BROOKLYN, New York (PIX11) — A police officer who suffered smoke inhalation from a Coney Island high-rise fire allegedly set by a “bored” teenager has died, officials said.
Dennis Guerra, 38, was pronounced dead Wednesday morning.
An 8-year veteran of the force and a father of four, Guerra suffered severe smoke inhalation on Sunday and was placed in a medically induced coma hours before his death.
Guerra’s partner Rosa Rodriguez, 36, was critically hurt in the fire but is improving, family said.
The officers became trapped in the elevator of a Coney Island high-rise after a 16-year-old allegedly set a discarded mattress ablaze on the 13th floor, apparently because he was “bored.”
“We pray that every young person who hears of the tragic passing of hero police officer Dennis Guerra and of the suffering of officer Rosa Rodriguez and their families, learns that there deadly consequences that result from foolish actions,” Patrick J. Lynch, president of NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said in a statement.
“We must learn from this tragedy so that their sacrifices will not have been made in vain.”
Guerra and Rodriguez were pulled unconscious from the building at 2007 Surf Ave. and rushed to hospitals.
Marcell Dockery was formally charged Tuesday with arson, assault and reckless endangerment. He likely will face more charges now that Guerra has died.
“The tragedy here is that a 16-year-old young man would not have common sense enough to understand the potential implication of lighting a mattress, as it’s been alleged, on fire in his own building. How can any of us make any sense out that? Particularly with the tragic consequences that ensued,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said at a Tuesday news conference.
Bratton said his department is now looking into NYPD’s policy, or lack thereof, when it comes to officers heading into burning buildings in the hope of preventing another tragedy.
“We have determined that the department has not, does not have and has not had any policy specific to this issue of going into buildings and utilization of elevators,” Bratton said.
PIX11’s Jeff Crianza contributed to this report.