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Chicago Fire Department: 15-Year Veteran Firefighter Dies in Warehouse Blaze

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Chicago Fire Department: 15-Year Veteran Firefighter Dies in Warehouse Blaze

A 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department died after falling down an elevator shaft in thick smoke while battling a vacant warehouse fire on the Far South Side early Monday.

Daniel Capuano, 42, was wheeled out of the building at 92nd Street and Baltimore Avenue around 2:40 a.m. and rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead less than two hours later, officials said.

When firefighters arrived at the three-story building in the South Chicago neighborhood, there was heavy smoke throughout the second floor as firefighters searched for the source of the blaze, fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said.

“As the firefighters went in there, they saw some holes throughout the floor,” Santiago said. “They gave out an emergency alert, ‘Be careful.’ It looks like Firefighter Daniel had just walked into the elevator shaft as he was searching, couldn’t see and fell.”

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said there was no visibility as firefighters worked on the second floor. But firefighters were able to see a “glow” through the smoke where the flames were rising.

Capuano was with another firefighter when he fell through the shaft, he said. Firefighters were able to find him right away.

Capuano was assigned to Tower Ladder 34 and is survived by his wife and three children, Santiago said.  He had previously worked as a firefighter in suburban Evergreen Park.

“This is devastating to the family,” Santiago said at the hospital. “We’ll get our heads together and add more later on.

“We hope you can keep the Capuano family in your prayers, and the department members that work with him,” Santiago added. “This is devastating to the family.”

About 20 Chicago Fire Department personnel, including a handful in their helmets and firefighting gear, waited outside the Cook County medical examiner’s office Monday morning in windy drizzle for Capuano’s body to arrive at the morgue.

Two firetrucks faced each other on opposite sides of Harrison Street, their ladders hoisted into the air and nearly touching each other. One of the ladders had an American flag hanging from it. At times, the wind wrapped it against the ladder.

The crackle of radio traffic could be heard over the rumbling engines of the firetrucks.  Police cordoned off Harrison with squad cars from Hoyne to Oakley.

A firefighter walks past the emergency room at Christ Hospital as emergency personnel gather for the procession that will take the body of a firefigher who died from injuries sustained in an overnight fire to the Cook County Medical Examiner on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

A firefighter walks past the emergency room at Christ Hospital as emergency personnel gather for the procession that will take the body of a firefigher who died from injuries sustained in an overnight fire to the Cook County Medical Examiner on Monday, December 14, 2015. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

This is the third death of a firefighter from Tower Ladder 34 in the last five years.

On Dec. 22, 2010, Firefighters Corey Ankum, 34, of Tower Ladder 34, and Edward Stringer, 47, of Engine Company 63, were killed while battling a blaze at an abandoned laundry at 1744 E. 75th St. in the South Shore neighborhood.  The two died after the roof collapsed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying “Chicago has lost one of its bravest in Dan Capuano.”

“As a 15-year veteran of the Chicago Fire Department, Dan spent his career putting the safety of others ahead of his own,” the statement said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice so Chicago’s residents could be safe. For that, there are no words that can truly express our sorrow for his loss nor our gratitude for his service and sacrifice to the City of Chicago. The thoughts and prayers of a grateful city are with Dan, his family and his fellow firefighters at this difficult time.”

Chicago Fire Department: 15-Year Veteran Firefighter Dies in Warehouse Blaze

Chicago Fire Department: 15-Year Veteran Firefighter Dies in Warehouse Blaze

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

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Three Disney World Employees Among 17 Arrested in Florida Child Sex Sting

Three Disney World employees were among the 17 people arrested in a child sex sting operation in Florida, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.

In the operation, dubbed “Operation Child Protector,” undercover officers posed as 13- and 14-year-old children on social media and online dating apps between July 27 and Aug. 1.

The undercovers made contact with each of the suspects before proposing they meet at a location in Polk County, where they were busted.

In total, the arrests led to 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges. Those arrested were aged 26 to 47. All were from Central Florida except for one 33-year-old man from California.

“What you see on this board … are deviants. Incredible deviants,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference on Tuesday, motioning to photos of the alleged pervs. “They travel from as far away as Clewiston, Florida. One even came from Los Angeles.”

“Much to their chagrin, instead of meeting with young children, they were met by law enforcement officers who were online undercover posing as children.”

Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World, was arrested while still wearing his Disney polo shirt and swimsuit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Aquino engaged in an online conversation on social media with an officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, authorities said. He then asked the “girl” to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself, police said.

