Fire Commissioner: Explosion could be planned suicide - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fire Commissioner: Explosion could be planned suicide

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NEW YORK - Could this morning's explosion that demolished a Manhattan building have been part of a suicide bid? Investigators say they're looking into that. New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta tells local T-V stations the suicide angle is being checked out.

Scoppetta says there was reportedly a phone call from inside the building, before it blew up. And a police official tells The Associated Press that the wife of a doctor who lived in the building recently got an e-mail indicating the man was considering suicide. Her lawyer then contacted police. The doctor was trapped in the rubble for a time before firefighters dug him out.

Later on Monday, investigators learned of a chilling note sent by the owner of the building, Doctor Nicholas Bartha.  He was among the 15 people hurt when the four-story building fell to pieces after an apparent natural gas explosion.  The note was sent to his wife in an e-mail that said she would be "transformed from a gold digger to ash and rubble digger".  Bartha and his wife are going through a divorce.

Police describe Bartha's wife as "deeply saddened and terribly upset" by what happened.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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