An Air Force helicopter pilot, a New York City fire marshal and former fire fighter and a newly-minted attorney were commemorated with a memorial service in Washington Square Park and a celebration in a nearby NYU auditorium Thursday. Remarkably it was one man who filled all of those professional roles, at the age of 37.
Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis died in Iraq, piloting a helicopter while on active duty with the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. He had been called up in January, a few months after graduating from Stanford Law School and joining the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as an associate. His professional career began with the New York City Fire Department, first as a fire fighter and then as a fire marshal. Adding to the multiple intersecting layers of his life reflected in the memorial service, Zanetis graduated from NYU and worked in a nearby firehouse during his FDNY career. Continue reading Photo Gallery: Zanetis Memorial→
FDNY Lieutenant Michael Davidson was laid to rest Tuesday, with thousands of firefighters and others attending his funeral at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Davidson, whose father is a retired FDNY firefighter and whose brother is a current FDNY firefighter, died fighting a five alarm fire in Harlem Thursday night. Davidson’s survivors include his wife Eileen and their four children, ages 7,6,3 and 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Corey Johnson attended the funeral, with de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro giving eulogies. Council Members Bob Holden, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keith Powers and Joe Borelli, Rep. Dan Donovan and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also attended.
A helicopter crashed in the East River Sunday evening, killing five of the six persons aboard. The crash, at about Manhattan’s 88th Street and close to Gracie Mansion, triggered an enormous rescue effort from the NYPD and FDNY. The pilot survived, but all five passengers died.
The helicopter sank shortly after crashing, but the crew of a nearby tugboat lashed the wreckage to the tug. NYPD and FDNY rescue crews worked to extract the victims as the tug and helicopter floated downstream, with the five passengers brought ashore at the 36th Street ferry dock in Manhattan.
A four alarm fire erupted this morning on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, drawing a massive FDNY response. The fire began in the basement of a small building on Second Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Street, spreading upwards through pipe spaces and walls.
The FDR Drive was a sad trail marked by periodic flashing lights today as fire companies briefly halted their activities, setting themselves in small groups along the Drive to salute their fallen brother. The remains of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, killed yesterday in a Bronx house explosion, were moved today from the City Medical Examiner’s office to a Yonkers funeral home. Manhattan fire companies gathered in small groups scattered along the Drive, standing at attention and saluting as the ambulance carrying their colleague passed by.
Two engine companies, one ladder company and a battalion chief gathered at 90th Street, standing along both sides of the highway. The blustery winds and dark clouds were barely noticeable, pushed aside by the overwhelming sensory experience of a steady whoosh of passing cars. The firefighters lined up along the guard rail drew horn toots and waves from passing cars, along with an occasional supportive clenched fist. Some firefighters waved in return but their hands rarely made it above their sternum, seemingly weighed down by their loss.
There was a false alarm of sorts, triggered by a real alarm. Firefighters briefly snapped to attention as two FDNY trucks, lights flashing, moved up the Drive. As it quickly became apparent that they were responding to an emergency and not part of Chief Fahy’s motorcade the firefighters relaxed. The momentary respite quickly gave way to a silent northbound side of the highway, with traffic blocked as the motorcade approached. Chatter ceased as the motorcade rolled past, firefighters at attention and southbound motorists staring. It was soon over, the fire fighters climbing back into their trucks and driving off as the sound of a fire truck siren and blairing air horn drifted across the river from Queens.
New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Fahy died in the line of duty Tuesday, killed in a Bronx house explosion. Mayor Bill de Blasio joined FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and other officials at a New York Presbyterian/Allen Hospital press conference to announce Fahy’s death.
Shortly after the press conference Fahy’s remains were removed from the hospital and transported to the City Medical Examiner’s Office. More than 100 firefighters present stood at attention, saluting their fallen comrade as the FDNY ambulance carrying his remains passed, with many then joining a motorcade for the sad journey.
This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio and many of his senior staff provided an update on the Second Avenue buildings destroyed yesterday in an apparent gas explosion. Joined by Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, OEM Commissioner Joseph Esposito, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler and other officials, de Blasio described the known facts, but repeatedly emphasized that the cause is not yet known and that the investigation will take at least several days to complete.
Here are the opening statements of Mayor de Blasio, Fire Commissioner Nigro and OEM Commissioner Esposito:
Speaking at the Fire Department’s training academy on Randall’s Island, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his appointment of Daniel Nigro as Fire Commissioner. Nigro is a retired FDNY chief of department, and his long career at the FDNY included assuming operational command at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, after his predecessor as chief of Department, Peter Ganci, died in the building collapse.
On topic questions included changes in technology since Nigro retired from the FDNY, Nigro’s thoughts and feelings upon accepting the job, his disability pension, whether he has a set of goals or planned steps concerning diversity in the Department, what Nigro see’s as the Department’s biggest challenge, when he will start as commissioner, what it was like to tell his father, a retired FDNY captain, that he will be commissioner, how the Department is different from when he retired, why the mayor did not retain current Commissioner Sal Cassano, the 911 call system, what Nigro sees as an appropriate level of diversity, whether the mayor considered any women or candidates of color for commissioner and whether Nigro has a predominant image or memory from September 11th.
Off topic questions included Falun Gong’s efforts to obtain a parade permit, the 10 race horses that have died at Aqueduct this winter, Michael Mulgrew’s “war with reformers” comment, whether the House Select Committee on Benghazi is unfair to Hillary Clinton, treatment of teachers in ATR under the newly negotiated contract with the UFT and the moving of identified remains of September 11th victims to the World Trade Center site.
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