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FDNY dedicates disaster training site in honor of deputy chief killed on 9/11

Special Operations Deputy Chief Raymond Downey was an expert on building collapses and technical rescues



By Leila Merrill

NEW YORK — This week the FDNY dedicated a fire academy disaster training site in honor of a deputy chief who was killed on 9/11.

The site includes a broken fuselage of a plane, crushed cars and piles of concrete, according to CBS New York. Many of the objects were donated.

“Here they got a parking garage collapse with heavy concrete. We have a blind shaft elevator. We get that all the time where somebody’s stuck in the elevator shaft,” FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey said.

The battalion chief’s brother, Chuck Downey, is deputy chief of the fire academy.

Their father was Special Operations Deputy Chief Raymond Downey. The “master of disaster,” an expert on building collapses and technical rescues served in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. when called upon for incidents such as the Oklahoma City bombing.

Raymond Downey had served FDNY for 39 years when he was killed on 9/11. He was helping others escape from the fire and collapse at the World Trade Center, according to FDNY.

Downey established the FDNY Technical Rescue School.

“He was a visionary on technical rescue and spent years sharing his knowledge through intense training with members of the Special Operations Command and the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces. The All-Hazards Disaster Training Site is dedicated to Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey in honor of his sacrifice and his devotion. To prepare the FDNY and first responders across the USA to protect others during natural and man-made catastrophic events,” the department posted on Instagram.

Family members, colleagues and friends gathered Thursday as a rubble pile was named the Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey All-Hazards Disaster Training Site.

“He would say this was too much for him. Very proud,” said his widow, Rosalie Downey.

“He cared deeply for the safety of his members and for the public he served,” said John Hodgens, acting chief of department for the FDNY.

Thousands of FDNY members will train at the site each year.