A sea of blue filled the streets of Rockaway Beach Monday as mourners attended the funeral of an NYPD officer who died after responding to what police say was an intentionally set fire inside a Coney Island high-rise.
Services for Dennis Guerra, 38, were held at St. Rose of Lima Church in Rockaway Beach.
Guerra died last Wednesday after suffering smoke inhalation during the April 6th fire.
His partner, Rosa Rodriguez, was also overcome by smoke and is still recovering in the hospital.
Hundreds of officers gathered outside the church to say goodbye to Guerra, including his commanding officer.
"Dennis was a great cop and even a better person. He served this department with dignity and honor, which is not surprising because he comes from a family of police officers. His father and his uncle are retired. He acted valiantly and heroically when he entered that job and ran into that building along with his partner Rosa Rodriguez. He will forever be remembered and remain in our prayers and our hearts," said NYPD Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez.
Guerra leaves behind a wife and four children.
Fellow officers say he was famous for his grilling techniques at backyard barbecues.
Among those paying tribute were Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton, who announced Guerra was posthumously promoted to Detective First Grade.
Guerra's father is a retired NYPD detective.
"He probably never told his dad outright that he wanted to be a cop like him. But he never missed a chance to ask him everything about the adventures of being a New York City Detective," Bratton said.
"This is a police officer that gave his all, that went into a building and all that could go wrong went wrong, and he is no longer here," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch.
Those who attended Guerra's wake Sunday in Ozone Park say he will be missed.
"He was the best. The best neighbor, the best father, the best son, everything, he was the glue that kept that family together," said one mourner.
"He's a great loss, but he's an angel watching over all the people in blue," said another mourner.
Commissioner Bratton asked Guerra's children to always remember the love and respect that so many have for their dad, and thanked them for sharing him with the NYPD.
Meantime, Marcel Dockery, 16, is charged with second degree murder, arson, assault and reckless endangerment.
Sources say he told police he started the fire because he was bored.