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Captain Suspended Following Bomb Scare – QNS.com

Captain Suspended Following Bomb Scare

With the city on a heightened terrorism alert, Captain James Goelz of Engine Co. 320 in Bayside has been suspended without pay following the alleged mishandling of a bomb found in a trash bin on Saturday night.
According to officials, Goelz allegedly tampered with the pipe bomb found on 35th Avenue and 201st Street before transporting it back to the firehouse.
When the 17-year veteran and his crew called police 48 minutes after discovering the live home-made explosive, Goelz told police that the bomb had opened while being removed from the trash bin and that he had allegedly rolled it under his feet before taking it to the firehouse to be turned over to the fire marshal.
But witnesses tell a different story, saying that they saw the Engine Co. 320 Ladder/167 crew unscrew the bomb and spill gunpowder on the scene.
When police arrived, they found the bomb on a radiator in the firehouse.
Local residents, upon hearing the news of the mishandling, were horrified.
“I can’t believe that, just two days after the bombings in London, finding a bomb would be taken so lightly,” said Josephine Gesuale, who lives just blocks from the scene of the incident. “Why didn’t they follow proper protocol? I would hope that, post 9-11, things like this would not happen.”
Robert Sodo, who works in the area, agrees, but told The Queens Courier that he doesn’t feel unsafe in light of the incident.
“Maybe they didn’t think it was a bomb, but they should have done what they needed to do. I don’t feel any less safe, though.”
According to bomb experts, the one-inch explosive had a radius of 100-feet, meaning it could have maimed or killed anyone within that span.
Police are currently investigating how and why the pipe bomb came to be in the trash bin.
Goelz, who colleagues say is an excellent firefighter, could not be reached for comment and FDNY crews at Engine Co. 320 declined to speak with The Queens Courier.
toni@queenscourier.com

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