THE BRONX - An FDNY lieutenant testified Tuesday that his calls for help were not enough to save two fellow firefighters who plunged to their death in the Bronx in 2005.

Lt. Kevin White, who worked with Ladder 56, told jurors at the Bronx Hall of Justice that he heard mayday calls from Curtis Meyran, 46, and John Bellew, 37, and immediately requested ropes and 35-foot ladders. Meyran and Bellew were trying to escape a building on East 178th Street that had become engulfed in flames.

Prosecutors are trying to argue that the incident, which is known as "Black Sunday," happened because the building's fire escape was illegally blocked.

The defense countered that the firefighters' lack of personal safety ropes forced them to jump.

Rafael Castillo, Caridad Coste and Cesar Rios face counts of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in the case for allegedly subdividing apartments in the building illegally.

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