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Press Releases / 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 16, 2012


Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today announced that he was authorizing the inclusion of retired Lieutenant Joseph DiBernardo’s name on the FDNY’s Wall of Honor at Fire Department Headquarters in Brooklyn. Lieutenant DiBernardo, who died of an accidental drug overdose on November 22, 2011, suffered critical injuries on “Black Sunday” - January 23, 2005 - when he and five other firefighters were forced to jump from a fourth floor window after being trapped by fire.

As a result of his injuries, Lieutenant DiBernardo endured multiple surgical procedures, and years of medical treatments and physical therapy. He retired for disability from the FDNY in January of 2006 and, at the time of his death, was taking numerous pain medications which the Suffolk County Medical Examiner cited as determinate in his accidental death.

Lieutenant DiBernardo’s father, retired FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph DiBernardo, petitioned the Fire Commissioner last May to review his son’s case as having been related to his line-of-duty injuries.

“I reviewed Lieutenant DiBernardo’s extensive medical history, including his post-retirement medical records provided by his family. I also spoke with our Chief Medical Officer about his case, and I had the Law Department provide an opinion on whether, as Fire Commissioner, I had the discretion to authorize placement of his name on our Wall of Honor for a retired member, which was confirmed,” said Fire Commissioner Cassano. “As a result of this extensive review of the evidence, I find a compelling case to include Joseph’s name on our Wall of Honor and to approve a line-of-duty plaque for his firehouse, Rescue 3.”

This November, on the one-year anniversary of his death, the FDNY will unveil Lieutenant DiBernardo’s plaque in the quarters of Rescue 3 in the Bronx.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056


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