“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

Statistics from 9/11

2,753 Lifes lost in NYC on September 11th 2001.

291 Bodies found intact

Only 12 of the bodies found intact could be identified by sight.

21,906 Remains found

1,717 Families got no remains

3,051 Children who lost a parent

17 babies were subsequently born to women whose husbands died

It took 100 days to extinguish the fires.

Workers sifted through more than 1 million tons of debris looking for remains. 65,000 items were found, including 437 watches & 144 wedding rings.

341 active New York City Firefighters died

2 Active FDNY Paramedics died

3 additional NYC Firefighters, who were retired working as Fire & Life Safety Directors at the WTC died

1 NYC Fire Patrolman Keith Roma also lost his life

23 Officers from the NYPD Died

37 Port Authority Police Officers died

145 members of the FDNY members have died post-9/11 from various illness/injuries including cancer and suicide according to our updated list (http://nycfirewire.net/fdnyinfo/line-of-duty/post-9-11-deaths)

Many NYPD and other workers have died from post 9/11 illness/injury.

 

Continue reading

9/11 Dealing with PTSD.

Everyone deals with depression in their own way. As the anniversary of 9/11 quickly approaches, I would like to share my story of dealing with PTSD, and I manage it every anniversary.

I only worked at the site for a day on 9/12/01, and what I saw will stay with me forever. I can remember 9/11/02 was a restless day and very depressing. On 9/11/03, I decided not to sit around and cry, so I drove into Brooklyn. I found a park in Brooklyn Heights that had a great view of Lower Manhattan. There were a lot of other New Yorkers there, candles were lit and we just watched our City and the skyline that will never be the same. I had a camera with me, in the early 2000's, digital cameras were up and coming. So I took a few pictures. Little did I know, this was me dealing with my PTSD. I was still depressed but I managed to find something to occupy my night and kind of keep me occupied. 9/11/04, I ended up doing the same thing and to this day, I plan accordingly. Since I became an FDNY Firefighter, I got creative. I spent a lot of money on a good camera. During the day I spend the anniversary with my firehouse family as we remember everyone who was lost from the firehouse that day. At night, I do the same thing I did on 9/11/03. 9/11/13, I reached out to a friend on the Fire Boat and they took me out around Manhattan. 9/11/14 & 9/11/15, I went to New Jersey.

While I have plenty of pictures, I will continue the tradition. What took place on that day was nothing but the best of the FDNY and the Country's Fire Service. Members in different capacities gave it their all. Some were working, some weren't. Some were retired, working at the WTC as Fire Safety Directors, others were on injury at Headquarters and still responded. Retired members from home who didn't have to come out, did. An actor/former FDNY Firefighter turned the cameras off and went to his former firehouse to help. On 9/11/01, I responded as a volunteer from Long Island, I met a lot of other members from departments in NY, NJ and across the country.

Below are pictures I have taken. There are 3 pictures that I took from 2003 at the park. We lost members right after 9/11 to PTSD suicide. I wish I could turn back the clock and tell them, there is another way, but I understand their pain.... we all do. If anyone struggles, the FDNY CTU is there for you. Don't deal with it alone, because your not. 

God bless America

Continue reading

The never ending disaster... 15 years later

15 years ago, on September 11th, 2001, the United States of America took a terrorist hit from radical extremists. This event was felt worldwide; and as a Country- we saw the best and the worst humanity has to offer. Through tragedy, the good hearts stood out and shined brightly. From 1st responders to volunteers, whether it was every day civilians to medical professionals, we all rose to the occation. Funds were set up, musicians and celebrities put on a concert to raise money (The Concert for America). It was a time when we united to recover and respond. Through the dust and rubble rose the stars and stripes, a symbol that we will not back down. 

15 years later, we are still recovering. There are many out there that do not realize, hearts are still sore. Our brothers/sisters/mothers/fathers are still dying, many others suffering and fighting cancer and other various illnesses. A dose of reality, that you *hopefully* will never feel, is when you go to the Cancer Center and see friends/co-workers there. That is what is happening today! More than 150 NYC Firefighters have lost their lives to post-9/11 illness. Many are actively fighting. Some recieved their date of death from the doctors but are still here because they refuse to give up.

In a sense, the nightmare that was 9/11/01 is still happening. I feel the need to write this because, perhaps Facebook has changed something in their marketing scheme, or there really are sneaky people out there that see money in tragedy. Over the past few weeks, I have seen advertising posts from pages I have not 'liked' on Facebook, advertising a 9/11 15th Anniversary t-shirt. An Anniversary t-shirt is a great idea, to keep the memory alive, provided the motive behind the shirt is respectable ie: Proceeds to a foundation so that they may reach those who lived the tragedy and are fighting to live. Unfortunately, we know many people who have questioned some of these fly-by-night pages on facebook and our questions go unanswered/deleted, our accounts are banned from the page. This is called Damage Control by those running the page, deleting the negativity. They avoid the spotlight and continue doing what their doing.

We are asking you, if you really are enthusiastic about seeing an awesome looking t-shirt commemorating one of our worst attacks on our home soil, please do your research. Don't open your wallet so quickly. Inquire where the money is going. DO NOT accept a vague reply. Get specifics. The page 'Support Firefighters' has a 9/11 anniversary t-shirt.... but it is a design that is already out there. Go to www.fdnyshop.com and you will find the original design. www.fdnyshop.com is an official page of the FDNY Foundation, a legit foundation that is there helping FDNY firefighters, and the facebook page 'Support Firefighters' took the design and changed minor details and are marketing it on-line.

