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FDNY mourns firefighter killed in warehouse fire

April 18, 2012 4:15:41 AM PDT
Family, friends and the FDNY are mourning the loss of a New York City firefigher who died while battling a warehouse fire in Brooklyn.

Lieutenant Richard Nappi grew up in Farmingville, Long Island, where he served as a state parole officer and case worker.

The 47-year-old had a very distinguished career and was one of the many who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11. He was inside the warehouse Monday, commanding the hose line, trying to get water on the flames.

"A fire that's being kept in check by a sprinkler system, it's still dangerous," FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said. "And we still have to extinguish it."

The fire was not the worst Nappi had seen, but it was hot and the carbon monoxide level was high.

"The firefighters are wearing bunker gear, they're encapsulated, it's very warm," FDNY Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kerry Kelly said. "So you add the ambient temperature being so hot, and it certainly adds to burden on an individual."

Nappi overheated and collapsed, apparently suffering a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at Woodhull Hospital.

"Outside his family, his life's work was keeping New Yorkers safe from fires," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Nappi was known as man long dedicated to public service.

He lived in Farmingville with his wife and their two children, a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. But often he could be found in nearby Yaphank, at the Suffolk County Fire Academy, where he served as a field instructor.

"I come in here, and he'd be sitting there, and I'd say 'Rich, you're not scheduled for tonight,'" Suffolk Fire Academy Chief Bob Hopkins said. "'Somebody's bound to call and cancel, so I'm here,' he says. 'I'm available.'"

The flag at Engine Company 237 is flying at half staff, and black and purple bunting hangs in Nappi's honor. Nappi is the first city firefighter to die in the line of duty since 2009.

A wake will be held on Thursday, April 19 and Friday, April 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Moloney's Lake Funeral Home in Lake Ronkonkoma.

A funeral mass will be held Saturday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church, followed by burial at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram.

At the request of the officers and members of Engine 237, a scholarship fund has been established by the FDNY Foundation for Nappi's children.

FDNY Foundation
Lieutenant Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund
9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

All Donations are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of the donation will be given to the Lieutenant Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund.

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