Fire Destroys $9M New York Mansion

Southampton Village home fire started in the kitchen
Published Monday, July 27, 2015

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a $9 million mansion in Southampton Village was destroyed in a blaze that took firefighters from more than a dozen departments seven hours to extinguish.

Newsday reports ( the fire at the six-bedroom, 8,300-square-foot home was reported just before 12:30 p.m. Saturday and burned well into the evening. Mayor Mark Epley tells the newspaper residents of the two-story home escaped before firefighters arrived and were not injured.

There were reports, however, of some firefighters being treated for smoke inhalation and elevated blood pressure.

Epley says the fire started in a kitchen and did not spread to other homes.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fire Destroys Buildings in Lake Placid Near Ironman Triathlon Site

Two buildings were destroyed by quickly spreading fire
Published Monday, July 27, 2015

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — A fire has destroyed two building in Lake Placid, just a day before hundreds are expected to partake in the annual Ironman triathlon in the village.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( ) reports Saturday that police and firefighters will need to remain at the scene throughout the night.

Flames broke out around 6:30 p.m. in a building with apartments and stores. They quickly spread to a neighboring building.

WPTZ Photos: Fire Crews Battle Blaze in Lake Placid

Officials with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation are also working to keep falling debris away from the Ironman swim course.

The buildings are near Mirror Lake, where the competition kicks off with a swim Sunday morning.

Triathalon officials say Sunday's race will go ahead as scheduled.

More than 2,500 people are expected to participate.

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WPTZ, Large Fire Bruns Through Lake Placid Business

Lake Placid Fire

Lake Placid Fire


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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

FDNY Medics Rescue Drowning Woman

Rescue Paramedics from Station 4 save woman at Pier 25 in Manhattan
Fire Department City of New York Published Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NEW YORK - At approximately 7 a.m. on July 20, Rescue Paramedics from Station 4, Niall O'Shaughnessy and Moses Nelson, responded to a report of a person in the water at Pier 25 in Manhattan. Paramedics O'Shaughnessy and Nelson quickly responded to the scene and found members of the Parks Department had thrown the patient a flotation device and were attempting to remove her from the water.

"I realized that she was exhausted and she was having a hard time handling the life ring properly" Paramedic O'Shaughnessy said. "I was worried she was about to go under water for good."
Paramedic O'Shaughnessy plunged off the pier into the 25-foot deep water to help the drowning patient.  He swam to the patient, calmed her down, began medical assessment and helped keep her stable with the flotation device.

"She was very nervous initially but I told her additional FDNY members were coming to help her," said Paramedic O'Shaughnessy.

At the same time, Paramedic Nelson coordinated rescue efforts from the shore, contacting FDNY Fireboat Marine 1-Alpha and helping direct it to the exact location where Paramedic O'Shaughnessy and the patient were located.

Paramedic Nelson added, "As a Rescue Paramedic, we are trained for this. We shouldn't be considered heroes, this is our job."

Paramedic O'Shaughnessy and Firefighters from Marine Company 1 brought the patient into the boat and transported her to shore for further medical care.  Another arriving ambulance then transported the patient to the hospital.

This is the second rescue that Paramedic O'Shaughnessy has been involved in on the Hudson River.  In August 2014, he helped save a patient in cardiac arrest during the New York City Triathlon.

"Everyone in this job wants to help somebody, it's our second nature," said Paramedic O’Shaughnessy.

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Rescue Paramedics Niall O'Shaughnessy (left) and Moses Nelson, responded to a report of a person in the water at Pier 25 in Manhattan. (FDNY photo)

Four Killed in New York Limo Crash

In Cutchogue, an SUV strikes a limousine carrying eight people
Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal crash between a limousine and sports utility vehicle Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Cutchogue, N.Y. Multiple visitors to New York wine country were killed Saturday and others were seriously injured in the crash on the eastern end of Long Island, law enforcement officials said. (Randee Daddona/Newsday via AP)
Published Monday, July 20, 2015

CUTCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) — A 55-year-old Long Island man pleaded not guilty Sunday to driving while intoxicated after his pickup truck crashed into a limousine carrying eight young women, killing four, law enforcement officials said.

The group — friends since high school now in their 20s — was returning from a nearby winery on Long Island's East End on Saturday afternoon.

