Newsday - September 07, 2011by WILLIAM MURPHY
Raymond Ragucci of Levittown, a retired New York City firefighter who worked at Ground Zero for 49 days after 9/11, died Sunday of complications from cancer, his family said.
Ragucci was a Staten Island resident in 1983 when he joined the fire department. He was assigned to Engine Co. 5 on East 14th Street in Manhattan and served there until he retired in May 2004, the FDNY said.
He was born in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island, graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School on Staten Island and moved to Levittown in 1991, his family said.
"After 9/11 he worked on the pile for 49 days and that's what caused his cancer," a family member who did not want to be identified said Tuesday as family, friends and firefighting colleagues met at the family's Levittown home during a break between viewing hours.
The family said Ragucci, 59, died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan from complications after a bone-marrow transplant to cope with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a disease in which the bone marrow does not create enough healthy blood cells.
The website of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society says MDS "is a diagnosis of cancer."
Firefighter Gerard Gorman, a Staten Island resident who worked with Ragucci at Engine 5 for 13 years, recalled him as "a great listener who was always interested in what you had to say, always interested in your problems.
"He was the slowest eater in the firehouse," Gorman said, laughing. "He was always heating up his meal in the microwave."
Ragucci is survived by his wife, Rosalie; a son, Raymond, of Elizabeth, N.J., two daughters, Danielle, of Staten Island and Jeana, of Levittown; three sisters, Lina Ammirato, Annmarie Scarpulla and Nancy Ragucci, all of Staten Island; three stepsisters, Christina Valentin, Carmella Warner and Stacey Tierno, all of Staten Island; and two grandchildren, his family said.
Viewing continues Wednesday at the Charles J. O'Shea Funeral Home in Wantagh from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be offered Thursday at St. Frances de Chantel in Wantagh.
Burial will be at Pinelawn Memorial Park.