Coney Island

Two NYPD cops critical after Coney Island fire, teen charged with arson

16-year-old lived in building

April 6, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Eagle
2007 Surf Ave., Coney Island
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Two NYPD housing cops remain in critical but stable condition after becoming overcome by smoke at 2007 Surf Ave. in Coney Island around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. 


See below for update on a second fire in the same building on Monday.

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The officers, Dennis Guerra, 38, and Rosa Rodriguez, 36, who rode an elevator to the 13th floor in an attempt to help residents, were overcome by smoke and were found unconscious in the hallway by fire fighters. They were initially taken to Lutheran Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital.  Rodriguez was then transferred to Weill Cornell in Manhattan and Guerra was airlifted to Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, and then transferred to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.

Police have charged 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, a building resident who lived on the 12th floor, with multiple counts of arson, assault and reckless endangerment. According to ABC, Dockery reportedly told detectives that he set a mattress on fire with a lighter because he was bored and wanted excitement, but he was then unable to put it out. Sources told ABC the teen has set at least one fire before. He has an arrest for arson in 2010 and other prior arrests as a juvenile.

Fire officials say the blaze in the 18-story residential building was under control within an hour.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, at a late afternoon press conference, said, “This is a sobering reminder of the risk NYPD officers face. We owe these officers a deep debt of gratitude.”  De Blasio said he had spent time with the family of Officer Guerra, and was heading to Cornell to visit the family of Officer Rodriguez.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the officers, who both have four children, were overcome by smoke and suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. They were stabilized at the Brooklyn hospitals and then transferred to facilities that have special burn units. 

Minor injuries were also suffered by three FDNY fire fighters and nine civilians.

UPDATE: In an odd twist, FDNY on Monday responded to another fire in the same Coney Island building where two cops were injured on Sunday.

FDNY spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle the fire was the result of either a defective stove or food left on the stove.The call came in at 3:29 p.m. and fire units arrived at 3:31 p.m.

“It was closed out fast,” the spokesperson said. “You have to expect in a building of that size, it’s going to have a defective stove. Or someone will leave food on the stove, then lock themselves out of their apartment.” There were no injuries, he said.

Updated April 7, 2:45 p.m. with information about the teen arrested for setting the fire.

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