A City Limits investigation looked at FDNY fatalities over 20 years, finding common factors and tracking the city's efforts to address them.
It likely won't be until the period of public mourning is over that we'll learn what caused the demise of Lt. Gordon Ambelas.
In the department's first line-of-duty death in more than two years, the FDNY lost a 17-year veteran to what appeared to be a heart attack at the scene of a warehouse fire in Brooklyn.
The number of on-duty deaths dropped by 7 percent nationwide. New York City closed out another year without a fatality during an operation, despite responding to 23,000 blazes.
Heart attacks are the single largest threat to firefighters' lives, with everything from stress to heat to noise at fire scenes elevating the risk factors.
The FDNY is committed to "aggressive, interior firefighting." When that's the plan, equipment, training and manpower are all less important that human decision-making.
Each of the FDNY's line-of-duty deaths over the past 20 years involved a unique person and unique circumstances. But according to investigations by the FDNY and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, common contributing factors link many of the incidents.
Two fires 10 years apart at one high-rise in the Rockaways helped convince the FDNY to reconsider its time-honored tactics when dealing with wind-driven fires.
After months reporting a story on the FDNY, all it took was three steps into a smoky room for this reporter to realize how much he didn't know.