A firefighter was killed at a suburban New York house blaze as he tried to save victims he believed were trapped inside.
Firefighter Patrick Joyce, 39, died about 2 a.m. this morning, said Yonkers Mayor Philip A. Amicone.
Amicone says Joyce, a second firefighter, and a lieutenant rushed into the burning building after hearing reports of people trapped inside. Those reports turned out to be false -- all 15 people who lived in the building had gotten out, the Red Cross said.
The blaze was too much for the firefighters who bravely went in to search for victims. The intense heat and smoke either knocked them out of a third-floor window or they jumped. The fire chief told NBC New York that the firefighters had a rope, but it frayed or melted and they fell.
Lt. Joseph Murray, 54, and Firefighter William Kanych, 38 are in serious but stable condition. Murray and Kanych have been with the fire department for 27 and 38 years, respectively.
Amicone says Joyce, a 16-year veteran, leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.
Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagon nearly broke down in tears as he was speaking of Joyce's contributions to the department.
He called Joyce "fearless" and said he "gave his life to rescue others."
Amicone says investigators have deemed the fire suspicious. It appears it started in more than one location.
Witnesses had told firefighters there were people on the top floor. None were found.
A news conference is scheduled for this afternoon.
The last Yonkers firefighter death in the line of duty happened in 1986.