Firefighter: 'Black Sunday' blaze was 'hell'

In stoic and composed testimony, a firefighter who was on scene during the "Black Sunday" tragedy spoke Tuesday about the frantic moments that led to two peers being killed in 2005.

Firefighter Jeffrey Cool told jurors about the conditions FDNY personnel met when they responded to a blaze at a building on East 178th Street. Cool, testifying at the Bronx Hall of Justice, says it was "hell" and that thick black smoke left him unaware of his surroundings.

Cool says he was perched outside a window on the building's fourth floor, from which firefighters John Bellew, 37 and Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, jumped to their deaths.

According to Cool, the heat had become unbearable. Then, aided by another firefighter, he used a safety rope to temper his fall but ultimately fell 40 feet and survived.

Cesar Rios, the building's landlord, Rafael Castillo and Caridad Coste are charged with manslaughter for allegedly contributing to the deaths of Meyran and Bellow by building illegal partitions in the building.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."