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FDNY Lieutenant Dies In The Line Of Duty In Brooklyn Fire Over 4th of July Weekend

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GothamistA Brooklyn firefighter died while battling a blaze at a Williamsburg high rise last night. Officials say that a fire broke out on the 19th floor of a 21-story public housing building at 75 Wilson Street around 9 p.m. Saturday. Lt. Gordon Matthew Ambelas, 40, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, was searching for residents on the 19th floor when he got stuck in an apartment and fatally injured.  “We have lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference last night outside Woodhull Medical Center (you can see it above). “I ask every New Yorker to keep the lieutenant in their prayers.” “He was trapped deep into the [burning] apartment and he did sustain multiple injuries,” added FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “Ambelas went into the apartment to search for life and did not come out, and by the time his brother firefighters found him, it was too late for him.” Ambelas is survived by his wife, Nanette, and two daughters. More than 100 firefighters were called for the fire last night, which was under control by 10:30 p.m.; four other people, including two firefighters, had minor injuries.

NY Times – A man who had made a career of rescuing people — from the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks, to the floods of Hurricane Sandy, and most recently from the clutches of a metal gate that had trapped a child — could not be saved. As family and friends mourned Lt. Gordon Matthew Ambelas, on Sunday, the events on the 19th floor of the building in the Independence Towers remained murky. Investigators sought to determine how a blaze that did not at first appear unusual ended in the first death of a city firefighter in the line of duty in more than two years. A preliminary investigation found that it was started by an air-conditioner power cord that was “pinched” between the bed and a wall on its way to a power outlet, said Jim Long, a Fire Department spokesman.

Real sad stuff that happened over the weekend while most of us were getting fat, dumb, drunk and happy for a holiday weekend. Lt. Ambelas gave his life trying to fight a fire out in Brooklyn and unfortunately became the first fireman to die in action in over two years. Heartbreaking. I obviously don’t know Lt. Ambelas personally, but just reading the sentence “A man who had made a career of rescuing people — from the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks, to the floods of Hurricane Sandy, and most recently from the clutches of a metal gate that had trapped a child” puts him in perspective. Here’s a guy who’s been there for this city and its people for 14 years throughout some of our most tragic moments. Terrorist attacks and acts of God trying to tear this city and its people down and he’s out there trying to help prop us back up. Risking his life and sacrificing himself for perfect strangers who are in need. I guess the fact that so many of us were out there just barbecuing and hanging on the beach without a care in the world while Gordon gave his life makes me feel that much more appreciative. Almost makes me feel guilty in a way. I come from a family and a crew of friends of a lot of firemen, and people always know something like this is a risk. But when it happens its still such a heartbreaker.

At the moment I don’t know if there’s any sort of fundraiser set up for his wife and 2 daughters that he left behind. If anyone knows of a kickstarter or some sort fundraiser thats going on for the Ambelas family, please let me know. If some jerk making potato salad can raise $20,000, I would like to think that the people of New York would donate 10 times that much for Mrs. Ambelas and her kids. I wish I could do it myself but I don’t know how to do so in an official manner to make sure that all the money gets to the family and everything is done properly. So A) if you know of an existing fundraiser for the family, please let me know, and B) if you know anything about setting those up, get at me. IKFC@barstoolsports.com