Albany, NY - October 6, 2015 - Governor Cuomo announced the names of eight fallen firefighters who have been added to the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial located at the Empire State Plaza. With the addition of these eight firefighters, the Fallen Firefighters Memorial now contains the names of 2,398 individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty.
"Today, we pay tribute to these brave individuals who gave their lives while protecting their neighbors and their communities," Governor Cuomo said. "With the additions to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial, we will help ensure that their sacrifices and their dedication to the safety of others will not be forgotten."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials recognized the contributions of these eight courageous individuals at the 18th Annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony today in Albany. During the ceremony, Governor Cuomo issued two proclamations honoring the state’s career and volunteer firefighters. The proclamations mark Tuesday, October 6, as Firefighter Appreciation Day, and the week of October 5-11 as Fire Prevention Week.
Lieutenant Governor Hochul said, "New York is proud to honor the heroic service of our firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of protecting us from danger. This memorial is an enduring reminder that we cherish their bravery, their mission, and their loved ones. We bestow our everlasting gratitude to these eight individuals today, and on behalf of Governor Cuomo, we vow to never forget."
This year’s additions to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial are:
- Timothy T. Gunther, Firefighter, Poughkeepsie Fire Department, Dutchess County – May 5, 2015
- Joseph Sanford, Jr., Firefighter, Inwood Fire Department, Nassau County – December 23, 2014
- Gordon M. Ambelas, Lieutenant, New York City Fire Department, Kings County – July 5, 2014
- Fred Edwards, Firefighter, Liberty Fire Department, Sullivan County – May 7, 2014
- Kevin J. Bristol, Firefighter, Peekskill Fire Department, Westchester County – March 3, 2014
- Ross E. Huffer, Firefighter, Nesconset Fire Department, Suffolk County – February 27, 2014
- Kevin E. Townes, Sr., Firefighter, Mount Vernon Fire Department, Westchester County – December 8, 2011
- David E. Smith, Captain, Howells Fire Company #1, Orange County – April 11, 2006
The Fallen Firefighters Memorial, dedicated in 1998, honors the memory and the valor of our fallen firefighters, as well as pays tribute to the more than 100,000 New York State firefighters who put their lives on the line every day. On average, New York's firefighters respond to over 1.3 million incidents annually, which represents approximately 3561 events every day, 148 calls per hour, and 2.47 calls per minute.
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, "Firefighters across our state, both paid and volunteer, deserve our unwavering gratitude for their commitment to our communities. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day for all New Yorkers and we must never forget their sacrifice. The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial is a lasting tribute to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice and it is my honor to join with Governor Cuomo and other elected officials to remember their lives and to memorialize those our State lost in the past year."
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "New York’s firefighters are true heroes. As others run out of burning buildings, they rush in to save lives, protect property and help their fellow New Yorkers. Those firefighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice must be honored and remembered for their bravery and dedication. We owe a tremendous debt to all of our state’s firefighters; they truly are New York’s bravest."
Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said, "The New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial pays tribute to our fallen heroes and honors the sacrifices of the more than 100,000 brave men and women who risk their lives every day to protect New York’s children and families. It is with a heavy heart that I offer my condolences to those across the state that have lost a loved one in the line of duty. I applaud the courage, valor and heroism exhibited by all firefighters across the state, and I thank them for their service and dedication."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Each and every day, firefighters across the state come to the aid of families in danger, protecting our lives, our homes and the people we care about most without hesitation. These men and women are truly heroes, and on behalf of the New York State Assembly, I’d like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives serving our communities as well as thank those who continue the brave and selfless fight to make New York a safer place."
John P. Melville, Commissioner, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said, "Today we honor eight individuals and their 2390 fellow firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty. No matter what size community they serve, all firefighters are dedicated to protecting their fellow citizens and communities from disasters, and we are grateful for their commitment, dedication and professionalism toward keeping us and our loved ones safe."
New York State Fire Administrator Bryant D. Stevens said, "This memorial serves as an everlasting tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties. While firefighters understand the dangers they face, the names enshrined on this wall is a stark reminder to every New Yorker of this fact and of the sacrifices made by firefighters every day."
New York State Association of Fire Chiefs President Chief Daniel J. Schwertfeger said, "Today, I join fire chiefs and emergency responders from throughout New York State to recognize and remember our comrades who have made the supreme sacrifice. We pay tribute to the families of the fallen and will ensure that their sacrifice will be forever honored."
Firemen’s Association of the State of New York President Robert McConville said, "Today we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Tens of thousands of firefighters across this great State put their lives on the line every day in to protect their families, their friends, their neighbors, and complete strangers alike. It is our duty never to forget those who have answered their final call."
New York State Professional Fire Fighters Association President Michael McManus said, "It is with heavy hearts that we remember the brave men and women who we have lost in the line of duty, protecting the citizens of New York State. We recall their bravery and sacrifice and extend our thoughts and prayers to their families and fellow firefighters."