British Royals Visit WTC Museum and Memorial

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge pay their respects at Sept. 11 museum
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Britain's Prince William, second left, with Joe Daniels, center, president & CEO of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum view the remains of Fire Dept. of New York Ladder 3, during their visit to the National September 11 Museum, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Prince William and Kate are on the last of their 3-day tour of New York City, their first visit to the United States since a trip to California in 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate, paid their respects with a handwritten note Tuesday at the Sept. 11 museum and told its leaders they were struck by the enormity of the loss in the 2001 terror attacks.

"In sorrowful memory of those who died on 11th September and in admiration of the courage shown to rebuild. William and Catherine," she wrote in a note the couple left with flowers on the memorial pools lined with the names of the nearly 3,000 victims.

Making their first visit to New York, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited its most somber site amid a three-day agenda filled with events linked to their charitable interests in conservation and youth development, receptions with actors and others in creative and technology fields, and a bit of all-American entertainment — a pro basketball game.

As the royals toured the museum devoted to the attacks, they examined such artifacts as preserved trident columns from one of the fallen twin towers' facades and viewed rows upon rows of victims' portraits. Like other visitors, they left virtual signatures to be projected on a crucial underground wall that survived the attacks and held back the Hudson River, with Kate looking on with a smile as hers appeared. And they asked questions about the memorial pools' design, about how victims' families had responded to the museum, and about the attacks themselves, National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum President Joe Daniels said.

"You could see in, really, both of their eyes, the sort of care and curiosity they had for the story of what happened and the people who died that day," Daniels said.

William remarked on "how much people understand and need to understand how impactful the scale of loss was" on American history, Daniels said.

Kate noted the vastness of the museum's space, which stretches seven stories belowground amid the fallen towers' footprints, and "talked about how moving the memorial was and being able to touch the names of the victims," museum chief of staff Allison Blais said.

Curious museumgoers stood by to get a look at the royals — including the pregnant Kate's hot-pink Mulberry coat, black tights, and black stiletto-heeled pumps, over a black dress from maternity designer Seraphine. Other fans braved heavy, cold rain outside.

The royals, now 32, were beginning their studies at the University of St. Andrews when the attacks happened. Sixty-seven British citizens died that day, the highest toll of any country other than the U.S.

After the museum, the royal couple watched dance and storytelling performances at The Door, a youth development organization. Tapping his feet quietly during a hip-hop-style dance performance, William also showed he was moved by one young man's story of his father's incarceration and his own brush with a jail term in an assault case.

"I had a low period in my life, and never in a million years did I expect I would be performing for the duke and duchess," Steven Prescod, 22, said later.

William approached Prescod and peer educator Ely Olivero, 22, after the show, calling it "incredible," Olivero said.

The royals went on to a reception celebrating the arts, with guests including actor Patrick Stewart and producer Harvey Weinstein. And William got a look at the view from the Empire State Building's famous 86th-floor observatory while attending an innovation-focused reception with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The duke and duchess ended their trip at a black-tie scholarship fundraiser for their alma mater, St. Andrews, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kate wore a dark green crepe, pleated, off-the-shoulder Jenny Packham dress, one she has worn before.

On Monday, William met with President Barack Obama at the White House and spoke at a World Bank conference. Kate wrapped Christmas gifts and helped children decorate picture frames while touring a child development center. Both royals later attended a reception with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky.

William and Kate then took in a Cleveland Cavaliers-Brooklyn Nets game, meeting music power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce and Cavaliers star LeBron James.


Associated Press writer Verena Dobnik contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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

Seven Injured in Manhattan Crash

Car jumps the curb striking a group of people outside a midtown store
Published Thursday, December 11, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Police say a car jumped a curb in the Herald Square shopping district in midtown Manhattan, injuring seven people, including five pedestrians.

It happened at about 10 p.m. Wednesday on West 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Authorities say the 34-year-old female driver and her male passenger were among the injured. All seven were hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say the driver is in custody. She's being investigated for possible drunken driving.

