MANHATTAN — NYPD Officer Rosa Rodriguez was in a coma for days after being critically injured in a Coney Island arson fire last month. Her doctors and her family feared she might not survive.
But on Monday the 36-year-old “spark plug” of an officer will walk out of New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she has been recovering since she and her partner, Dennis Guerra, were overcome by smoke April 6 inside a housing project. Guerra succumbed to his injuries several days later.
“I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed,” the mother of four told “On the Inside” in a text message with her first words since she was injured. “I am ecstatic.”
She's also looking forward to getting back to work, saying she's not thinking of retiring from the force.
“That is not what she survived for,” said James Borusso, her union representative. “Rosa is living her dream right now, of being a cop, and she does not want to stop.”
The five-year veteran told her supervisors just a few days ago that she was “ready and eager to get back out on vertical patrols” in the city's buildings, Borusso added.
“She is a fighter and a spark plug and in great spirits,” he said.
Rodriguez's road ahead, however, will be challenging, filled with rehabilitation and healing.
Even after she regained consciousness, she remained in intensive care for four more weeks, hooked up to a respirator to help her breathe and allow her lungs to heal.
“There were certainly scary times, but in her mind she knew she was going to get out,” Borusso said. "And now she feels good and is definitely ready to get out.”
Guerra's family visited Rodriguez often. They plan on joining hundreds of officers on Monday cheering Rodriguez’s first steps outside the hospital.
"This is the light at the end of a horrible tunnel,” Borusso said. “Nothing could keep them away."
Rodriguez told “On The Inside” that she wants to give “thanks to God first, then my family, my co-workers, the Fire Department and the amazing medical staff at NY Presbyterian Cornell Hospital.”
Then it's off to her own bed, at home.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Marcell Dockery, who lived in the fire building, has admitted to setting a mattress on fire because he was bored. He has been charged with murder, assault and arson, and is awaiting trial.