Their driver was trying to make a U-turn at an intersection along Route 48 on Long Island's North Shore when the pickup slammed into the limo, authorities said. In the mangled metal and glass wreckage, four of the women survived and were hospitalized, along with both drivers.

The pickup driver, Steven Romeo, was arraigned Sunday at his hospital bedside at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport.

Romeo was arraigned on one misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated and ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond. He is to appear in court on Friday.

His attorney was not immediately available for comment.

Chief Martin Flatley of Southold, Long Island, identified the dead as Brittany M. Schulman, 23, of Smithtown, on Long Island's North Shore; Lauren Baruch, 24, also of Smithtown; Stephanie Belli, 23, of nearby Kings Park; and Amy R. Grabina, 23, of Commack, also on the North Shore.

"As a family, we're obviously devastated by the loss of my daughter," said Steven Baruch, his voice choking up at times as he spoke by phone about his daughter, Lauren Baruch.

He said the young women had been friends for years, as far back as high school, and they had taken this kind of winery tour before.

"She was in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said of his daughter. "We loved her more than anything. Now I've got to bury my daughter."

Injured survivors include the driver of the limousine, Carlos Pino, 58, of Bethpage, Long Island, and four young women.

The police chief identified them as Joelle M. Dimonte, 25, of Elwood, Long Island; Melissa Angela Crai, 23, of Scarsdale, in Westchester County north of New York City; Alicia Arundel, 24, of Setauket, Long Island; and Olga Lipets, 24, of Brooklyn, New York.

The driver of the pickup hit the brakes before the crash but could not stop in time, Flatley said. The chief said Romeo ran from the crash scene, but was caught and arrested.

Romeo is a co-owner of Romeo Dimon Marine Services in Southold, Long Island.

The police chief said Saturday's crash was "one of the worst accidents I've ever seen." The Suffolk County district attorney planned a news conference Monday to brief reporters on the ongoing investigation.

The collision marked the second car crash with multiple fatalities on Long Island in the last several days.

Last Sunday, a father and his two children were killed when their sedan was rear-ended and the car burst into flames. His wife — the children's mother — escaped uninjured.

A Queens man was charged with driving while intoxicated in connection with the crash and another man was charged with driving his friend away from the scene. Both have pleaded not guilty and deny any wrongdoing.


Associated Press writer Frank Eltman contributed to this report.


This story has been corrected to show that Steven Romeo's court appearance is scheduled for Friday, not Thursday, that Eastern Long Island Hospital is located in Greenport, not Greenpoint, and to show the limousine was struck by a pickup truck, not a sport utility vehicle.

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Brooklyn Fulton Street Building Collapse
  • Video: Teen Saves Lives at Fatal Brooklyn Fire

    16-year old rand into a burning Brooklyn apartment building to rescue others
    KATHLEEN CULLITON, The New York Post Published Wednesday, July 8, 2015

    While panicked residents ran from a deadly Brooklyn apartment blaze Monday, a 16-year-old neighbor risked his life - rushing into the flames and smoke to help save others.

    Gutsy Taliq Thomas said he was walking home when he spotted the Nostrand Avenue blaze in Flatbush at around 1:45 a.m., and immediately sprang into action.

    "I ran toward the building. I saw smoke coming out the top of the windows, two guys hanging out, and one of them landed on the Golden Krust'' restaurant awning, Thomas said.

    "Another landed on the mattress me and another guy pulled out from the garbage. He stuck a leg out, then another leg out, and tried to slide down. He jumped and landed on his side kind of hard. I wanted to catch him, but it was too quick."

    The teen said he and another man then ran up the steps of the burning three-story building near Glenwood Road.

    "The fire was spreading. I seen the flame turn black. I went to the first apartment on the first level we reached. The door was open, and two people ran past me, a woman and a man," Thomas said. "It was getting hotter and hotter.

    "I ran straight up to the next level. I banged on the door.

    "We yelled, 'Is anyone else in there? Can you come out?' [The woman inside] said, 'No, I can't move!' "

    Thomas said he ran back out of the building to get a big bottle of water that he'd left outside and hurried back inside and up to the woman on the third floor again to try to douse her doorway and get her out.

    But "it was too hot . . . I couldn't breathe," he said.

    A 58-year-old resident and father of three, Tony Celestin, died after jumping onto the bedding with his clothes on fire, relatives and officials said.

    Two other residents were seriously hurt, while three more suffered minor injuries.