Facebook will not shut their page down, it is up to us to look into it. Please share this article, spread the word. 

Continue reading

Remembering Lt Carpluk Jr & FF Reilly

Sunday August 27th 2006, at 1230hrs, Bronx CO received a telephone alarm reporting a store fire at 1575 Walton Ave. Box 2797 was transmitted. Eng.42 transmitted the 10-75 at 1233hrs, heavy smoke venting from the front of a 99¢ Store, a 1 story class 3(non-fireproof) commercial 45x65. The store suffered severe damage 6 years ago (7/17/00) when it had a 3rd Alarm fire. Since then, it underwent extensive alteration that was not consistent with the architectural plans filed.

The fire originated on the 1st floor rear and quickly extended to the ceiling. Combustible stock ignited the Masonite ceiling which was nailed directly to the bottom of the roof joists. Due to the fire load, a 2nd alarm was quickly transmitted.

21 minutes after the arrival of FDNY units, the failure of a cellar column caused a V-Shaped collapse. This collapse took place without warning. A 3rd alarm was transmitted. 10 members fell into the collapse area. 4 members from Engine 92 were immediately removed by FAST. 6 remaining members were trapped in the collapse. TL-44 Can firefighter was extricated aprox 4 minutes. E-75 B/U Firefighter was extricated aproximately 43 minutes in. TL-44 Officer was extricated approximately 56 minutes. Battalion 17 Chief was extricated approximately 1 hour. Lt Howard Carpluk, E-75 Officer was extricated approximately 1 hour 21 minutes. FF Michael C Reilly, E-75 was extricated approximately 1 hour 41 minutes.

FF Michael C Reilly succumbed to his injuries that day. He was appointed to the FDNY on April 11th, 2006, only on the job for a few months. 

Lt Howard J Carpluk Jr succumbed to his injuries 1 day later, August 28th, 2006. He was appointed to the FDNY August 2nd 1986, promoted to Lieutenant March 6th 1999 assigned to Engine 42. He was working PCOT in Engine 75 for this fire. 

Continue reading

Engine 329 ATRV - Inside the new vehicle

December 2015, Engine 329 in Rockaway Beach, Queens took delivery of their new 2nd piece, an All Terrain Response Vehicle (ATRV). This 2015 Ford F-550 pick-up truck was fitted with aftermarket compartments and added hose bed. The apparatus does not have pumping capabilities, it is basically a large manifold that will be supplied by an Engine Company.

It has 4-wheel drive capabilities along with a central tire inflation system allowing the operator to inflate/deflate the tires on the move without leaving the cab. It also has a winch that can be operated from front and rear of the vehicle.

Additional equipment:

30 lengths 3" supply hose.

8 lenghts 2 1/2 hose

12 lengths 1 3/4 hose

Forcible entry tools

2 1/2 gallon water extinguisher

SCBA

Rescue Surfboard

Water Rescue equipment (Cold Water Rescue Suit, PFD's, 600' Ocean Rescue Rope, Torpedo, Wetsuit with boots & fins, Binoculars, Bull horn)

CFR-D equipment

Stokes with floatation & Backboard

Indian Cans

24 ft portable ladder

Engine Company 329 calls Rockaway Beach their home. They are 1st due to Breezy Point, Marine Parkway Bridge, Floyd Bennett Field and Jacob Riis Park. It is Company policy to roll the ATRV whenever the Engine gets a run, and this proves helpful on numerous occations. Breezy Point has many walks, areas that the Engine can not reach that their ARTV will. The Company, under the command of Captain Cody, train regularly and are prepared for anything that comes their way whether on land or in the Ocean. We wish them the best of luck with the new apparatus.

Continue reading

Deutsche Bank Fire

Deutsche Bank Fire

In memory  of FF Joseph Graffagnino, L-5 detailed to E-24 (Posthumously promoted to Lieutenant) and FF Robert Beddia, E-24.

On September 11th, 2001, the Deutsche Bank located at 130 Liberty Street, suffered severe damage from the collapse of the World Trade Center and never reopened for business purpose. August 31st, 2004, Lower Manhattan Development Corp assumed ownership and Asbestos abatement and deconstruction was to take place at different locations within the building. No demolition permit for 130 Liberty was filed or issued, however, a series of alteration permits were filed and issued by NYCDOB. 

On Saturday August 18th, 2007, at 1536hrs, a Telephone Alarm reporting a fire on the scaffolding at 88 Greenwich Street, Box 0047 was transmitted. Initially 2 Engines, 2 Trucks and the Battalion were assigned, but due to subsequent numerous calls, Manhattan Dispatch filled out the assignment to 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, Rescue, Squad, Battalion & HazMat 1 (E-10, E-4, E-6, E-7, L-10, TL-15, Bn-1, Rescue 1, Squad 18). 10 Truck officer transmitted the 10-75 for heavy smoke from the upper floors of the Deutsche Bank with the corrected address of 130 Liberty Street. At 1541hrs, 10 Truck upgraded the box to a 2nd Alarm for fire through the skin of the high rise. At 1547hrs, Battalion 1 transmitted the 10-76(HiRise Commercial fire). Size up was 26 story hi-rise office building182x182 occupying 1 city block and as previously mentioned, undergoing asbestos abatement & demolition. The building was built in 1974, 38 stories tall prior to demolition. All interior elevators were out of service & exterior construction elevators were used to gain access to upper floors. The standpipe was reported by construction workers to be a 'dry system', however when fed from the street, water did not reach the fire floor. It was found that a section was missing in the sub level A. 

