Firefighter beaten in Lower Manhattan

September 7, 2009 7:35:15 PM PDT
An off-duty firefighter is fighting for his life after being severely beaten near the Staten Island ferry in Lower Manhattan. The firefighter is identified as 34-year-old Matthew Duggan, assigned to Ladder 15 near the South Street Seaport. The assault happened just after 1 a.m. Monday.

Authorities say Duggan and his girlfriend had been out drinking when the girlfriend apparently tripped near the ferry terminal. Two men and a woman nearby apparently thought the fall was funny, and that somehow sparked the confrontation. Police are now looking for the other three.

Police are looking at surveillance footage to determine who threw the first punch.

Duggan is at the New York Downtown Hospital in the intensive care unit. He has severe brain swelling and was in surgery. A steady stream of firefighters, who were unable to comment on the incident, could be seen coming and going from the hospital throughout the night.

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