The FDNY is mourning the loss of one of its own. A firefighter with just 20 months on the job, slipped on a ladder and fell to his death. Eyewitness News reporter Patricia Wu is live outside Ladder Company 146 in Greenpoint with the latest.
Daniel Pujdak died doing a job he loved to do. His mother said he love being a firefighter because he love to help people.
The fire scene remained lit into the night. Fire Marshalls, working to learn exactly what killed a fellow firefighter.
Meanwhile the men of Ladder Company 146 didn't want to talk. Outside their fire house in Greenpoint, their truck sat unmanned. Their flag, lowered to half mast.
Daniel Pujdak of Fresh Meadows was just 23. He had been a New York City firefighter for two years.
"While he was climbing down...he fell from the parapet and died from his injuries," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said.
Pujdak was one of about 60 firefighters from at least a dozen units sent to battle what looked like a serious fire. The fire happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Leonard Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Flames were shooting out the window. But it turned out the window was the only thing on fire. An artist had left a lit cigarette on the windowsill of his fourth floor studio.
Pujdak's job as a "roof man" was to climb a 50 foot ladder, carrying a large, heavy power saw. He would use it to rip open the roof and vent smoke. But when he jumped onto the roof, he apparently lost his footing and fell to the street.
"It looked like it was just too much smoke, he just lost his balance," said one eyewitness.
"He was cartwheeling, so I don't know. It looked like he fell over backwards," said another eyewitness.
Pujdak died a short time later at Bellevue Hospital. He leaves behind both parents and two younger brothers.
Mayor Bloomberg spoke there, just after meeting the firefighter's family.
"As you would expect, they are devastated. He's gone much too soon and our hearts and prayers go out to his family. It's a terrible loss for the family and it's a terrible loss for this entire city," said Bloomberg.
This is the first line of duty death since Firefighter Michael C. Reilly of Engine Company 75 and Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk Jr. of Engine Company 42 died battling a third-alarm fire in the South Bronx on August 27, 2006, according to fire officials.
"Firefighter Pujdak is the 1,135th member of the FDNY to make the Supreme Sacrifice in the Department's 143-year history," an FDNY press release said.
Fellow firefighters say he was a young, brave, aggressive firefighter with a young girlfriend he was considering marrying.
Copyright 2007 by WABC-TV.
Republished with permission of WABC-TV.
Visitation services for Pujdak have been set for for Sunday, June 24 and Monday, June 25 at the Evergreen Funeral Home located at at 131 Nassau Ave., Brooklyn. The visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Funeral services are Tuesday, June 26 at 11 a.m. at the St. Cecilia RC Parish at located at 84 Herbert St. in Brooklyn, NY.