IMAGE: N.Y. FIREFIGHTERS KILLED
Gregory Bull  /  AP
New York City fire crews look up at the building where two firemen were killed and four others badly injured Sunday in an early morning fire in the Bronx.
updated 1/25/2005 9:11:37 AM ET 2005-01-25T14:11:37

A fire that led to the weekend deaths of two veteran firefighters apparently started when sparks from an overheated extension cord ignited a mattress and bedding in an apartment, the fire department said Monday.

The fire that killed a third firefighter hours later Sunday may have been caused by combustible materials near an electric space heater, according to preliminary findings by fire marshals.

Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, died Sunday after jumping from the burning building in the Bronx where the mattress started on fire. Richard Sclafani, 37, died at a hospital after being severely injured in the Brooklyn fire.

Video: Family in mourning Meyran and Bellew were among six firefighters trapped while searching for people inside the building in the Bronx. All six men leaped from the fourth floor.

The four who survived remained in critical condition on Monday, the fire department said.

With the three deaths, Sunday was the deadliest day the department has seen since the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center killed 343 firefighters.

Fire department investigators will look into whether there were illegal alterations in the Bronx building that may have prevented firefighters from reaching the fire escape.

The department said it also planned to continue to investigate what caused a loss of water in one of the fire hoses.

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Video: NYFD in mourning

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