FDNY Remembers the 12 Firefighters Killed at 23rd Street Fire
(L to R) Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Firefighter Brian Finley (whose grandfather, Lt. John Finley, was killed in the fire), retired FDNY Capt. Manny Fernandez (who responded to the fire as a firefighter in Engine 18), and Assistant Chief John Sudnik.
Dozens of past and present firefighters and many family members gathered in Manhattan on Oct. 17 to remember 12 heroes - the FDNY firefighters killed at the 23rd Street fire in 1966.
“This was no ordinary fire, this was the definition of a tragedy,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “This day will always be painful for the FDNY.”
Members of every rank - from deputy chief to probationary firefighter - were killed when the ground floor of the Wonder Drug store collapsed. The fire originated in a basement storage area, which was concealed by a four-inch thick cinderblock wall, illegally constructed by the building’s previous owner.
A wreath was laid at the plaque honoring the 12 FDNY members, including Deputy Chief Thomas A. Reilly and Firefighter William F. McCarron, both of Division 3; Battalion Chief Walter J. Higgins of Battalion 7; Lieutenant Joseph Priore, Firefighter James V. Galanaugh, Firefighter Joseph Kelly, Firefighter Daniel L. Rey and Firefighter Bernard A. Tepper, all of Engine 18; and Lieutenant John J. Finley, Firefighter John G. Berry, Firefighter Rudolph F. Kaminsky and Firefighter Carl Lee, all of Ladder 7.
“The magnitude of this loss was felt across the nation,” Assistant Chief John Sudnik, Manhattan Borough Commander, said. “We honor them and their families for their bravery and sacrifice.”
The 5-alarm fire was the single worst loss of New York City firefighters in the line of duty prior to Sept. 11, 2001. View photos from the fire and the funerals.
FDNY- Honoring Those Killed at 23rd Street Fire-single worst loss of New York City firefighters in the line of duty prior to Sept. 11, 2001.
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