NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect is in custody in connection with a fire that left two police officers critically injured in Coney Island on Sunday.
Police were questioning a suspect on Sunday night, but no charges had been filed.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the fire broke out around 12:30 p.m. on the 13th floor of a residential high-rise on Surf Avenue, across from MCU Park, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ minor league baseball stadium. The fire was extinguished less than an hour later, the FDNY said.
The officers — a man and a woman, both in their 30s — were overcome by smoke in an elevator while responding to the fire, police told 1010 WINS. Both were found unconscious.
Rosa Rodriguez, 36, was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dennis Guerra, 38, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Rodriguez is a mother of four who lives in Far Rockaway. Guerra also has four children, his father is a retired NYPD detective.
Witnesses said that when the officers ran inside, smoke was billowing out of the building.
“Two cops had to go in an ambulance because they ran in when they saw what happened,” a woman named Evelyn, who declined to give her last name, told 1010 WINS.
The officers were found unconscious and unresponsive on the floor of a 13th floor hallway.
“Fire Department personnel arrived at the building where they made their way up to the thirteenth floor where they located both officers unconscious and unresponsive on the hallway floor,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.
Mayor Bill De Blasio called the fire a reminder of the realities of faced by first responders.
“Today is another sobering reminder of the dangers that face all of our first responders,” he said during a press conference on Sunday, “We owe them all a deep debt of gratitude and our prayers are with these officers and family members.”
Other officials were also quick to praise the actions of first responders.
“I cannot say enough how much we owe the FDNY and NYPD for always rushing in while in the events of emergency when people run out,” City Councilman Tryger Mark said.
“I want to thank our brothers and sisters in the FDNY as well as EMS. They treated our brother and sister like it was their brother and sister,” PBA President Pat Lynch said.
Three firefighters and nine residents were treated at the scene.
There was no visible damage to the building’s exterior. Investigators believe that the blaze started on a mattress that was left in a hallway.
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