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Police Officer Killed in Coney Island Fire Mourned by Hundreds

By Katie Honan | April 14, 2014 7:48am
  Mourners included the family of Officer Rosa Rodriguez, who also responded to the Coney Island fire.
Hundreds Gather for Police Officer Who Died After Arson Fire
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OZONE PARK — A police officer killed while responding to a suspected arson fire in Coney Island was remembered Sunday by hundreds of friends, family and police officers — their badges sheathed in a black mourning band.

Mourners for Dennis Guerra included Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano — along with the family of Officer Rosa Rodriguez, who also responded to the fire allegedly set by a teenager and who is still being treated for her injuries.

Guerra, a 38-year-old father of four who lived in Far Rockaway with his wife and children, died Wednesday morning of severe smoke inhalation he suffered while responding to the fire inside 2007 Surf Ave. on April 6, according to the NYPD.

His wake was held at at the Romanelli-Stephen Funeral Home on Rockaway Boulevard Sunday, with a funeral to follow Monday.

He and Rodriguez, 36, raced up to the 13th floor of the building last week and were both overcome by the smoke from the fire, police said.

The blaze was set by 16-year-old Marcell Dockery because he was "bored," police sources said. 

He was charged Friday with second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.

Rodriguez is still being treated for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to police, but her family came out Sunday to honor Guerra.

Two of her young daughters smiled and spoke with officers outside the funeral home, dressed in white dresses and wearing police hats.

Some of the mourners didn't know Guerra, but they still wanted to pay their respects.

Jacqueline Hodge said she came out to show support to Guerra's mother — saying that she's "been there."

Her 28-year-old son, Detective Sean Carrington, was killed in 1998 during a buy-and-bust operation in the Bronx

"I know what they're going through," she said.

The mood inside the wake was "somber," she said, but the family was strong.

"They have a long road ahead," she said.

Mary Cebero lived with Guerra in a building on Beach 32nd Street in Bayswater for five years and knew him when he was a school safety agent at Far Rockaway High School, she said.

She said he was a family man, and his death left her "angry inside."

"Over a stupidity, such a life is taken from his family, from his kids — over a stupid kid just bored, just decided to burn a mattress?" she said.

Guerra's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday at St. Rose of Lima Church on Beach 84th Street in Rockaway Beach, police said. He'll be buried at St. John's Cemetery in Woodhaven.