The 1st hoseline had to be stretched up the exterior of the building. It took 67 minutes from the initial transmission of alarm until a charged hoseline was in position on the 15th floor manned by Engine 24. The delay in water allowed the fire to extend from the 17th floor to the top 26th floor, also downward to the 16th, 15th, 14th, 12th & 5th floors. 

FF Graffagnino was found unconscious on the 14th floor at 1701hrs. He was removed to Downtown Beekman Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. FF Beddia was found unconscious on the 14th floor at 1710hrs. He was also removed to Downtown Beekman Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

FDNY BFI determined the fire to have been started by careless discard of smoking material on the southside of the 17th floor in the decontamination area. 

The following building conditions contributed to the death of the 2 firefighters:

The sprinkler system required by code was out of service.

The standpipe system required by code was out of service.

The means of egress (A & B Stairways) required by code were blocked by sealed wooden platforms that prevented members from dropping down below the fire.

The Stairway enclosures required by code had either been compomised or removed at several locations.

Timeline:

1536hrs: Phone Alarm Recieved

1537hrs: Box 0047 transmitted:

1540hrs: 10 Truck transmitted 10-75 for heavy smoke from upper floors

1541hrs: 10 Truck transmitted 2nd Alarm for heavy fire through the skin.

1541hrs: 10 Engine officer orders ECC to supply siamese on Albany St. This stretch took aprox 15 minutes due to distance around construction trailers.

1542hrs: 10 Truck reports fire on multiple floors and scaffolding, units to use caution.

1544hrs: 10 Engine enters elevator operated by Construction Elevator operator. Operator informs the boss the standpipe was dry. Upon arrival to 15th floor, conditions were clear. E-10 officer noted B stairs there was no outlet & 16th floor was blocked off by wooden platform sealed in plastic. He dropped down to the 14th floor & again, couldn't find an outlet.

1547hrs: Battalion 1 arrived, transmitted the 10-76.

1547hrs: Squad 18, Engine 6 & Rescue 1 arrive. Engine 6 and Squad 18 assist Engine 10 ECC stretching to the siamese.

1548hrs: Engine 10 contacted Ladder 10 looking for saws to get access to the sealed wooden platforms. Ladder 10, 15 & Engine 7 ascend in the other contruction elevator. Ladder 8 arrived & was ordered to bring saws to the 15th floor.

1548hrs: Engine 10 observed fire started to drop to the 15th floor decon area. He asked his ECC status of the siamese, which he was still having trouble reaching.

1548hrs: Box 9031 & 9032 transmitted, bringing in Brooklyn units to lower Manhattan.

1559hrs: Engine 10 ECC advised he was supplying water to the standpipe system. No water reached the 15th floor. (It was later discovered a section of this standpipe was missing.)

1601hrs: Both A & B stairway is now filled with smoke. 

1604hrs; 10 Truck reported "We gained entry to the 16 floor. Search Rope is being deployed. The search is going slow due to the fact that we may have holes in the floor. I do not believe that the fire is on 16. It may be on the 17th." 

1607hrs: Engine 4 officer made a transmission to Battalion 1 that they may  need to drop a line down the exterior of the building. 

1607hrs: Rescue transmitting to Battalion 2 "This is Rescue 1, We got up 2 floors above where I saw you. I believe it's 17. We could hear a good body of fire crackling up here. Lotta heat, the camera is showing hot. I don't see any actual flaming but we hear it. It's basically right at the stairway. No line up here yet. There are lots of holes in the floor right by the stairway so tell the guys to be careful".

1612hrs: Squad 18 asked for permission to drop a line down from the 15th floor. He was ordered to stand by as Command assumed the issue with the standpipe would be resolved soon.

1612hrs: Engines 4, 6 & 24 connected their roll ups preparing to drop it down the exterior.

1613hrs: Engine 33 ECC observed water cascading into sub level A (the 1st to notice a possible break in the standpipe)

1613hrs: Visibility dropped to near zero on the 15th floor, described by numerous members as a curtain of black smoke falling rapidly. Construction debris & deteriorating fire condition impeded numerous members from exiting to a safe area. Some members became disoriented & were seperated from their unit. (This is 36 minutes after the initial alarm transmission).

Between 1614hrs & 1717hrs, 14 MAYDAY transmissions & 19 URGENT transmissions were recorded.

1614hrs: Engine 10 MAYDAY "asssist us. It's banked down and starting to get hot".  Engine 10 & 7 were attempting to exit the 15th floor & unable to locate stairway B.  Engine 10 officer decided to head to stairway A, he felt heat in front and behind him. Rescue 2 was ordered to address this MAYDAY.

1617hrs: Engine 10 Nozzle became seperated from Engine 10. He transmitted a MAYDAY. 3 seperate MAYDAY's were transmitted within a 2 minute 36 second time frame.

In the chaos, members were attempting to retreat to a safe area. The line was lowered via exterior but they needed to add more hose to the tip. Engine 24 members split up as they were attempting to fix this issue. Engine 24 officer was eventually assisted to safety, exhausted & out of air. FF Beddia told E-24 back-up that he was going to drop down to the 14th floor. E-24 Back-up had no further contact with FF Beddia. When E-24 Back-up reached the 14th floor landing, he encountered FF Graffagnino who was gasping. He attempted to give Graffagnino his facepiece for air, but immediately felt the effects of the acrid smoke. FF Graffagnino appeared to be disoriented. E-24 Back-Up attempted to pull FF Graffagnino to the ground but fell back.

