A seventeen-year FDNY veteran died while battling a blaze on Staten Island early this morning. At around 12:30 a.m., Lieutenant Robert Ryan was leading the first unit to respond to a fire in a two-story home on Van Buren Street in New Brighton when his mask and air supply were knocked off by pieces of the ceiling that began coming down as it collapsed. The fire was not deemed suspicious and appears to have been the result of faulty wiring in the house's attic.
A woman who was sleeping inside the house was able to escape unharmed when a neighbor pounded on her door to wake her up. Outside her house another neighbor lit three candles in tribute to Lieutenant Ryan. Ryan is the second firefighter to die in the line of duty this year. He is survived by his wife Kathleen and four children.
Mayor Bloomberg held an early morning press conference outside Richmond University Medical Center, where Ryan was pronounced dead. The mayor said, “I would just like to ask all New Yorkers to say a prayer for Robert Ryan. He was a brave man who lost his life protecting this city. And as we go in to the holiday season, we need to remember those who sacrifice so much for all of the rest of us.”