News: Bizarre Incidents on Long Island
(Long Island, N.Y.) A fire in Brooklyn is believed to be caused by a six-year-old African spurred sulcata tortoise. The animal is the size of a basketball and knocked over a heat lamp in the processes of attempting to escape its' plastic tank. Three officers and one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation injuries following the tortoise's rescue.
The fire is believed to have been extremely fast moving, and would have easily destroyed the slow-moving animal. Strangely enough, the tortoise managed to stay out of harm's way when it was rescued in the apartment's kitchen. Prior to the fire, the turtle was caged in a terrarium inside his eighteen-year-old owner's bedroom.
The young owner is an art student at Borough of Manhattan Community College. A second animal, a water turtle that also resided in his room, was not so lucky. The animal perished in the blaze, which is believed to have started from the heat lamp igniting the owner's highly flammable art supplies, paint, and paint thinner.
The family's apartment was destroyed in the blaze, and the three policemen who first responded were in the area when they entered the home to assist in a rescue. Without knowing that no one was inside the home, their goal was to rescue any trapped residents. The blaze occurred on Sunday afternoon in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Witnesses of the fire stated that the third floor of the Fifth Avenue apartment was in flames within minutes. Some reports stated that flames were bursting out of the top floor. The apartment was a home that the eighteen-year-old shared with his family. His sister was photographed with the rescued turtle and his parents are owners of a nearby jewelry store called Pyramids Jewelry International.
At the time of the incident, at least sixty firefighters responded to the call and took thirty minutes to extinguish the flames. The family questions the exact cause of the accident, and the eighteen-year-old owner of the turtle claims that he doubts his pet's role in the fire. He reasons that if the turtle was guilty, he would have seen him attempting to climb from the tank when he was first brought into the home. Some reports have stated that the source of the fire was electrical.
In a separate incident, a forty-five-year-old Nassau County Police Department EMT/Medic died last Wednesday from a fast-spreading infection. The medic, from Levittown, was complaining of feeling ill before being admitted to the hospital. He died twelve hours later.
His family believed that he may have contracted the infection from a patient. Authorities are investigating the past cases that the medic dealt with prior to his death. They are paying close attention to any suspicious cases that occurred recently in his line of work.
The medical examiner assigned to the case has yet to determine the medic's cause of death. The medic had previously worked as a New York City medical technician and paramedic for ten years. He later transferred to work for Nassau County.
His family, including a son, has stated that they are awaiting answers in this case and that he was healthy prior to the infection. If it's determined that the medic's death was caused by the handling of a patient, the family could be entitled to life of duty benefits.
March 22, 2011 5:55 PM Eastern
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