City Renames Bronx School in Honor of Two Fallen FDNY Heroes Who Died in Black Sunday Fire

NY Daily News - October 15, 2010

by Rob Sgobbo

Five years after two of New York City's Bravest perished in the Bronx's fateful Black Sunday fire, their legacies were memorialized in a new school Thursday.

City leaders, neighborhood residents and schoolchildren came together to dedicate The Lieutenant Curtis Meyran and Lieutenant John Bellew Education Campus, a $58 million state-of-the-art facility on Bronxdale Ave. in Van Nest, that opened its doors last month to three schools serving 1,000 children.

Yesterday's ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the lives of Meyran, of Battalion 42, and Bellew, of Ladder 27, who died Jan. 23, 2005, when forced to jump out of a five-story apartment building window during a three-alarm blaze on E. 176th St. in East Tremont.

"It's a phenomenal feeling, but a very touching feeling seeing this place built with their names on it," said City Councilman James Vacca, who lobbied for the school naming. "I'm just in awe."

In an emotional tribute, schoolchildren from Public School/Middle School 498, Carl Icahn Charter School 2 and PS 176 sang the song "Everyday Heroes" by Dave Carroll, a eulogy to the firefighters' widows and children.

"I am just speechless," said Jeanette Meyran. "When I first saw the sign on the school with my husband's name on it, it was so surreal - especially when you haven't come to terms with it yet."

"I just hope one day I'll have the strength of my dad," said his daughter Angela Meyran, 15, as she stood next to her sister Denine, 11. "My love for him grows every day."

The ceremony brought together the Bravest of Battalion 42 and Ladder 27, including firefighters who were serving with Meyran and Bellew on their final day.

"Every child who goes into that school will know what Curt and John did for this community," said Brendan Cawley of Ladder 27, one of the four surviving firefighters who were forced to leap from the burning building that morning.

"It's a great honor to recognize them in this way - their lives were taken away too soon," Cawley said.

Last February, a Bronx judge overturned the 2009 conviction of Cesar Rios, the building's owner, for criminally negligent homicide after investigators found the structure had been illegally subdivided into smaller apartments.

"It was an injustice, what happened," said Vacca (D-East Bronx). "But today - this is justice. These men will be remembered forever."