Guerra was dubbed a "hero housing cop" after he inhaled a mixture of smoke and carbon monoxide while responding to a fire at a New York City Housing Authority building in Brooklyn on Sunday, the New York Daily News reported. On Tuesday, doctors at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell said that Guerra had limited brain activity. He died at 6:50 a.m. on Wednesday.
Marcell Dockery, 16, has been charged with two counts of assault, arson and reckless endangerment for starting the blaze by setting a mattress on fire in the hallway of his building. He started the blaze, he said, because he was bored.
"We've lost a good man this morning," Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday morning. "On behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, our hearts go out to the Guerra family."
"Today we mourn the loss of Police Officer Dennis Guerra, one of NYs Finest," Police Commissioner William Bratton tweeted. "He will always be remembered as he lived, a hero."
De Blasio called for a flag lowering ceremony to be held at the NYPD headquarters. He praised the officer for sacrificing his safety to respond to the fire.
"He went selflessly towards the flame, selflessly towards those who are in danger, no matter what the risk to him," de Blasio said in a statement. "It's something that our police officers do every day. It's something our first responders do every day. It is something we need to appreciate every day."
New York City politicians also expressed their condolences for the officer. "#Brooklyn mourns the loss of one of its Finest, #NYPD Officer Guerra," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams tweeted. He died trying to protect others in #ConeyIsland. We won't forget."
Guerra's partner, Officer Rosa Rodriguez, 36, was also injured in the fire. She is still in critical condition.
Guerra served as a police officer for eight years and was the son of a retired cop. He is survived by wife, Cathy, and four children: Kathleen, 20; Jonathan, 17; Alyssa, 14; and Zachary, 7.