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Queens tribute for slain firefighter

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

A New York firefighter with Limerick roots who died trying to rescue a woman two years ago has been honored for his bravery by his Queens community.

Residents from the Queens neighborhood of Middle Village last month named a new roller-hockey rink in memory of James Bohan in Juniper Valley Park.

According to the Limerick Leader newspaper, 25-year-old Bohan’s mother was from Loughill and his father was from Leitrim.

Bohan died, along with two colleagues, while fighting a blaze near Starrett City, N.Y., in December 1998.

The paper reported that Bohan and two other firefighters went to the rescue of an old woman believed to be trapped in the burning building. But they were killed in the blaze. The woman had already been evacuated.

Last month, Bohan’s family, friends and fellow firefighters gathered at Juniper Valley Park to remember his life and to pay tribute to his bravery.

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"It was what he always wanted to do," his cousin, Mary Wakelin of Foynes, told the paper later. "He loved it."

Friends remembered Bohan’s sense of fun and his cheerfulness.

"He had a great attitude toward life. He was a fun-loving guy. You met him once, he was your friend for life," Bohan’s firefighter colleague Paul Rut told the gathering. "He was always there to lend a helping hand. Always there to learn."

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