FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER CASSANO HONOR MEMBERS OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WHO HAVE DIED IN THE PAST YEAR
New Memorial Plaque Dedicated to FDNY Members who Died of Illnesses following their service at the World Trade Center
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today honored 14 active FDNY members who have died in the past year during the 103rd Annual Memorial Service at the Firemen's Memorial Monument at Riverside Park in Manhattan. This is the first time since 1997 - and only the fifth time in Fire Department history - that there were no line-of-duty deaths to commemorate on Memorial Day. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Cassano also announced that a bronze memorial plaque will be placed in the lobby of Fire Department headquarters in Brooklyn dedicated to firefighters and EMS members who died of illnesses following their rescue and recovery work following the September 11th attacks. The memorial plaque will include the names of those members and is expected to be unveiled by the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
"This monument was originally funded, 97 years ago, by the people of this great city," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Thousands of city school children chipped in with their nickels, dimes, and pennies. It was a wonderful demonstration of the love and respect that this city held for the FDNY. Memorial Day is about remembering the members of the Department whom we've lost. Sadly this year, the FDNY lost 14 active, uniform members. They were beloved men and women, who were friends, mentors and valued colleagues. We remember them, we honor them, and we say thank you to their families."
"In the years since September 11th, the job we perform has become dangerous in ways that none of us could have realized," said Commissioner Cassano. "Several of the 14 people we are honoring today spent long hours helping with our recovery efforts. In return, we should acknowledge their work and their sacrifice. That is why I am pledging today - to their families and to all of our members - by next year, we will have a plaque in the lobby of headquarters, honoring the men and women of the Department who succumbed to illnesses following their service at the World Trade Center."
Seven of the 14 active duty members of the Department who died this year were firefighters, one was a fire officer, one was a Paramedic and five were Emergency Medical Technicians. They are: Lieutenant Robert M. Hess, Firefighters Adrian H. Deronja, Robert A. Ford, Richard A. Manetta, Gustavo Northia, Stephen G. Schwarz, Scott T. Seaver and Joseph T. Szewczyk as well as Paramedic Carene A. Brown and EMTs Kelvin R. Buggs, Jason P. Green, Paula Rodriguez, William Rodriguez and Freddie Rosario.
A total of 1,141 members of the New York City Fire Department have made the supreme sacrifice in the Department's 146-year history, saving countless lives. Last year, the Fire Department extinguished 43,677 fires and achieved the fastest average response time to structural fires ever on record: 4 minutes and 2 seconds. Last year, as a result of the dedication of its members and ongoing fire safety campaigns, the City suffered the fewest number of civilian fire fatalities ever on record. EMS average response time to life-threatening medical emergencies is 15 percent faster than a decade ago, despite a 14 percent increase in the number of those calls
The Firemen's 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. 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."
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Francis X. Gribbon (718) 999-2056
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