President's Message

The Fire Lines - November 2014

On this 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, hundreds of firefighters again assembled at the Firemen’s Memorial to “Never Forget” the ultimate sacrifice made by the 343. Tragically, the toll continues to mount. The FDNY added 13 names of members who died from illnesses related to their work at the World Trade Center site to the World Trade Center Memorial Wall on September 4th.

The following join 76 others already on the Wall: FF William H. Quick, L-134; FF Willie T. Franklin, Jr., E-65; BC Thomas R. Van Doran, B-3; FF Walter Torres, E-328; BC Richard D. Arazosa, B-19; SFM Emil K. Harnischfeger, BFI; CAPT Peter J. Casey, Engine-212; PM Rudolph T. Havelka, EMS Bureau of Training; EMT Francis A. Charles, EMS Station 58, PM John W. Wyatt, Jr., EMS Station 22; LT Thomas J. Greaney, L-175; FF Keith E. Atlas, E-35; and LT Steven B. Reisman, E-307.

On the evening of Saturday July 5th, Lt.Gordon ‘Matt' Ambelas, L-119, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, was searching for victims in a fire on the 19th floor of Independence Towers, a public housing building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He was trapped in a bedroom when the fire flashed over him and was found unconscious. He was taken to Woodhull Medical Center where he later died.

FF Ambelas was appointed a firefighter on February 1, 2000, and was assigned to L-81 on Staten Island. In January 2001, he transferred to E-28 in lower Manhattan for a year after which he returned to L-81. On September 14, 2013 he was promoted to lieutenant. He was assigned to Battalion 28 in Brooklyn where he worked in different firehouses as a “covering” lieutenant. He was with L-119 in the last months of his service. FF Ambelas also aided in recovery efforts after the September 11th attacks and worked in Staten Island during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Over 6,000 FDNY first responders, as well as hundreds of friends and colleagues, attended his funeral at the Church of St. Clare on Staten Island. He was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty since April 2012, and the 1,144th since the FDNY’s founding in 1865. Keep him, his wife Nanette, and his daughters Gabriella (8) and Giovanna (4) in your thoughts and prayers.

City Health/Medical Plan vendors will be present at the October 9th Union Meeting to answer your questions and distribute literature. Make sure you get the information you need to best protect your family! Updated price flyers and transfer forms will be available if you're interested in changing or updating your City Health/Medical Plan. The City Health Plan's transfer period is as follows; Active members can change health plans October 1-October 31, 2014. Retirees can change health plans November 1-November 30, 2014.

As always, stay safe!

Stephen J. Cassidy,