INFERNOS KILL 3 FIREFIGHTERS

INFERNOS KILL 3 FIREFIGHTERS

By MURRAY WEISS, LARRY CELONA and ANDY GELLER NY Post

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January 24, 2005 — 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.

As flames closed in, Lt. Curtis Meyran and firefighter John Bellew — who had a total of seven children — made the desperate decision to leap 50 feet from the fourth floor of a burning building at 236 E. 178th St. in the Morris Heights section of The Bronx.

Meyran, 46, a 15-year FDNY veteran, and Bellew, 37, a 10-year veteran died, and four others who also jumped were badly injured.

The Post learned they were ordered to give their hose to firefighters battling the main blaze on the third floor after an erroneous report that their hose burst.

Three hours after the tragedy, Brooklyn firefighter Richard Sclafani, 37, of Ladder Co. 103, died after getting trapped in the basement while fighting a blaze in an East New York home.

Excluding 9/11, it was the blackest day for the FDNY since three firefighters died battling a five-alarm Father’s Day blaze at an Astoria hardware store June 17, 2001.

And it was a cruel first for the department.

“We all have between 30 and 40 years’ experience in this job and none of us can remember a day when we had fire fatalities at two separate incidents,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta…………..

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