Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: Blvd. Named For Bravest

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Blvd. Named For Bravest


    June 16, 2003 -- Three city firefighters who were killed in a building explosion on Father's Day two years ago were honored in a Queens street-renaming ceremony yesterday.

    Bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" as the children of firefighters John Downing, Brian Fahey and Harry Ford unveiled the street signs renaming a two-block stretch of Astoria Boulevard after their fathers.

    "Long before September 11, 2001, firefighters were sacrificing for New Yorkers," said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, who represents the area.

    The three firefighters were killed when a five-alarm blaze set off an explosion in the basement of a Queens hardware store.

    Ford, 50, and Downing, 40, were killed when the building's roof came crashing down. Fahey, 46, died after being trapped in the basement. AP

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Blvd. of broken hearts

    Blvd. of broken hearts


    Widows of three firefighters killed on Father's Day two years ago hold roses at street-renaming ceremony yesterday in Queens. The widows (from l. to r.) are Anne Downing, Mary Fahey and Denise Ford, with some of their children.

    Children of three firefighters killed in a tragic Father's Day inferno in Queens two years ago recalled their dads as heroes yesterday as the street where the men died was renamed in their honor.
    Strains of "Amazing Grace" wafted across Astoria Blvd. as a crowd of more than 200 people saluted Firefighters John Downing, Brian Fahey and Harry Ford during a bittersweet ceremony in front of the spot where the three Bravest died.

    Many in the group were firefighters who gave up Father's Day with their own kids to support some of the children their fallen comrades left behind.

    Nine-year-old Joanne Downing wore a necklace bearing her dad's picture as she stood with her mom and her brother. "He was a hero," Joanne said.

    The three firefighters were killed on Father's Day in 2001 when a fire at the Long Island General Supply Co., an Astoria hardware store, set off a propane explosion in the basement, burying them under an avalanche of brick and metal.

    It was one of the deadliest days for the department in years - until three months later, when the terror attacks claimed 343 FDNY members.

    "Long before Sept. 11, 2001, firefighters were sacrificing for New Yorkers all around this city," said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). "And while the numbers may not have been as large, we know that the sacrifices were just as great."

    The City Council later passed legislation to ban people from keeping flammable chemicals in a basement without sprinklers, noted Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens).

    Downing, Ford and Fahey left behind a combined eight children, ranging in age from 4 to 26.

    Astoria Blvd. between 12th and 14th Sts. has been renamed for the three men.

    'Incredibly painful'

    Some relatives had a hard time returning to the scene of the tragedy.

    "It's sad to be here - especially at this site," said Denise Ford, Harry Ford's widow, who has three children.

    "I'm going to miss him every day of my life. ... It's been compounded by the tragedy of Sept. 11," she said. "To lose so many friends and family has been incredibly painful."

    Mary Fahey remembered her "amazing firefighter" husband as a wonderful person, teacher and father of three. "It's a beautiful tribute," she said of the ceremony. "But it's very hard, because it's Father's Day."

    Anne Downing said that her husband lived for their kids, Joanne and little Michael, 4, who has cancer. And while she knows that life has to go on, she misses John terribly.

    "This is when I need him so much," she said.

    Originally published on June 16, 2003

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts