Tag Archives: Fire

Serial arsonist, who set 13 fires in Queens, arrested


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A serial arsonist has been arrested and confessed to setting 13 fires in Flushing, including a three-alarm inferno that injured 19 firefighters and two civilians in August, fire officials said.

Thien K. Dinh, 43, of the Bronx, was arraigned in Queens on September 15 and charged with starting a series of fires within a three-week span across Flushing and Murray Hill from August 20 to September 13, according to the district attorney’s office. He faces two counts of second-degree arson, four counts of third-degree arson, 13 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and third-degree burglary.

“Arson is a callous crime that shows total disregard for the lives and property of those it impacts,” said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. “I commend our fire marshals in the Bureau of Fire Investigation for their tireless efforts to apprehend this individual whose actions have endangered the lives of New York City residents, injured many firefighters and caused a tremendous amount of property damage.”

Dinh admitted to the offences, according to a criminal complaint, including igniting the blaze at 143-01 45th Avenue near Bowne Street on August 20 that gutted adjacent businesses and totaled the four-story multiple family dwelling.

He said he first broke into the laundromat on the first floor of the building, where officials said the flames originated from, using a hammer to smash through a window and lit clothing and paper on fire, the criminal complaint said.

Dinh also owned up to starting the other rubbish fires that lit up Flushing over the last few weeks, the district attorney said, which caused extensive damage to numerous parked vehicles and multiple buildings. In several instances, Dinh allegedly set fire to 30 to 40 garbage bags lined up on the curb and to furniture thrown out on the sidewalk.

Fire officials said the Bronx resident has 45 prior arrests for many crimes including burglary, property damage and criminal mischief. He is due back in court on October 3.

 

Deli owner bereft after Flushing blaze


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Nineteen firefighters and two civilians were seriously injured after a raging three-alarm fire tore through a four-story home in Flushing early this week, fire officials said.

“It was like a possessed building,” said nearby neighbor Charles G., who did not want to give his last name. “It was a stubborn fire. The fire on the top just refused to die. It kept flaring up in different spots. Even though they put tons of water up there, it kept coming back.”

Flames engulfed the entire multiple family dwelling at 143-01 45th Avenue near Bowne Street at around 2:55 a.m. on Monday, August 20, the FDNY said. Officials said the blaze was controlled by 5:56 a.m.

The two civilians suffered injuries from smoke inhalation and were sent to area hospitals in serious but stable condition, authorities said. Two firefighters were treated and released at the scene, while the other 17 were taken to nearby hospitals. Their conditions were unknown as of press time, an FDNY spokesperson said, but they were all recently released.

Multiple reports say the fire started from a laundromat on the ground floor, but fire officials said the cause is still under investigation.

The raging embers also totaled a five-year-old deli located adjacent to the gutted corner house, leaving business owner Jasvinder Marwaha staring stunned at the debris hours later.

“It’s finished. Everything is gone,” said Marwaha, 50, who owns Indo Pak & American Grocery. “I have a family of three kids and a mortgage I have to pay.”

Marwaha, whose store was closed at the time of the early morning fire, said he could not guess how much money in damages the fire incurred because he was not allowed to go inside yet.

 

Douglaston home destroyed by fire had $1,000s in violations


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

A Douglaston home under renovation, ravaged last week by a three-alarm fire, had incurred a laundry list of complaints and racked up thousands of dollars in violations, according to city agencies.

The 39-12 Douglaston Parkway dwelling received 44 complaints since March 2008 from callers saying the ongoing construction work being done at the site exceeded the scope of the approved permit, according to the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB).

All complaints were listed as closed, according to the agency, but homeowner David Wei Huang was also pinned for two violations from the DOB and 17 from the Environmental Control Board (ECB). Of those violations, nine were still outstanding, according to the DOB, and were related to the ongoing construction.

Huang was issued a $2,500 fine when construction at the site was found not to be in compliance with approved plans and another $1,200 for failing to safeguard the public and his property. There were other violations for working with an expired permit, the DOB said.

Permits were first issued by the DOB to extend the building horizontally in September 2009, the department said.

The unoccupied home went up in flames last Tuesday, August 14 at around 7:30 p.m., the FDNY said. No injuries were reported.

Bystander Thomas Perrino said he heard three explosions from inside the house, which he said sounded like gas tanks exploding.

The entire building was already swallowed in flames before more than 100 firefighters from 33 units extinguished the blaze by around 9:30 p.m. The infrastructure of the home’s second floor had completely caved in at that point, said the FDNY.

