The Fire Department of New York is mourning the death of a lieutenant who became trapped while looking for victims in a public-housing high-rise blaze, the first to die in the line of duty in more than two years. Lt. Gordon Ambelas died yesterday after suffering multiple injuries while on the 19th floor of the 21-story building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, officials said. "We lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy," Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the 14-year veteran of the force. "I ask every New Yorker to keep the lieutenant in their prayers."
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters that Ambelas sustained multiple injuries after he went into an apartment on fire to look for victims. He was found unconscious inside of the apartment and was removed by fellow firefighters, de Blasio said. "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," Nigro said. Ambelas, a 40-year-old married father of two daughters from Staten Island, was honored last month for helping to save a 7-year-old boy. Ambelas said at the time that the incident "shows that FDNY members are always ready to help others. It was great teamwork all around." (Read more FDNY stories.)