By SALVATORE ROMANO
On the morning of September 11, 2011, firefighter Richard Nappi rushed from his Long Island home into harm’s way at the crumbling World Trade Center. And for many weeks later, he returned to the site to help dig through its smoky rubble.
11 years later and a year ago Tuesday, the 47-year-old, 17-year veteran was commanding the hose during a warehouse Blaze in Bushwick when exhaustion forced him to the ground. The then-lieutenant went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Woodhull Medical center.
Nappi was a man who “helped pick up [the fire] department in the hour of its greatest triumph,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a plaque ceremony for Nappi at Engine 237 in Bushwick, Brooklyn on Tuesday.
“After 9/11, a terrible morning where the FDNY lost 343 men, and decades and decades of firefighting leadership and experience, new, unexpected, and heavy burdens fell on the man we honor today: Lieutenant Richard Nappi. He and other FDNY veterans like him had to shovel with the tasks of rebuilding this fine department.”
Nappi is described as a loving husband, father, free run 4.0 v2 loyal friend and neighbor, and “fanatical” New York Rangers fan. To the men of his department, however, he was known for the skill and knowledge he bestowed upon those his command.
The lieutenant is survived by his wife Mary Anne, 13-year-old daughter Catherine and 12-year-old son Nicholas, who attended the ceremony.
“Nicholas, I don’t know if you want to be a firefighter,” Bloomberg said to the boy. “It’s a great career, maybe you’ll consider following in your father’s footsteps.
“Your father was a hero, you should be very proud.”
Nappi was a firefighter who “always dedicated himself to helping others before helping himself” and “truly loved his job,” according to Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.
“The legacy he left lives behind the firefighters here at Engine 237, Engine 302, and Engine 7, where he spent so many years,” said Cassano. “His love of firefighting and his passion for training were something instilled in all he worked with and all he taught.”
The plaque was placed on the walls of Engine 237.