The fire was deemed accidental, according to a spokesperson for the fire department, and was caused by construction work being done with pipes and torches.

Huang could not be reached for comment.

— With additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen

3-alarm fire engulfs Douglaston home


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

More than 100 firefighters battled a blaze at a home on Douglaston Parkway last night.

The fire erupted at 7:50 p.m. at the Douglaston home that was under construction and unoccupied at the time.

“I told the Fire Marshal I heard three explosions,” said Thomas Perrino, of Little Neck.

The explosions sounded like a gas tank, he said.

Thirty-three units and 143 firefighters responded to the flames that completely engulfed the private home.

Firefighters had the 3-alarm blaze under control by 9 p.m.  The fire was contained to the single home, though neighboring homes experienced minor damage.

The FDNY said no major injuries were reported.

— With additional reporting by Terence Cullen

Following 2011 fire, O’Neill’s looks toward November reopening


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A white SUV pulled alongside George O’Neill as he sat next to the lot where his restaurant — O’Neill’s — is rising from the ashes.

“When are you going to open?”

This is what George O’Neill’s life has become.

The co-owner of the eponymous restaurant and bar sits outside the site that has been in his family for more than 80 years as it’s rebuilt ahead of a mid-November reopening date.

The passer-by in the white SUV was just a sample of O’Neill’s daily routine.

“I’m questioned every day. ‘When are you opening? Can we book a party?’” O’Neill said. “Evidently, it’s more important than I realized.”

The Maspeth fixture burned down on May 2, 2011 in a five-alarm blaze that needed more than 200 firefighters to extinguish.

O’Neill, who lives in Atlantic Beach, was staying in Maspeth that night.

“When I walked out I saw all the fire engines, I figured it was just a fire alarm,” said O’Neill who keeps a place in the neighborhood across the street from the restaurant. “And then all of a sudden, boom.”

Nothing was saved in the fire that burned for days.

More than 1,000 customers joined O’Neill outside the neighborhood fixture early that morning as the flames and word spread.

“I was mesmerized. I didn’t know what to think,” O’Neill remembered of his initial reaction to seeing his family’s place in flames. “It hit me a couple of days later. Oh my God, I’m out of a job.”

The bar has been in the family since 1928 when O’Neill’s father opened what was then called the Plateau Tavern.

As years passed, O’Neill began buying up the property surrounding the watering hole: a grocery store, a barber shop, a liquor store, a cleaners, a bakery, a delicatessen.

Following the fire and out of a job for the first time in his life, O’Neill got restless. He visited his daughters, but ended up back at the restaurant, setting up a table and chairs stationed under an umbrella to monitor the progress being made on the bar.

Frequenters will stop by for a coffee or a chat as O’Neill sits in waiting. Talking with the regulars is what he said he missed most about the bar.

Right now, O’Neill is biding his time on permits so the construction can continue.

He’s also waiting for an electric meter, but doesn’t expect one soon with Con Edison workers still locked out.

“It’s one thing after another,” he said. “When I think about it, it makes me sick. We’re in our 15th month since the fire.”

But O’Neill’s eyes light up when he discusses the plans for the reopened restaurant.

He pointed out where the 125-foot bar will stand and the catering space that can fit 300 patrons. And of course he mentions the dining fare.

“A lot of seafood, prime steaks, wings,” he said. “We’ve always had good food.”

November 13 has been set as the target date for the grand re-opening

“I’m looking forward to it tremendously.”

Queens firehouses in danger


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Politicians, civic leaders and firefighters rallied recently in Queens to prevent 20 fire companies from going up in smoke.

Dozens gathered on Tuesday, May 29 outside Engine 294 in Richmond Hill, one the 20 fire companies that may close due to budget cuts, including students from nearby P.S. 273.

The children, brandishing signs, led the crowd in chants of, “Save our firehouse and you save me.”

This is the fourth consecutive year lack of funding has threatened to close firehouses. Twenty also faced the chopping block last year, but were saved in the final budget.

“We need to make sure that when a budget is passed in New York City, it is a budget that keeps our residents safe,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Council’s Fire and Criminal Services Committee.

No official list has been released of the fire companies that may close, but last year’s list included four in Queens: Engine 294, Engine 328 in Rockaway, Ladder 128 in Sunnyside and in Engine 306 in Bayside.

“Hopefully, no companies close,” said an FDNY spokesperson. “Right now, it looks like it will go that way.”

The city’s budget will be finalized by the end of June.

If Engine 294 is eliminated, it would be the third time in its history it has closed.

