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PR- 354-06
October 11, 2006


The FDNY Marks 99th Year of Honoring Firefighters Killed in the Line of Duty at City's Firefighter Memorial Monument

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today honored Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk, Jr. and Probationary Firefighter Michael C. Reilly at the 99th Annual Memorial Service at the Firefighters Memorial Monument located at Riverside Park in Manhattan. Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly died from critical injuries sustained while battling a third-alarm fire in the Bronx on August 27, 2006. Lieutenant Carpluk was a 20-year veteran of the FDNY  who was twice awarded for meritorious acts during his distinguished career, while Firefighter Reilly had just graduated from the Fire Academy in July 2006. Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Scoppetta presented the families of each fallen firefighter with a Fire Department flag and the Fire Department Medal of Valor. A Medal of Supreme Sacrifice from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and Uniformed Firefighters Association also was presented to each family.

"We gather today to honor members of New York City's Bravest who have given their lives to protect our City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We pay tribute to and remember Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly for their selflessness and courage in the face of danger. These brave men join more than a thousand other members of the FDNY who gave up their lives protecting the lives of others. By coming together at this annual memorial service, we show that their lives, and their examples, will never be forgotten. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I thank all members of the FDNY for the courage and dedication you exhibit each and every day."

"Today, we continue a nearly century-old tradition by honoring the courageous efforts of Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly, two men who sacrificed their lives to protect this great City and its residents," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "The legacy of all firefighters who make the Supreme Sacrifice is not confined to this monument, but rather lives on in the members they helped to train, the people they inspired and the lives saved because of their noble work."

On Sunday, August 27, Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly were among firefighters who responded to a call of a fire at 1575 Walton Avenue, a 99-cent store in the Mount Eden section of the Bronx. FDNY units entered the building to search for victims when a collapse occurred. Five firefighters were trapped inside, including Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly, who were the most seriously injured. Firefighter Reilly was pronounced dead a short time later at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Lieutenant Carpluk died the next day at Montefiore Medical Center.

Lieutenant Carpluk, 43, was appointed to the Fire Department on August 2, 1986, and was assigned to Ladder Company 42 in the Bronx. In his 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 on Long Island, Lieutenant Carpluk is survived by his wife Debra, his daughter Paige, age 11, and his son Bradley, age 14.

Firefighter Reilly, 25, was appointed to the Fire Department on April 11, 2006. He was chosen as a squad leader during his 13 weeks of training at the Fire Academy on Randall's Island before being assigned to Engine Company 75. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 2000, made the rank of Sergeant and later served with an airline crash fire rescue unit in Iraq. A resident of Sleepy Hollow in Westchester Country, Firefighter Reilly is survived by his mother Monica, father Michael, brother Kevin and sister Erin.

As of today, a total of 1,134 members of the New York City Fire Department have made the Supreme Sacrifice in the Department's 142-year history.

The Firefighters Memorial Monument was built in 1912 and is located in Riverside Park at Riverside Drive and 100th Street in Manhattan. It is the largest monument to a single group outside the military in New York City. Inscribed on the monument are the words: "To the men of the Fire Department of the City of New York who died at the call of duty, soldiers in a war that never ends. This memorial is dedicated by the people of a grateful City."

The Fire Department Medal of Valor was first issued by the FDNY in 1911 and is engraved with the City seal. Shortly after World War II, the Department began issuing this medal to the next of kin of members who had died in the line-of-duty. Since 1960, the medal has been awarded posthumously and exclusively for line of duty death. The UFOA/UFA Medal of Supreme Sacrifice was first awarded in 1946 and is engraved with the figure of a firefighter carrying a child from a burning building. Since that time, this medal has been given to the next of kin to honor posthumously those Fire Department members who were killed in the line-of-duty.


Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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