FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2006
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS SCOPPETTA DEDICATE MEMORIAL PLAQUE IN HONOR OF FIREFIGHTER RICHARD T. SCLAFANI
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today dedicated a memorial plaque in honor of Firefighter Richard T. Sclafani at the quarters of Ladder Company 103 in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Sclafani was a 10-year veteran of the Fire Department assigned to Ladder Company 103 when he was killed in the line of duty fighting a second-alarm fire in a private home on January 23, 2005. He was 37 years old. The Mayor and Fire Commissioner were joined at the dedication ceremony by members of the Sclafani family, FDNY officials and firefighters assigned to Sclafani's firehouse. The death of Firefighter Sclafani, along with the line of duty deaths of Lieutenants Curtis W. Meyran and John G. Bellew, marked the largest loss of life in a single day for the Fire Department since September 11, 2001.
"Richie Sclafani always put others before himself," said Mayor Bloomberg. "He cherished his family and he loved being a firefighter. When the call for help came, he responded heroically - thinking only about the lives he might save. The plaque we unveil today will forever honor Richie's bravery and commitment to the Department and our City. Today and every day, we will remember his sacrifice and honor his memory."
"Though Richie Sclafani was first and foremost a son and a brother, he also chose to become a member of a second family - the New York City Fire Department," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "Today, we honor Richie's sacrifice by dedicating this plaque in his honor. It will be here for generations to come and will serve as a reminder to everyone who passes by this firehouse - and to those who enter these doors - that he was a hero. He will be forever remembered for his selfless courage and commitment to protect and save others."
Firefighter Sclafani and members of Ladder Company 103 were among the first firefighters to arrive on the scene of the fire at 577 Jerome Street. They entered the basement where the fire started and began searching both for the location of the fire and to rescue any trapped occupants. At the time, there was a report that children may have still been trapped in the basement. During these search operations, Firefighter Sclafani became separated from his fellow firefighters. He was found minutes later unconscious and in respiratory arrest on the cellar staircase. Sclafani was transported to Brookdale Hospital where he died a short time later.
Firefighter Sclafani was a resident of Bayside, Queens. He is survived by his mother, Joan and his sister, Joanne. He was appointed to the Fire Department on October 23, 1994. During his career he also worked in Squad 18 in Manhattan.
Stu Loeser / Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (Fire Department)
View the photos