Firefighter dies in blaze

November 24, 2008 6:50:49 AM PST
A firefighter was killed in a blaze at a New York City home Sunday.The FDNY says the fire was reported early Sunday morning in a two-story private home in Staten Island. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano identified the firefighter as 46-year-old Robert J. Ryan, of Engine 155. Ryan had recently returned to work after recovering from a serious burn injury.

He was a 17-year veteran of the FDNY.

Bloomberg says a portion of the ceiling fell on Ryan, knocking his helmet off and perhaps causing his breathing apparatus to fall. He was taken out unconscious by several firefighters and rushed to Richmond University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It was unclear whether Ryan was in the attic or was below it when the ceiling fell, firefighters said.

One resident in the home at the time escaped unhurt, the fire department said.

The electrical fire, in the New Brighton neighborhood, was reported about 12:30 a.m. and was brought under control about an hour later.

Ryan's engine company was the first to arrive to tackle the flames, which appeared to have been caused by faulty wiring, firefighters said.

Ryan was promoted to lieutenant in March 2001. After 9/11, he was assigned to an engine company that had lost all its members in the World Trade Center attack, which killed 343 firefighters.

He was burned in a fire a few years ago and spent more than a year recuperating before returning to work.

Bloomberg, in a somber hospital news conference Sunday morning, asked city residents to pray for Ryan, who was married with two children and two stepchildren.

"He was a brave man who lost his life protecting the city," Bloomberg said.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Where: Harmon Funeral Home Map
571 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, NY
Monday, November 24 - 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Tuesday, November 25 - 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
Funeral and Procession
Where: Sacred Heart Church Map
981 Castleton Ave, Staten Island, NY
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 - 11 a.m.
Burial will follow at St. Peter's Cemetery.

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