Aquino told officers he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Jonathan McGrew, a 34-year-old custodian at Disney World, was nabbed by an undercover officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

disney-world

McGrew allegedly told the “girl” that he wanted her to come over and have sex with him and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, who also works as a custodian at tourist mecca.

McGrew sent her explicit videos of him and Lawrence performing sexual acts on each other, authorities said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately return a message.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

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China Reports First Human Death from Monkey B Virus

China has reported the first human infection and death in the country caused by a rare infectious disease found in primates known as the Monkey B virus.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said a 53-year-old veterinary surgeon who worked in a research institute specializing in nonhuman primate breeding in Beijing dissected two monkeys in March and became ill about a month later.

He began experiencing nausea, vomiting, fever and neurological issues, and died in May.

Blood and saliva samples were tested and researchers in April found evidence of the Monkey B virus, also known as the herpes B virus.

Researchers said a male doctor and female nurse who were in close contact with the victim tested negative for the virus.

The Monkey B virus is prevalent among macaque monkeys but infection among humans is extremely rare. Since the virus was identified in 1932, just 50 cases have been reported, with the majority of those in North America. Untreated B virus infections in humans are serious, however, with a fatality rate of about 80 percent.

Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, and progress to more serious complications such as swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Laboratory workers and veterinarians in close contact with the animals are most at risk as people typically get infected with the virus if they are bitten or scratched by an infected macaque, or have contact with the monkey’s eyes, nose or mouth.

But the virus is unlikely to mutate in a way that poses a problem to the general population. Just one case of human-to-human transmission of the virus has ever been documented.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

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U.S. Remembers 9/11 Terrorist Attacks as The Pandemic Changes Tribute Traditions

Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions and woven into the presidential campaign, drawing both President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden to pay respects at the same memorial without crossing paths.

In New York, a dispute over coronavirus-safety precautions is leading to split-screen remembrances Friday, one at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza at the World Trade Center and another on a nearby corner. The Pentagon’s observance will be so restricted that not even victims’ families can attend, though small groups can visit the memorial there later in the day.

Trump and Biden are both headed — at different times — to the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Trump is speaking at the morning ceremony, the White House said. Biden plans to pay respects there in the afternoon after attending the observance at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is also due at ground zero — and then at the alternate ceremony a few blocks away.

In short, the anniversary of 9/11 is a complicated occasion in a maelstrom of a year, as the U.S. grapples with a health crisis, searches its soul over racial injustice and prepares to choose a leader to chart a path forward.

Still, 9/11 families say it’s important for the nation to pause and remember the hijacked-plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the trade center, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001, shaping American policy, perceptions of safety and daily life in places from airports to office buildings.

“I know that the heart of America beats on 9/11 and, of course, thinks about that tragic day. I don’t think that people forget,” says Anthoula Katsimatides, who lost her brother John and is now on the board of the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum.

Friday will mark Trump’s second time observing the 9/11 anniversary at the Flight 93 memorial, where he made remarks in 2018. Biden spoke at the memorial’s dedication in 2011, when he was vice president.

The ground zero ceremony in New York has a longstanding custom of not allowing politicians to speak, though they can attend. Biden did so as vice president in 2010, and Trump as a candidate in 2016.

Though the candidates will be focused on the commemorations, the political significance of their focus on Shanksville is hard to ignore: Pennsylvania is a must-win state for both. Trump won it by less than a percentage point in 2016.

Around the country, some communities have canceled 9/11 commemorations because of the pandemic, while others are going ahead, sometimes with modifications.

The New York memorial is changing one of its ceremony’s central traditions: having relatives read the names of the dead, often adding poignant tributes.

Thousands of family members are still invited. But they’ll hear a recording of the names from speakers spread around the vast plaza, a plan that memorial leaders felt would avoid close contact at a stage but still allow families to remember their loved ones at the place where they died.

But some victims’ relatives felt the change robbed the observance of its emotional impact. A different 9/11-related group, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, set up its own, simultaneous ceremony a few blocks away, saying there’s no reason that people can’t recite names while keeping a safe distance.

The two organizations also tussled over the Tribute in Light, a pair of powerful beams that shine into the night sky near the trade center and evoke its fallen twin towers. The 9/11 memorial initially canceled the display, citing virus-safety concerns for the installation crew. After the Tunnel to Towers Foundation vowed to put up the lights instead, the memorial changed course with help from its chairman, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tunnel to Towers, meanwhile, arranged to display single beams for the first time at the Shanksville memorial and the Pentagon.

Over the years, the anniversary also has become a day for volunteering. Because of the pandemic, the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance organization is encouraging people this year to make donations or take other actions that can be accomplished at home.

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