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NEW YORK | Malfunctioning elevators forced about 50 New York firefighters to climb 20 stories carrying about 100 pounds of gear each in order to fight a top-story blaze.

The building in Brooklyn is part of public housing, and fire was reported early Thursday. FDNY crews discovered the blaze and tried to call the elevators to get to the top, but they didn’t work.

They hiked up stairs and found an 89-year-old woman in the burning apartment. She was critically injured, but crews were able to revive her and shuttle her down in a basket.

The FDNY says a second resident was treated for smoke inhalation.

Crews had the blaze under control in about 45 minutes. They are investigating why the elevators didn’t work.

MONTANA

Federal judge apologizes for racist Obama email

HELENA | Montana’s chief federal judge apologized for forwarding an email to his friends that contained a joke involving bestiality and President Obama’s mother, but he said the incident stemmed from his dislike of the president, not from racism.

Judge Richard Cebull of Billings forwarded the email from his chambers to six people on Feb. 20, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

Judge Cebull told the newspaper Wednesday that his brother sent him the email, which he forwarded to “old buddies” and acquaintances. The email was prefaced with the message: “Normally I don’t send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine.”

The judge apologized and acknowledged that the content of the email was racist but said he does not consider himself racist, the newspaper reported. He told the Billings Gazette that he did not write the preface to the message.

He said he has treated all people in his courtroom fairly and he has not heard any complaints otherwise.

“The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan,” Judge Cebull told the newspaper. “I didn’t send it as racist, although that’s what it is. I sent it out because it’s anti-Obama.”

OKLAHOMA

Report: Overdose killed 18-year-old Occupy protester

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