Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced on August 18 the deaths of Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino, 33, of Ladder Company 5, and Robert Beddia, 53, of Engine Company 24. The firefighters were fatally injured while battling a seven-alarm high-rise fire at the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street in lower Manhattan.
The two firefighters became trapped in maze-like conditions on the 14th floor of the building, which is undergoing demolition. They suffered severe smoke inhalation and were taken to NY Downtown Hospital in cardiac arrest where they succumbed to their injuries.
More than 275 firefighters and 70 units responded to the seven-alarm fire, which was reported at 3:36 p.m. and was deemed under control at 10:40 p.m.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Department’s fire marshals.
Firefighter Graffagnino was an eight-year veteran of the FDNY, appointed on May 9, 1999. Firefighter Beddia was a 23-year veteran, appointed on October 24, 1983.
Firefighter Graffagnino and Firefighter Beddia are the 1,136th and 1,137th members of the New York City Fire Department to make the Supreme Sacrifice in the Department’s 143-year history.
This is the second time this year the FDNY has suffered a line-of-duty tragedy. On June, 21, 2007, Firefighter Daniel F. Pujdak of Ladder Company 146 died when he fell from the roof of a building in Brooklyn while battling an all-hands fire.