FOREVER PART OF THEIR UNIT
B’wick Firefighters Remember Fallen Lt.
One year after he lost his life while responding to a Brooklyn blaze, a Fire Department lieutenant was remembered last Tuesday, Apr. 16, by his former colleagues, family members, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano during a ceremony at Engine Co. 237’s Bushwick headquarters.
A plaque bearing the name of Fire Lt. Richard A. Nappi, a 17-year member of the department who had been assigned to Engine 237 for four years, was unveiled by Bloomberg; Cassano; Nappi’s wife, Mary Anne; and his children Catherine and Nicholas.
Nappi succumbed on Apr. 16, 2012 to cardiac arrest after he and other members of Engine 237 responded to a three-alarm fire that broke out inside a warehouse in the vicinity of Flushing and Evergreen avenues.
He was the 1,142nd firefighter killed in the line of duty in service to the Fire Department.
In their remarks, both Bloomberg and Cassano described Nappi as a mentor to his fellow firefighters who was devoted to his job. Despite being off duty, Nappi—then a member of Engine Co. 7 in lower Manhattan— rushed to the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
After the attacks took the lives of 343 Fire Department officials and firefighters, Bloomberg stated, survivors like Nappi were looked upon to help the FDNY rebuild from their devastating loss.
“He helped pick up this department in the hours of its greatest need, and today we recall his passing with the unveiling of a plaque that will honor his courage and generous spirit for years to come,” the mayor said.
“Lt. Richard Nappi was a veteran member of the department who spent his career teaching this job to his fellow firefighters, making certain they were always safe and prepared,” added Cassano. “His death is a tragic reminder that firefighting is a dangerous profession and that every FDNY member puts his or her life on the line to protect life and property in New York City.”
Nappi grew up in the Bronx and received a degree from Iona College. Before pursuing a career with the city Fire Department, he worked for the state Division of Parole and the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
Appointed by the FDNY in October 1994, Nappi was first assigned to Engine 7, where he would serve for nearly nine years. Following the World Trade Center attacks, Nappi took part in the rescue and recovery operation at the former Twin Towers.
Nappi was then sent to Queens in 2003, joining Engine Co. 302 based in Rochdale Village. Four years later, he was promoted to lieutenant and reassigned to Engine 237.
Even while away from his FDNY job, Nappi served the public as a volunteer firefighter and deputy chief instructor with the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank as well as the Farmingville Volunteer Fire Department.
The lieutenant and his colleagues at Engine 237 were among the first units to respond to the three-alarm blaze at the Bushwick warehouse which broke out at around 1 p.m. on Apr. 16, 2012. According to Fire Department sources, Nappi had a team of firefighters stretch a water line, and led them into the warehouse’s mezzanine level.
A short time later, it was reported, Nappi became overheated and collapsed. Members of Ladder Co. 112 carried the lieutenant out of the building on a stretcher to paramedics, who loaded him into an ambulance en route to Woodhull Hospital Center.
Seconds later, however, Nappi lost consciousness and went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Woodhull Hospital.