The first closing lasted six years – from 1975 to 1981 – and the most recent was in 1991.

Two men were killed in a fire shortly after the closing in 1991.

“If [Engine 294] was here that day, those two men may still be alive,” Crowley said.

Though Engine 294 directly serves Richmond Hill and the surrounding communities of Woodhaven and Ozone Park, closing any companies affects every neighborhood in the city, said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

“If they close 20 fire companies it will affect every neighborhood in the city of New York, not just the ones they close them in, every neighborhood,” Cassidy said.

“If you take Engine 294 out of the equation, response times will rise for medical emergencies and fires.”

Engine companies also provide emergency medical attention, in addition to responding to fires.

“We’re playing with fire, and what happens when we play with fire. We get burned,” said Senator Joe Addabbo. “This is not a game we should be playing. We shouldn’t be playing with fire.”

New York City is ranked last in the number of firehouses per capita, said Eddie Boles of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.

“This is our life we’re talking about,” said Maria Thomson, president of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District. “This is life and death.”

Apparent murder-suicide attempt in Bayside arson


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Law enforcement officials stand in front of the Bayside home that was the location of a murder suicide on Wednesday, May 23.

A Bayside woman died after an argument with a man in their shared home on Wednesday, May 23 during what appears to be a murder suicide.

Firefighters responded to a call around 7:30 p.m. at 39-20 214th Place after neighbors saw smoke and smelled gasoline. Both victims were found in the basement by responding law enforcement officials. According to sources, the woman was found unconscious with trauma to her chest. The man was found nearby and had reportedly hung himself.

Sources alleged the man doused the home with gasoline and started a fire before attempting to take his own life.

Both victims were taken to different hospitals. Published reports state the woman died at Flushing Hospital while the man is in critical condition at New York Hospital Queens.

The couple, said to be in their 50s, argued frequently, according to neighbor George Gomez. He also said the woman frequently gambled – a catalyst for many of their fights.

It is not certain if the two were married. The couple has reportedly lived in the home for a time of between several months to a year.

Carol M., the couple’s next-door neighbor said the couple always seemed kind and never showed any signs of discord.

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Fallen NYPD officers added to the ‘Wall of Heroes’

Fifteen heroic cops who died last year — including two killed year in the line of duty — were honored at Police Headquarters on Friday by having their names added to the “Wall of Heroes.” NYDailyNews

 

Pack of 15 or more teens chases, stabs 15-year-old Brooklyn boy on playground

A gang of teens stabbed a 15-year-old boy in the chest with a kitchen knife on a Brooklyn basketball court after cornering him and pummeling whim with bottles and sticks Friday, police and a witness said. NYDailyNews

 

Good Samaritan saves grandma and her infant grandson from blaze that killed transgender performer

A gutsy passerby rescued a terrified Brooklyn woman and her 8-month-old grandson from a suspicious apartment fire that killed their transgendered neighbor early Saturday. Katrina Evans, 46, was trapped with the little boy by a balky fire escape ladder in the 4 a.m. smoke and darkness outside her third-floor apartment. NYDailyNews

 

Gal charged with stabbing boyfriend in chest during fight held on $75G bail

The Manhattan woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend in the chest was still sobbing today as she appeared in court and was ordered held on $75,000 bail. Yekatrina Pusepa, 22, said nothing, but tears streamed down her face during her criminal court appearance on charges of attempted murder and assault for the attack on her boyfriend Alec Katnelson, 22. NYPost 

Two people killed in Brooklyn, Queens fires

Two people were killed in fires early this morning in Brooklyn and Queens, police said. A 25-year-old woman was found dead after firefighters extinguished the flames in a Bushwick third-floor apartment on Furman Avenue, near Bushwick Avenue, shortly before 4:40 a.m., authorities said. Fire marshals say the blaze is suspicious, but do not know what sparked it. NYPost 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News

 

1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

Woman killed in Auburndale Fire


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

e

A 63-year-old woman perished in the blaze that consumed her Auburndale home.

The victim, Joanne Brown, was found dead at the scene on Sunday, April 15. Her cousin, who Brown lived with, 59-year-old John Rebecchi, escaped.
Neighbor Sandra Villafane was one of the first people to see the fire. Up late on the computer, Villafane said she heard loud crackling noises and screams.

“Joanne! Joanne! [Rebecchi] was screaming her name,” said Villafane.

