Thread: city mourns fallen fire heroes
01-24-2005, 05:47 PM #1
city mourns fallen fire heroes
This was in the editorials section of Today's New York Daily News. Thought it was excellently written.
While most of us were snug in our beds yesterday morning, New York's Bravest were out in the whirling snow and bitter cold, risking their lives to protect others. Three of those lives were lost. Four other firefighters were severely injured.
Lt. Curtis Meyran of Battalion 26, Firefighter John Bellew of Ladder Co. 27 and four other firefighters were on the top floor of a four-story apartment building on E. 178th St. in the Bronx, searching for residents who might be trapped by a blaze on the floor below. When flames exploded from beneath them, their only prayer of escape was a 50-foot plunge out the window.
Meyran, 46, a 15-year veteran, and Bellew, 37, a 10-year veteran, jumped. So did did Firefighters Joseph DiBernardo and Jeffery Cool of Rescue 3 and Firefighters Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley of Ladder 27. Meyran and Bellew suffered fatal injuries. Cool, Stolowski and Cawley - whose brother Michael was one of the 343 FDNY members killed at the World Trade Center - were in critical condition last night. DiBernardo was reported in serious condition.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Firefighter Richard Sclafani, 37, was fatally injured while searching a burning home on Jerome St. for children feared trapped in the basement.
Meyran, Bellew, Sclafani, DiBernardo, Cool, Stolowski and Cawley placed themselves in jeopardy to ensure that no New Yorker was in danger. There is no clearer definition of the heroism displayed routinely by the FDNY. It was only last June that Cool carried a man to safety by rappelling from the roof of a burning building.
It is something one never gets used to: the wail of the bagpipes, "Amazing Grace" echoing through the streets, the muffled drums, the coffins on the fire engines, the black-and-purple bunting on the firehouses, the grieving widows, the children left fatherless - seven more as of yesterday - the weeping parents and sisters and brothers. But amid all the prayers and the solemn ceremony, there is something else sure and certain.
Those who answer the call and wear the uniform of the FDNY are a breed apart. So are their families. We need no more reminders of that, but the reminders are inevitable. Death in the line of duty is inevitable. Could you accept a job where death was a fact of life? Would you willingly give your life for strangers?
Yesterday, three more of our Bravest did just that.
May they rest in peace and the glory of Lord.
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