N.Y. firefighters memorial destroyed in police pursuit
The Firefighters Memorial on Staten Island was struck by suspects in a stolen vehicle
By Kayla Simas
Staten Island Advance
NEW YORK — A wild police chase involving two juvenile suspects early Monday wiped out a Concord monument that has stood for the last 30 years honoring those who’ve died in the line of duty.
The Firefighters Memorial, which sits at the intersection of Clove Road, Richmond Road, Targee Street and Narrows Road South, was hit by a stolen vehicle, representatives from both FDNY and NYPD confirmed.
Deputy Chief Joe Harris, of Division 8, which houses Rescue Co. 5 and Engine Co. 16, across the street from the memorial, said it’s “disheartening” to see the monument damaged.
Police told the Staten Island Advance/SILive.com that the incident unfolded when officers were notified of a stolen vehicle crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge towards Staten Island shortly around 3:30 a.m.
After a “very brief” pursuit, the driver lost control of the vehicle, crashed into the monument and continued on before the individuals were apprehended on Rhine Avenue.
Two 16-year-old males were arrested and charged with one count of grand larceny, one count of criminal mischief, one count of stolen property and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle, the spokesperson said.
One other individual fled the scene, the spokesperson said.
At the location of the monument, tire tracks and small pieces of automobile debris could be seen on the grass and area surrounding the memorial. The 6-foot tall stone statue that stood at the center of the memorial, inscribed with names of the fallen and the Firefighters Prayer, was knocked to the ground, with a portion of it in pieces.
Along with the monument, the flagpole that stood beside it was down, as well as a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.
An additional monument that stands in honor of 9/11 was untouched, as was the statue of a firefighter hugging Jesus Christ.
According to Staten Island Advance archives, the Firefighters Memorial was erected by retired firefighters to honor anyone from Staten Island who has died on the line of duty.
Harris told the Advance that a group of retired firefighters maintains the property’s grounds.
“It’s disheartening to see, and especially for the retirees who helped to put it up and even continue to maintain it,” said Harris. “For all they do for the memorial, it’s sad to see this happen. It’s also a place many firefighters stop by before heading out to the Sept. 11 ceremony in Manhattan.”
Harris noted that this is a tough time for this incident to occur, when next month will mark the 22nd anniversary of 9/11.
According to Advance archives, then-Rescue Co. 5′s Lt. John Ferry told the Advance the monument “will give us a place where we can go as Staten Islanders and show the respect that these men deserve.”
Harris said the next step would be to repair or replace the monument.