FDNY firefighter dies day after fighting 2-alarm blaze

Firefighter Jesse Gerhard suffered a medical episode at the firehouse on the afternoon after the incident and was rushed to the hospital

Duty Death: Jesse Gerhard - [New York, New York]

End of Service: 02/16/2022


UPDATED 3:44 p.m. CT

Paul Liotta
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A 7-year veteran of the FDNY died at his Queens firehouse Wednesday evening less than two days after battling a 2-alarm blaze in Far Rockaway.

Firefighter Jesse Gerhard, 33, suffered a medical episode at the Ladder Company 134 firehouse, and he was transported to St. John's Episcopal Hospital where he later died.

An official cause of death has yet to be determined, but during a morning media briefing with Mayor Eric Adams, acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh tied his death to a heart attack, firefighters' leading cause of death nationwide.

"Heart attacks are the number one cause of death of firefighters nationwide, so it is a very strenuous job," she said.

Acting Chief of Department John Hodgens said that Gerhard, of Long Beach, served as the member of the team that led entry into the building and began the search during the Tuesday afternoon fire in Far Rockaway.

"It's a very strenuous position to be in; probably the most strenuous that we do work in," he said.

His fellow members of the department found him collapsed the next day shortly before 11 p.m., and immediately administered emergency aid, according to a media release from Adams' office.

Gerhard joined the department as an EMT in 2014, and entered the fire academy in Dec. 2017 eventually graduating in April 2018. He spent most of his career stationed in Far Rockaway, but also served at EMS Station 10 in Manhattan.

"Firefighter Jesse Gerhard dreamed of being a Firefighter his entire life; and he lived that dream, bravely serving the residents of Queens by battling fires and rescuing New Yorkers from harm," Adams said. "The heartbreaking loss of this brave young man who was so committed to saving others is a painful reminder of the dangerous and difficult work New York City Firefighters do every single day."

Gerhard, who was previously honored for bravery during his career, is survived by his parents, his brother, and sister-in-law.

He is the 1,156th member of the FDNY to die in the line-of-duty. The last member of the Department to die in the line of duty was Lieutenant Joseph Maiello, who died on December 26, 2021. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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(c)2022 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

Previous story: 

Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — An FDNY firefighter died from injuries he suffered battling a Queens blaze, sources said Thursday.

Firefighter Jesse Gerhard, 33, of Ladder 134 succumbed to his injuries Wednesday, a day after fighting a two-alarm blaze in Far Rockaway, the sources said.

The fire consumed a three-story home on Beach Channel Drive near Beach 25th St. after breaking out about 4 p.m. Tuesday. It was put out within two hours.

Gerhard appeared fine after helping to put out the blaze but began suffering a medical episode at his Central Ave. firehouse Wednesday afternoon, sources said.

He was rushed to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he died.

His death is considered a line of duty death, FDNY sources said.

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©2022 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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