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NYPD officer heads home from hospital after Coney Island fire

Kemberly Richardson reports on NYPD officer Rosa Rodriguez leaving the hospital nearly 6 weeks after a fire in a Coney Island building severely injured her lungs.
An NYPD officer seriously injured in a fire that killed her partner went home from the hospital Monday.

Officer Rosa Rodriguez rolled into the sunshine in a wheelchair but in uniform from Weill Cornell Medical Center, applauded and cheered by dozens of fellow officers.

The mother of four spent almost six weeks at the Manhattan hospital, including the first four days in a coma after toxic smoke destroyed the lining of her lungs.

"We estimated she probably had a 45 to 50 percent statistical chance of dying," said Dr. Palmer Bessey of New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The fire in April killed officer Dennis Guerra.

His parents came to the hospital as Rodriguez was released from the hospital.

The officers were overcome by smoke at a Coney Island housing project.

Police say a teenager set fire to a mattress in a hallway. He's now charged with murder.

With her 2 little girls leading the way, Officer Rodriguez though still physically weak and emotionally overwhelmed headed home, a moment many, including her doctors, thought may never happen.

"It was very emotional. I have four children myself and to be put in that situation, situation we get put in everyday, it's a difficult job," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Luis Despaigne.

For a month, Officer Rodriguez stayed on a breathing machine, and it's clear she has a long way to go.

Doctors do believe, physically, if Officer Rodriguez wants to one day return to the job she loves, she can. It's the psychological hurdles that may be tough to clear.

"It really changes your perspective of the world, what you can and cannot do," said Dr. Bessey.

Not this mother of four.

"She started coming around a couple of weeks ago, speaking with a whisper, she was ready to go back out on patrol. I told her to take it easy, you're entitled to a few months off to rest," said NYPD Deputy Chief Carlos Valdez.

Related Topics:
news apartment fire fire nypd Coney Island New York City
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