PARTITION OF DOOM
By DENISE BUFFA, NY Post
January 16, 2009
An illegal partition blocked access to the fire escape during the Black Sunday blaze that forced two firefighters to jump to their deaths in The Bronx, a city building inspector testified yesterday.
Two former tenants, the former landlord and the one-time corporate owner of the building are on trial for allowing that partition in the fourth-story apartment to be constructed.
Inspector Ed Curtis said he inspected the building the day after the Jan. 23, 2005, tragedy and issued violations for the blocked path and a padlocked window security gate. He also found two illegal partitions in the third-floor apartment where the fire began on East 178th Street.
"This partition wall was continuous throughout," Curtis said in Bronx Supreme Court. "There was no other way to get to the fire escape."
Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, died. Four other FDNY jumpers survived but had to undergo long rehabilitation.