woman deliver two babies in a house.

In this situation, he said, he just wanted to answer the call of duty.

“I was just helping out a child and parents that were in distress,” Manzione said. “I knew I had to get involved and help to make a difference. I’m a firefighter for life.”

 

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Lawsuit filed alleging negligence by power companies during Breezy Point blaze


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP

The Breezy Point blaze during Sandy was “so massive, it looked like a forest fire,” said Billy Heeran, a Rockaway resident.

Heeran owned what has been called an “iconic restaurant” in the neighborhood, the Harbor Light Pub. The family business had stayed afloat for over 30 years, but it was reduced to ashes the night of the storm.

Dylan Smith, who died surfing less than two months after rescuing people during Sandy, worked for Heeran for 10 years and called him that night to tell him the pub was on fire.

“He said, ‘Billy, there’s fire blowing out of the windows,’” Heeran said. “I knew it was bad. There was no fire department getting in there.”

Following the FDNY confirmation that the fire was electrical, people who lost homes and businesses decided to fight back. A notice of claim was filed in January, as previously reported by The Courier, that residents were seeking damage compensation from power companies LIPA and National Grid.

The negligence claim against the power companies was officially filed Tuesday, July 3. It alleges that the two had a duty to provide for and ensure the safety of the property of those who are supplied its electricity, such as Breezy Point, and was negligent in failing to de-energize the area prior to the storm.

In the event of extreme flooding, power companies are advised to shut off electricity in vulnerable areas in order to prevent incidents such as electrical fires. The claim states that prior to Sandy, both LIPA and National Grid were aware of the necessity to do as such.

Law firms Sullivan & Galleshaw, LLP and Godosky & Gentile, P.C. are representing 120 people all seeking a different amount of compensation based on damages.

“It’s a tremendous burden on these folks,” said attorney Keith Sullivan, born and raised in the Rockaways. “They don’t have the money to rebuild.”

Additionally, he said, the fire victims will have to rebuild according to new building codes and FEMA requirements.

LIPA issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, saying the “effort to place fault for this tragedy with the utility is misplaced,” but the company is “sensitive to those families who suffered tragic losses from Sandy.”
Sullivan countered the statement, saying it is “completely ridiculous.”

“That implies these people are making this up,” he said. “There’s nothing faint about their losses.”

A National Grid spokesperson said the group has not yet received the lawsuit, but “National Grid’s actions during Sandy were reasonable and appropriate” and they “don’t believe that these claims have merit.”
Heeran, also a local firefighter, said once he received the fire marshal’s report, he thought, “There’s negligence here.”

“If the power was shut down, the fire would have never happened. We would have been flooded, but would have been back up in business within 10 days,” he said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 84. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Tuesday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 73. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: EcoHouse at Queens Botanical Garden

The Community Environmental Center EcoHouse, on display at the Queens Botanical Garden through August 31, is a mobile, cutting-edge and interactive exhibit that lets you see behind the walls and underneath the floor of a home. You will learn how your house or apartment really works. A 21st-century classroom for students of all ages, it helps you understand how to save energy, save money and protect the natural world around you. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Judge sets alleged Westchester ‘pot mom’ free on $500,000 bond

Andrea Sanderlin, the so-called Westchester pot mom, was released Monday on $500,000 bond secured by the financial assets of four casual acquaintances. Read more: CBS New York

City has new plans but no cash for Ridgewood Reservoir

Residents are irked that the latest scaled-back master plan to transform Ridgewood Reservoir to a park arrived without any cash to actually pay for it. Read more: New York Daily News

Quinn proposes Bloomberg-like plan for healthier kids’ meals at chain eateries

A grilled cheese with fries ordered off the kids menu at Applebee’s packs a punch. It contains 21 grams of saturated fat — three times as much as the federal government allows in elementary school meals. Read more: NY1

FDNY sending contingent of firefighters to assist with deadly Arizona wildfire

Five members of the FDNY’s incident management team are heading to Arizona to lend a hand after the stunning deaths of 19 firefighters. Read more: CBS New York/AP

On July 4, Statue of Liberty to finally reopen

Months after Sandy swamped her little island, the Statue of Liberty will finally welcome visitors again on Independence Day. Read more: NBC New York

