Firefighters Killed in Bronx Blaze Were 'Forced to Give Up Their Hose'

Three hero firefighters perished in blazes in The Bronx and Brooklyn yesterday - including two who were forced to choose between jumping for their lives or burning to death after giving up their hose to colleagues on the floor below.

Cool, who lost a firefighting buddy on 9/11, is due to get a medal in June for rescuing a man from a burning building while dangling from a rope.

Meyran joined the department in November 1989 and was cited for bravery while working at Ladder 161 in 1991 and Ladder 123 in 1997.

His wife, Jeanette, said her husband loved his job and his three children, Dennis, 16, Angela, 10, and Dineen, 5.

"My husband was one who would put other people's safety before his own," she said. "We're going to be lost without him."

Meyran's brother, Glenn, said the family was overcome with grief. "But you know when you take this job there's a risk to it, and he knew that, too," the heartsick brother said.

Bellew joined the FDNY in July 1994 and worked previously at Ladder 10 and Engine Co. 23.

He is survived by his wife, Eileen, two daughters, Brielle, 6, and Katreana, 2, and two sons, Jack, 2, and Kieran, 4 months.

"His youngest will never know his dad. He will only know him through photos and stories," his brother, Danny, said sadly.

The blaze broke out in the bedroom of Rolando Escalera, 47, who lived in Apartment 3-I in the rear of the building.

It was caused by sparks from a socket into which an extension cord had been plugged to provide electricity for other bedrooms, FDNY sources said.

"I heard a whoosh and flames shot out of the socket and set my mattress on fire," Escalera said.

"I tried to put it out . . . I threw a pot of water on it and it didn't help. It just got bigger. The flames were shooting 3 feet high."

Investigators plan to quiz the building's owner, who lives in Connecticut, and the super about the partitions.