No Way Out
Fighting a tenement blaze on a freezing January day now called Black Sunday, two firemen were killed and four were forced to jump out the window in a tragedy everybody thinks could have been prevented. Two years later, the survivors talk for the first time about what happened in that building and why the rage and guilt they feel have only gotten worse.....
Anatomy of a Fall
(1) Firefighters Curt Meyran, Gene Stolowski, Brendan Cawley, and John Bellew, all from FDNY Ladder 27, arrive at 236 East 178th Street in the Bronx at approximately 8:05 a.m. on Sunday, January 23, 2005. Firefighters Jeff Cool and Joe DiBernardo, from the FDNY’s Rescue 3 unit, arrive soon after that.
(2) With firefighters from other companies already battling the blaze on the third floor, the main site of the fire, Meyran, Stolowski, Cawley, Bellew, Cool, and DiBernardo are sent to the fourth floor to clear it and prevent the fire from spreading. The six men case the area, but their efforts are made difficult by dense smoke and the mazelike structure of the chopped-up tenement building. Because of problems with a hydrant and other equipment, the men are also operating without working hoses.
(3) A burst of fire erupts through the third floor, trapping the six firefighters in Apartment 4-L. Their attempts to find a safe way out are thwarted by an illegal partition wall (in red, above) that hampers their efforts to find a fire escape.
(4) With the flames inches from their backs, the six men are forced to jump from four windows—a 50-foot drop. Meyran and Bellew die from the fall. They are survived by their wives and seven children, ranging in age from 5 months to 16 years old. The four other men suffer multiple critical injuries, are left with permanent disabilities, and are forced to retire from duty. The four survivors and two widows later sue the city for not supplying the firefighters with personal-safety ropes. Pinning the blame on the partition walls, the Bronx district attorney charges the building’s landlord and two tenants with manslaughter, criminal negligence, and reckless endangerment. Both legal actions are ongoing.
By Robert Kolker
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01-16-2007, 09:23 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 1999
- Here, There, Everywhere
No Way Out: What went wrong on Firefighters' Black Sunday
01-16-2007, 12:59 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Excellent article, I read it yesterday. I believe it is like 8 or 9 pages long. It was a horrible thing that happened to the brothers and what they are still going through.
Fred, you say that the mayor is a scub bag, after reading that article it just furthers your point after some of the comments he made about one of the widows.
We used it as a discussion piece today for training as well.
01-16-2007, 02:23 PM #3
Thanks for posting that. We should heed the lessons earned so "everyone goes home"..."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
01-16-2007, 02:37 PM #4
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
- No. Providence R.I. : Land of the "How ya doins"
That was an excellent article. I got sent the link via The Secret List. I was at the Firehouse Expo in Baltimore and went to the Black Sunday presentation that featured the survivors. Sent chills throughout listening to the radio transmissions and hearing the stories of the brothers who jumped because they had no choice. Real eye opener."I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."
Edward F. Croker
Fire Dept. City of New York
HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.
01-16-2007, 06:59 PM #5
Awesome read..thanks. This incident is the one that led me to buy and escape system..
01-16-2007, 07:44 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- Cupcake NY
The Chief working that day is the coolest cucumber I know. I would do anything for him!
01-16-2007, 08:13 PM #7
Thanks for sharing FFFred.............saving it and printing it now.
Last edited by backsteprescue; 01-16-2007 at 08:15 PM.------------------------------------
These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
01-16-2007, 09:01 PM #8
This is why I carry a personal escape system......you never know
Make sure our Brothers have NOT died in vain.......learn from this guys!AJ, MICP, FireMedic
This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.
01-16-2007, 11:30 PM #9
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