Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Monday, April 27, 1998

Release #181-98

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958 or Jennifer Chait (212) 788-8479


--Named After New York City Fire Department Pioneer--

--Remarks By Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani At Public Hearing On Local Laws--

The first bill before me is Introductory Number 159, sponsored by Council Members Clarke, Pinkett, Henry, O'Donovan, Robinson and Robles. This bill would designate the name "Russell D. Ramsey Memorial Triangle" to the triangle located on the south side of Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue in Brooklyn.

Russell D. Ramsey was born in Manhattan on March 18, 1929. He was the middle son of William Culbert and Edna Loretta Ramsey, who were both natives of Barbados, British West Indies. When the family moved to Brooklyn he attended PS 70 and later was accepted into Brooklyn Technical High School. After graduation, Mr. Ramsey enlisted in the United States Army and during his tour he received two Bronze Stars.

Mr. Ramsey's lifelong dream was to be a New York City firefighter. Unfortunately, Mr. Ramsey's dream could not be fulfilled because of an eyesight deficiency. Although devastated that he could not become a firefighter, he enthusiastically entered the New York City Fire Department on November 1, 1956 as a Fire Alarm Dispatcher.

Mr. Ramsey's skill in communications systems was apparent to all who worked with him, and his determination to keep abreast of state-of-the-art developments and stay at the forefront of ever-changing fire communications technology enabled him to be promoted to Supervising Dispatcher on January 1, 1964.

On November 12, 1966, Mr. Ramsey became the first African American to be promoted to the rank of Chief Dispatcher in the New York City Fire Department. He was also considered the foremost expert on Brooklyn firehouse history and architecture, and served as a member of both the elite Historical Advisory Committee of the New York Fire Museum and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Russell D. Ramsey retired from the Fire Department on March 31, 1990 and resided in Brooklyn until his death on September 29, 1992. He is survived by four daughters, Cecile, Cheryl, Renee and Vivian and two brothers, William and Roland.

In recognition of his many years of devoted and excellent service to the New York City Fire Department and to the Brooklyn community, it is fitting that the triangle located on the south side of Empire Boulevard at the intersection of Empire Boulevard and Washington Avenue, the location of the New York City Fire Department's Dispatch Headquarters, be named the "Russell D. Ramsey Memorial Triangle."

For the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.

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