Villafane, who lives two houses over with her boyfriend, said that Rebecchi refused to leave his property. He stood by the wrought iron fence that surrounds his home and watched the fire in shock. After some coaxing, she said, she was able to get him to sit down and drink a glass of water.

At 4:39 a.m., firefighters responded to the call at the two-story private dwelling located at 45-08 189th Street. According to the FDNY, when units arrived they saw there was heavy fire on the first floor of the home.

Yu Jin Lee, who lives directly across the street, woke up on Sunday morning when she thought she heard her car alarm. Her three-year-old had also entered the room to wake her, Lee guessed because she was startled by the noise.
As soon as she looked outside, she said, she saw a column of flames.

“It was shocking,” she said. “All I kept thinking was ‘What do I have to do?’”
The fire was under control by 5:20 a.m. No firefighters were injured during the incident.

Neither Villafane nor Lee said they had any contact with Brown. Lee said she would occasionally see her smoking outside and Villafane said she and Rebecchi would exchange pleasantries every so often.
The cause of the fire is accidental electrical issues, possibly involving an extension cord, according to the FDNY.

 

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens woman killed in overnight fire

A Queens blaze killed a woman this morning, and seriously injured her cousin, authorities said. Firefighters discovered the unconscious body of Joanne Brown, 63, as they extinguished the flames in her Auburndale home on 189th Street, near 45th Avenue. EMS pronounced her dead at the scene. The fire began about 4:40 a.m., and was under control less than an hour later, according to an FDNY spokesperson. Read More: New York Post

Prober uses Facebook to nail perv, goldbrick NY teachers

Facebook is giving more Big Apple teachers a black eye. As the city Department of Education prepares to release it’s first-ever social-media policy, Schools Investigator Richard Condon has tallied a rapid growth in complaints about improper Facebook usage by city school employees — 120 in the past 18 months. Some teachers got in trouble for posting dumb jokes tinged with sex or violence. Others were busted after their own or students’ Facebook comments tipped officials to wrongdoing. Read More: New York Post

Sleepy driver kills 2: cops

A Long Island man on prescription drugs fell asleep behind the wheel and drove his 2011 Honda Ridgeline into a tree early yesterday, killing his 19-year-old girlfriend and a 17-year-old passenger, cops said. Thomas Smith, 20, of Ridge, and Jacqueline Salvador had just moved in together last week and were returning from Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Also in the car were her brother, Johnny Salvador, 17, Ryan Baumgartner, 17, and an unidentified girl, 16. Read More: New York Post

Queens Child’s Fundraiser Raises Awareness Of Rare GI Disorders

A Queens fourth grader with a rare gastrointestinal problem held a Saturday fundraiser in Woodside to raise money and awareness. KeVaughn Plunkett, who is allergic to almost all foods and has to use a food pump to survive, held his fourth Annual Art Show event at Saint Mary’s Church in Woodside. Proceeds went to the American Partnership For Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED). For more information, visit apfed.org. Read More: NY1

 

 

Schumer Demands Harsher Penalties For Pharmacy Robberies

In the wake of several robberies of pharmacies in the area, Senator Charles Schumer is urging Congress to pass a bill calling for tougher penalties. The Safe Doses Act, which is already waiting for a Senate vote, would increase punishments for robbing drug stores and give police more tools to crack down on illegal prescription drug rings. Just last week, two man held up an East Harlem pharmacy looking for pain medication. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

New York Marks Centennial Of Titanic Sinking

Exactly 100 years since an iceberg sank the RMS Titanic, New York City is holding events today to mark the centennial of the famed shipwreck that killed more than 1,500 people. The Titanic sank early in the morning of April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg late the previous night. A tour in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is letting visitors pay respects at the gravesites of several Titanic passengers. Also, the Noble Maritime Collection at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island is opening a Titanic-related art exhibit. Read More: NY1

Firefighters feted following Lindenwood blaze, rescue


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Firefighter James Goelz made his first on-the-job rescue when an elderly woman’s Lindenwood apartment became a blazing inferno.

“When we got [to the building] there were people standing outside the apartment,” said Goelz. “When we got to the lobby we could smell something. People said there was something going on. We knew we were going to work that day.”

On Friday, April 6, fire safety officials responded to a call at the Ardsley apartment building, located at 153-25 88th Street.

Alex Alarcon, the Ardsley’s super and a tenant himself, recalled awaking that morning to the frightening sound of banging on his door. Alarcon, who has overseen the apartment complex for the past 22 years, said the male tenant who was knocking exclaimed that there was a fire on the fourth floor of the building.

When he went upstairs, Alarcon said the entire place was black and filled with smoke.

