Retired FDNY firefighter dies of 9/11 related cancer
Jimmy Martinez, a World Trade Center and Hurricane Sandy first responder, died after a long battle with bone marrow cancer
By Tracey Porpora
Staten Island Advance
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Last year when Jimmy Martinez, a retired city firefighter hero from Eltingville, was battling cancer, he donated a new white van to the FDNY's fleet.
His inspiration was the many rides on the FDNY transport van to and from Manhattan for his cancer treatment appointments.
But after a long battle with bone marrow cancer, Martinez, 58, has died.
It is with regret we announce the passing of Retired Firefighter Jimmy Martinez of Engine Company 157 from WTC related Cancer. Arrangements are posted below. pic.twitter.com/F60NvUYgts— UFA NYC Firefighters (@UFANYC) August 25, 2018
"Firefighter Jimmy Martinez bravely protected Staten Island for more then two decades, fighting fires and providing emergency medical care to those who were sick and injured," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.
"His death is another painful loss for our department, which continues to lose remarkable men and women to illness because of their selfless work during World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort," he added.
Before his retirement, Firefighter Jimmy Martinez, who died last week of 9/11 related cancer, donated a van to help shuttle sick firefighters to treatment. Let his giving spirit guide you. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/zyOEb69C1L— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) August 26, 2018
"This day makes me proud to pay it forward," Martinez told the Advance at the March, 2017 ceremony at Engine 157/Ladder 80 in Port Richmond where he formerly worked. "I've had a lot of help and support since day one. This will help a lot of people."
Martinez, a World Trade Center and Hurricane Sandy first responder, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2013. He underwent rigorous chemotherapy treatments, but still needed a stem-cell transplant.
In April, 2016 Martinez received the transplant from an anonymous international donor; he was in remission for six months at the time he donated the van.
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During the 2017 ceremony, James Leonard, FDNY chief of the department, talked about Martinez's bravery and commitment to helping firefighters.
"He's been a role model for this department, and he earned that reputation," Leonard said.
Martinez donated the custom white van to the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, which uses the vans to help sick firefighters and their families get around.
Martinez was very specific about the van's design, including the turn signals, seat belts, air conditioning and seating.
Surviving are his wife, Maria, and three children: Jimmy, Alyssa and Eileen.
A funeral wake for Martinez will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at the John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals in Eltingville.
The funeral will be Thursday from St. Clare's R.C. Church, Great Kills.
Copyright 2018 Staten Island Advance