Queens Two-Alarm Fire, Box 5099

Nonprofit Asks Clinton, Trump to Stop Campaigning on 9/11

Organization sent letters asking candidates to not campaign on 1th anniversary
Retired New York City firefighter Joseph McCormick visits the South Pool prior to a ceremony at the World Trade Center site in New York on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. With a moment of silence and somber reading of names, victims' relatives began marking the 14th anniversary of Sept. 11 in a subdued gathering Friday at ground zero.(AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)
Published Thursday, August 25, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) — A national organization promoting Sept. 11 as a day of public service and remembrance is asking presidential candidates to stop campaigning and running political ads on the 15th anniversary of the terror attacks.

The New York-based nonprofit, 9/11 Day, has sent letters to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

It's also urging people running for Congress to refrain from campaigning on Sept. 11.

The nonprofit's president and co-founder, David Paine, says a one-day campaign moratorium would help revive the spirit of national unity and empathy that followed the attacks.

Representatives for Trump and Clinton did not immediately say whether their candidates would agree to a campaign moratorium.

The organization made a similar request in 2012. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama complied.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
New York Twins Saved at Birth Become Firefighters

Strangers Help New York Firefighter, Family Find Home

Kenneth Walker and his family were victims of arson by a former firefighter
THOMAS J. PROHASKA, The Buffalo News Published Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kenneth D. Walker has never owned a home. That will change soon.

The story of North Tonawanda's only African-American firefighter, whose apartment was torched two days after he received a racist letter, touched people across the country who reached out to help him.

Walker said he has received about $150,000 from an online fundraising effort started by a man he had never met. Now he and his wife, Amanda, are house hunting.

"We're grateful. It's a lot. It's overwhelming," Walker said in an interview with The Buffalo News. "We've never had any experiences in buying a house, so it's new. There's a lot of moving parts with it, but I got a lot of people from the fire hall and a lot of people I just know personally willing to help."

He also is overwhelmed by the strangers who have reached out to help or to offer words of support and encouragement, like Shawn Moynihan, the man who started the fundraising campaign on the gofundme website that proved so successful.

Walker said he did not meet Moynihan, of the Bergholz Volunteer Fire Company in Wheatfield, until a charity event for Walker and his family was held at the Gratwick fire hall Aug. 7.

"I thanked him," Walker said. "We really appreciate it."

And when he attended Firemen's Day last week at the Erie County Fair, Walker said he probably shook hands with 200 people, many of whom offered to help.

"Two weeks ago I was just a regular person, working a 40-hour-a-week job, earning a living," he reflected. "People say 'Ken Walker,' and they say, 'Is that the guy from North Tonawanda?' "

The story by now is well known. Walker received a racist letter from a still-unidentified source Aug. 1, demanding that he resign from Gratwick Hose Company, where he has been a member for 2½ years. Two days later, a man who lived across the street in North Tonawanda allegedly entered the Walkers' apartment, emptied a bottle of lighter fluid on the couch, and lit it.

Walker received the news of the apartment fire from the same neighbor accused of setting the blaze, Matthew A. Jurado.

"I answered the phone and he said, 'Kenny, you need to get home. Your apartment's on fire,' " Walker recalled.

That still bewilders Walker.

"We never had any issues," Walker said. "I wouldn't say we were the best of friends, we wouldn't hang out on the weekends or anything like that. We lived right across the street from each other, so we saw each other all the time. There were a few occasions during the wintertime when we'd go on (fire) calls together. He would ride in my car or I'd ride in his. We were more or less co-workers."

Jurado later told police he was angry with the North Tonawanda Fire Department, apparently for not allowing him to join the volunteer company for lack of completed training.

"He wanted to come to Gratwick," Walker said. "Based on him not completing his training or whatever issues he had, it would have prevented him from joining Gratwick anyway. I told him that," Walker said.

Police have yet to determine who sent the letter that started it all, but Walker suspects Jurado.

"People ask me if I'm angry," Walker said. "I'm more hurt."

But he said the loss of his cats killed in the fire was hard to take.

"For someone to do something inhumane like that when you have animals yourself is just ridiculous," Walker said. Jurado has several cats and dogs.

Walker also said he would have been willing to help Jurado get into the volunteer fire company.

"I know a lot of people in the department," he said. "I could have had a conversation with someone to see what we could do to rectify the situation instead of him having to burn my house down."

Walker is now working on his family's future. He and his wife want to stay in North Tonawanda.

Since the fire, the Walkers, who have two daughters, ages 4 years and 6 months, have been staying with relatives, sometimes in Grand Island, sometimes in Kenmore.

"We're going to try to find a house, hopefully out here," Walker said of North Tonawanda. "If there's nothing available out here, obviously we'll look elsewhere."

Walker, who is training to become an emergency medical technician, said he wants to continue being a volunteer firefighter at Gratwick, but that depends on where he buys his house.

"If we stay here, I'll continue on. If not, maybe I'll go to another department," Walker said.

Since the fire, he hasn't gone on any calls because he no longer is conveniently located for immediate response.

He works full-time in packing, shipping and receiving at Audubon Machinery in North Tonawanda.

Strangers and gifts continue appearing in his life.

As Walker was talking to a reporter outside the fire hall on Friday, Sara Mars of Wheatfield arrived, wanting to know if donations still were being accepted "for that man who had the fire."

