Conviction in New York Fire, Ambush Trial

Woman guilty in connection to fatal ambush that killed and wounded firefighters
A house burns Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 in Webster, New York. A former convict set a house and car ablaze in his lakeside New York state neighborhood to lure firefighters then opened fire on them, killing two and engaging police in a shootout before killing himself while several homes burned. Authorities used an armored vehicle to evacuate the area. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Jamie Germano)
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A woman charged with buying guns for a convicted felon who later used them to kill two volunteer firefighters in an ambush was convicted Tuesday of falsifying business records.

FRM/FFN Webster Ambush Coverage

A state Supreme Court jury in Rochester found 25-year-old Dawn Nguyen, of the town of Greece, guilty because she lied when she said on a gun purchase form that she was buying the weapons for her own use. She also faces federal charges.

Prosecutors say Nguyen bought a semi-automatic rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun at a Gander Mountain store in 2010 for her neighbor William Spengler Jr., who was prohibited from owning weapon because of his felony record. Spengler had been released from prison in 1996 after serving 17 years for killing his grandmother with a hammer.

Spengler set fire to his Webster home early on the morning of Dec. 24, 2012, then shot at responding firefighters, killing Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka and wounding Joseph Hofstetter and Ted Scardino. Spengler then committed suicide.

Prosecutor Timothy Prosperi said Nguyen's bail was revoked after the verdict on Tuesday and she was sent to the Monroe County Jail to await sentencing on May 19. He said she faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to four years in state prison.

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Brooklyn Three-Alarm Fire

Teen Charged in Fire That Injured NYPD Officers

Two officers were critically injured when trapped in Brooklyn apartment fire
Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Police say a New York City teenager told detectives that boredom led him to set fire to a mattress in the hallway of his apartment building, which critically injured two officers.

Sixteen-year-old Marcell Dockery of Brooklyn was arrested Monday on charges of assault, arson and reckless endangerment. He was awaiting arraignment Tuesday. His lawyer's name wasn't immediately available.

The officers were responding to the fire Sunday afternoon when they were overcome by carbon monoxide and smoke. They were found unconscious in a 13th floor hallway.

Thirty-six-year-old Rosa Rodriguez remains in critical condition in Manhattan's Weill Cornell Medical Center, and 38-year-old Dennis Guerra is in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.

Police say Dockery told detectives he tried to put out the fire and warn residents as the flames spread.

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New York Volunteers Gain Legislative Successes

LOSAP tax rule and other legislative priorities pass
AARON BESECKER, The Buffalo News Published Monday, April 7, 2014

WHEATFIELD - The state association representing volunteer firefighters saw some legislative success in the last year, most significantly in getting an income tax exemption for pension-type payouts included as part of the new state budget.

The Firemen's Association of the State of New York, which held an outreach program on its legislative efforts Sunday at the St. Johnsburg Fire Co., welcomed the change.

Under the new rules, payments from a volunteer fire company's "length of service award program" received after a person reaches the age of 59½ will no longer be subject to state income taxes.

It's something the association has been working on for three years, and one of an array of issues that are part of an effort to recruit and retain more volunteer firefighters across the region and the state."It's the law now, so that's a good thing," Robin Schott, the group's legislative committee chair, told a couple dozen local volunteer fire company representatives in the Ward Road hall.The association is continuing to work with state lawmakers on other important issues, Schott said.

FASNY and five other state firefighting organizations have identified seven other issues as legislative priorities for this year:

· Prohibiting all three levels of sex offenders from becoming volunteer firefighters.

· Prohibiting use of chemical flame retardants on residential upholstered furniture.

· Requiring the use of seatbelts by volunteer firefighters.· Allowing ambulance services run by volunteer fire departments to charge for services rendered. Presently, any ambulance service run through a fire department is prohibited from charging patients for its services.· Raising the fine for property owners who make illegal modifications to multifamily dwellings, which the association says put residents and firefighters at risk.

· Enacting a more "rigorous" process to review the proposed dissolution of fire districts. A 2009 law makes it easier for fire districts to be dissolved. "We just need to make sure there's a due process," Schott said.

· Increasing disability payments for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.

The association is also pushing for expanded cancer coverage for sick volunteer firefighters. At present, the only cancer treatment that's covered is for lung cancer, while professional firefighters have an array of cancers covered, Schott said.

The group, which is represented by the Albany lobbying firm DKC Government Affairs, also hopes to see progress on two proposed laws that were vetoed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last year.

