Two Philadelphia firefighters die in Kensington blaze

    Firefighters battling a massive warehouse fire in Kensington also had to contend with several other small fires triggered by hot embers carried from the scene by strong winds. Three were injured and two died this morning.

    Update, 1:20 p.m. Flags have been lowered to half-staff for Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter Daniel Sweeney, and a small memorial has been set up outside Ladder 10 at Kensington and Castor avenues.


    Update, 10:40 a.m. “These firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice for the people of Philadelphia,” reads a statement issued by Mayor Michael Nutter. “This is a tremendous loss for their families and the City of Philadelphia. My prayers go out to their families and to the Philadelphia Fire Department whose members have lost two of their brothers.”

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    Nutter is due back this afternoon from a trip to Tallahassee.


    Update, 10 a.m. Five firefighters were in the collapse, but was was able to extract himself, as WHYY/NewsWorks’ Emma Jacobs has learned. One firefighter remains hospitalized for his injuries in unknown condition.

    Update, 8:55 a.m. Two firefighters have died and two more have been injured in the blaze after a collapse in the warehouse. The deceased firefighters, ages 25 and 60, have not been identified.

    The main fire was taken under control after 5 a.m. this morning, about 2 hours after it was first reported.

    A dispatch supervisor says several other small fires started by the blowing embers were reported under control.

    Police began banging on the doors of nearby homes shortly after the fire was reported. No injuries were reported.

    The Red Cross has set up a shelter at a nearby school for evacuated residents

    Some residents reported hearing explosions coming from inside the warehouse.