1650hrs: E-24 Back-Up transmitted the MAYDAY for Graffagnino & Beddia. 

1652hrs: 3rd Alarm transmitted. (75 minutes in)

1653hrs: E-24 Back-Up reached other firefighters. He informed Rescue 1, Rescue Battalion aide & Battalion 41 that Graffagnino & Beddia were still inside. E-24 Back-Up was exhausted & vomitting. There were other MAYDAY's transmitted & resolved during this.

1657hrs: There were no units operating above the 14th floor. Engine 24, Rescue 1, Rescue Battalion, Battalion 41 & Division 11 were the only units operating on the 14th floor. 

1657hrs: Battalion 2 made inquiry of missing members from Engine 24.

1658hrs: Rescue Battalion aide reported he is on the 14th floor & E-24 Back-Up states the rest of his company is missing, can we confirm this.

After hearing a PASS alarm, even though exhausted & operating for over an hour, Rescue 1 conducted the search. Division 11 located FF Graffagnino on the north side just across from the B stairway. He was supine & unconscious. His PASS alarm was activated.

17:07hrs Rescue 1 officer reported hearing another PASS alarm sounding. Engine 3 officer located FF Beddia in the core area between 2 turnstiles. He was on the edge of the platform that covered the original building elevator shafts on the east side of the core area. He was unconscious in the prone position.

Lt Joseph Graffagnino was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on August 18, 2007. He was appointed Probationary Firefighter May 9th, 1999. He was assigned to Engine 24 August 4th, 1999 & transfered to Ladder 5 on December 9th, 2006.  He was detailed to Engine 24 for the day tour at the time of the Deutsche Bank fire assigned to the Control position.

FF Robert Beddia was appointed Probationary Firefighter on October 24th, 1983. December 7th 1983 he was assigned to Engine 24. For the Deutsche Bank fire, FF Beddia was working Overtime for the day tour assigned to the Nozzle position.

Continue reading

Waldbaum's Fire August 2nd, 1978

Waldbaum's Fire August 2nd, 1978

August 2nd, 1978, 12 firefighters plunged into a burning Waldbaum's Supermarket when the bowstring truss roof collapsed at the center of the store. 6 firefighters died. Shortly before the collapse, a crackling sound was heard. Some of the 20 firefighters on the roof at the time were able to run to the roof's edge.

The bowstring truss, concealed by a rain roof, failed as a result of the unchecked fire gaining headway.

The fire was reported at 8:30am, escalated to a 5th alarm as a result of the rescue and recovery effort. Built in 1952, the supermarket was undergoing extensive renovations and was open for business. At the time, they were welding in the ceiling. The roof collapsed 32 minutes after initial units arrived. 6 firefighters were killed, 34 injured. 

Failure of 1 truss element can cause failure of the entire truss and a resulting collapse of the entire structure. The danger of truss construction whether a bowstring truss, wooden truss with gusset plates or metal parallel chord truss pose a danger to firefighters. 

Of the 6 members killed August 2nd, 1978 at the Waldbaum's Fire in Brooklyn, FF William O'Connor was the youngest. 29 years of age, he had only 7 1/2 months on the job. O'Connor was reporting for duty that morning, his wife and 3 children drove him to work. As they arrived, the bells were ringing in the firehouse. He ran into the firehouse, thew his gear on and jumped in. His wife followed behind to watch their hero husband/father in action. Unfortunately, they were watching as he was thrown into the collapse. 6 of New York City's bravest were killed, 34 others injured.

We remember the following members who lost their lives at Brooklyn 4th Alarm 77-44-3300 August 2nd, 1978:

Lt James E Cutillo, Bn-33 He was married with 2 children. Joined FDNY April 6, 1963.

FF Charles S Bouton, L-156  38 years of age, married father of 6 children. Joined FDNY September 14, 1968.

FF Harold Hastings, Bn-42 39 years of age, 16 year veteran of the FDNY.

FF James P McManus, L-153 44 years of age, married with 2 daughters, 17 year veteran of the FDNY.

FF William O'Connor, L-15629 years of age, married father of 3 children. Only 7 1/2 months on the FDNY.

FF George S Rice, L-153 38 years of age, married with 2 children. Joined the FDNY August 14, 1965. 

Continue reading

Ritz Tower Explosion

Ritz Tower Explosion

August 1st, 1932 - FDNY Companies were turned out to a reported fire in the sub-cellar of the Ritz Tower. Located at 113 East 57 Street, the Ritz is a 41 story hotel/residential building with stores on the 1st floor. It was one of the tallest residential buildings in New York City. While members were working to extinguish the fire, fumes from the paint shop met the high heat from the fire causing an explosion. Lt James Hartnett, L-16 and FF Thomas S Finn, E-65 were closest to the explosion and were killed instantly. The Incident Commander promptly transmitted the 2nd alarm for box 924. Uninjured firemen near the explosion rushed to remove the injured when, with in 3 minutes of the 1st explosion, a 2nd occured. The 2nd was more powerful and bigger than the 1st, blowing out partition walls, traveling up the dumbwaiter shaft to the 1st floor. 5 firemen were killed in the 2nd explosion and another succumed to his injuries 2 weeks later.

We remember FDNY members killed at the Ritz Tower Explosion Box 66-22-0924 occuring August 1st, 1932 at 113 East 57 Street.

