Testimony continues in 'Black Sunday' trial

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A witness for the prosecution was called to the stand Tuesday in the trial surrounding the deadly 2005 fire in the Bronx, when two firefighters were forced to jump to their deaths because they could not reach the fire escape.

Lt. Kenneth White, who was on the scene of the blaze, testified that he heard a mayday from someone in danger and immediately called mayday himself, requesting ropes and 35-foot ladders. Soon after, however, White said he heard additional distress calls as firefighters fell to the ground.

In the course of a cross-examination, defense attorneys for the building?s owner and two tenants, who are facing manslaughter and other charges, attempted to prove that it was the lack of personal safety ropes that forced the firefighters to jump. They said the ropes were once used by the FDNY during probationary periods, but they were not utilized by the fallen firefighters on the day that came to be known as 'Black Sunday'.

?We know that a previous commissioner has testified that he made the decision to take the ropes away, but when you look at the totality of his testimony, he had no good reason,? says defense attorney Neil Comer.

The jurors would have to decide whether there were circumstances unrelated to the safety conditions of the building that led to the firefighters? death.

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