    AP-NJ–Right Now,1258Latest New Jersey news, sports, business and entertainment   ROW HOMES BURN   5 firefighters hurt as Jersey City row homes burn   (Information in the following story is from: The Jersey Journal,   JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Five firefighters have been hurt and 52 residents were displaced after a massive fire destroyed or severely damaged at least 10 row homes in Jersey City.   Dozens of firefighters battled the six-alarm blaze, which was reported around 4:20 a.m. Sunday. It then took more than three hours to bring the massive fire under control, and it continued to burn early Sunday afternoon..   Fire officials tell The Jersey Journal that the blaze apparently started in the basement of one of the two-story homes and quickly spread through a common cockloft. But what sparked the blaze remained a mystery Sunday afternoon.   The injuries suffered by the firefighters were not considered life-threatening. The displaced residents — including nearly two dozen children — were taken to a temporary shelter.   BUILDING FIRES   Fire damages NJ bed and breakfast, apartment units   (Information in the following story is from: The Press of Atlantic City,   Beach Haven, N.J. (AP) — A fire partially destroyed a bed and breakfast and apartment units before being put out by firefighters from 14 departments.   Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Department Chief Matthew Letts says the Gables Bed and Breakfast on Centre Street and upper-level apartments in the Surflight Theatre’s Showplace Ice Cream Parlor were damaged Sunday evening. The fire began shortly after 5 p.m. and was under control within two hours.   Letts says The Gables was serving Easter dinner when the fire started. Diners had to abandon their meals.   The Press of Atlantic City reports that the cause of the blaze has not been determined. There were no injuries.   CAMDEN SHOOTING-CRASH   Prosecutor: Driver shot before car hit Camden home   CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Prosecutors say a driver was shot multiple times before his sport utility vehicle crashed into a Camden home this weekend, leaving him dead and a passenger wounded.   Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said investigators were still working Sunday to determine a motive for the shooting, which occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.   Faulk said officers responding to reports of shots fired found 29-year-old Antonio Streater of Camden inside the SUV that had struck a York Street home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.   Streater’s passenger, identified only as a 31-year-old Camden man, was wounded in the shooting. But he was able to run to a nearby home and ask residents there to call 911.   Faulk said the man remained hospitalized Sunday, but further details on his condition were not disclosed.   TEANECK STANDOFF   Man faces charges after standoff at north NJ home   (Information in the following story is from: The Record, )   TEANECK, N.J. (AP) — A man who barricaded himself inside his northern New Jersey home and held police at bay for two hours is now facing weapons charges.   Teaneck Lt. Tanya Balser tells The Record newspaper that officers went to William Huggins home around 4 a.m. Sunday after receiving reports of shots fired.   The 52-year-old Huggins, who police say fired the shot that spurred the report, came out of the house when officers arrived. But he then went back in and barricaded himself and his wife inside, spurring a response by a Bergen County Police SWAT team.   Officers eventually entered the house and arrested Huggins, who also was charged with hindering apprehension. His bail was set at $20,000 and he was being evaluated at a hospital.   No injuries were reported in the standoff.   CHILD LURING-VERDICT   Ex-AC firefighter convicted in child luring case   MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) — A former Atlantic City firefighter accused of trying to have a sex with an online acquaintance he thought was a 14-year-old girl has been convicted on several charges.   William Case faces several years in prison after being recently convicted in a nonjury trial.   The 29-year-old Galloway Township man was arrested in September 2008 when he arrived for a meeting with the teen. He then learned he had been chatting with an Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office detective.   Case said he only intended to speak with the girl, not have sex with her. And his lawyer noted that Case didn’t have any items that indicated sexual activity was planned.   But the judge found Case guilty of attempted criminal sexual contact, along with several counts of attempted luring and attempted child endangerment.   CRASH-TROOPER HURT   NJ trooper hurt when drunk driver hits his cruiser   TINTON FALLS, N.J. (AP) — State police say a trooper escaped serious injuries when his cruiser was struck by an alleged drunken driver on the Garden State Parkway.   The crash occurred late Saturday night in a northbound lane at Exit 105 in Tinton Falls. Authorities say the driver of the car tried to run off after hitting the trooper’s cruiser, but was soon captured.   The trooper suffered minor injuries in the accident, while the other driver apparently was not hurt. The trooper was treated at a hospital and later released.   Authorities would not disclose the names of the trooper or the other driver involved in the crash, which remains under investigation..   UNIVERSITY MERGER   Big variable for proposed NJ college changes: cost   TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A major question in a plan to reconfigure three New Jersey universities is how their debt would be allocated.   Gov. Chris Christie wants Rutgers University to take over parts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and to give control of Rutgers’ Camden campus to Rowan University.   An analyst who has looked at the plans says the schools’ financial well-being would depend on decisions that have not been announced. Those include how the debt obligations are allocated among the schools and whether the state pays any of it.   Some critics of the plan say it looks like it’s being pushed for financial reasons, especially in southern New Jersey. But proponents say they haven’t yet worked through many of the key business parts of the plan.   PAY TO PLAY   Critics: NJ PACs skirting state’s pay-to-play laws   (Information in the following story is from: The Star-Ledger, )   TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Watchdog groups are raising new concerns about the growing number of political action committees that critics say are skirting New Jersey’s various pay-to-play laws.   A review by The Star-Ledger of Newark found that the PACs have collected millions of dollars from engineering firms, insurance brokers and other contractors and then made sizable donations to elected officials who award government contracts.   The watchdog groups acknowledge that the PACs are not violating state or local pay-to-play laws, which often bar contractors from donating large sums directly to county political organizations. But they say the PACs are violating the spirit of the laws, which were intended to ensure contractors earn their business fairly.   The watchdog groups are calling on the state Legislature to close the loopholes that allow the donations to occur.   NEWARK LITERACY CAMPAIGN   Newark launching `Year of Literacy’ initiative   NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s largest city is kicking off a literacy campaign.   Newark officials are working with Rutgers University to launch the “2012 Year of Newark Literacy.”   Numerous reading promotion events are planned in the coming weeks, including a multicultural literary festival themed “Let Us Read.” And as part of the campaign, the Harlem Book Fair will be staged in Newark for the first time. It’s scheduled for April 27-28 at the Rutgers Newark campus.   The literacy campaign initiative will be formally launched Monday at the Newark Public Library during an event that coincides with National Library Week, which runs through Saturday.   (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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