Chilling Audiotapes Released 4 Years After Fatal Fire

Prosecutor: firefighters perished in "Death Trap"

Two New York City firefighters died as a result of a landlord's greed and his desire to get extra rent payments from illegally subdivided apartments, prosecutors said Monday.

Two tenants and a landlord of a Bronx apartment building are on trial for manslaughter in connection with a Janauary, 2005 blaze that left FDNY Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and firefighter John Bellew, 37, dead.

The two firefighters were forced to make fatal leaps out of the building because an illegally built wall trapped them, prosecutors said in opening statements.

New audiotapes released Monday exhibit the desperation the firefighters felt moments before their death. 

"She created a death trap," said Assistant Bronx District Attorney Jeffrey Glucksman, speaking of defendant Caridad Coste.  Coste is accused of blocking the fire escape with an improper wall in her fourth-floor apartment.

The two did not have safety ropes with them -- something that all firefighters now carry.

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