Walker walked to Mars' car and was handed a never-used electric griddle.

"I just wanted to give you something," she told Walker. "I wanted to wish you the best of luck, and I hope you get back on your feet soon. If I had little kids, I'd give you clothing, but I don't."

Why was she donating?

"I figured the poor guy probably lost everything," she told a reporter. "I'd rather give it to someone who can use it."

Walker said he is moved by the kindness of strangers.

"It's great. People help out in tragedies," Walker said. "I was never one for publicity, to get my name in lights or anything like that. But I'm grateful, very appreciative of what the department has done, what the City of North Tonawanda has done, and people from everywhere. I can't even put it into words."

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com


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Lexis Nexis
Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

FDNY Engine Caught in Brooklyn Sinkhole

Crash injured lieutenant and firefighter from Engine Company 236
DEAN BALSAMINIM and SUSAN EDELMAN, the New York Post Published Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Brooklyn firefighter broke his back when his firetruck plunged into a sinkhole that area residents say has been a recurring problem for years that the city has failed to properly fix.

Lt. Brendan Connolly, 41, of Engine Co. 236 was hospitalized after the rig he was in struck the 10-by-10-foot crater at Chestnut and Etna streets in Cypress Hills at about 10 a.m. on Aug. 1 while responding to a medical call.

The jolt left him with a broken vertebra, a relative said. He needs a back brace and cane to walk and faces a long rehab, with his return to the job in question.

Antonio Torres, 78, said he was sitting outside his Etna Street home when he heard a boom and saw the firetruck screech to a halt. Chaos ensued as several other firetrucks arrived, and firefighters loaded Connolly onto a board.

Another witness, Lissette Martinez, recalled the horrifying scene.

"We thought the firefighter died," said Martinez, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1993. "It's really sad that this poor firefighter had to go through this because of this sinkhole.

"Until they really fix it the right way, it's going to happen again."

A second firefighter was also injured in the accident, FDNY officials said. Both men were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Connolly was discharged from the hospital Aug. 3.

Neighbors, meanwhile, called the sinkhole an accident waiting to happen.

"It was damaged before, and they fixed it, but they did a bad job," one resident fumed.

Martinez said: "This is outrageous. It could have been anybody - kids crossing the street, kids on a bike."

Two days after the crash, the city Department of Environmental Protection, which checked water and sewer pipes, filled the hole, which it called a "roadway depression."

"If it wasn't because of what happened, it would have never been fixed," Martinez said.

"It looks like it's starting to open up again."

Members of Engine Co. 236 declined to discuss the crash - except for one, who said he wasn't surprised.

"Have you ever seen the roads around here?" he said.

Jake Lemonda, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, noted that responding to any emergency can be dangerous for firefighters.

"Oftentimes, they cannot foresee the dangers that lie ahead of them - including sinkholes," Lemonda said.

Additional reporting by Melissa Klein


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Lexis Nexis
Copyright 2011 Lexus Nexus. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Brooklyn Box 2924 Two-Alarm Fire Videos: Six-Alarm Fire in Staten Island 2016 SPAAMFAA Summer National Convention & Muster Five Firefighters Injured During Brooklyn Fire

Fire Destroys New York Tire Plant

At least 100 firefighters responded to the blaze in Lockport
Firefighters drafted from the Erie Canal to supplement the water supply at the Lockport fire. (WIVB photo)
Published Thursday, August 11, 2016

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Crews remain on the scene of a massive fire at a tire plant Stevens Street in the City of Lockport.

Lockport fire officials told News 4 the fire originated inside High Tread International just before 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

Multiple fire crews from across Niagara County responded to the fire. Authorities say at least a hundred firefighters are on scene, battling the blaze.

No injuries have been reported as a result of the fire, but officials said in a conference that “there may have been somebody inside the building at the time of the fire.”

No details were given as to who might have been inside the building. The unidentified person has not been heard from since the blaze began.

Fire officials are working with the water department to ensure they have enough water supply. Crews are also drafting water from the Erie Canal.

“The largest problem that we have is the amount of water needed to fight this fire, even though we have an excellent water system, there’s just not enough here for us to do it,” said Patrick Brady, Lockport Fire Chief.

Around 9 p.m., the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert for residents on the following streets to evacuate their homes: West Avenue, Stevens, Prospect, Ohio, South Bristol, Bacon, Webb, and Windsor Streets.

“I was looking outside and I saw a policeman coming by and when he motioned for me to come over to him, I walked over to him and he said you have to leave. I’m afraid you have to go,” said Kim Callahan, Lockport resident evacuated from her home.

Authorities said the evacuations were issued due to the large amount of smoke. No homes have been affected by the fire.

“It’s certainly very distressing for our residents and for the neighbors in this community to know that they can’t be in their homes and that they’re being affected by the significant fire,” said Mayor Anne McCaffrey, City of Lockport.

The American Red Cross is partnering with the Salvation Army to open a shelter for area residents forced to evacuate. The shelter is located at North Park Junior High School, 160 Passaic Avenue, Lockport.

Volunteers will provide safe shelter, food and water, and caseworkers will meet with those affected to assess their needs.

It is unclear what caused the fire.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has also reached out the City of Lockport offering assistance.


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