FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA DEDICATE MEMORIAL PLAQUES IN HONOR OF LIEUTENANT JOSEPH GRAFFAGNINO AND FIREFIGHTER ROBERT BEDDIA
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today joined colleagues, family members, and friends of Fire Department Lieutenant Joseph Graffagnino and Firefighter Robert Beddia to honor their memories at a plaque dedication ceremony at Engine Company 24/Ladder Company 5 in Manhattan. On August 18, 2007, Lieutenant Graffagnino and Firefighter Beddia were fatally injured while battling a seven-alarm high-rise fire at the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan. Lieutenant Graffagnino, 33, of Ladder Company 5, was an eight-year veteran of the Department. Firefighter Beddia, 53, of Engine Company 24, served the FDNY for 23 years.
"Members of the New York City Fire Department continually put themselves in harm's way to make the City safer," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Lieutenant Graffagnino and Firefighter Beddia were two of our Bravest - never hesitating to put their lives on the line to save another. Now generations of firefighters will see these bronze plaques and hear stories of their valor. Their extraordinary service earned them the admiration of the entire City and this tribute will eternally serve as a reminder of their incredible courage and commitment to a job they loved."
"The members of Engine 24/Ladder 5 will always remember these firefighters as fearless leaders, honorable men and remarkable friends," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "Lieutenant Graffagnino was the skilled professional who was born for the job, and Firefighter Beddia was the seasoned senior man who mentored new members at the firehouse. Their courage and selflessness are part of the rich tradition of the FDNY and their legacy will be forever etched in the memories of those who knew them. We will often reflect on their bravery in the face of danger and their sacrifice will never be forgotten."
On Saturday, August 18, 2007, at 3:36 p.m., firefighters responded to a call at 130 Liberty St. for a fire in the former Deutsche Bank Building. The blaze quickly grew to seven alarms, with more than 275 firefighters and 70 units responding. Lieutenant Graffagnino and Firefighter Beddia became trapped on the 14th floor of the building, which was undergoing demolition.
Lieutenant Graffagnino was a resident of Brooklyn and is survived by his wife, Linda, and children Mia, 5, and Joseph, 21 months. He was appointed to the Department on May 5, 1999, and began his career at Engine Company 24. He later worked at Engine Company 284, near his childhood home in Brooklyn, before moving to Ladder Company 5 in December 2006. He was promoted posthumously to the rank of lieutenant on June 19, 2008.
Firefighter Beddia was a resident of Staten Island and is survived by his brothers, Edward Carman and James Beddia, and his sisters, Barbara Crocco and Susan Olson. He was appointed to the Department on October 24, 1983. He spent his entire career at Engine Company 24, where he received three citations for bravery.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (FDNY) (718) 999-2056
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