Kremlin: Snowden gives up on plan to stay in Russia

Edward Snowden has abandoned his effort to seek asylum in Russia after President Vladimir Putin warned that he would have to stop leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs if he wanted to stay, a Russian official said Tuesday. Read more: CNN

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TODAY’s FORECAST

Friday: Overcast with thunderstorms and a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 84. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Friday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and a chance of rain. Low of 70. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Free Outdoor Movie: “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style. Bring a chair or blanket. Starts at 7:30 p.m. in Brookville Park. Rated PG. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

FDNY overpaid $1 million to company that maintains dispatch systems: John Liu

The FDNY dished out millions more in tax dollars than necessary because it mismanaged contracts with a tech company hired to repair and maintain dispatch systems, city Controller John Liu said Thursday. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens worker injured at house demo site

Fire crews on Thursday responded to a construction site in Queens after a worker fell into the basement of a home that’s being demolished. Read more: NY1

Queens Councilman Ruben Wills launches a push to promote cricket

Queens’ cricket craze could culminate in a standalone stadium, if one lawmaker has his way. Read more: New York Daily News 

Spike in tickets for bike riders

With the start of the Citi Bike Share program has come a spike in the number of tickets being issued for cycling violations. Read more: Fox New York

After DOMA ruling, surge in marriage applications in NYC

The city clerk couldn’t tell me exactly how many same-sex couples have been coming in since the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA but he said it has been quite an increase. Read more: Fox New York

Senate passes sweeping immigration legislation

The U.S. Senate approved a landmark immigration bill on Thursday that would provide millions of undocumented immigrants a chance to become citizens, but the leader of the House of Representatives said the measure was dead on arrival in the House. Read more: Reuters

Bible signed by Einstein sells for $68,500 in NYC

A Bible with an inscription from Albert Einstein has sold for $68,500 at an auction in New York City. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 81. Winds from the NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 63. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY:  In Scena!

It’s the year of Italian culture in the U.S., and Mare Nostrum Elements joins forces with In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY to present three one-act plays by renowned author Mario Fratti. At the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, June 19-23. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City releases updated hurricane evacuation zones 

The city has released an updated hurricane evacuation zone map that replaces Zones A, B and C with zones numbered one to six. Read more: The Queens Courier

Worker rescued from trench collapse in Kew Gardens

The FDNY rescued a construction worker in Kew Gardens Tuesday after he became trapped in a collapsed trench. Read more: The Queens Courier

Parents attempt to block new school from opening in Campus Magnet in Cambria Heights

Southeast Queens parents are attempting to block a plan to put a new school in a crowded Cambria Heights campus. Read more: New York Daily News

Civil rights groups sue NYPD over Muslim spying

The New York Police Department’s widespread spying programs directed at Muslims have undermined free worship by innocent people and should be declared unconstitutional, religious leaders and civil rights advocates said Tuesday after the filing of a federal lawsuit. Read more: CBS New York/AP

18 mayors: Limit use of food stamps to buy soda

The mayors of Los Angeles, Chicago and 15 other cities are joining New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in reviving a push against letting food stamps be used to buy soda and other sugary drinks. Read more: NBC New York

NSA director says plot against Wall Street foiled

The U.S. foiled a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange because of the sweeping surveillance programs at the heart of a debate over national security and personal privacy, officials said Tuesday at a rare open hearing on intelligence led by lawmakers sympathetic to the spying. Read more: AP

Worker rescued from trench collapse in Kew Gardens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Twitter/@FDNY

The FDNY rescued a construction worker after he became trapped in a collapsed Kew Gardens trench.

He was partially buried in the trench, which was 25 feet below the surface. Fire officials had to secure an unstable crane at the site before they could free the worker, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The collapse occurred around 4:30 p.m. at 83rd Avenue near Abingdon Road on Tuesday, June 18.

About two hours later, the FDNY freed the man. Con Edison also used a backhoe to assist in the rescue.

The worker was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, said the FDNY.

According to reports, construction work was underway at the site during Tuesday’s accident even though a stop-work order was in effect. The Department of Buildings is investigating.

 

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FDNY: Rapid Repairs not behind Howard Beach house blast


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A gas explosion that destroyed a Howard Beach house last week was not caused by fixes from the city’s post-Sandy repair service, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The May 29 blast sent resident Theresa Pepitone to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center with severe burns. Witnesses said the burns took skin off of her face and scalp.

