'Black Sunday' firefighter gets spot on FDNY wall
Lt. Joseph DiBernardo Jr. survived 40-foot fall during fatal 2005 'Black Sunday' blaze but died last fall of drug overdose
By Rebecca Harshbarger
The New York Post
A city firefighter who dramatically survived a 40-foot fall during the fatal 2005 "Black Sunday" blaze in The Bronx — but died last fall of a drug overdose — will be remembered on the FDNY's Wall of Honor.
The move comes after a months-long effort by former FDNY Lt. Joseph DiBernardo's family to convince officials his death in November was work-related.
The 40-year-old hero accidentally OD'ed on pills prescribed for the injuries he received in the 2005 fire, the medical examiner said.
"I feel like he can rest in peace now," said his father, Joseph DiBernardo.
DiBernardo was injured jumping from an illegally partitioned Tremont building after being trapped in the inferno.
"Joey and I will be brothers forever," said Jeff Cool, a firefighter whose life DiBernardo saved that day.
The single and childless DiBernardo insisted that Cool — married with kids — use his rescue rope first.
When it was DiBernardo's turn, his rope broke 40 feet above ground. He broke every bone below his waist.
Family members said he may have doubled his painkillers because the fall had caused his memory to suffer.
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