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Massive Fire Engulfs Historic Church on Orthodox Easter

“For this to happen on such a holy day, I don’t know what to say,” said Alex Velic, a 31-year-old churchgoer, as enormous fireballs erupted from the shattered windows of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street.

“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad,” he said. “I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”

A force of 170 firefighters responded to the fire, which started shortly before 7 p.m., FDNY officials said. Church officials and the FDNY both said there were no reports of major injuries, though three firefighters and a church caretaker had minor smoke inhalation.

“Nobody is hurt, everyone is safe,” explained Father Djokan Majstorovic, dean of the cathedral.

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Photo: Peter Gerber

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said there had been 700 people inside the church earlier in the day for the Orthodox Easter service. He added that the cause of the fire at the historic house of worship is still under investigation.

[Read the full story here, at the New York Post]

“It’s a very sad day today,” Nigro said. “They had their Mass at 10 a.m. and then a luncheon. The good news is that there was no one inside when the fire started and there are no injuries. One man is being checked out for smoke inhalation.” Read the rest of this entry »

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New York City Police Officer Shot In Face Dies

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Brian Moore, 25 years old, died from his injuries after being taken off life support at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center two days after the shooting

Pervaiz Shallwani reports: A New York City police officer shot in the face through the window of his unmarked police car was pronounced dead at a Queens hospital Monday, authorities said.

Brian Moore, 25 years old, died from his injuries after being taken off life support at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center two days after the shooting in Middle Village neighborhood of Queens, police officials said.NYPD

Officer Moore was part of the anti-crime unit in the New York Police Department’s 105th precinct in Queens and was in plain clothes, patrolling in an unmarked police car with his partner when he was shot by a suspect they saw tugging at his waistband, authorities said.

Police Commissioner William Bratton is expected to meet with the officers’ family Monday afternoon.

Demetrius Blackwell, a 35-year-old with a long criminal record accused of shooting Officer Moore, has been charged with attempted murder and is being held without bail. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: 1 WTC Window Washers Rescued


Firefighter tells story behind iconic moment with George W. Bush

President George W. Bush embraces firefighter Bob Beckwith while standing in front of the collapsed World Trade Center

President George W. Bush embraces firefighter Bob Beckwith while standing in front of the collapsed World Trade Center

Bob Beckwith, a retired New York City firefighter, is one of the best-known faces of the rescue efforts in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.

The photo of him wearing his old fire helmet, standing alongside then President George W. Bush atop the ash-covered remains of a fire truck, became legendary. It graced the cover of the next day’s New York Post and, later, Time magazine.

It also catapulted the retiree into the nation’s spotlight. Read the rest of this entry »