NEW YORK – Two New York City police officers were overcome by smoke while responding to a suspicious fire in a residential building in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn Sunday and were hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
"Police officers Rosa Rodriguez and Dennis Guerra took the building's elevator up to the 13th floor where they were overcome by smoke in the hallway as they exited," Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said.
Bratton said firefighters found both NYPD Housing Bureau officers "unconscious and unresponsive" in the hallway on the 13th floor. The firefighters pulled both officers back into the elevator and brought them downstairs where they were treated by EMS personnel, he said.
Rodriguez, 36, was first stabilized at Lutheran Hospital and then transferred to Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Guerra, 38, was taken to Coney Island Hospital and then airlifted to Jacobi Medical Center.
Both officers suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and the effects of smoke inhalation and remain in critical condition, Bratton said.
Police Sgt. Thomas Antonetti said Monday morning that a suspect was in custody but had yet to be charged. No other information on the suspect or how the fire started was immediately available.
Guerra is married with three children and has more than seven years on the job. Rodriguez has been with the Department for more than three years.
Fire officials said the blaze in the 18-story building on Surf Avenue broke out just after noon on the 13th floor and was brought under control within an hour.
"The cause of the fire has been deemed suspicious and is under active investigation at this time," Bratton said.
Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said three firefighters and two civilians were also treated for minor injuries.