Mourners gathered at a Long Island funeral home Thursday to honor the life of Lt. Richard Nappi, a New York City firefighter who died earlier this week of a heart attack after fighting a blaze in Brooklyn.
Nappi, 47, went into cardiac arrest Monday after responding to the fire inside a warehouse on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick. It's not clear what caused him to suffer a heart attack, but officials suggested the unseasonably warm day was a contributing factor.
At the Maloney Funeral Home in Lake Ronkonkoma, friends and fellow firefighters remembered Nappi, a 9/11 responder and a 17-year veteran of the force, as a warm, outgoing person dedicated to the FDNY.
"Whenever you think of Rich, there's no time to be sad because every time he pops into your head, you start cracking up because of something he did or something he said," said Sean Gibbons, a friend of the late firefighter.
Nappi grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle. Before joining the FDNY he was a parole officer and a case worker for Suffolk County's Department of Social Services.
He also served as a volunteer firefighter and deputy chief instructor with the Suffolk County Fire Academy.
Iona College president Dr. Joseph Nyre said Nappi attended a memorial for Iona College graduates who died on 9/11 every year, and brought comfort to the families of those lost.
"Here's a man who came up to our campus to spend time with families to help them through their most difficult day," said Nyre. "And he did it with pride, he did it in uniform, and his presence, without question, helped them.
Nappi leaves behind his wife, Mary Anne, and two children, Catherine and Nicholas, who were met with a salute from a line of somber firefighters as they left the funeral home.
A scholarship has been set up for his children in his memory.