2006_08_fdnycarpreil.jpgThe city is mourning the deaths of two firefighters who helped fight a Bronx building fire on Sunday. Following Sunday's death of probie firefighter Michael Reilly, 20-year FDNY veteran Lieutenant Howard Carpluk Jr. died yesterday after being hospitalized for his injuries. Investigators are now examining the three-alarm fire, which the NY Times describes as a routine call that turned into disaster. At first, it was thought that a heavy rooftop air-conditioning unit fell through the roof and through the first floor, creating a hole that took five firefighters into the basement, but now it's believed that the ground floor might not have been properly supported. The building had suffered a fire in 2000, and the repairs made to it after that are being examined. An official said, "The big question is the structural integrity of the floor. Buildings like this can hold a lot of weight. For all intents and purposes, the floor should not have collapsed unless it was severely compromised - not in a little store in 15 or 20 minutes. We have to find out if it was missing some structural support that made it vulnerable."

The other jarring thing about the building is that two AC units were installed without the owners' knowledge. Overall, though Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta cautioned it's "too soon to say if any of that work was improperly done." Interestingly enough, one of the owners of the building was "indicted in an arson-for-hire scheme" but the FDNY has basically ruled out arson in this case; a lawyer for part owner David Gold says he's "crushed."

The FDNY has articles about Carpluk and Reilly. The Post reports that Carpluk's family donated his organs, while the Daily News mentions that a survivor of last year's FDNY Black Sunday fire went to NJ to comfort Reilly's former colleagues at the Ramsey Fire Station.