    The man who leaped onto the awning said Celestin woke him up, saving his life before losing his own.

    "He just come to me, shook me," said Jean Maurice. "I was scared. I said, 'I don't have any choice, I have to jump.' "

    Celestin's daughter, Manushka Celestin, 26, called her dad "a hero."

    "Instead of trying to save himself, he went to the back area where it started. There's a 5-year-old [child] that lives there,'' she said. "He's this area's Superman.''

    Additional reporting by Natasha Velez, Antonio Antenucci and Kate Sheehy.

    Fire At Brooklyn Apartment Kills One Injures Others

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

    NFFF and FDNY Announce Culmination of National Stair Climb

    Citi Field event will honor all of America’s fallen firefighters
    Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    NEW YORK CITY -  National Fire Prevention Week this October will culminate with the National Stair Climb, an event honoring firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice. FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro joined leaders from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), United Technologies Corporation (UTC), Kidde Fire Safety, and loved ones of fallen firefighters to announce the event today at FDNY Firehouse Ladder 20 and Division 1 on Lafayette St. Seven members of this station died on 9/11. Previous stair climbs have focused solely on the 343 members of the FDNY who perished on 9/11. The National Stair Climb, scheduled for October 10 at Citi Field, will expand the scope of this tradition to remember all of America’s fallen firefighters, and is the first event of its kind to take place in New York City with the support of the FDNY.

    “Every day, here in New York City and across the country, firefighters go into harm’s way, through every obstacle and climbing every step needed to accomplish their life-saving mission,” said FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “The FDNY is proud to take part in this fitting tribute to every firefighter who has made the supreme sacrifice and to lend our support to the families they left behind.”

    Participants will climb 2,200 steps in Citi Field. These steps symbolize the 110 stories of the World Trade Center Towers — the ascent that FDNY firefighters took on September 11, 2001 — and the ultimate sacrifice that 343 first responders made that day. It also is a journey of hope, raising funds to help programs for surviving family members of firefighters across the country. Approximately 100 firefighters die in the line of duty each year in the U.S.

    “The National Stair Climb is a tremendous way to honor all firefighters from across our country who have died in the line of duty,” said Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “This climb is also a way to let the families know the legacies of their loved ones are remembered by so many.”

    The first 9/11 stair climb took place in Denver in 2005 when five Colorado firefighters gathered at a high-rise to climb 110 flights of stairs in memory of their 343 FDNY brothers. In 2010, they partnered with the NFFF to hold a series of climbs around the country. The National Stair Climb is open to the public and to all ages. Proceeds will benefit the FDNY Counseling Services Unit and the NFFF.  

    “We are proud to partner with the FDNY and NFFF to help support the launch of this unique tradition in New York City,” said Jim Ward, president, Kidde Fire Safety, a global leader of residential fire safety products and sponsor. Kidde is a part of UTC, the climb’s presenting sponsor. “Whenever there’s a call for help our nation’s firefighters respond without hesitation. They put their lives on the line every day. The funds raised from this climb will help ensure that survivors of the fallen will continue to receive outstanding assistance as they navigate through challenging times.”

    Participants will receive a name badge honoring or in memory of the firefighter for whom they have chosen to climb and an event t-shirt. Early registration costs $35 until August 31. For more information and to register, visit  

    About National Fallen Firefighters Foundation
    The NFFF's mission is to honor and remember America’s fallen firefighters. The NFFF provides resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives and works within the fire service community to prevent firefighter deaths and injuries. For more information about the NFFF visit

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    Congress Urged to Extend Zadroga 9/11 Health Act

    9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act is set to expire in October 2015
    A firefighter looks at a memorial mural on the outside of firehouse Engine 10 Company 10 adjacent to the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. Three hundred forty three New York firefighters were killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
    Published Thursday, June 11, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Advocates for ailing Sept. 11 first responders urged Congress on Thursday to permanently extend a law providing medical monitoring and treatment for the rescue workers, saying they need reassurance that their health care will not be cut off.

    Dr. John Howard, the administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that extending the law would help clinicians treat victims, and allow administrators to better plan patient care. He pointed out that there are affected individuals in 429 of the 435 congressional districts.

    "It's stressful to be told on a year-to-year basis that your care might be taken away," Howard said. "From the administrative perspective, it's stressful because we have to constantly prepare for when this may end."

