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PR- 310-06
August 28, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced the death of FDNY Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk, Jr. of Engine Company 42 in the Bronx. Lieutenant Carpluk, age 43, died this morning at Montefiore Medical Center as a result of critical injuries sustained yesterday while fighting a three-alarm fire in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx.  Lieutenant Carpluk was a 20-year-veteran of the Fire Department.

“Today, New York City has lost another one of its Bravest,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “For more than 20 years, Lieutenant Carpluk devoted his life to saving others. When I met with the men of the Engine 42 this morning, they told me how the Lieutenant faced each and every challenge before him bravely and unflinchingly.  Yesterday was no different.  Speaking for all 8.2 million New Yorkers, our prayers are with him, his wife Debra and their children.”

“In less than 24 hours, we have lost two courageous men, a young probie at the start of his career and an accomplished veteran who dedicated 20 years of service to New York City,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “It is a heartbreaking loss for the Fire Department whose members know all too well of the great sacrifice that firefighters are called upon to make in order to protect us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Firefighter Michael C. Reilly and Lt. Howard J. Carpluk Jr.”

The Mount Eden fire also claimed the life of Probationary Firefighter Michael C. Reilly of Engine Company 75. On Sunday at 12:29 p.m., firefighters responded to a call at 1575 Walton Avenue for a fire in a one-story commercial building. The blaze quickly grew to three alarms. FDNY units entered the building to search for victims when a collapse occurred. Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly became trapped with Battalion Chief Thomas W. Auer, 47, of Battalion 17, a 23-year veteran; Lieutenant John P. Grasso, 45, of Engine 92, a 20-year veteran; and Firefighter Wayne J. Walters, 30, of Engine 75, a 4-year veteran. Chief Auer and Lieutenant Grasso are listed in stable condition at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Firefighter Walters was treated and released from Jacobi Medical Center last night.

Lieutenant Carpluk was appointed to the Fire Department on August 2, 1986. During his 20-year career, he was awarded two citations for bravery, including one award for a heroic rescue on March 30, 1988, when he saved the lives of two unconscious men he found in the bedroom of a fire-engulfed apartment in the Bronx.  He began his career at Ladder Company 31 in the Bronx and was promoted to lieutenant on February 6, 1999. A resident of Yaphank, Lieutenant Carpluk is survived by his wife Debra, his 10-year-old daughter Paige and his 14-year-old son Bradley.

Lieutenant Carpluk is the 1,134th member of the New York City Fire Department to make the supreme sacrifice in the Department's 142-year history.


Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958


Frank Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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