Monday, August 25, 2008

BLOOMBITO NODS OUT


Deutsche firefighters remembered at memorial ceremony
By Julie Shapiro (Downtown Express)


Hundreds gathered at the Engine 24/Ladder 5 firehouse Monday morning to remember firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino Jr., one year after they were killed at the former Deutsche Bank building.
Plaques honoring the firefighters will hang on the Soho firehouse’s walls, alongside those commemorating the men the firehouse lost on 9/11 and in the Watts St. fire in 1994.
“This house has seen more than its fair share of tragedy,” Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told the crowd that filled the firehouse.

The grieving family members sat on rows of folding chairs, one side for the Graffagninos and the other for the Beddias, as though at a wedding. But what joined these families was the deadly fire Aug. 18, 2007 at 130 Liberty St., where blocked-off stairwells and a broken standpipe trapped firefighters in the building without water. The building was damaged and contaminated with asbestos on 9/11 and was being demolished at the time of the fire.
Downtown Express photo by Tequila Minsky

A few in the crowd thought Mayor Bloomberg briefly dozed off during the speeches before the plaques were dedicated, but a mayoral spokesperson said his eyes were merely closed.
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