NY Daily News - April 18, 2012by Henrick Karoliszyn AND Barry Paddock
'He just did everything for the firefighters, for his family'Colleagues of the hero 9/11 firefighter who died in a Brooklyn warehouse blaze hailed him Tuesday as a family man and a consummate professional.
"He made my job very easy," said company Capt. James Hurley. "He was a tireless worker. He expected a lot out of everybody, but he gave a lot."
Three of Nappi's closest colleagues hung black and purple bunting over the firehouse to symbolize their mourning.
"He just did everything for the firefighters, for his family," said Lt. Tom Minelli. "He was just a firefighter's firefighter. He loved being in the firehouse. He loved being a firefighter. He loved protecting the city."
Nappi, 47, collapsed after becoming overheated while battling a three-alarm blaze in a Bushwick warehouse Monday. He went into cardiac arrest, and died at nearby Woodhull Medical Center.
Nappi, as per FDNY rules, was declared fit for duty last August after passing an annual exam that included a full physical and a fitness aptitude test, the department said Tuesday.
Five other firefighters were injured during the three hours that it took to extinguish the blaze on an unseasonably warm day when the temperature rose to 87 degrees.
"It was very hot, extremely hot, a lot of smoke," said Firefighter Ed Hiler, who was battling the blaze with Nappi. "Time will tell us what happened."
Foley choked up when talking about the 17-year FDNY veteran's devotion to his wife, Mary Anne, and their two kids, 12-year-old Catherine and 11-year-old Nicholas.
"Rich Nappi was a tremendous family man, very involved with his kids," said Foley, noting that the family had recently attended Opening Day for the Mets at Citi Field.
At the family's home in Farmingville, L.I., visitors came and went. Nappi, 47, became the first FDNY fatality since 2009.
"A lieutenant like him is hard to find," said Hurley.
"We're still in shock. We're going to get through the next couple days as a unit, as a family."
On 9/11, Nappi rushed to the city from his Suffolk County home to join his colleagues at the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks.
His mother said Nappi always wanted to work as a firefighter, even joining a volunteer department on Long Island when he was just 18.
At the request of the officers and members of Engine 237, a scholarship fund has been established by the FDNY Foundation, for the Children of Lt. Nappi.
Lieutenant Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund
9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY, 11201
All Donations are tax-deductible. 100% of the donation will be given to the Lieutenant Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund.