Home > News > 

NYPD officer injured in apartment fire dies

As you remember these fallen officers, take comfort in recalling that they dedicated their lives to the same principles of honor, duty and courage that brought you to the badge. Such a life is truly rich. Take strength in knowing that when an officer falls, our resolve to serve those in need is not diminished. Our dedication to protecting those in danger is not weakened. Our commitment to remembering those with whom we shared the badge does not fade.

Godspeed, brothers and sisters. You fought the good fight. Now rest in peace…

April 08, 2014

Print Register RSS What's This

NYPD officer injured in apartment fire dies

Officer Down: Dennis Guerra - [Brooklyn , New York]

End of Service: 04/09/2014

Associated Press

NEW YORK — A police officer who was critically injured last weekend while responding to a mattress fire in a Brooklyn apartment building succumbed to his injuries Wednesday, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, noting that the father of four "died trying to save others."

Dennis Guerra, 38, who had more than seven years with the New York Police Department and was the son of a police detective, was pronounced dead at a hospital in the Bronx, Bratton said. His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, who also responded to the fire Sunday in the Coney Island public housing building, remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition, Bratton said.

As tearful members of Rodriguez's family looked on, Bratton addressed hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothed officers in the plaza of police headquarters Wednesday afternoon. He said Guerra's death should remind everyone how quickly a routine call can become deadly for an officer.

"Police Officer Guerra gave his life trying to save others," he said. "And that is the ultimate selfless act."

After an officer played Taps on a trumpet, an American, a New York City and a Police Department flag were lowered and a police helicopter flew overhead. Officers from Guerra's public housing police unit hugged each another and locked arms.

Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy they allege started the fire out of boredom. Marcell Dockery was arraigned Monday on charges of assault, arson and reckless endangerment and held without bail. Attorney information for him wasn't available.

It wasn't immediately clear if prosecutors would upgrade the charges against Dockery. A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office declined to comment.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at an unrelated event Wednesday morning, led a moment of silence for the fallen officer.

"We've lost a good man this morning," de Blasio said. "We had a very brave police officer Dennis Guerra who did something that most of us wouldn't understand how to do.

"He went towards those in danger no matter the risk to him. It's something that our police officers do every day, it's something our first responders do every day, it's something we need to appreciate every day."

Guerra and Rodriguez, responding to a 911 call of a suspicious fire in the hallway, took an elevator up to the 13th floor of the building when they were immediately exposed to a wave of smoke, suffering carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation, Bratton said.

Firefighters found the officers in the pitch black and pulled both back into the elevator and brought them downstairs where they were treated by EMS personnel, Bratton said.

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said outside police headquarters that Dockery should be charged with murder.

"A kid like that, who is bored, needs to realize every action there's a reaction and that reaction sometimes is life or death," he said. "In this case, it was death. ... It's not a free ride, he should pay. He murdered a New York City police officer and we won't forget that."

Guerra's death was the first of an NYPD officer in the line of duty since 2011, when an officer was shot and killed responding to a robbery in Brooklyn, police said.

He leaves behind a wife, Cathy, and children, Kathleen, 20; Jonathan, 17; Alyssa, 14; and Zachary, 7, Bratton said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of PoliceOne or its staff.

Denotes officer was a registered member of the PoliceOne Community

PoliceOne Offers

Back to Officer Down Section


Support the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and help honor America’s law enforcement officers – especially our fallen heroes



Concerns of Police Survivors

COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

TASER Foundation

The TASER Foundation’s mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of local and federal law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty by providing financial and edcuational support to their families.

More Officer Downs

All Officer Downs

Tribute Videos

We ride for those who died Tribute for fallen officers Never alone, never forgotten Police Week Tribute
logo for print