The Associated Press
NEW YORK─ An outside wall of a six-story Harlem building peeled away yesterday, exposing apartments and spilling tenants and their belongings onto a pile of rubble. Three people were killed and seven injured.
At least 30 emergency workers and 100 firefighters rushed to the 72-unit apartment house and got down on their hands and knees to lift away bricks and look for victims. Police dogs sniffed through the rubble.
Among the survivors was a 94-year-old woman.
Officials had no explanation for why the wall of the white brick building collapsed.
The 1920s-era building had been cited in recent years for elevator violations, but records showed no complaints about structural damage, city officials said.
The building's owner, Mount Wilson Reality, temporarily disconnected its phone, according to a recorded message.
The floors of the exposed apartments tilted down 30 degrees, dumping occupants and their belongings into an alley.
The building resembled a ramshackle doll house, with unmade beds, radiators and furniture slanting at precarious angles.
The first body, that of a 47-year-old man, was found within minutes. Hours later, workers using a crane to remove debris came across the body of a woman. A 76-year-old woman who was taken to a hospital died after surgery.
A 45-year-old man was hospitalized in serious condition with broken bones. Six others were treated for injuries.
All the victims apparently lived in the building, police said. It wasn't immediately known how many residents were evacuated to shelters.
MONTCLAIR, N.J.─ An after-hours hold-up at a post office in a New York City suburb yesterday left four people dead and another person critically wounded.
No suspects were in custody.
Police said at least four men were killed at the post office in the Watchung Plaza shopping district near a New Jersey Transit train station.
All the victims were thought to be postal employees because the holdup occurred just before 5 p.m., nearly an hour after closing, Essex County Prosecutor Clifford Minor said.
Police were called by a postal worker who entered the Upper Montclair post office and saw a body on the floor. He left and called police. They arrived to find the attacker or attackers gone.
Howard Finney told WCBS Radio that he got off a commuter train and saw police with weapons drawn around the nearby post office.
He said he watched as police knocked down the front door of the post office around 5:15 p.m. A few minutes later, he said, about 10 people left the post office or an adjacent doorway and were rushed down the street by authorities.
He said one of the wounded was brought
out on a stretcher about a half-hour later, carried to a nearby playground and then evacuated by helicopter.
A spokeswoman for University Hospital in Newark said a 44-year-old man was in critical condition with two gunshot wounds to the head.
BOSTON ─ The Reggie Lewis story took another twist yesterday, with a report the former Celtics captain once did cocaine with Len Bias ─ an All-American who died of an overdose days after being drafted by Boston.
A roommate of Lewis was quick to deny the report, which surfaced the day before Lewis' No. 35 was to be retired in Boston Garden.
The ceremony honoring Lewis, combined with a visit by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, was preceded last night by a telethon to raise money for the Reggie Lewis Foundation.
At a brief news appearance before the telethon, Lewis' widow, Donna Harris-Lewis, continued to disparage reports that her husband used cocaine as merely ''allegations.''
''I wish my children were a little older so they could appreciate this tribute more,'' said Harris-Lewis, who heads the charitable foundation named for her husband. ''Tonight and tomorrow are a celebration of his life and career on and off the court. ''
''Reggie's smile lit up the city, his character helped unite the city, and his generosity helped feed the city,'' said Northeastern University president Jack Curry, who kicked off the telethon with a $10,000 from the university.
The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Derrick Lewis, another of Lewis' longtime friends and also a college teammate, said Lewis used cocaine with him and Bias in 1985.
''Len went into the bathroom, took a toot, then me, then Reggie, then the next guy. We made sure nobody was coming,'' Derrick Lewis said, recalling an incident he said took place during Red Auerbach's basketball camp in 1985.
Bias, a former University of Maryland star, went on to be the Celtics No. 1 pick in 1986. He died of cocaine intoxication two days later.
''There might have been different players on the squad that indulged in different things, but Reggie wasn't one of them,'' Wes Fuller, who roomed with Lewis for four years at Northeastern, told The Associated Press. ''It just wasn't in his makeup.''
Fuller, who owns a computer company in New Jersey, admitted he smoked marijuana during college ''and, if Reggie smoked marijuana, he would have smoked it with me. I would have known. I guess this would be detrimental to me, but I care more about Reggie.''
Andre LaFleur, who served as co-captain of the Northeastern squad in 1986-87 with Fuller and Lewis, also denied Derrick Lewis' allegations.
LaFleur said that Reggie Lewis told him about the 1985 incident with Bias, but Lewis said he was ''shocked'' to see Bias using cocaine and did not use the drug himself that night, the Globe reported. LaFleur now plays professional basketball in Australia.
TEMPE─ Arizona State University has chosen a new maroon-and-gold logo with sunshine bursting out from behind the letters of ASU.
''I think it connotes the boldness and freshness and future-oriented nature of the university,'' ASU President Lattie Coor said Monday.
The ASU Foundation is paying the $57,000 cost for the new design.
The logo is the product of a seven-month selection process that involved students, faculty members and alumni. Coor chose the logo from among five designs produced by a local graphics firm.
The modern-looking logo will serve as the school's official emblem, replacing more than 100 symbols used by different campus departments.
ASU has set a July 1, 1997, deadline for all departments to use up old stationary, business cards and pamphlets with any old logos or symbols.
However, the new logo will not replace ''Sparky.'' The grinning little devil with a pitchfork will remain the official logo for ASU athletics.
''The logo is designed so it can be used to represent the university, and Sparky becomes the mascot that accompanies it,'' Coor said.
PHOENIX─ A businessman placed in a neck hold by police at Sky Harbor International Airport is suing an airline, the city and two police officers.
Ed Knox, 44, said he wanted Southwest Airlines to explain how his luggage got ruined in a flight last May and to compensate him for his damaged clothes. But an airline employee called police, who, Knox claims, placed him in a choke hold and arrested him for trespassing at Sky Harbor.
''I couldn't understand what was going on,'' said Knox, president and part owner of a food-vending and catering business in the Phoenix area.
He was held in jail until he posted bail the next day. All charges were later dropped.
Knox maintains he was mistreated because he is black. His lawsuit names Southwest Airlines, customer service representative Sally Kaney, Phoenix, and police officers David Swafford and Robert Hopper as defendants.
He claims wrongful arrest and infliction of emotional distress. The suit also accuses the police officers of violating Knox's constitutional rights and the airline of breach of contract.
A spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest and Kaney have declined comment until they have read the suit.
The luggage complaint would have been resolved without police being called if Knox was white, said his lawyers, Nicholas Hentoff and Evan Haglund.
Hentoff and Haglund also claim the Phoenix Police Department makes a practice of using neck holds when officers are in no physical danger ─ and that minorities often are arrested for trespassing at the airport when there is no legal ground.
Knox's suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. It seeks unspecified damages from the airline and the city, and requests an injunction barring neck holds in most situations. It also asks the court to bar arrests for trespassing at the airport without a lawful reason.
GLENDALE─Eighteen-month-old twins remained in critical condition yesterday with burns suffered when a candle fell into a crib and ignited a residential fire.
Dylan and Danielle Baker were taken to Maricopa Medical Center with burns of 65 percent of their bodies from Monday's fire.
Their parents, Kenneth Baker, 30, and his wife, Kristine, 23, were in serious condition because of smoke inhalation.
Daughter Nicole Baker, 4, was listed in fair condition while undergoing treatment for smoke inhalation, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Read Next Article