Lt James Hartnett, L-16 August 1, 1932

FF Thomas S Finn, E-65 August 1, 1932

FF James F Greene, E-65 August 1, 1932

FF Louis Hardina, L-16 August 1, 1932

FF William L Pratt, L-7 detailed to L-2 August 1, 1932

Lt John H Cosgrove, E-65 August 1, 1932

FF Peter A Daly, E-39 August 1, 1932

FF Edward R Maloney, E-39 August 18, 1932

Continue reading

Who was Edward Croker?

Who was Edward Croker?

A search of famous firefighting quotes will turn up Edward F Croker at the top. Croker sure had his way words for the fire service, but who was he? 

Edward Franklin Croker was appointed to the FDNY on June 22nd, 1884. He was only 21 years of age. Just shy of 50 days on the job, Croker was promoted to Assistant Foreman (Lieutenant), and again, another promotion a mear few months later to Foreman (Captain) of Engine 1. Croker's uncle, Richard Croker, was Fire Commissioner from 1883 - 1887, and one of the most powerful political figure in New York City as the head of Tammany Hall. In it's early years, the City was growing as was the need for the Fire Service. Edward Croker proved to be a great firefighter and through his career, a great leader. January 22nd 1892, Croker was promoted to Battalion Chief. May 1, 1899 he was appointed Acting Chief of Department and June 29, 1899 named Chief of Department. Many thought Croker's ties with Tammany Hall was a stepping stone, potentially to Mayor. Croker denied any ambition with the following stirring words:

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. There is an adage which says that, "Nothing can be destroyed except by fire." We strive to preserve from destruction the wealth of the world which is the product of the industry of men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor. We are defenders from fires of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius of men and the means of refinement of mankind. (But, above all; our proudest endeavor is to save lives of men-the work of God Himself. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even at the supreme sacrifice. Such considerations may not strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill to the limit our ambition in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society.

Chief Croker did his best to modernize his department, donating the 1st motorized chief's car and attempted to streamline communications between firemen during emergencies.

He was an outspoken advocate of improving fire safety throughout the city's commercial and residential buildings. He warned that many of the buildings around the city that housed manufacturing operations were disasters waiting to happen. In 1894, he testified before the Tenement House committee that a fatal fire was due in part to "the combustible nature of the building and it's open construction." His unheeded warnings were personified on March 25th 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. After the Triangle Waist Factory Fire, suspecting that he could do little to advance his cause within the politicized tangle of government red tape, Croker turned over his command to Deputy Chief John Kenlon at 8:00AM. Edward F. Croker served twelve years the Chief of the New York City Fire Department and for twenty-seven years as an active fireman. Croker’s twenty-seven years of service had seen the administration of twenty-two Commissioners. Croker spent the next 40 years in fire prevention, his company was a leader in Fire Prevention and exists today. (https://www.crokerfiredrill.com/ ). In 1914, Croker built a completely fireproof house in Long Beach which still stands today at 116 Lindell Blvd corner of West Penn Street. This was said to be the 1st of it's kind. His house warming party was covered by the New York Times. According to the Times' story, Croker brought all of his guests to the 2nd floor of his home, where the walls, floors and rafters were made of cement, the doors, trimmings and furniture of metal and interestingly enough, the carpets and furniture coverings of asbestos. He poured a few gallons of gasoline into the room, lit a match then shut the room's metal door and dined with his guests in the next room. The fire was confined to the room and beyond a reported crack in the metal wire of the room's window, the room remained undamaged.

August 30, 1912- Edward F. Croker,  was elected Generalissimo of the Long Beach Fire Department. Chief Croker stated that he proposed in the near future to call out the men under his command regularly every night for drill. In Long Beach, he had within ten days a fire combination truck, a staff of ten prominent volunteer firefighters, and a uniform of black trousers, blue shirts and red helmets, designed so that wealthy volunteer firemen could wear their uniform to social functions and not have to go home to change in case of a fire.

February 7, 1951, Chief Croker died at a nursing home in Lindenhurst at the age of 87.

Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.” -Edward Croker, February 1908.

croker1Crokers fireproof house at 116 Lindell Bvd corner of West Penn St Long Beach, Long Island, NY

Continue reading

Remembering Chief Stack, Safety Battalion

Remembering Chief Stack, Safety Battalion

Following the attacks on 9/11/01, like many families, the Stack family held out hope that one day the remains of Lawrence Stack would show up. Anything would do, something with DNA that they can say good bye to. 14 years with nothing and the door has yet to be closed, so the family made the ultimate decision they would attempt to locate something from him that they could say good bye to. Larry and his wife, Kathleen, were blood donors. Kathleen contacted the Blood bank in a blind attempt to locate his donation. A few months went by and the phone rings- Larry's blood was found in storage in Minnesota. The donation was donated back to the family, which they chose to use as a piece of a loving husband, father, brother, best friend to say to good bye to.

Larry Stack was one of many real life heroes that day, but his life leading up to his death was nothing short of spectacular. Before he joined the FDNY, Larry spent 6 years in the US Navy. His last year was the Vietnam War. February 19, 1966, he joined the NYPD for a short period following his honorable discharge from the Navy, but being from a family of FDNY firefighters, joining the department was a no brainer. His father spent 38 years on the job, his brother Dennis retired as a Captain with over 25 years on, his 2 sons; Michael joined the FDNY in 1994 and is presently a Lieutenant in Ladder 176 and Brian is in Ladder 123 detailed to Rescue 4, and his brother-in-law retired as a Lieutenant with over 25 years on the job. 

