Two firefighters killed in Deutsche Bank building fire
(New York- WABC, August 18, 2007) (WABC) -- Two FDNY firefighters lost their lives battling a seven alarm blaze at the Deutsche Bank skyscraper, a building heavily damaged during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Just after 9:00 p.m., Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that the men had died. One firefighter suffered cardiac arrest and another suffered smoke inhalation.
One of the firefighters killed is 34-year-old Joseph Graffagnino from Brooklyn. The second firefighter killed had not been identified, as authorities had not yet notified his family of his death.
Both men worked at Ladder 5. Mayor Bloomberg said that firehouse lost 11 men on September 11, 2001.
Authorities say the two who died Saturday got trapped on the 14th floor, and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Bloomberg said six other firefighters were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be released. No civilian injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire was unknown. Officials didn't immediately say whether the smoke from the blaze could contain toxins.
At one point in the evening, police were telling residents they were concerned the building could collapse. Police at the scene were preventing residents from going back to their homes, even to rescue pets. However, the mayor said in his news conference that there was no risk of a collapse.
The fire was declared under control just after 10:00 p.m.
The skyscraper stands just feet from Ground Zero and was heavily damaged on September 11, 2001. Crews have been dismantling it floor by floor, a difficult process necessary because asbestos was found in the building after 9/11. The process of taking down the building stopped for awhile when human remains from 9/11 were found on it. But it was again being deconstructed today, part of the process of getting ready to build the new Freedom Tower.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg sought to reassure residents that the chemicals in the building did not present a significant health risk, saying officials saw no need for a frozen zone.
The 1.4 million square foot office tower stood as a downtown Manhattan eyesore since the 9/11 attacks, contaminated not just with asbestos, but also with toxic dust and debris after the World Trade Center's south tower collapsed into it.
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