Staten Island Firefighter Dies After Fire at Brooklyn High-Rise

A 40-year-old FDNY lieutenant from Staten Island was killed Saturday night when he became trapped while looking for victims in a high-rise fire in Brooklyn, reports The Associated Press.

Lt. Gordon "Matt" Ambelas died after suffering multiple injuries while on the 19th floor of the 21-story public-housing building in Williamsburg, officials said.

"We lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy," Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the 14-year veteran "I ask every New Yorker to keep the lieutenant in their prayers."

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters that Ambelas sustained multiple injuries after he went into an apartment on fire to look for victims. He was found unconscious inside of the apartment and was removed by fellow firefighters, de Blasio said at a press conference early Sunday morning.

"Ambelas went into the apartment to search for life and did not come out, and by the time his brother firefighters found him, it was too late for him," Nigro said.

Lt. Ambelas, was among more than 100 who responded to the call just after 9 o'clock Saturday at 75 Wilson Street. He was promoted to lieutenant 10 months ago.

The fire escalated quickly, Michael Parrella, a Fire Department spokesman, told The New York Times. It was under control about an hour later.

Four other people, including two firefighters, suffered minor injuries.

Lt. Ambelas's death was announced by de Blasio and the fire commissioner at a news conference shortly after midnight Sunday morning outside Woodhull Medical Center.

He is survived by his wife, Nanette, and two daughters. 

FIRST FDNY FATALITY SINCE 2012

It is the department's first line-of-duty death since Lt. Richard A. Nappi was killed fighting a Brooklyn warehouse fire in April 2012.

Lt. Ambelas is the 18th to die since 343 firefighters perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A police officer, Dennis Guerra, died in April after he and his partner were overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide while responding to a mattress fire on the 13th floor of a Coney Island public housing complex.

Guerra's partner, Rosa Rodriguez, is recovering after more than a month in the hospital.

HONORED FOR RESCUE LAST MONTH

Lt. Ambelas was among the firefighters honored last month for helping to save a 7-year-old boy who became trapped in a roll-down gate in May. The boy was pulled 15 feet off the ground when his arm and head got stuck.

Ambelas said at the time that the incident "shows that FDNY members are always ready to help others. It was great teamwork all around."

The fire broke out in a building that is part of the six-building Independence Towers complex owned by the New York City Housing Authority. It quickly went to a second-alarm as flames spread to the 17th and 18th floors.

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