Small fire erupts in Empire State Building underground level

NEW YORK (AP) — The Empire State Building’s owner says it’s all-clear at the famous skyscraper after a small electrical fire on a below-ground floor.

No injuries were reported in Friday’s fire. Other floors and the tourist-attracting Observatory remained open.

Firetrucks lined streets around the tower after the Fire Department of New York was summoned around 2:30 p.m., while the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was underway nearby.

Allan Drury, a spokesman for utility Con Edison, says there was a problem with an electrical service line to the building. Firefighters say the situation was under control within about two hours.

The building’s owner, the Empire State Realty Trust, says the fire was in a contained area on the underground Concourse level. It includes the management office and a fitness center.

Man charged as run-over medic is mourned as job’s matriarch

NEW YORK (AP) — A man accused of crushing a fire department medic to death under the wheels of a stolen ambulance told reporters Friday he’d done nothing wrong, while his lawyer said he was mentally ill and didn’t act intentionally.

As colleagues mourned Fire Department Emergency Medical Services technician Yadira Arroyo at a stationhouse draped in black and purple bunting, Jose Gonzalez was arraigned on murder and other charges in her gruesome death. The mom of five sons worked as medic for 14 years, and colleagues said she was devoted to her job and a mother figure to co-workers as well as her own family.

Gonzalez, 25, hopped on the back of Arroyo’s ambulance Thursday night, then darted into the driver’s seat and ran her over after a man on the street flagged the vehicle down to say Gonzalez had seized his backpack, authorities said.

“I’m innocent. I didn’t do nothing,” Gonzalez said as he was escorted out of a police station, surrounded by angry, uniformed emergency medical technicians hurling insults.

Police said Gonzalez had been high on drugs during the deadly encounter. His lawyer, Alice Fontier, said he has a severe mental illness. She didn’t identify it, saying his history would be disclosed later in court.

“Whatever may have happened here, none of his actions were intentional,” Fontier said, calling Arroyo’s death a tragedy for both the EMT’s family’s and the suspect’s.

Gonzalez is being held without bail.