A police officer who survived a Coney Island fire last month that killed her partner left the hospital Monday to wild cheers from her fellow officers and the sound of bagpipes.
A beaming Rosa Rodriguez rolled out of Weill Cornell Medical Center into the sunshine in a wheelchair and attached to an oxygen tank — but in a police uniform jacket. She was followed by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“Thank you, thank you,” the mother of four repeated quietly to a crowd of hundreds.
Rodriquez was released after more than a month at the Manhattan hospital, including the first four days in a coma. Her lap was filled with some of the dozens of flower bouquets sent to her, while her daughters — 9 and 11 — bounced around her in police caps, carrying more flowers.
Dr. Palmer Bessey, associate director of the Weill Cornell burn center, said Monday that the 36-year-old officer had about a 50-50 chance of surviving when she was brought in on April 6. Her patrol partner, Dennis Guerra, died days after the two were overcome by smoke while responding to a 911 call from a Coney Island housing project. Police say a teenager had set fire to a mattress in a hallway because he was “bored.”
Rodriguez told police officials that she’s eager to go back to work. But it could be as long as a year for her carbon-monoxide damaged lungs to fully heal.