Surviving 'Black Sunday' firefighter cross-examined

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A firefighter who survived the 'Black Sunday' blaze that killed two of his peers in 2005 was cross-examined Wednesday.

Defense attorneys argued that based on radio transmissions, Jeffery Cool and the two firefighters who plunged to their deaths, Lt. Curtis Meyran and John Bellew, had time to access fire escapes and flee from the raging Bronx fire.

"He was in that apartment for at least 10 minutes, that's a very long time," said attorney David Golstein at the Bronx County Hall of Justice.

Defense attorneys represent Cesar Rios, the Bronx building's landlord, and tenants Rafael Castillo and Caridad Coste. The men are charged with manslaughter for allegedly contributing to the deaths of Meyran and Bellew by building illegal partitions in the building.

The defense has also argued that the FDNY deserves blame for the firefighters' deaths because it banned personal safety ropes.

Cool used the rope to help temper his fall, but still plunged 40 feet, suffering a broken neck, back and 12 ribs. The injuries ultimately forced him to retire from the fire department.

The three other firefighters who survived the fall are expected to testify later in the trial.

Surviving firefighter testifies in 'Black Sunday' trial Jurors hear radio transmissions in 'Black Sunday' trialTestimony continues in 'Black Sunday' trial Defendants in 'Black Sunday' case go on trial Tenant: 'Black Sunday' repeat possible at building

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