By STEVE DUNLEAVY – NY POST
One of the hero firefighters injured in the Fire Department’s worst day since 9/11 will be released from St. Barnabas Hospital today. Jeffrey Cool of Rescue Co. 3 was one of six firefighters forced to jump from a fourth-story apartment after the group was trapped above the fire. Cool, 37, is very upbeat and “looking forward to drinking his first beer,” said Capt. Christopher King, who also worked the deadly Jan. 23 fire. “He’s a real tough guy. A couple of days ago he took a major turn for the better. “He saw his son, Jeff Jr., [who is 7] the other day, and that really lifted his spirits. And his wife, Jill, has been a Rock of Gibraltar. She has really been terrific through all this.”
Cool faces a long road to rehabilitation.
He’ll be transferred this morning to the Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw in Rockland County, where he’ll continue to be treated for his very severe injuries. “Jeff is looking forward to going into rehab at Helen Hayes and getting back on his feet,” said King, who returned to work yesterday after suffering smoke inhalation in the fire that injured Cool. “All the guys at Rescue 3 are really up over Jeff’s recovery.”
Two of Cool’s co-workers died in the Bronx blaze Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, of Battalion 26 and Lt. John Bellew, 37, of Ladder Co. 27. And that same day, firefighter Richard Sclafani, 37, of Ladder Co. 103, died battling a fire in Brooklyn.
Injured with Cool in the Bronx were firefighters Eugene Stolowski, 33, and Brendan Cawley, 31, of Ladder 27, and firefighter Joseph DiBernardo, 34, also of Rescue 3. Cool, a resident of Garnerville in Rockland County, is due to get a medal in June for rescuing a man from a burning building while dangling from a rope.