FDNY premieres new film about Robert O. Lowery, the Department’s first Black Fire Commissioner

April 20, 2024

In a packed space on the third floor of the New York City Fire Museum, the FDNY held a film premiere Friday for “The First: Fire Commissioner Robert O. Lowery’s Story.”

The film, presented by the FDNY Foundation and the FDNY Pro Film Board, depicts the life and career of Commissioner Lowery, the FDNY’s first Black Fire Commissioner, and features interviews with the Lowery family, Mayor Eric Adams, FDNY officials and the Vulcan Society.

“Commissioner Lowery was a pioneer for our Department,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at the premiere. “He identified problems back then that we still face today — in fire investigation, in operations, in communication and technology, and in balancing budgets. He was a forward-thinking leader who created solutions for these issues and, perhaps even more incredibly, he did so during a time in our city’s history that was remarkable in its volume of fire duty and in its racial strife.”

Commissioner Lowery joined the Department in 1941. He was sworn in as Fire Commissioner by Mayor John V. Lindsay on Jan. 1, 1966, and served for eight years before resigning from his position in September 1973.

To view the film, visit FDNYPro.org.

LIVESTREAM on April 19,2024: