Black and purple bunting adorned two firehouses on Tuesday, one in New York City and a second on eastern Long Island, both paying tribute to the same man: A veteran New York City firefighter and longtime volunteer who collapsed and died battling a Brooklyn warehouse blaze.
Lt. Richard Nappi, a 17-year veteran of the FDNY, overheated and suffered exhaustion before he collapsed, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday night.
Nappi was the first city firefighter to die in the line of duty in three years. He also was a 9/11 responder.
"Outside his family, his life's work was keeping New Yorkers safe from fires," Bloomberg said. "And by any measure, he succeeded magnificently."
On Tuesday, he was being honored at Engine 237 in Bushwick, and at Farmingville fire headquarters on Long Island, where the building was draped with black and purple bunting.
An electronic sign said: "We are mourning the line-of-duty passing of FFD Member and FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi."
Before joining the FDNY, Nappi was a parole officer and a case worker for Suffolk County's Department of Social Services.
In addition to his work with the FDNY, Nappi also served as a volunteer firefighter and deputy chief instructor with the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank.
About two miles away from the Farmingville fire headquarters, cars packed the small circular driveway of Nappi's home.
Survivors include Nappi's wife, 12-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son.
"Rich was a character. He was a very outgoing, bubbly type of person," said Chief Bob Hopkins, who worked with Nappi at the Yaphank training center.
It's not clear what cause Nappi to suffer a heart attack but officials suggested the uncharacteristically hot April day was a contributing factor.
The funeral and procession will take place at The Church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton at 800 Portion Road in Lake Ronkonkoma Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m.
A scholarship fund has been set up for Nappi's two children at the request of Engine 237. Donations may be made to:
Lieutenant Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund
9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
All donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of all donations will go the fund, FDNY press officials said.
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