Tag Archives: howard beach fire

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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Arrest in connection to bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A Brooklyn man was arrested in connection to the two bodies found in a brush fire in the Spring Park Preserve last week, authorities have announced.

Rogelio Rodriguez, 34, was charged on Tuesday, March 12 with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Rodriguez is only one of four men involved in the brutal homicide of 22-year-old Rudy Superville and 25-year-old Gary Lopez, both of Brooklyn.

“The defendant is accused of participating in the brutal murder of two men whose bodies were dumped and intentionally set on fire in an attempt to cover up the alleged crime,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

The two men’s bodies were discovered after firefighters put out a blaze around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6 near the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach. The medical examiner later determined that both victims had been shot several times and had blunt force trauma to the head. Superville had also been stabbed.

A day earlier, inside Rodriguez’s 143 Grove Street residence, he allegedly struck the two victims with a gun and kicked them after they had already been shot by one of the unapprehended suspect. Lopez was shot again by another one of the apprehended suspects, then struck by a third. It’s believed that Superville was also stabbed during that time.

The men may have been killed after a botched drug robbery, according to reports.

In an apparent attempt to cover up the crime, a day after the bodies were dumped, Rodriguez went to Newton Creek in Maspeth and threw seven firearms, including the two of the guns involved in the homicides, into the water.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Vehicles sought in connection to Howard Beach brush fire bodies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Authorities are looking for the occupants of three vehicles wanted for questioning in connection to two bodies found in a Howard Beach brush fire yesterday, said police.

The vehicles are described as a two-tone dark colored custom van, four-door light colored sedan and four-door dark colored sedan.

Police have also identified the victims as 22-year-old Rudy Superville and 25-year-old Gary Lopez, both of Brooklyn.

The men’s bodies were found after police put out a blaze in a grassy are near the Belt Parkway around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

An official cause of death has not been released,  but, according to published reports, the victims were found with gunshot wounds.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.  All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Police recovered two bodies in a Howard Beach brush fire near the Belt Parkway this morning.

Authorities responded to a 9-1-1 call for a fire in the grassy, undeveloped area around 4:30 a.m. near the intersection of 159th Avenue and 78th Street. When the fire was out, police said, they found the bodies of two black men.

The medical examiner, on scene along with NYPD and U.S. Parks Police, will determine the men’s identities and cause of death.

Tom Folchetti, who lives just up the block, said his daughter was alarmed when she saw fire trucks outside, so he headed toward the scene.

Folchetti said he was surprised to hear that bodies were in the fire.

“It’s not an everyday occurrence,” he said, adding that the neighborhood should be “definitely concerned about what goes on here.”

 

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