Brooklyn Daily Eagle - December 19, 2014by Mary Frost
New York City’s Fire Department turns 150 years old next year, and the anniversary will be celebrated with a yearlong series of special events, summer block parties, a commemorative book and other happenings, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro announced on Tuesday.
De Blasio and Nigro said the city was using the occasion to both celebrate the past and to make sure that in the future, FDNY becomes more representative of the population it serves – including rolling out the welcome mat for female firefighters.
“We will mark this extraordinary milestone in the city’s history – 150 years of service by New York’s Bravest – by renewing our commitment to serve and protect all New Yorkers, and with a keen eye toward the future,” de Blasio said in a release.
He told reporters that the city was making sure firehouses “have the proper facilities to welcome women firefighters.”
Last month, four women graduated as Probationary Firefighters, bringing the total number at FDNY to 44. One of them -- probationary Firefighter Josephine Smith -- is the daughter of Kevin Smith, a member of HAZMAT 1 who died in the line of duty on September 11, 2001, according to the Mayor’s Office.
On Tuesday, De Blasio reminded firefighters that he was once arrested in defense of Engine 204 in Carroll Gardens. “And when I’m in a firehouse, it reminds me of the extraordinary work this department does, and it reminds me of how much we depend on it as New Yorkers.”
Commissioner Nigro said while the anniversary was time to reflect on the past, it was also an opportunity to look at “our goals for the future – to increase the safety of our members and this city, and to make sure that the department is more representative all of those people whom they are sworn to protect.”
“Next year, we’re going to see quite a bit of the FDNY at parades, festivals, sporting events, concerts, and attractions – events that bring energy and tourism to our city,” Nigro said. ”We are going to bring New Yorkers into firehouses like never before, in many diverse communities we serve, because we want everyone to know what this department is all about.”
NYC & Company is working with the FDNY Foundation on the celebration. NYC & Co. President & CEO Fred Dixon said the occasion will be themed “The ‘Year of the Bravest’ – and the events will make a “compelling reason” to visit New York City in 2015.
The mayor and Commissioner Nigro unveiled a new logo for the 150th celebration, which features axes and the star of life. Also unveiled at the announcement was the limited edition collector patch, designed by Firefighter Richard I. Miranda of Rescue Company 1. The patch features the Tribute in Light – the memorial art installation displayed each year on the anniversary of September 11th – shining brightly over the New York City skyline.