Firefighters responded to the blast shortly after 2 p.m. and had to battle with flames caused by the gas. The home partially collapsed in the process, according to Deputy Fire Chief Robert Maynes.

Maynes said National Grid workers were able to stop gas flow to the home, which helped efforts to extinguish the fire.

No one else was injured in the blast, but a pet German shepherd inside suffered minor injuries, Maynes added.

Fire marshals are still investigating what exactly caused the gas line to go.

Department of Buildings (DOB) has listed the home as unlivable. The center of the home was destroyed by the time the fire was extinguished.

A gas furnace and a water heater had been replaced in the house through Rapid Repairs, according to a permit filed with DOB. It was approved less than a week earlier, on May 23.

 

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Howard Beach fire seriously injures one, partially collapses home


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

A two-alarm fire in Howard Beach today sent one woman to the hospital and practically split a home in half.

More than twenty fire trucks responded to the blaze, on the corner of 163rd Avenue and 84th Street, which broke out just before 2 p.m. Chief Robert Maynes said a gas explosion ignited the fire and caused a partial collapse of the home.

The woman inside was transferred to Jamaica Hospital for severe burns, Maynes said. A police source said she was later moved to Cornell Medical Center.

National Grid turned gas off to the home, Maynes said, but several fire trucks will stay in the area as a precaution. What caused the blast is unknown, he said, and the Fire Marshall will investigate.

There was no damage to the homes surrounding the house, Maynes said.

Joseph Noll, who lives on 85th Street, said he and his friends heard the blast a block away and headed over.

Noll said there were no flames when they arrived, but the strong scent of gas. Flames became visible some 10 to 15 minutes later, he said, just before firefighters arrived.

“It was just smoke and smell,” Noll said, referring to the gas.

The victim came running out of the house, Noll said, and a significant amount of skin had been burned off. Noll and his friends tried to console the woman, whom he said was in shock until first responders arrived.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said. “I just kept telling her, ‘Help is going to be here soon.’”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers in the afternoon. Fog early. High of 77. Breezy. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Thursday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and rain showers. Fog overnight. Low of 61. Winds from the South at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.7 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Romeo and Juliet

Country reels and iambic pentameter come together in a new twist on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. This production places the famed feuding families in rural America in the 1930s and focuses on the ability (or inability) to express love. It also highlights the youth of our tragic lovers and their cohorts, as the younger Capulets and Montagues run around like rival, hormonal Little Rascals gangs. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Three charged with kidnapping, holding Queens man for month in $3M ransom attempt

Three men have been arrested for kidnapping a man off a Jackson Heights street and holding him in a warehouse for a month in a $3 million ransom attempt, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Tightened security at some NYC sites after soldier’s brutal murder in London

The NYPD has increased security at the British Consulate and other sites in New York, following an attack in London that left a soldier hacked to death Read more: AP/CBS New York

Appeals court upholds firing of Queens teacher who tried to bribe student in exchange for favorable testimony

A state appeals court has upheld the 2011 firing of a hot-headed Queens teacher who tried to bribe a student into saying nice things about her. Read more: New York Daily News 

Union claims FDNY Is underreporting response times to close more fire houses

The firefighters union is accusing FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano of deliberately underreporting the time it takes for fire trucks to arrive at an emergency. Read more: CBS New York

Suspects in New York-Canada train plot due in court

Two men accused of plotting to blow up and derail a passenger train as it headed into Canada from New York are due in court Thursday. Read more: ABC New York

Obama to address drones, Gitmo in security speech 

President Barack Obama on Thursday is expected to address some of the thornier aspects of national security policy, including drone strikes, the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the dire threats Americans continue to face – even from fellow citizens. Read more: AP

650 workers escape police academy fire without injury


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Above photo by Dominick Totino Photography/Additional photos by Melissa Chan

A fire broke out at the future Queens police academy Tuesday while more than 600 workers were on site, authorities said.

Flames erupted at 128-11 28th Avenue in College Point around 1:30 p.m., according to the FDNY.

Police and fire officials at the scene said the building’s exterior suffered the brunt of the blaze. There was minimal damage inside.

“We had a significant fire outside that was extending to the inside of the building,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Robert Maynes. “Once it got inside, we would have had a catastrophic amount of damage.”