October 19, 1968, Chief Stack joined the FDNY assigned to Ladder 107 then to Ladder 175 in 1970. In 1981, he was promoted to Lieutenant and after a year of bouncing he was assigned to 35 Truck in Lincoln Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side.  On April 5th, 1984, he was promoted to Captain. He bounced around Manhattan until January 6th, 1987 when he got the spot in Engine 8, Midtown East. March 17th 1990, Larry was promoted to Battalion Chief, working in the 50 Battalion. In 1994, he transfered to the Safety Battalion. 

June 17th, 2016 is the date set for the funeral of Chief Lawrence Stack. This date has significant meaning; It is the 49th wedding anniversary of Larry and Kathleen. Also, June 17th, 2001 was a Sunday, it was also Father's Day and Larry Stack was working the day tour. Around 2pm, Queens Companies were assigned to fire in Hardware Store- Long Island General Store at 12-22 Astoria Blvd. 40 minutes into the fire an explosion occured, this took the life of 3 firemen and injured many more. The Safety Battalion's responsibility, in addition to firefighting duties, is investigating line of duty injuries and deaths. Following this fire, Chief Stack was on administrative detail to conduct his investigation of the fire that took place on June 17th which is known as The Father's Day Fire.

On September 11th, 2001, Chief Stack reported to his office at the Brooklyn Navy Yard ready to put his final report together on the Father's Day fire when the 1st plane flew into the tower. The view from the Brooklyn Navy Yard is lower Manhattan. All members in the firehouse went up to the roof. Larry had his binoculars with him and as he was watching the horror unfold, the 2nd plane struck the other tower. Larry turned to the others and said, "We will be needed, we need to go", and off they went. 

Continue reading

An Afternoon to remember

An Afternoon to remember

June 5, 2016-

2 weeks ago, I had the week of my life. It started with the Answer the Call 2016 Soiree, the NYC Firefighter & Police Widows & Children's fund benefit ( https://www.facebook.com/AnswerTheCallNYC/?fref=ts ). We were asked to attend and gladly accepted. In addition to helping such an awesome foundation, I had the opportunity to meet my childhood hero Mark Messier. It was only Tuesday and I thought to myself, this is it, the highest point possible of the week, even year. I had no idea what was in store for me later on

That Saturday started out as a typical day tour in Midtown, not a second to enjoy a cup of coffee to start the tour before the tones went off and computer spit out our assignment. At around 11, I got a phone call that a visitor would be stopping by, but, as usual, we were finishing up another run. When we made it back to the firehouse, Tim Hogan, his wife and 2 children were there waiting. Tim, now Lieutenant, was a firefighter in Brooklyn 2 years ago when we 1st met (via facebook). NYC Fire Wire was contacted about a firefighter whose family was going through a difficult time. In early 2013, Tim's son Owen was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia. Aplastic Anemia is a disorder in which the body stops producing blood cells. It can result in fatigue, easy bruising, poor clotting and impair the body's ability to fight infection. Owen's aplastic anemia is life threatening. We (NYC Fire Wire) were prepared to do what ever it took. While Owen stole my heart, I was also concerned for Tim and his wife Kathleen. As a parent, I could only imagine what they were going through. We used Fire Wire, whether it was for the little things like prayers, facebook comments for words of encouragement, or anything. I was finally in contact with Tim and able to offer whatever was in our power. We were successful in everything we did. That Saturday, I was not only suprised by their visit, but also to learn that this June 2016 marks 6 months since Owen was under the microscope. 6 months since he had any treatment, needles, anything!

The Little things: Tim said that Owen was a brave warrior through the whole thing. He battled Cancer like a 3am fire with people trapped; he went head first and didn't quit until the fire was out. But when he was scared, he found his support in a video. He downloaded an app called "Whopping Fire Trucks" and there was a video of Engine 54 going on a run. As they were pulling out, they noticed someone recording them, so the nozzle & back-up man gave each other thumbs up and a high five. At the moment, it was just an innocent quirky thing, but Owen saw it and immediately loved it. When ever he was scared, Tim played the video for Owen, and they would high five each other and give each other a thumbs up, and Owen was ready to go into battle with his parents backing him up. (There is soooo many video's of 54/4 responding, I'm having trouble finding the video on youtube to show you.)

During Owen's visit to the firehouse, I made sure he had a great time because I just had to see that smile on his face. We played in the rig and Owen and his brother Ethan got to hit Tim and I with the extinguisher. We even got to do the thumbs up, high five that he saw in the video.

When I met them for the first time at the firehouse, I was more star struck then I was when I met Messier. I didn't think it was possible to top that event on Tuesday, but my day with Owen did. The strength this family has, it's real inspirational. Ethan was an infant when this began, Tim was even promoted to Lieutenant, and I'm sure he wasn't able to fully enjoy the promotion with everything going on. But they pulled through, and are now returning to normal life. Owen gets to grow up (and hopefully joins us in the FDNY). 

NYC Fire Wire is there for the FDNY and it's family, as are other great foundations. You can read more about Owen and his fight: http://aheroforowen.com/ or check out the facebook page A Hero for Owen https://www.facebook.com/AHeroForOwen/?fref=ts .

Also, please check out Lil Bravest http://lilbravest.com/ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Lil-Bravest-172804942863101/ . Lil' Bravest Inc was founded by brothers in Engine 84/Ladder 34. The goal is to improve the quality of life for children who are hospitalized or being treated for childhood diseases. The goal is to put a smile on the faces of kids who are going through a very difficult time. These kids are the true heroes and the funds raised by this foundation go directly to improving their quality of life.

