The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

NYC mourns death of firefighter who was trapped while searching for victims of high-rise blaze

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Fire Department of New York is mourning the death of a lieutenant who became trapped while looking for victims in a public-housing high-rise blaze, the first to die in the line of duty in more than two years.

Lt. Gordon Ambelas died Saturday after suffering multiple injuries while on the 19th floor of the 21-story building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, officials said.

"We lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy," Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the 14-year veteran of the force. "I ask every New Yorker to keep the lieutenant in their prayers."

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters that Ambelas sustained multiple injuries after he went into an apartment on fire to look for victims. He was found unconscious inside of the apartment and was removed by fellow firefighters, de Blasio said.

"Ambelas went into the apartment to search for life and did not come out, and by the time his brother firefighters found him, it was too late for him," Nigro said.

It is the department's first line-of-duty death since Lt. Richard A. Nappi was killed fighting a Brooklyn warehouse blaze in April 2012. Ambelas is the 18th to die since 343 firefighters perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A police officer, Dennis Guerra, died in April after he and his partner were overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide while responding to a mattress fire on the 13th floor of a Coney Island public housing complex.

Ambelas, a 40-year-old married father of two daughters from Staten Island, was among the firefighters honoured last month for helping to save a 7-year-old boy who became trapped in a roll-down gate in May. The boy was pulled 15 feet off the ground when his arm and head got stuck.

Ambelas said at the time that the incident "shows that FDNY members are always ready to help others. It was great teamwork all around."

The fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. Saturday in an apartment on the 19th floor of the building that is part of the six-building Independence Towers complex owned by the New York City Housing Authority. It quickly went to a second-alarm as flames spread to the 17th and 18th floors.

Two other firefighters were treated at Bellevue Hospital for minor injuries. Two residents received treatment at the scene for minor injuries.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Drew Willy's pregame press conference - August 21

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Winnipeg Free Press 090528 STAND UP...(Weather) One to oversee the pecking order, a pack of pelican's fishes the eddies under the Red River control structure at Lockport Thursday morning......
  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Did you suffer any damages from Thursday's storm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google