There were 650 workers at the construction site when the fire began, a law enforcement source said, but none were hurt.

The exterior atrium’s enclosure was scorched and a small number of outside panels at the north side of the building will need to be replaced, according to a police source. The cost of the damage is yet to be determined.

Construction of the $656 million police academy is not expected to be delayed, the NYPD said. The first phase of the plan is still on track for completion in December.

About 175 firefighters responded to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

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Firefighter makes way back to boxing for a cause


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Jack Kirrane took a five year break from the FDNY’s Bravest Boxing team.

From 2007 to 2012, the Queens-born firefighter focused on being a father and doing his normal duty at Ladder 38 in Harlem.

Over the last year, however, Kirrane, 37, has been staging a comeback into the sport he started in as a kid growing up in Douglaston.

“It’s actually probably the best it’s been so far,” Kirrane said of his fighting and conditioning. “Now, being older, I stick more to my training regimen, instead of before when I was younger.”

Kirrane, who joined Bravest Boxing 10 years ago, faced off against John Butler of the London Metro Police department in the latest installment of the “Battle of the Badges” on Friday, April 12 at Resorts World Casino New York City.

Kirrane and Butler, both fighting with a similar orthodox style in the 178 master class, battled for all three of their two-minute rounds. When Kirrane swung, Butler swung. Butler threw a right, Kirrane, expectedly, blocked.

Facing off against a style similar to his own, Kirrane said was “fun when you win. That style can be very punishing at the other end too.”

In the end, the referees deemed Kirrane the winner, giving him a 5-0 record against the Brits, making it three victories stateside; two across the pond.

It was, Kirrane said, a good way to continue his record since coming back last year: 3-0.

Aside from meeting with teammates every Tuesday and Thursday to spar in Brooklyn, Kirrane, like many other firefighters, has to train on his own free time – something that’s a precious commodity.

Because cardio is more important that weight lifting when getting ready for a fight, Kirrane said he’s mapped out a three-and-a-half mile course to run around his Nassau neighborhood. When he’s off, taking care of his children, he will normally put them in a double stroller and bring them along.

“It’s very difficult to find the time to train. Especially [when] you’re getting close to a fight, you’ve got to train more.”

Spending the first 33 years of his life in Queens, Kirrane and his brother were introduced to boxing at a young age by their father, who was a member of the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan. The brothers Kirrane, now both firefighters, trained in the club’s Saturday morning youth program.

But what Kirrane said drove him to shake the rust off relatively quickly was the causes Bravest Boxing fights for.

All monies raised at the April 12 fight, which featured six other men’s bouts and two women’s, went to Building Homes for Heroes, which builds houses for disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Along with this charity, Bravest Boxing in the past has helped other veterans’ charities such as Wounded Warriors.

“Whenever we’re fighting over here it’s for charity,” he said. “It’s definitely very rewarding when you’re boxing for charity. It [training and fighting] makes it a lot easier when you’re doing it for a good cause.”

 

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Building collapses in Woodhaven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

A two-story building partially collapsed in Woodhaven Friday evening, disrupting J train service for several hours, according to reports.

The FDNY responded to the incident around 6 p.m., but after digging through the debris determined that no one was injured in the collapse.

The commercial structure, located at 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, has reportedly been vacant for four to five years.

Firefighters told CBS New York that the recent heavy rain may have contributed to the collapse.

 

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Truck fire, explosion shuts down Queensboro Bridge


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was closed for several hours Sunday evening after a truck caught fire and caused an explosion.

Around 7 p.m., the vehicle was attempting to cross the Queens-bound lower-level of the bridge when the truck’s engine caught fire, according to the FDNY.

As a result, several gas tanks inside the vehicle exploded.

There were no injuries reported.

Video via YouTube/MarcoOnTheBass

 

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63-year-old found dead in New Hyde Park fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

FDNY officials are investigating a Tuesday morning residential fire after they discovered a man dead inside the burned home.

The fire broke out around 8:15 a.m. at 76-37 268th Street in New Hyde Park, according to police.

After firefighters put out the blaze, they found a 63-year-old man in the attic with severe burns throughout his body. The victim was taken to North Shore LIJ Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The fire marshal will determine the cause of the blaze.

 

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