 

Continue reading

Retired Captain ordained as Priest

Retired Captain ordained as Priest

Sunday May 29th, 2016: During a service at St. Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue, FDNY Retired Captain Thomas Colucci was ordained into priesthood. And, without question, his brothers and sisters of the FDNY came out to support him. Captain Colucci served with the FDNY for 20 years, starting his career in Kingsbridge assigned to Engine 81. After 5 years in the Engine he crossed the floor to Tower Ladder 46 and 4 years later was promoted to Lieutenant, assigned to Engine 3. On 9/11/01, 5 members from Colucci's house (Engine 3/Tower Ladder 12/Battalion 7), never made it back. Lt Colucci spent months at Ground Zero searching for his brothers. Following 9/11, the department underwent a major restructuring, rebuilding of the department to replace the brothers lost. In May 2002, Colucci was promoted to Captain and found his new home in Tower Ladder 21. Ladder 21 lost all members working on 9/11/01. Over the next few years, Captain Colucci worked with brave men to mend broken hearts, dealing with the loss of their bothers while continuing to do the duty of protecting Hells Kitchen on Manhattan's West Side. After 20 years on the job, Captain Colucci had to retire after he suffered a brain injury from an explosion he was at. Colucci says his decision to enter Priesthood was made in response to everything he saw on 9/11. "On 9/11 you saw the worst of humanity; then you saw the best. People say 'Where was Christ that day'; I think he was there in rescuers".

For a copy of any picture in this article, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Continue reading

FDNY Battalion Chief seeks Doctor who saved his life

FDNY Battalion Chief seeks Doctor who saved his life

Kevin McNamara, a New York City firefighter who is in the business of saving lives, is now looking for the guardian angel who saved his.

On Jan. 25, while vacationing at Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun, Pennsylvania, he was approached by a dermatologist — "a redhead or strawberry blond" — who noticed a nasty looking mole on his back and told him he should see a doctor.

McNamara took her advice and was diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. Because he acted so quickly and had the mole removed, the 42-year-old father has a healthy future.

"I had a guardian angel that day," said McNamara, a fire chief at the 4th Battalion in Manhattan. "This could have possibly been a disaster and I have two young kids.

"I would love to just give her a great thanks and a hug," he told TODAY.

McNamara said he tried to find the mystery skin doctor the next day and even called the hotel for their guest list, but had no luck. He described her as short — "5-foot two to 5-foot six" and "about 35 to 45" years old.

"I'm not a detective, but she must be from the Tri-State area [New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania]," he said.

Melanoma kills one person every hour in the United States. It is the fifth most common cancer among men and the seventh among women, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. But if detected early, it is 98 percent curable.

McNamara's mole was a dark brownish color, about the size of a quarter.

"I thought it was just a birthmark," he said, and "blew off" concerns from his wife and mother, who is a nurse.

That was until the Good Samaritan decided to speak up while he and his wife, Shawn, and their children, Sarah, 4, and Blake, 9 months, were at the water park in the Poconos.

"It was a Monday afternoon and my daughter and I were having a great time in the wave pool," he said. "I don't know where this lady came from, but she patted me on the back and said, 'I don't want to ruin your vacation, but you have a melanoma on your back and you should get it checked out. I am not telling you this out of the blue — I'm a dermatologist.'"

And then the stranger walked away.

Two days later, he saw a dermatologist, then contacted Memorial Sloan Kettering Medical Center for a biopsy to see if the cancer had penetrated the skin.

"At the fire department, we don't fool around," he said.

Waiting for biopsy results, "was the worst," but in the end, the cancer had not spread. On March 1, Dr. Anthony Rossi successfully removed the mole.

"He said I was lucky she told me," said McNamara. "If I didn't get it checked out, it might have been invasive and I'd be on chemotherapy now."

'Classic' case of melanoma

Dr. Darrel Rigel, a clinical dermatologist at New York University Medical Center, who did not treat McNamara, said he was not surprised the mystery dermatologist spoke up.

"My mother is retired and lives in Arizona and I frequently see people with melanomas walking around the pool," he told TODAY. "I usually say something."

He said McNamara fits the "classic" case of melanoma. "It's common on men's backs because the moles don't get noticed."

By occupation, the disease is most prevalent among firefighters, because of sun exposure or toxic chemicals, as well as airline pilots, perhaps because of radiation at high altitudes, Rigel said.

Those who are fair with freckling — known as "Fitzpatrick type 1 skin," named for a Boston doctor — are at higher risk.

McNamara, although half-Italian, laughingly noted he had "my grandmother's cheap Irish skin" and never worried about the sun.

"I am the one playing baseball outside with no shirt on, thinking it was no big deal," he said.

Now, McNamara, wears "all the long-sleeve UV shirts" and wears a hat because "you have to protect the dome." He also uses the maximum sunscreen.

He even got the attention of his men at the fire department, who now get regular checks with a dermatologist.

McNamara said he knows it's a "shot in the dark" to find the doctor who saved his life, "but I want to thank her."

"I do believe God had a hand in it and that most people if given the opportunity would help a fellow human being if it meant saving that person's life," he said. "I am forever grateful to that woman, and I can hopefully pass on that gift to someone someday."

ABCs: When is a mole melanoma?

(Courtesy of the American Academy of Dermatology)

A is for Asymmetry: One half doesn't match the other.

