Tag Archives: FDNY Foundation

Fire safety education campaign launched at LeFrak City following fatal New Year’s Eve blaze

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new campaign has been launched at LeFrak City to help educate residents to prevent a tragedy like the New Year’s Eve fire, which killed three people, from occurring again.

Just minutes before ringing in 2015, an unattended pot of a traditional Haitian soup cooking on a stove sparked a fire that left three dead in their Corona apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental, and no working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

In response to the fire, state Sen. Jose Peralta, together with the FDNY, LeFrak City Organization and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, announced on Thursday the launch of a fire safety education campaign for the apartment complex. 

“New Yorkers awoke on New Year’s Day to news of the horrific tragedy that struck LeFrak City just as we were all ringing in 2015 and looking forward to the promise the new year held for us and our loved ones,” Peralta said.

During this campaign, the FDNY will conduct fire safety education presentations for tenants on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Rome Tower of LeFrak City, located at 96-10 57th Ave. 

Food Bazaar Supermarkets donated $500 worth of smoke detector batteries, which will be available to tenants who attend the presentations, made possible by the FDNY Foundation.

“The lesson from the fire is that a working smoke alarm can be a life-saving piece of home safety equipment,” Peralta said. “An operating smoke detector provides a quick and early warning, providing the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire and potential tragedy.”

According to Gerald Rivera, general manager of LeFrak City Maintenance Services, owners are required to periodically replace smoke detectors upon expiration of their life, which is about 10 years. The replacements must then have a non-removable and non-replaceable battery that gives power to the alarm for a minimum of 10 years.

“LeFrak City has a proactive program to replace all campus detectors over a two-year period, a full year in advance of the required deadline,” Rivera said. “Since December 2013, we have replaced 1,600 of the old smoke detectors and will complete all remaining 3,006 replacements by the end of 2015.”

Malikah K. Shabazz, a tenant and president of the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association, said she will inform other tenants about the presentation by working with management to post notices on each floor and in the lobby, and send emails reminding people.

“We get comfortable and take a lot of things for granted and a lot of times we have to constantly be reminded to take precautions when you’re cooking or whatever you are doing that uses flame. You just have to be very careful,” Shabazz said. “It’s a blessing for them to come into our community and assist us in any way that they can.”


Six Queens firefighters featured in 2014 FDNY Calendar of Heroes

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of FDNY

Is it hot in here, or is it just the Official FDNY 2014 Calendar of Heroes?

Featuring some of the city’s Bravest and sexiest — including six Queens firefighters — the calendar was released last week.

Every year firefighters from across the city try out to be one of 13 men chosen for the Calendar of Heroes, shot by famed nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan.

In addition to the shirtless FDNY men, each month features a fire safety message.

The calendar also promotes a good cause.

All sales proceeds go directly to the FDNY Foundation, which raises money for the Fire Department’s public safety programs and the professional development, training and education of its members.

Helping the department was one reason two-time model Rob Derrig tried out for the calendar.

Derrig, of Ladder 133 in South Jamaica, was featured as the November model in the 2013 Calendar of Heroes and appears in October in the 2014 edition.

He said his wife, Kris, was his real motivation. She wanted him to try out for the calendar since he started working for the Fire Department, said Derrig.

The Merrick, Long Island resident has been a New York City firefighter for 14 years, and has worked in Queens for about the last six. He has also been a drill instructor at the FDNY Fire Academy on and off since 2005.

Last year, Derrig finally decided to attend an FDNY Calendar of Heroes casting call as a 15-year wedding anniversary gift for his wife.

“I [thought] if I make, it it would be a nice surprise. If I don’t make it, I will just tell her I tried,” he said.

She was not disappointed with the present. In fact, she loved the photo so much that she urged him to try out a second time.

He admits he was somewhat shocked when he made it into the calendar again.

“I’m flattered because these guys are in really good shape,” he said. “Just to be asked to be included in it is kind of an honor.”

Derrig, 44, was the oldest firefighter in the calendar both last year and this year.

But he said the true honor is representing the FDNY.

“My very first day in the academy, I knew that I found my calling,” said Derring.

“It’s a physical job, but you do good things and it’s nice to help people,” he added. “They call it the best job in the world and it’s the truth.”

Joining Derrig in this year’s calendar are fellow Queens firefighters Recordo Demetrius of Engine 304 in Queens Village, Robert Morgan from Woodside’s Engine 325, Ralph Ciccarelli from Ladder 135 in Glendale, Brian Dessart of Far Rockaway’s Ladder 121 and Noel Reyes of Ladder 128 in Long Island City.

To purchase a copy of the calendar, visit www.FDNYFoundation.org.

 Video courtesy of FDNY/YouTube



Queens firefighters heat up 2013 FDNY calendar

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

The Official FDNY 2013 Calendar of Heroes went on sale Monday, featuring four firefighters from Queens.

The calendar, which is available online and at the FDNY Fire Zone Store in Midtown Manhattan, features 13 active FDNY firefighters. Famed New York City nightlife photographer Patrick McMullan took this year’s photos of some of the department’s most attractive firemen in locations throughout the city’s five boroughs.

In the calendar, Mr. March , Vinny Ruddy, 35 who works at Engine 295 in Whitestone and lives in the borough, stands shirtless in front of one of Queen’s most recognizable sites—the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Also representing Queens in the calendar are three other men who live in the borough: Darius Dorsett, 26, of Engine 260 in Long Island City, who is on the calendar’s cover, Mr. June, Jack Medina, 30, who works in Brooklyn and Mr. December, Roger Thompson, 34, who works for a firehouse in Manhattan.

Darius Dorsett

Though the men are its main attraction, the calendar is more than sexy firefighters. Each month also features a fire safety message and the proceeds from its sales go directly to the FDNY Foundation, which raises money for the fire department’s public safety programs and professional development, training and education of its members.