“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a firefighter The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the firefighter has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

-Chief Edward F. Croker FDNY circa 1910

Blizzard of 1888

1888 Blizard

The Blizzard of 1888

The great blizzard of 1888, which began March 12th, 1888, created a condition which made it almost impossible for the department to respond to fire alarms & resulted in such an incongruous situation as a 3rd alarm fire raging through 2 5 story buildings on West 42nd Street with only 3 pieces of apparatus on the scene.

21 inches of snow fell in under 24 hours with wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour.

During the 1st 5 days of practically impassable streets, there were 45 fires. The situation was such as to call for extra-ordinary efforts on the part of the Uniformed Force under Chief of Department Charles O Shay, who promptly took all possible precautions. Leaves of absence were suspended, a large number of horses & sleighs of all kinds were obtained & a special corps of telegraph linemen was put at work restoring the fire alarm system.

A testimonial of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters commended the "heroic efforts of the firemen -- in so successfully coping with almost insurmountable difficulties during the period of peril to the City".

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Windsor Hotel fire of 1899

Windsor Hotel

At 3:14pm on Saint Patrick's Day in 1899, the Signal Station at 5th Avenue & 46th Street was received & transmitted by the Manhattan Fire Alarm Office.

Firemen, some still in their dress uniforms from the parade, made heroic rescues. 

Within 2 minutes, Engine 65, the 1st due company was stretching in to the 5th Avenue entrance of the Windsor Hotel, which occupied the block front from 46th to 47th Streets. 5th Avenue was filled with the holiday crowd & there does not seem to have been any long delay in pulling hte box, and yet when Engine 65 turned into the Avenue, people were already jumping from the upper floor windows.

The fire, which had started in the basement, spread with lightening like rapidity until the entire building occupied by the hotel was involved as well as buildings on the side streets. By 5pm, the building was a complete loss.

50-90 people lost their lives in this fire & rescues were made. For the skill & daring of the work which they performed, Firemen William C Clark & Edward Ford of Ladder 20, Bartholomew McDermott of Ladder 21 were decorated & the names of 28 members were added to the Roll of Merit.

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SI Man suing because he jumped out of a moving ambulance

A Staten Island man who allegedly jumped from a moving ambulance is suing the city for allowing the incident to take place. (Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)
Staten Island man sues city after jumping from ambulance 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Staten Island man who allegedly jumped from a moving ambulance is suing the city for allowing the incident to take place.

Yaugeni Kralkin, 54, who admitted in court papers that he had been drinking alcohol prior to the incident, claims the responding emergency medical technicians (EMTs), acted in "an unprofessional manner," the legal claim states.

He is suing the city, the city Fire Department and the responding EMTs in Staten Island Supreme Court for unspecified damages.

According to court papers, Kralkin was allegedly found by the EMTs on June 11, at about 1:05 p.m. "sitting on the ground, uninjured, with unsteady gait" outside 106 Dawson Circle in Bulls Head.

"Police removed alcohol from (Kralkin's) bag, and escorted him to the ambulance because he was being uncooperative," the court papers say.

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Wind Driven Fire: Lionel Hampton


January 7th 1997 was a rather mild winter day, temperatures in the 40’s with wind gusts exceeding 30mph. These conditions would challenge firefighting operations in an afternoon fire.

Just after 2pm, Engine 40 responded to an EMS run at the Empire Hotel at West 64th Street & Broadway, Box 969. Up the block, a fire broke out in a high rise residential building.

2:31pm, the teleprinter in the Cavemen firehouse of Engine 40/Ladder 35 alerted members of Ladder 35 to a reported High Rise Fire, Box 9999 was used because Box 969 was out already for the EMS run. 20 West 64th Street Broadway – Central Park West. E=Multiple Dwelling: Fire 28th Floor Apt 28K AKA 1 Lincoln Plaza.

Ladder 35 hit 10-84 (arrival) at 2:34pm; members could see smoke from the 28th floor of the 44 story high rise multiple dwelling V shaped. Upon entry to the lobby, members were met by a female claiming to be the house keeper of Lionel Hampton. She said the bedroom of the apartment 28K was on fire, the apartment door was closed and handed them the keys. Lt Gormley L-35, and his men proceeded to the elevator bank that serviced the upper floors. A keyed switch was found in the lobby and that recalled the elevators. FF James O’Donnell, L-35 OVM attempted to locate the elevator with the control key but none had it. The members entered the elevator and FF O’Donnell pressed 26th floor, 2 floors below the fire floor as per procedure. When they arrived, the doors opened to a smoke filled hallway. Members of Ladder 35 located the ‘You Are Here’ sign in the hallway then located Apt 26K to have an idea of where the apartment on the fire floor would be and where the stairs were located in relation to the ‘K’ line apartments. Lt Gormley decided the ‘V’ stair was closest to 28K and would be used as the ‘Attack’ stairway. The members proceeded up the stairs to the fire floor. FF O’Donnell stayed with the elevator and attempted to return to the lobby to pick up Engine 23. The elevator wasn’t in Fireman Service, it went up instead of down. FF O’Donnell was placed in a high heat and smoke environment and had to don his SCBA. The elevator brought him to the 43rd floor.

At 2:36pm, the 9th Battalion arrived to assume command. FF O’Donnell attempted to transmit from the 43rd floor to Chief Grosso in the lobby but the only person to hear his communications was FF Ed Santore, E-40 ECC, who arrived 3rd due coming from the EMS run. FF Santore relayed to Deputy Chief Dunn of the 3rd Division, the report by FF O’Donnell that conditions on the upper floors were deteriorating.

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Week in Review - 10/24 - 10/30/16


As we move into the cold season, activity for the FDNY always picks up. This past week, companies responded to all sorts of incidents requiring hard work and special units. Let's look back at what happened in the Big Apple:

Monday October 24th:

Manhattan - 1 All Hands

Bronx - 1 All Hands

Staten Island - 2 All Hands

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