- - Sunday, October 12, 2008

NEW YORK

Five killed in apartment fire

NEW YORK — Five people, including three young children, died in an apartment fire early Saturday, some taking refuge from the smoky blaze in a full bathtub and underneath a sink, fire officials said.

A 10-year-old boy was hospitalized in critical condition after the fire in a sixth-floor apartment in a public housing complex, Fire Department of New York spokesman Frank Gribbon said. The dead included a man, a woman and three girls between the ages of 15 months and 7, officials said.

Firefighters worked quickly, shattering windows and extinguishing flames about 45 minutes after the blaze began at 6:30 a.m. in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The fire started in the kitchen, right by the apartment’s front door, fire officials said.

Fire officials said the adults tried to shelter their children in the bathroom and a back bedroom, probably after they were unable to get through the smoke.

Firefighters found the woman, a 3-year-old girl and a 15-month-old girl in the bathroom; the woman and one of the girls was in a full bathtub of water and the other was underneath the bathroom sink. The man was in a back bedroom with the two other children, officials said. The cause was under investigation.

NORTH CAROLINA

Graham hospitalized after fall at home

ASHEVILLE — Evangelist Billy Graham was hospitalized Saturday after tripping and falling over one of his dogs at his North Carolina home, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mr. Graham, 89, was at Mission Hospital in Asheville with discomfort and bruising. He was listed in fair condition, and his physicians reported that X-rays showed no broken bones, spokeswoman Merrell Gregory said in a news release.

For six decades, Mr. Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums and allowed him to counsel every U.S. president since Harry S. Truman.

The Southern Baptist minister fell late Friday at his home in Montreat, N.C.

The hospital offered to let Mr. Graham go home after the X-rays, but the evangelist decided to stay overnight because it was so late, Graham spokesman Larry Ross said.

OHIO

Death-row inmate appeals to high court

CINCINNATI — Lawyers for an Ohio death-row inmate who unsuccessfully argued that his obesity prevents humane lethal injection filed an appeal Friday with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his execution, planned for next week.

The Ohio public defender’s office filed the application on behalf of Richard Cooey a few hours after Gov. Ted Strickland declined clemency. Cooey, 41, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday for killing two University of Akron students in 1986.

The Ohio Supreme Court and the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied Cooey’s requests for a stay of execution. The Ohio Parole Board unanimously rejected his request for clemency last month.

His attorneys had argued that prison food contributed to a weight problem that would make it difficult to access a suitable vein for lethal injection. Cooey is 5 feet, 7 inches and weighs 267 pounds.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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