They say she was traveling eastbound on 34th Street when she rear-ended a vehicle. She then backed up, entered the westbound lanes heading the wrong way and struck another vehicle. Police say the car then mounted the sidewalk, hitting the pedestrians.

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

Police search a car at the scene of a vehicular accident on 34th Street, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in New York. Six people were hurt when the car jumped a curb in midtown Manhattan and struck a group of people around 10 p.m. A fire department spokesman says the injured were taken to Bellevue hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

FDNY Probies Rescue Man at Manhattan Fire

Probationary firefighters enter through a window to rescue one occupant
Probationary Firefighters Leanardo Williams (left) and Johnpatrick Wylie (FDNY photo)
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014

They each of less than 18 months on the job, but Probationary Firefighters Leanardo Williams, Engine 8 (assigned to Ladder 2), and Johnpatrick Wylie, Engine 65 (assigned to Ladder 7), saved a man trapped by a 2-alarm fire in Midtown Manhattan on Dec. 9.

“This is the result of a lot of training; it doesn't happen by accident," Chief Peter Archer, Battalion 9, said. "[The firefighters] thought on their feet and they're really brave.“

The first-floor apartment fire on East 37th Street was reported just before midnight on Dec. 8.

When firefighters arrived, flames were blowing out two windows, and there was high heat and heavy smoke inside. The apartment's residents attempted to extinguish the fire themselves, to no avail, so they fled, leaving the apartment door open behind them.

“An open door gives a pathway for the fire, smoke and heat to enter the interior of the building," Chief Archer said. "It endangers everyone else in the entire building.“

Another resident on the same floor tried to exit his apartment into the shared hallway, and encountered the high heat and smoke. He then retreated to a window in his apartment, leaving his door open, as well.

Green Maltese: An Open Door for Civilians is Nothing New!

He had an unlocked gate on the window, which he tried to open, but due to exhaustion and the disorienting effects of carbon monoxide (CO), he was unable to do so before passing out.

Members from Engine 65 and Engine 16 forced open the gate. Firefighter Wylie said he could hear the man inside trying to get out before he collapsed, but never saw him due to the heavy smoke.

After the gate was opened, firefighters boosted Firefighter Wylie inside the window and he began to search for the victim.

“I couldn't see my hand in front of my face,“ he said, so he kept his foot along the wall to keep track of where he was.

About 15 feet in, he found the victim and began dragging him toward the window.

Firefighter Williams then joined him, and the pair safely pulled the man out the window, which Chief Archer said is difficult to do without further injuring the victim.

“It was incredibly physically demanding and they did an outstanding job,“ Chief Archer said.

Firefighter Michael Eddy then performed CPR on the victim before handing him off to EMS members, who transported him to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

The fire was put under control just after 1 a.m. Seven civilians and one firefighter also sustained minor injuries.

Fire marshals determined the fire was caused by an unattended candle and no smoke alarms were present.

Firefighter Williams, who graduated from the Fire Academy in December 2013, said, “My adrenaline was high, but I relied on my training and to help facilitate the rescue. It felt wonderful to be able to help.“

Firefighter Wylie said it was his first rescue since graduating in June 2014.

“I was nervous and my heart was racing, because I knew this guy was inside and only had a few minutes before the CO took his life,“ he said.

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Multiple Rescues at Manhattan Apartment Fire Multiple Rescues at Manhattan Apartment Fire

New York Department Overhauls Financial Procedure

Limestone Volunteer Fire Department begins corrections after state audit
DALE ANDERSON, The Buffalo News Published Friday, December 5, 2014

The Limestone Volunteer Firemen Inc., the parent organization of the Limestone Volunteer Fire Department, has promised to consult professionals to correct its financial procedures after an audit by the state Comptroller's Office turned up numerous problems.

Deputy Comptroller Gabriel F. Deyo told the parent company's board it needs to tighten its oversight of the company treasurer by requiring financial reports every month and an annual audit.

Deyo said the board also should review and approve all bills before they are paid and make sure they are documented.

He recommended that the company treasurer should handle and record all the company's money, including hall rentals and receipts from the company's bar, the Firemen's Social Club, instead of allowing them to be handled by the club treasurer.

