FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, FDNY CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT CASSANO, FDNY CHIEF OF OPERATIONS MCNALLY, AND CHIEF FIRE MARSHAL BYRNES ANNOUNCE THE DEATH OF FIRE LIEUTENANT ROBERT J. RYAN
The Mayor's Remarks at Richmond University Medical Center This Morning Follow:
"Good morning. I am joined by FDNY Chief of Department Sal Cassano, Chief of Operations Patrick McNally, Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes, and Doctor David Ben-Eli from the Richmond University Medical Center, and other representatives of the Fire Department and the fire union.
"It's been a difficult week for the FDNY, as you all know. On Tuesday, we said goodbye to a promising young firefighter who died after completing a training exercise at the Fire Academy. That was probationary officer Jamel Sears. And, I was honored to speak at his funeral. It was a very tragic thing - somebody who had served this country and then came to serve the City, and died five weeks into his training program.
"Sadly, I have to report that earlier this morning, another tragedy took place when 46-year-old Lieutenant Robert J. Ryan of Engine Company 155 died while fighting a fire here on Staten Island.
"A 17-year veteran of the FDNY, Fire Lieutenant Ryan had responded to a second alarm fire at a home at 39 Van Buren Street in the New Brighton section of Staten Island. Lieutenant Ryan's unit was first on scene, arriving in less than four minutes, and he led his members in stretching a hose to the attic, where the fire had started.
"As the fire intensified, a portion of the ceiling fell and apparently struck Lieutenant Ryan. Unconscious, he was carried out of the building by his fellow firefighters who were standing right around him when the accident occurred.
"Firefighters and EMS personnel on the scene tried to revive him, but they were, I am sad to say, unsuccessful. He was rushed here to Richmond University Medical Center where, despite the best efforts of the medical staff, he was pronounced dead.
"Lieutenant Ryan was appointed to the FDNY in 1991 and worked in Brooklyn and Manhattan firehouses before he joined Engine 155 two years ago. He is survived by his wife Kathleen, two children - Christopher and Kayla, and two stepchildren.
"The cause of the fire is, of course, under investigation by fire marshals. Their preliminary finding is that the fire is not suspicious, and appears to have involved electrical wiring in the attic.
"We'll be happy to take a few questions you might have, but before we do I would just like to ask all New Yorkers to say a prayer for Robert Ryan. He was a brave man who lost his life protecting this city. And as we go in to the holiday season, we need to remember those who sacrifice so much for all of the rest of us."
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Francis Gribbon / James Long (Fire Department)