BALTIMORE – The 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots were remembered with a 19 second mo,ment of silence Thursday morning during opening ceremonies at Firehouse Expo 13.
Several thousand attendees stood in silence as they watched a video of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ tribute to the fallen heroes who perished during a wildfire.
NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki told the crowd it’s been a devastating year for firefighters. So far, there have been 79 deaths compared to 73 for all of 2012.
Siarnicki explained how the NFFF staff has assisted not only the families in West, Texas and Prescott, Ariz., but all who have lost ones. “We help families rebuild lives…”
Former Bellmore, N.Y. Chief John Curley received a standing ovation for his effort to save an elderly woman from a house fire.
Curley was named Firehouse Magazine’s Hero of the Year.
He was off-duty when he heard about a house fire, and responded. He entered the home by standing on a ladder perched atop an air conditioner.
Also during opening ceremonies, Mother Nature’s powerful punch on New York was described by FDNY Robert Maynes, assistant chief, Queens Borough Commander.
In addition to helping others, more than 940 FDNY personnel were directly affected by Hurricane Sandy last October.
Units were re-located just an hour before the storm surge but as crews were in the process of leaving the area, when they came upon a building fire. With water rising, it was a challenge they had never faced.
The engine was stranded, but about 50 people were saved. Those rescues were like no other, he said explaining firefighters went into second-story windows and rooftops.
During another fire, a firefighter dove under water at one point to find a hydrant during a massive fire on Rockway.
In Breezy Point, 111 houses were lost in a raging fire fanned by the fierce Sandy winds.
Sand covered streets, trees down. Hundreds and hundreds of firefighters came down to help.
Former Navy Seal Ryan Parrott spoke about how he was failing every single subject in school. Then, Sept. 11 happened, and he went to a recruiter.
After boot camp, he made it to hell week for Seals. It was tough. They started with 186, and 22 graduated. “It's a very small community, a brotherhood.”