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Thousands Honor NYPD Officer Killed Following Fire

Thousands of solemn cops lined the streets of Far Rockaway Monday for an emotional sendoff of a hero police officer who died trying to save residents from a Brooklyn fire allegedly set by a teen who said he had nothing better to do.

For 20 blocks, the line of cops stretched outside the St. Rose of Lima Church on Beach 84th Street, where Officer Dennis Guerra made his final roll call.

Last week, the 38-year-old father of four died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning he suffered when he and his partner, Rosa Rodriguez, rushed to the scene of a fire in a Coney Island high rise and got trapped in a building elevator.

Rodriguez, 36, who also has four children, remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Friends and family traded stories about a brave cop, a loyal husband, a devoted father, a trusted friend, a dutiful son and a dependable neighbor who loved cooking on the grill and eating French fries and chicken wings for lunch.

Whether he was bringing blankets to neighbors after Hurricane Sandy or pushing his son, Zachary, on a bike Guerra spent every day of his short life putting others before himself.

“His is not so much a job, it’s a calling,” Mayor de Blasio told the thick crowd.. “Every day you make a difference. You really give your life. No other profession gives as much. Sometimes it takes as much away.”

De Blasio reminded mourners that Guerra was the son of a cop. He said the son would often text the father, asking for advice about how to handle a situation on the street or in the precinct.

“His father always trusted his son’s judgment,” de Blasio said, “and say, `Go with your gut. Do the right things for the right reason.’”

Outside, cops lined the narrow street 10 deep, standing at crisp attention when the casket was carried outside the church.

Even with mourners lined in each direction, it was still quiet enough to hear flags blowing in the wind and seagulls flying above the parked cars.

Police officers came from all over the city and Long Island. Firefighters paid their respects as well.

“Everyone of us in this crowd feels it because under these circumstances it could be any one of us,” said one firefighter who stood in the crowd. “When you see that hearse go by your lips just start to quiver. “

Guerra will be buried at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village.

Republished with permission of The New York Post

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