The tenant who alerted him called the fire department. Firefighters from Brooklyn’s Ladder 107 arrived shortly thereafter.

Responding firefighters surveyed the building’s layout, deducing that the fire originated from a unit on the fourth floor. Using a thermal imaging camera, Goelz, along with Lieutenant Gerry Cox and John Bunning, found the source of the blaze. Upon entering the smoke-filled residence, Goelz discovered the elderly, unidentified victim unconscious.

Cox carried the woman downstairs and outside, where he performed CPR on her. Goelz stayed behind to search for more victims. Thankfully, there was no one else in the apartment.

According to Alarcon, there has never been a fire in the Ardsley building before.

Alarcon alleged that the woman, would smoke and fall asleep with her cigarette still lit. He claimed that on several visits to her apartment, he noticed marks on the ground from where she would drop her cigarettes. Alarcon said he urged the tenant not to smoke in bed.

According to the FDNY, fire marshals determined the cause of the blaze to be careless smoking.

Goelz, who has been fighting fires for the past six years, said that regardless of the known danger, people continue to light up in bed.

“It is pretty common,” said Goelz. “It’s surprising that people do it, but they do. It’s not off the wall.”

The local hero is extremely proud of the rescue, especially the commendable job done by his fellow firefighters.

“It felt good,” said Goelz. “We did what we were supposed to do. Everyone did a good job and we really worked together. Everything went really clean. She’s still fighting for her life and that’s what it’s all about. You don’t get that opportunity all the time.”

One person critically injured after early-morning fire rips through Queens apartment


| jlane@queenscourier.com

An early morning fire ripped through a Queens apartment, leaving one person clinging to life, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out on the fourth floor of a six-story building at 153-25 88th Street in Lindenwood at 7:32 a.m., officials said.

One victim went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/queens_person_critically_injured_MLDboGY1QPj6HqqgZOyBLM#ixzz1rH8UL3gi

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Crews Battle Lower East Side High-Rise Fire

Members of the New York City Fire Department at this hour are battling a high-rise fire on the Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Heavy smoke is pouring out of the top floors of 89 Columbia Street. So far, no injuries have been reported. A cause is not yet known. Read More: NY1

 

Queens couple busted after allegedly locking up and abusing disabled woman, taking her money for over a year

A Queens couple was arrested for locking a partially paralyzed woman in a room from hell for more than a year, denied her food and a took advantage of her financially, said prosecutors. Patrick Donovan, 42 and Mae Washington, 63, were charged for convincing Maureen Murray, 58, to move out of her assisted living facility to save her some money, but instead of giving her a safe place to live they abused her and out of fear, she gave them power of attorney over her finances. Read More: New York Post

Jury announces it is deadlocked on rape chargers against ex-cop Michael Pena

On its fifth day of deliberations, a Manhattan jury has deadlocked on the question of whether drunken, now-ex-cop Michael Pena actually raped a terrified schoolteacher during a random gunpoint attack in Inwood last summer. “It’s a deadlock note,” defense lawyer Ephraim Savitt told reporters shortly after noon. The trial judge, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers, has already repeatedly admonished the jury to keep trying, and is expected to release them due to their note. Read More: New York Post

Zimmerman ‘distraught’ over Trayvon shooting: report

The Florida man who blew away an unarmed black teen is “distraught” over the incident and has been praying non-stop for the victim, according to a close family friend. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has been in hiding ever since he gunned down defenseless Trayvon Martin, 17, on the streets of a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26. The killing has touched off a heated national dialogue on guns, Florida’s self-defense laws, race and hooded sweatshirts. Read More: New York Post

Knicks say Stoudemire won’t need surgery; out 2-4 weeks

The Knicks have given a timetable for Amar’e Stoudemire, and they expect their star forward to return in 2-4 weeks from the bulging disk in his back. After a second opinion agreed with the Knicks original diagnosis, Stoudemire will undergo non-surgical treatment that will include an epidural steroid injection for the injury he suffered in the win over the Pistons on Saturday. The Knicks also announced that Jeremy Lin would not play on Wednesday against the Magic because of soreness in his left knee. It is the second straight game the point guard will miss. Read More: New York Post

 

Knicks’ Lin meets ex-ESPN worker who wrote offensive headline

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin sat down to lunch with the ESPN employee who was fired last month for posting the infamous “Chink in the Armor” headline on the network’s website. According to Newsday, Lin ate with 28-year-old Anthony Federico Tuesday on the team’s off day. Though the Knicks said Wednesday Lin does not want to publicly discuss the meeting, Federico effusively praised the Asian-American star, calling him “a wonderful, humble person.” Read More: New York Post

