NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Family, friends and colleagues are beginning to say their final goodbyes Sunday to an NYPD officer who died after rushing into a burning building while trying to save residents.
Officer Dennis Guerra succumbed Wednesday to the injuries he suffered in last Sunday’s blaze at public housing building in Coney Island.
Guerra, a 38-year-old married father of four, and his partner, Rosa Rodriguez, responded to the call about a fire on the 13th floor of the high-rise building. When the elevator doors opened, the two cops were quickly overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide.
As WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reported, Guerra’s family began arriving at James Romanelli-Stephen Funeral Home in Ozone Park, Queens, around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared just before 2 p.m., spending about 15 minutes inside to pay his respects.
Several members of the FDNY and police officers wearing their dress blues were streaming into the private wake, exchanging handshakes and hugs with each other.
Friends and family reflected on the life of a dedicated cop, father, and son.
“His kids were his world, his mom is his world, his family was his world,” Laurel Thomasel told WCBS 880′s Smith.
Marcell Dockery, 16, has been charged with second-degree murder, arson and other offenses. Police say the teen, who claimed to be bored, admitted to lighting a mattress on fire.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Rodriguez, 36, remained at the burn unit at Weill Cornell Medical Center as of Friday afternoon. She is a single mother of four kids and a four-year veteran of the NYPD Housing Bureau.
Guerra’s funeral Mass is scheduled for Monday morning at St. Rose of Lima Church in Far Rockaway.