He also recommended that detailed financial records be kept for all fundraising.

The audit, covering 16 months from January 2013 through April 2014, turned up about $38,000 in payments for which there were no receipts or invoices.

Auditors also found $18,700 in unidentified deposits from the club and $3,700 in fundraising proceeds and hall rentals in the club's bank account. They noted that neither the company treasurer nor the club treasurer kept proper financial records. They also observed that although the company treasurer paid every bill, the board did not review or approve any of them.

Among the payments were four checks to the fire chief totaling $3,024. Auditors said he told them the payments were for mowing and snowplowing, but there were no invoices or contracts for the services.

Auditors also were critical of $32,208 in electronic payments from the club's checking account for supplies for the club.

"Although these electronic payments were adequately supported and appeared to be for appropriate purposes," auditors wrote, "the club manager made and authorized these transactions without any oversight."

Although the club has been operated separately from the fire company, auditors said that since the company's board is responsible for managing the club, all of the club's money should be remitted to the company's treasurer. Auditors concluded that "the board's failure to properly oversee bar and hall rental receipts and ensure that the company treasurer accounts for and deposits all receipts are significant control weaknesses that substantially increase the risk that money could be lost or misused and remain undetected."

Auditors came to the same conclusion about fundraising receipts after reviewing records from the company's major event, the 2013 Dice Run.

It was noted that the company could not account for all wristbands issued and registration forms submitted. Auditors pointed out that although a profit of $40,281 was reported, only $39,172 was deposited.

In response to the audit, fire company president David Jacoby wrote, "It is our intention to revamp our internal structure and financial reporting to address the shortcomings your report noted and inconsistencies in our paperwork. We will seek the assistance of accounting and legal professionals to help us accomplish this, together with the help of our membership and community."


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

Long Island Commercial Structure Fire

Video: Construction Worker Killed in Staten Island Collapse

Mezzanine level collapses inside an auto dealership
Published Friday, November 28, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — A car dealership's roof partially collapsed and a section of a mezzanine caved in Friday, killing a construction worker trapped by the rubble as three others scrambled to safety, authorities said.

Officials were investigating what caused the collapse at around 8:15 a.m. at a Staten Island Ford dealership, where city building records show a construction project has been underway for some time.

"Half of the mezzanine level collapsed to the ground," Fire Department Deputy Chief Pete Leicht told reporters. The department tweeted a photo that showed sheets of metal and other material in a heap on the floor as wires dangled from a portion of a ceiling overhead.

Four workers were inside, and three safely escaped. But "one, unfortunately, was caught under the debris," Leicht said.

The man, whom police identified as Delfino Jesus Velazquez Mendizabal, 43, was taken to a hospital in critical condition and pronounced dead on arrival.

A message left for a manager at the Dana Ford Lincoln dealership wasn't immediately returned, and an email to its owner failed.

The city Buildings Department responded to the collapse but had no immediate information.

Department records indicate the owner has been building a new, environmentally friendly building on the property over the last two years, and a permit to demolish the old one was issued in September. Officials didn't immediately have information on which building was affected by the collapse.

A call to an architecture firm that applied for the demolition permit wasn't immediately returned. A woman hung up on a reporter after answering a call to a construction company that got a permit for the new building.

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Construction Worker Killed in Staten Island Collapse

USFA: New York Firefighter Dies after Cutting Trees

Firefighter Foote had gone inside to get warm and suddenly collapsed
United States Fire Administration Published Friday, November 28, 2014

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Firefighter James Foote, 57, of the Summit Fire Department on November 18, 2014.

Upon returning inside of the station to get warm after cutting down two trees on the fire department grounds, Firefighter Foote fell ill and collapsed. Medical assistance was provided by fellow responders and Foote was transported to Cobleskill Hospital where he later passed away of a heart attack.

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter and Fire Commissioner James Foote at
To date, 78 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2014.  Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at

Fatality status is provisional and may change as USFA contacts State Fire Marshals to verify fatality incident information.

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To date, 78 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2014.


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