American Scene: Facebook makes it easier to become organ donor

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CARMEL — A police captain, his wife and two teenage daughters died in a fire that swept through their home in New York City’s northern suburbs Tuesday morning, authorities said. One adult son managed to escape the blaze and was hospitalized.

The fire, reported by a neighbor just before 2 a.m., left little behind of the family’s home on a quiet street in Carmel, located in Putnam County, about 60 miles north of New York City.

Officials identified the captain as Thomas Sullivan, of the Larchmont Police Department. He was a former New York police officer assigned to the Bronx, who left the city for the force in comparatively tranquil suburbs two decades ago because he felt he could make a bigger difference in a smaller community.

His daughters, Mairead and Meaghan, were students at Carmel High School. Mairead was a freshman and Meaghan a senior. Their ages were not immediately available. Their mother, Donna Sullivan, also perished in the fire.

“The school community is devastated,” said the district’s superintendent, James Ryan. “We are working together in this very difficult time to offer supports to students and staff.”

Only a 20-year-old son, Thomas Sullivan Jr., escaped the flames. He was being treated for smoke inhalation, Carmel police said.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known. The Carmel Police Department said in a statement that it expected “a lengthy investigation and recovery effort in order to ascertain the origin of the fire and the recovery of potential victims.”


Postcard mailed in ‘58 is finally delivered

CHICAGO — A postcard mailed from Chicago in 1958 has finally reached its intended recipient, but not without a little help from Facebook.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a postcard depicting Shedd Aquarium recently arrived at Scott McMurry’s Virginia home, more than five decades after his mom mailed it.

The 71-year-old recipient said he immediately recognized his mother’s handwriting.

The postcard was addressed to Clairmont Lane in Decatur, Ga., where Mr. McMurry grew up. But it recently arrived in Elizabeth Fulcher’s mailbox on Clairmont Lane in South Daytona, Fla.

Ms. Fulcher posted a picture of the postcard on Facebook and her friends helped track down Mr. McMurry.

The half-century mail delay remains a mystery.

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