Mega Millions soars to record $476M jackpot

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to a record $476 million ahead of Friday’s drawing after no one claimed the grand prize Tuesday night. No one has managed to match all six numbers in the multi-state lottery game since January 24, when a Georgia woman collected the $72 million prize. The near half-billion figure dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey. Read More: New York Post

Nike sues Reebok over ‘unauthorized’ Tebow gear

A trademark suit made public today charges Reebok with illegally cashing in on Tebowmania by peddling unauthorized Jets gear bearing the name of the team’s new celebrity quarterback. Nike, which signed Tim Tebow to an exclusive licensing deal in 2010, says Reebok did an end run around around that agreement to capitalize on the “vociferous demand for Tebow Jets products.” Reebok is allegedly “in the process of shipping large volumes of Tebow-identified apparel products” that are expected to hit stores this week. Read More: New York Post

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Whitney Houston’s death was ‘complicated by chronic cocaine use and heart disease,’ coroner’s office says

Whitney Houston was a chronic cocaine user who had the drug in her system when she drowned in a Beverly Hills hotel bathtub, confirming that her long battle with drug addiction caused her demise, officials said Thursday. An autopsy report on the superstar singer released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said she had mixed illegal and prescription drugs before she was found lifeless in the tub. The official cause of death was accidental drowning “and effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use,” the coroner’s office said. Read More: Daily News

Cheating Manhattan corporate lawyer exposed after ‘assault’ on gal pal

A married Manhattan corporate lawyer’s double life came crashing down after he was arrested for smacking his mistress in the face and threatening to kill her, according to court papers. Steven Guynn, who has handled billion-dollar deals involving big-bucks clients around the world, allegedly punched gal pal Jeannette Schaefer after flying into a rage over breakfast last week in the tony New Canaan, Conn., home he shares with his wife. Read More: New York Post

 

Despite differences, devout Tebow and X-rated Ryan share passion for winning

There has never been a pairing of head coach and quarterback like this, not even Weeb Ewbank and Broadway Joe Namath, not even Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, not even Walt Michaels and Doug Flutie with the USFL Generals. Read More: New York Post

 

Kim Kardashian flour-bombed at LA promo event for perfume line

Kim Kardashian was flour-bombed in Los Angeles on Thursday night as she attended a promotion for her new perfume — with alarmed staff calling in the fire department to investigate. The reality starlet was walking the red carpet at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, promoting the scent True Reflection, when she was showered in a white powder. Read More: New York Post

 

Labor-loving Quinn will pass wage bill

A pro-union bill that would boost salaries for thousands of privately hired workers to minimum rates set by the city is slated to pass the City Council next week as Speaker Christine Quinn courts organized labor for her likely 2013 mayoral bid, The Post has learned. Quinn told her Democratic members in a closed-door meeting this week she plans to move the controversial “prevailing wage” legislation at the council meeting on Wednesday, sources said. Read More: New York Post

Early-morning fire damages Manhattan home; one firefighter injured

Dozens of city firefighters spent the early morning battling a Manhattan house fire. The fire started at about 3 a.m., along West 217th Street in Inwood. Police at the scene said the house was burning blue when they arrived — and it took firefighters nearly two hours to get the fire under control. One firefighter was injured from a fall, and his condition is unknown. But officials at the scene said no one in the house was injured. Read More: New York Post

 

2 bodies found on eastern Long Island, 1 in area where corpse discovered last month

Two bodies have been discovered within 24 hours on eastern Long Island, including a woman’s corpse found dumped in a wooded area where a body turned up last month. Suffolk County cops said they have no evidence linking the victims to the 10 bodies that have been found since December 2010 in Gilgo Beach, a suspected dumping ground of a serial killer. A jogger found a female corpse about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Manorville Hills County Park. Read More: Daily News
Staten Island stabbing suspect to be arraigned today on murder charges

The man suspected of fatally stabbing a Staten Island groom-to-be at his engagement party will be arraigned today on charges of murder and weapons possession, authorities said. Redinel Dervishaj, 35, allegedly plunged a butcher’s knife into the chest of bricklayer Anthony Lacertosa, 27, during an early-morning melee last Saturday in front of the Espana Restaurant. Dervishaj was nabbed Tuesday hiding out at his aunt’s home in Illinois, police said. He waived extradition and was returned to Staten Island yesterday. Read More: New York Post