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Thread: Doing the right thing.. 50 years later

  1. #1
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    DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!

    Default Doing the right thing.. 50 years later

    From Chief Billy Goldfeder's "The Secret List"...
    For more than 20 years, Peter Keane ran his auto body shop in Maspeth, Queens, without realizing it was the site of one of New York City's deadliest fires, which claimed the lives of 6 FDNY Firefighters. The businessman only learned of the five-alarm blaze recently while renovating the building. He came across charred wood and a collapsed elevator shaft -- remnants of the old soap factory destroyed in the Oct. 26, 1962, fire.
    "We have to do something for them," he said of the firefighters who died in the line of duty, including two from Long Island.
    Keane, 50, of Bayside, plans to remind others of the first responders' ultimate sacrifice by putting up a plaque and marking the 50th anniversary of the blaze.
    When he came across evidence of the fire, he called a friend at the FDNY who helped him with the research. They were both stunned at the results.
    "There are a few fires . . . that are pretty well-known and spoken about," said FF Michael Sarro, Keane's friend. "It's definitely one of them for sure."

    The first firefighters arrived at the Sefu Soap and Fat Co., 44-15 56th Rd., about 9 p.m. Rendered fat and soap inside the two-story building had created huge flames, thick smoke and intense heat. As crews operated at the fire, part of te 2nd floor and metal roof came crashing down, causing a brick side wall to collapse on top of 20 firefighters. Members were able to dig out 14 of the injured men, but the others were buried under 6 feet of debris and could not be saved.

    Killed in the Line of Duty were Capt. William Russell, 43, of Wantagh; and firefighters Richard Andrews, 25, of Jamaica; James Marino, 29, of Corona; Richard Gifford, 24, of Bellerose; George Zahn, 25, of Jackson Heights, and Francis Egan, 29, of Merrick.


    Earlier that day, a factory worker using an acetylene torch to cut up old machinery had accidentally started a couple of small fires. The employee thought he'd put them out but they continued to smolder, igniting the blaze hours later. Tom Russell, who was 10 when his father died, said an annual memorial service was held for the six firefighters for about 20years. But with fewer firefighters around who had known them, the observances faded. Russell, who has a brother and two sisters, said his father had been with the department for 20 years.

    "My father . . . wouldn't send his men to do anything he wouldn't do himself, so he went in with them," he said of the tragic fire. Informed of Keane's plan to install a memorial plaque at the site, Russell said, "It's a really nice idea."

    Keane has ordered the plaque with the names of the Firefighters inscribed and plans to mount it at the entrance of his building. He's working with the fire department to organize a dedication ceremony. Firefighter Matt Desjardin said he was gratified to hear about Keane's plan.
    "That's a stand-up act by Mr. Keane," he said.
    Take Care-BE CAREFUL,
    The Secret List 9-22-12 / 2141 Hours
    Never forget our fallen Brothers...
    johnsb and MemphisE34a like this.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  2. #2
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    FyredUp's Avatar
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    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee


    Mr Peter Keane is a Class Act. Just about the time I start to lose faith in people something like this happens and reminds me that the good ones are still out there. It is just they aren't as loud as the ones that don't care or outright seem to harm us.

    Thank you for caring enough to remember those Fallen Brothers.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 09-23-2012 at 03:35 PM.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  3. #3
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    scfire86's Avatar
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    Jun 2004


    Awesome post.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    That's awesome.
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.

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    IronValor's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Richmond, Kentucky


    You don't see that anymore. Such a great story
    Do not let the ghosts of our fallen brothers gaze upon you and ask " What have you done to my profession?" FTB DTRT EGH

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    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana


    Very nice gesture.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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