The Second 2 Weeks of April 1998
When I wrote that line I had no idea that before the month was over signal 5-5-5-5 would be transmitted for the 765th time.
66-22-898 1340 hours 4/29/98
Numerous calls were received by the Manhattan Central Office indicating trapped occupants on the floors above the fire. Fire was blowing out of 7 windows by the time water reached the fire floor.
Raymond Nakovics, 49, was the chauffeur of engine 39. They were assigned 2nd due on the 1st alarm. After he finished hooking the rig to a hydrant, he reported to the chief in charge that he was experiencing crushing chest pains. Paramedics immediately responded to the fireground and transported him to St. Clare's Hospital.
Throughout the ride to, and while in the hospital, Raymond was alert and oriented. Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen joined him at the hospital and spoke with him. Everyone was hopeful that he would soon recover.
Then, according to Commissioner Von Essen, "Things changed for the worse very quickly." He went pale and lost consciousness. Doctors tried in vain to revive him, but he succumbed to what is described as an aortic aneurism.
Raymond was a 27 year veteran and worked in the East 67th Street firehouse throughout his career. He was #1 in seniority and according to the remainder of the company's compliment he was #1, period. He leaves behind a wife and 4 grown children; a 19 year old son being the youngest.
The task for his brothers still at the fire was still at hand. Despite their emotions they had a fire to fight. It took over 40 minutes to bring the fire under control.
66-22-810 1304 hours 4/29/98
The 30th floor fire was contained rather quickly but some tense moments were had by civilians who were trapped in a stuck elevator. Rescue 2, special called to the box on the 2nd alarm, removed the occupants.
The remainder of the day tour was active, but relatively uneventful:
77-75-413 1106 hours 4/29/98
77-75-343 1325 hours 4/29/98
77-75-937 1406 hours 4/29/98
99-75-71 1421 hours 4/29/98
88-22-1833 1513 hours 4/29/98
66-22-2737 1610 hours 4/29/98
77-75-1873 1641 hours 4/29/98