Category: Archive

Devastating double loss for FDNY

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Thousands are expected to say goodbye to Irish-American fire fighter Michael C. Reilly, whose funeral takes place this Friday in his hometown of Ramsey, New Jersey.
25-year-old Reilly, who served for a year in Iraq, had been working as a probationary officer at Engine Co. 75 in the Bronx when he died, less than two months after graduating from the FDNY Academy.
Friends, colleagues and neighbors have been leaving gifts and messages of remembrance at a makeshift shrine to the firefighter outside Ramsey Fire Station, where he volunteered as a teen.
Monsignor Lawrence Cull of St Paul’s Parish in Ramsey will return early from his vacation to preside over Reilly’s funeral mass this Friday.
“We are proud of Michael for his service as a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and as a firefighter called to save the lives of others,” Msgr. Cull told the Echo yesterday.
“He did this faithfully when he was tragically taken from us.”
Carpluk Jr., a 43-year-old veteran of 20 years, was rescued from the blaze alive, but succumbed to his injuries on Monday afternoon with his wife and two children at his bedside.
Carpluk Jr. was a member of Engine Company 42, where a makeshift shrine has also been erected.
Reilly and Carpluk Jr. are the 1,333rd and 1,334th members of the Fire Department to die in its 142-year history.
Two firefighters perish in Bronx blaze

Devastated residents of New York and New Jersey are preparing for the funeral of local hero Michael C. Reilly, a young Irish American firefighter and Iraq war veteran who died last Sunday in a Bronx fire that injured 23 and also killed a lieutenant.
“Whenever the best among us falls in the line of duty — be it on some distant battlefield or fighting a fire to save lives in the Bronx — especially someone so young and so filled with promise for the future, the whole community is touched by the tragedy,” said Ramsey Borough Mayor Richard Muti in a statement obtained by the Echo.
“Every Ramsey resident joins with me in expressing our deepest condolences to the Reilly family. May God comfort them in their time of sorrow.”
“This is very hard for us all,” said Tom Lanning, Fire Chief of the Ramsey Fire Department, where 25-year-old Reilly volunteered as a teen, speaking to the Echo on Tuesday.
“He’s a true firefighter and rescue technician. When you gave him a job to do the job got done. He was a man of great ideas — he was always coming up with ways to improve how things ran around the station.”
The fire occurred just after noon on Sunday at a Mega 99-cent store in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Bronx. Reilly became trapped beneath a filing cabinet after the floor of the building collapsed beneath him and four other firefighters. Colleagues had to cut through the basement wall of a cellular phone store next door to rescue him. Reilly was then rushed to Bronx Lebanon hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:30 p.m.
Additionally, 43-year-old Lt. Howard J. Carpluk Jr. died the following day from heart failure at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
Yaphank-based Carpluk Jr. was a 20-year-veteran and worked out of Engine Company 42. He is survived by his wife, Debra, his 10-year-old daughter, Paige, and his 14-year-old son, Bradley.
Reilly, who graduated from the FDNY Academy just last month, began working as a volunteer fireman at his hometown fire station at 16 years of age, where he decorated his rescue hat with a green shamrock sticker and an American flag.
“All he wanted to do in his whole life was to become a firefighter,” Reilly’s parents Michael and Monica Reilly told Mayor Michael Bloomberg following their son’s death.
In 2000, Reilly joined the Marines, and served in Iraq in 2003 for one year as a reservist, ultimately reaching the rank of sergeant.
In 2002, he joined the Fire Department in Stratford, Connecticut until one day in 2004, when his dream came true and a job opportunity arose in New York City. He was a probationary member of Engine Co. 75 when he died.
Reilly is survived by his parents, as well as a younger brother and sister.
A wake for Reilly will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30 and Thursday, August 31 at the Van Emburgh-Sneider Funeral Home in Ramsey. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, September 1 at St. Paul R.C. Church in Ramsey. Burial will follow at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah, N.J.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese