Jonathan Ielpi Missing in Terrorist Attack

By Wendy K. Kreitzman
Oct 5 2001

Lifelong Great Neck resident Jonathan L. Ielpi, a New York City
firefighter and a Vigilant first assistant chief, is still missing. He was one of the first city firefighters into the blazing World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The 29-year-old Ielpi is the father of two young children and enjoys a reputation as a dedicated firefighter.

''Jonathan is a very well-respected firefighter, well-liked among the members of all local fire departments,'' said Vigilant Chief Conrad Singer. ''He is very well-respected for his fire-fighting abilities.''

Chief Singer said that his first assistant chief is ''a good firefighter and a good fire officer ... a very good son, a very good father, a very good husband.'' And, according to Chief Singer, ''Jonathan is, in many ways, like his father, Lee, who had a long tenure as a New York City firefighter and a Vigilant chief, and was recognized on many occasions for acts of selflessness and heroism.''

Jonathan Ielpi is now recognized as one of the true heroes of Sept. 11.

He serves as a firefighter with New York City's Squad 288 in Queens. Squad 288 shares quarters with HAZMAT One, a hazardous material unit. This unit has technicians who specialize in rescues and are trained to deal with terrorist attacks, as well as regular fire-fighting work. To date, 19 firefighters from this building are missing in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. They were among the first rescue workers at the site on that Tuesday morning.

Jonathan Ielpi was appointed to the FDNY Academy on Oct. 15, 1995. On Jan. 17, 1996 he was assigned to Brooklyn Engine Company 214, and on Sept. 28, 1996 he was assigned to Queens Ladder Company 158. His next assignment was to Brooklyn Engine Company 219 on Oct. 4, 1997, followed by his May 2, 1998 assignment to Maspeth Squad Company 288.

Vigilant First Assistant Chief Ielpi, a 1990 graduate of Great Neck North High School, was first a New York City police officer prior to joining the city's fire department. He became a member of Great Neck's Vigilants when he turned 17, on July 15, 1989. He served as a second lieutenant for the Vigilants from Dec. 6, 1993 until Aug. 1, 1994, when he became a first lieutenant. He remained at that post until Dec. 4, 1995. He served as a Vigilant captain from Dec. 2, 1995 until Dec. 1999, when he was promoted to second assistant chief. He became first assistant chief on July 1, 2001, and serves in that position today.

Jonathan Ielpi's father, Lee, is also a lifelong Great Neck resident. An ex-chief of the Vigilant firefighters, he is a retired New York City firefighter who had been assigned to Rescue Company No. 2 in Brooklyn. Lee and Ann Ielpi have four children --- Jonathan, Ann, Brendan, and Melissa. Jonathan and his wife Yesenia have two young sons, Andrew, who turns 10 soon and is a fifth grade student at Saddle Rock Elementary School, and 3-year-old Austin, who attends the Parkville Pre-K program.

Well-known, and very well-liked in the Great Neck community, in addition to his job as a city firefighter and his volunteer work as a local firefighter, Jonathan Ielpi also works in Great Neck, part-time, in carpentry and construction.

The Vigilant firefighters have established a fund for Jonathan Ielpi and his family. Anyone wishing to contribute can drop the donation off at the Vigilant fire house or send it to:
Vigilant Fund for Jonathan Ielpi, 83
Cutter Mill Road, Great Neck, New York 11021.

The entire Great Neck community is proud of its hero, Jonathan Ielpi.