The first would offer job protection to volunteer firefighters who assist when states of emergency are declared around the state.The other would provide coverage under the Volunteer Firefighters' Benefits Law for volunteer firefighters or ambulance workers who are injured when assisting victims while outside of their geographical jurisdiction.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com

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FDNY, NYPD Fight during Charity Hockey Game

Both sides throw punches during second period
Published Monday, April 7, 2014

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — A large brawl broke out during an annual charity hockey match between New York City police and firefighters on Long Island.

Videos posted online show players from both teams clearing the bench and throwing punches while referees are seen trying to break up the fights. Hockey sticks and gloves are seen littered about the ice.

Newsday (http://bit.ly/QUJcdW ) reports the fights began during the second period of the match at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Sunday as both teams were tied 3-3. The NYPD eventually won 8-5.

The fire and police departments both declined to comment.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

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Fight during FDNY, NYPD Hockey Game

NYPD Officers Trapped in Brooklyn Fire

Stuck elevator traps officers investigating apartment fire
VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Published Monday, April 7, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Two New York City police officers were overcome by smoke while responding to a suspicious fire in a residential building in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn Sunday and were hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

"Police officers Rosa Rodriguez and Dennis Guerra took the building's elevator up to the 13th floor where they were overcome by smoke in the hallway as they exited," Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said.

Bratton said firefighters found both NYPD Housing Bureau officers "unconscious and unresponsive" in the hallway on the 13th floor. The firefighters pulled both officers back into the elevator and brought them downstairs where they were treated by EMS personnel, he said.

Rodriguez, 36, was first stabilized at Lutheran Hospital and then transferred to Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Guerra, 38, was taken to Coney Island Hospital and then airlifted to Jacobi Medical Center.

Both officers suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and the effects of smoke inhalation and remain in critical condition, Bratton said.

Police Sgt. Thomas Antonetti said Monday morning that a suspect was in custody but had yet to be charged. No other information on the suspect or how the fire started was immediately available.

Guerra is married with three children and has more than seven years on the job. Rodriguez has been with the Department for more than three years.

Fire officials said the blaze in the 18-story building on Surf Avenue broke out just after noon on the 13th floor and was brought under control within an hour.

"The cause of the fire has been deemed suspicious and is under active investigation at this time," Bratton said.

Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said three firefighters and two civilians were also treated for minor injuries.

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NYPD Officers Become Trapped in Brooklyn Fire
  • 9/11 Museum Set to Open in May

    World Trade Center site will pay tribute to victims of 2001 and 1993 attacks
    In this file photo of June 19, 2011, a damaged New York Fire Department truck is stored in Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The truck is part of the collection of artifacts for the National September 11 Museum. The long-awaited museum dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks will open to the public at the World Trade Center site on May 21, officials announced Monday, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
    Published Thursday, March 27, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — A long-awaited museum dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will open to the public at the World Trade Center site on May 21, officials announced Monday.

    The opening will follow a May 15 ceremony and a six-day dedication period during which the museum will be open around the clock for 9/11 family members, rescue and recovery workers and others directly affected by the 2001 attacks, said Joe Daniels, president of the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

    "We want to make sure that our doors are open for them to see it before the public does," Daniels said.

    The museum includes two core exhibitions at the foundation of the trade center complex.

    One of them, called "In Memoriam," pays tribute to the 2,983 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as well as the six people killed in a truck bombing at the trade center on February 26, 1993. The other, a three-part historical exhibition, tells the story of Sept. 11 and explores what led to the terrorist strikes.

    The museum's regular hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

    "This is a major milestone," Daniels said. "It's just a very real marker of the rebirth of the World Trade Center."

    Planners had originally hoped that the museum could open in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Construction delays were made worse by flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy and by a funding dispute with the site's owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, stopping all work for nearly a year.

    The planned ticket price of $24 has angered some Sept. 11 family members.

    Retired Deputy Fire Chief Jim Riches and Sally Regenhard, each of whom lost firefighter sons in the attacks, complained earlier this year that the museum "was never intended to be a revenue-generating tourist attraction with a prohibitive budget and entrance fee." Museum officials defend the planned ticket price, saying the museum's operations are privately funded.

    Daniels said there will be no admission charge for relatives of Sept. 11 victims or for rescue and recovery workers. Children age 6 and younger will get in free, and admission will be free for everyone on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

    There will continue to be no charge to enter the World Trade Center memorial plaza, which is already open. About 5.3 million people visited the plaza last year to see the two huge fountains that sit in the original footprints of the twin towers.

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