FDNY Ladder 119’s Lt. Gordon “Matt” Ambelas Dies in Brooklyn High Rise Fire

FDNY Ladder 119 Lt. Gordon “Matt” Ambelas died while searching an apartment on fire in a high-rise last night in Brooklyn. The incident occurred on 19th floor of the Independence Towers on Wilson St. at about 9:10 p.m Saturday.  Ambelas was 40 years old and a 14 year veteran of the FDNY. He lived on Staten Island with his wife and two children.

From the FDNY:

Lt. Gorden Ambelas (FDNY Photo)

Lt. Gorden Ambelas (FDNY Photo)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro on July 6 announced the death of Lt. Gordon M. Ambelas, Ladder 119, a 14-year-veteran of the FDNY who died on July 5 from injuries sustained while attempting to save lives at a second-alarm fire in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Lt. Ambelas, 40, was searching for trapped occupants in a 19th floor apartment at 75 Wilson St., when the fire flashed over and trapped him in a bedroom. He was found unconscious by fellow firefighters who removed him from the apartment and attempted to resuscitate him, along with EMS personnel. He was transported in critical condition to Woodhull Medical Center, where he later died.

“New York has suffered a terrible and tragic loss tonight with the death of Lt. Gordon Ambelas, who heroically died trying to protect and save others—something he’s done for more than 14 years for the city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We all mourn his loss, and I ask every New Yorker to keep Lieutenant Ambelas and his family in their thoughts and prayers.”

“We are deeply shocked and saddened at the loss of one of our own—a devoted, veteran firefighter who had an enormous love for his job and our mission to help and save others,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro.

Lt. Ambelas—who friends and colleagues called “Matt”—was appointed as a firefighter on Feb. 1, 2000. After graduating from Probationary Firefighter School, he was assigned to Ladder Company 81 on Staten Island. In January 2001, Firefighter Ambelas transferred to Engine Company 28 in lower Manhattan, where he spent one year before returning to Ladder Company 81. On Sept. 14, 2013, Firefighter Ambelas was promoted to Lt. and assigned to Battalion 28 in northern Brooklyn, where he worked in various firehouses as a “covering” lieutenant. He spent the past several months working in Ladder Company 119.

He and the members of Ladder Company 119 were recently honored by the community of Williamsburg for rescuing a 7-year-old boy who was trapped in a roll down gate on Skillman Street on May 8.

The fire officer is the 1,143rd firefighter to die in the line of duty since the FDNY’s founding in 1865. The last member of the Department to die while on duty was Lt. Richard Nappi, on Apr. 16, 2012.

Lt. Ambelas, who lived on Staten Island, is survived by his wife, Nanette, and their two children.

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