B is for Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

C is for Color that varies from one area to another.

D is for Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E is for Evolving: Look for a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

See full article http://www.today.com/health/melanoma-mystery-who-doctor-who-saved-nyc-firefighter-s-life-t92591

Continue reading

NYC honors Charles Keating IV

NYC honors Charles Keating IV

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Charlie Keating IV was Killed in Action on Tuesday May 3rd, 2016 when his team was called in on a rescue mission.  A team of less than a dozen US Military advisers came under attack in Iraq Tuesday from more than 100 ISIS fighters and SEAL Keating IV was part of the force sent in to rescue them. All advisers made it back. Keating did not.  Keating is a decorated combat veteran who decided to enlist following the attacks on America on 9/11/01.

Thursday, May 12th, a memorial service was held at St Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. FDNY & NYPD turned out to honor Keating's sacrifice for this country. Local area companies brought the rigs down including Engine 8/Ladder 2/Battalion 8, Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9, Rescue 1, Engine 23 & Squad 18. The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums played their farewell to Keating as well.

On Wednesday, the Chief of Naval Personnel announced Keating will be posthumously promoted to Chief Pety Officer.

 2.jpg

Continue reading

Dalmatian helps 4 Truck respond

The Dalmatian has been associated with the Fire Service since the days of the horse drawn fire engines. In this adorable video by instagram user: Puppycow_Dalmatian , the dalmatian help's #FDNY 4 Truck respond in Hells Kitchen.

Tags:
Continue reading

And the Tradition Continues....

And the Tradition Continues....

On Thursday, the #FDNY promoted Captains to Battalion Chiefs at a ceremony at the FDNY Training Academy on Randalls Island known as 'The Rock'. One of the promotions was Chris Eysser, TL-120. Chris is following his father, George Eysser's footsteps in the FDNY. George passed away June 13, 2015 from 9/11 related illness, before that he was a part of the FDNY for 40 years. Chris's uncle, Herb Eysser was a long time Manhattan Dispatcher 124.

Chris Eysser's FDNY career began in 1995, when he went into the academy. His rotations included 'The Nut House' TL-111, then over to the Border Patrol E-304 for a year, then a year with El's Angels E-294 before he returned home to The Nut House TL-111. Chris was very into the job and the books, in 2003 he was promoted from 111 to Lieutenant. After a year of bouncing, he found his spot at The Tonka Truck TL-124. In 2010, Chris was promoted to Captain, and after 3 years, he made TL-120 his new home. Watkins Street E-231/TL-120/Bn-44 is a house with a lot of tradition. 120 is a very busy truck in both running and fire duty. They also pride their tradition of being a family company: 16 men set a footprint in the firehouse that they proudly handed down to their son(s). While Chris's father didn't work in 120, they proudly welcomed the son of a great Chief on this job. And Chris didn't disappoint. Taking the position of Company Commander, Chris is a great guy to work with. He is always ready to share his knowlege and experience. Which made saying good bye hard. But Chris was prepared to go out with a bang. Friday April 8th, Chris Eysser worked his final tour as a Captain of 120 Truck. In a 15 hour night tour, 120 had 8 runs, 1 of which was a job.

10:28pm: Phone Alarm- Residential, 414 Sutter, Sackman - Powell, Both companies 1st due, fire apt 1G 1st floor. Turn out! E-231, E-290, E-283, TL-120, L-103 & Bn-44 assigned. Upon arrival, Watkins Street companies were faced with fire venting from a window on the 1st floor of a 14 story brick projects 50x250. On the 10-75 transmission, E-332, Squad 252, Rescue 2, L-175 FAST, Bn-58 & Division 15 were assigned. Shortly after, The 44 upgraded to a 10-77(HiRise Residential Fire), bringing in E-233 with High Rise Nozzle, E-227 CFR-D, L-176, TL-170, Bn-38, Bn-37, Field Comm, Rescue Batt & Safety Batt. Engine 231 stretched from the Engine while Captain Chris Eysser led TL-120's inside team into the fire apartment to search for victims and confine the fire to the room of origin. The wet stuff hit the red stuff, building was vented and the brothers took their experience back to the firehouse kitchen to share the good memories each will hold of working with Chris Eysser. As of 0900hrs Saturday April 9th, 2016, Chris is official an FDNY Battalion Chief. 

Continue reading

Mike Prior's last tour

Mike Prior's last tour

Tonight is a big night for the Corona Tigers. FF Mike Prior is working his last tour after 35 years with the City of New York.

It all began in January 1981, when Mike joined the NYPD, but by November '81, he jumped across the floor to the FDNY. When he graduated the fire acadmy, he was assigned to Ladder 156 "The Highway". In August '83, Mike made the Corona Tigers his home, Tower Ladder 138. Working in 2 great shops, Mike learned from the best of the best which shaped him into the great firefighter he is today. In 1996, Mike became a seated chaufeur in 138, a seat he will own tonight until the sun rises. In the morning, Mike will break bread with his brothers for the last time on the job with the FDNY.

Mike was always ready to pass on his knowlege and experience, especially to his boys who joined him on the job. Matt Prior, Mike's oldest, works in TL-155, Kris in L-132 and his youngest, JT is in E-332. 

What's next for Mike? His first grandkid is due in August. Sounds like he wants to be there to start molding a new firefighter from day 1.

The admin of NYC Fire Wire would like to congradulate Mike Prior on your long, sucessful career. Have a happy and healthy 2nd life! Collect as long as you can, you deserve it.

 

Continue reading
Go to top