    Proponents of the law are seeking its permanent extension in part because some illnesses may not manifest until years later, after the statute of limitations for worker's compensation or certain state laws may have run out.

    The law, which is set to expire in October 2015, established the World Trade Center Health Program to provide medical monitoring and treatment for first responders affected by Sept. 11-related illnesses. It also reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which is set to expire in October 2016.

    Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, D-New York, said the law is "more than likely" to be reauthorized. She said the permanence of the law is critical because of the children who may be affected by the delay and persistence of certain illnesses.

    "The heavy lifting is done," Clarke said. "We're building a case for why (a permanent law) is a necessity."

    The law, called the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, is named after a New York police officer who participated in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center after the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. He died in 2006 from respiratory failure that was said to be related to his Sept. 11 service.

    Nearly 15 years later, dozens of firefighters have died and hundreds more are seriously ill with health problems. Howard said there have been rare cancers and chronic health problems found in some victims.

    Without the funding provided by the Zadroga Act, research on these illnesses would cease, Howard said.

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    Cause of Deadly Harlem Explosion Identified

    Poor gas line joint is likely cause of blast that killed eight in 2014
    In this March 12, 2014 file photo, firefighters work the scene of an explosion that leveled two apartment buildings killing eight people and injuring about 50, in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York. A new report indicates that a gas main that leaked before the explosion had not been pressure-tested to federal specifications because of a New York state exemption. The report by the National Transportation Safety Board made public Wednesday, March 18, 2015, does not say the lack of a pressure test had anything to do with the explosion. (AP Photo/Jeremy Sailing, File)
    Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — A poorly crafted joint in a plastic Con Edison gas line and an 8-year-old break in an old city sewer line were the likely causes of an explosion that killed eight people in New York City last year, federal investigators said Tuesday.

    FRM/FFN East Harlem Explosion Coverage

    The weakness of the plastic pipe joint was exposed because the soil that supported it was washed away by groundwater flowing into a gaping hole in the brick sewer line, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

    Both Con Ed and the city took issue with the conclusion, each claiming the other was fully responsible for the March 12, 2014, blast. The morning explosion also injured 50 people, left more than 100 families homeless and disrupted train travel by throwing debris onto the Metro-North Railroad tracks above the street.

    Con Ed blamed the sewer breach entirely, saying, "Not all of the participants involved in this investigation reached the same conclusion concerning the sequence of infrastructure failures."

    City spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said blaming the sewer line "appears unsupported by the facts," noting that the breach was 43 feet from the gas pipe connection.

    "The full investigation reveals that a properly fused fusion joint would not have failed," she said.

    The NTSB said the worker who made the saddle joint in the plastic gas line in 2011 — so a new building could get gas from the main — failed to ensure that the two surfaces were clean. That contaminated the joint, which was made by melting the plastic, the agency said.

    The defective joint "was the only credible source of natural gas that could have provided a large enough flow rate" to fuel the explosion, the NTSB said. But the joint opened up because the gas line was sagging as a result of the erosion beneath it, the board said.

    If the break in the sewer main had been repaired after it was detected in 2006, the explosion might have been prevented, the board said.

    It said that when a report of a gas odor was called in to Con Ed on the day of the explosion, a dispatcher notified the city fire department, but when the department called back for an address, the dispatcher said, "Hold up. No, sorry. Hold up one second. Hold on. I will call you back. I will call you right back," but did not follow up.

    The NTSB's staff analysis said the fire department could have reached the scene 15 minutes before the explosion and perhaps would have begun an evacuation. During a discussion, however, NTSB members cautioned that it's not clear any lives would have been saved.

    Other findings included:

    —Several people reported after the explosion that they had smelled gas the day before, but none called it in.

    —Con Ed's public education program did not effectively tell customers what to do when detecting a gas odor.

    —If Con Ed had installed appropriate valves on the gas line, the leaking main could have been isolated and turned off more quickly after the explosion.

    —The gas line installer's qualification credentials were not up to date.

    The board recommended that Con Ed revise its plastic welding procedures; provide guidelines and training on how to notify the fire department of an emergency; and install more isolation valves.

    Con Ed said — and the NTSB agreed — that it has already implemented several remedies.

    "We agree with many of the NTSB's recommendations, and many new gas safety and quality control measures are already underway," the company said.

    The NTSB also recommended that New York City implement new procedures to ensure the integrity of sewer lines and make timely repairs.

    Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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