NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Union leaders are calling on the city to increase disability payments for firefighters and police officers.

Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said because of reductions in New York state pension disability benefits, newly hired firefighters and police officers would receive a pittance if injured or disabled on the job.

“New York City Firefighters have proven that we will do anything to protect life, but how can we truthfully tell a young firefighter with a family that they will be protected, when we know that is a lie?” Cassidy said in a news release.

The union is asking the city to lean on the state to raise injury and disability payments, which it said now stand at $27 per day, WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported.

“It’s unacceptable,” Cassidy said. “Nobody would risk their lives for that. God forbid we have another terrorist attack. The citizens of New York want us to do our jobs.

Dennis Wick, 27, just became an FDNY firefighter and said he was surprised by the number.

graduated yesterday,” he told Lamb. “It’s definitely not enough, especially me coming out of the academy. The academy has taught me a lot, but a lot of probies get hurt early on in their career and $27 just doesn’t cut it.”

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By Kirstan Conley and Joe Tacopino

An apartment in the Brooklyn building where a blaze killed a tenant and injured 16 others had been illegally divided into cramped, dangerous living spaces, FDNY sources said.

The fire, sparked by a faulty refrigerator wire, broke out at about 12:35 a.m. Wednesday in a three-story building on Flatbush Avenue near Farragut Road that also housed a storefront church, ­according to the sources.

The tenement was plagued by perilous electrical conditions, ­including exposed wires, fire ­marshals said. After the blaze, the Department of Buildings ordered the remaining residents to vacate.

The owner of the building told The Post that without his consent, a second-floor tenant had created 11 illegal small rooms in his apartment.

The fire claimed the life of a man, believed to be in his early 20s, whose identity was not ­immediately known, cops said.

The blaze was confined to the second and third floors of the building and firefighters got it ­under control at about 1:55 a.m., officials said.

Man rescued from half-frozen cemetery lake
By Kirstan Conley and Kevin Sheehan

A kind-hearted man almost met an early grave Sunday when he wandered out on a half-frozen lake in Woodlawn Cemetery to feed the ducks and fell through the thin ice.

The 50-year-old man, whose name was not released, meandered through the tombstones at the famed Bronx graveyard and walked out onto the ice over the water toward a family of ducks, officials said.

He was 25 feet from the shoreline around 12:45 p.m. when the ice gave out, plunging him chest-deep into the lake, authorities said.

His feet were stuck in the mud and he was unable to pull himself out, rescuers said. All the freezing man could do was cling to the sheet of ice in front of him, they said.

A cemetery worker called 911, and firefighters arrived to brave the bone-chilling water and rescue the man.

A team of Ladder 39 firefighters, who included Bravest Jason Warken, Jeff Daniels and Brian Fitzgerald, tied themselves to a safety rope, slid a horizontal ladder out to the victim and crawled out on their stomachs to pull the shivering victim to safety. The man had no strength left to help himself, firefighters said.

“He said he was cold,” Warken told The Post. “We don’t know exactly how long he was in the water. From the looks of him, it was somewhere just under 10 minutes, but he was pretty cold and pretty out of it. He just kept repeating, ‘I’m cold. I’m cold.’”

The man was rushed to Jacobi Hospital in serious condition.

Warken said it could have been worse.

“A few minutes more and he would be unconscious,” he said. “Your muscles just stop working in that cold.”

FDNY Lieutenant James Grismer warned people to stay away from ice-covered lakes while spring nears and the temperatures climb above freezing.

“We’ve had a couple of warmer days,” he said. “It’s important for people to know to stay off the ice. This guy wandered off feeding the ducks or something and fell through.”

Story by New York Post

Hero Los Angeles pooch comes home after being shot during break-in, saved by crowdfunding


A brave dog has returned home to her family after taking two bullets during an attempted burglary in Los Angeles.
The pooch, Charlie, lost a leg in the violent encounter, but her owners said she ended up protecting two children who were at the home during the Feb. 22 break-in, according to local reports.

According to the North Central Shelter, which cared for the wounded pup, Charlie and her canine siblings chased away the burglars, who opened fire as they took off down the street.

Charlie was struck in her front right and back right legs and lay bleeding in the road, the shelter said.

"Everybody said goodbye to the dog," Armando Casillas, one of her owners, told local KTLA-TV. "For us she was dead."

Because the family didn't have the money to take the wounded pup to a vet, animal control agents brought Charlie to the North Central Shelter for medical care.

A vet there reached out to the North Central Shelter Intervention Program, a facility that specializes in raising money for needy animals and owners.

A crowdfunding page was set up, and local animal lovers and others touched by the dog's heroism raised $8,000 to fund the pooch's life-saving surgery.
KTLA reported the dog returned home Tuesday after having her right front leg amputated.

Despite the missing paw, the pooch was back to her old self, said the shelter, which was there for the homecoming.

"She is being well taken care of and is very much loved. And she is already finessing walking around on three legs!" the shelter wrote on Facebook.
"Her family was overwhelmed with gratitude for all who cared and chipped in to save Charlie."

Charlie's surgery cost $4,000, so half the money raised will go to help other needy pets, the shelter said.

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by fan 

The world of comedy and the world of cinema lost an icon on Monday when Harold Ramis died in Chicago from complications he’d been dealing with from his declining health. Fans of Ramis are still mourning his loss, but there aren’t as many tears as there are touching tributes popping up to honor the comedy legend.

While fans dried their eyes passing clips of Ramis around Twitter and Facebook, an FDNY firehouse honored Ramis in perhaps the most epic and awesome way imaginable.

Ramis’ best remembered film was Ghostbusters, a movie he not only starred in by helped write as well. It was truly the most iconic thing he did but it was also the gateway drug to the rest of Ramis’ material. From his early outings like writing Animal House to his peak in fame with Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Stripes to his credit — in some form or another — to even his later years where he made films like Analyze This, Ramis left behind an epic amount of work.

He wasn’t always a name you mentioned on a daily basis, but the tributes we are seeing are proof that Ramis touched us all and will never be forgotten.

The 74-year-old man lost control and plowed his Lexus into a concrete divider near the expressway’s Liberty Avenue overpass in Jamaica at around 4:30 p.m., police said.

A heroic ESU officer pulled an unconscious from his burning car on the Van Wyck Expressway Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Officer Matthew Hartnett, 32, spotted the flaming 4-door Lexus crashed against the divider on the southbound side of the Van Wyck near the Liberty Avenue overpass in Jamaica around 4:30 PM, Hartnett a 9-year veteran, said in a conference call.
The flames were coming out from underneath, near the engine area.”

Hartnett smashed the front passenger’s side window and pulled the unresponsive driver from the engulfed car with the help of a concerned civilian. Hartnett said, adding that he couldn’t reach the driver’s side door because it was stuck against the divider.

Hartnett dragged the driver, 74, to his department car, about 150 feet away from the blaze. He used his car to block two lanes of traffic on the expressway while executing the daring rescue.

Authorities said the driver apparently suffered a seizure behind the wheel. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he’s listed in stable condition.



WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – A national fund has been established to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died as a result of Wednesday’s fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is organizing the fundraiser and will be using the funds to “assist the survivors and coworkers to rebuild their lives and support the programs and services they will need.”

“This fire and explosion have devastated the entire town in which so many people know and care about each other,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF in a statement. “We want to ensure the survivors and coworkers of those who died in the line of duty know that the entire fire service family is holding them in our hearts and doing all we can to offer support.”

Donations can be mailed by check to:
NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund
P.O. Drawer 498
Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

Credit card donations can also be made at