Baker, Ernie Garcia, Randi Weiner
and Rob Ryser •
firstname.lastname@example.org • October 2,
YONKERS — A
39-year-old city firefighter died
today and two of his colleagues were
seriously injured as they searched
for tenants in an early morning
house fire, officials said.
Patrick Joyce, a father of two girls
and a 16-year veteran of the
department, either jumped or fell
from the top floor of the burning 2
½-story multi-family home and was
pronounced dead at the hospital.
The 1 a.m. fire at 149
Waverly St. is suspicious, city fire
Commissioner Anthony Pagano said,
because it was fully involved in two
locations at the home.
Firefighter Patrick Joyce
“It’s like losing a
brother,” Assistant Fire Chief George Kielb
said through tears. “You never want to go
through it again.”
Two colleagues — 54-year-old Lt. Joe Murray
and 12-year veteran firefighter William
Kanych, 39 — were in serious but stable
condition at Jacobi Medical Center, Pagano
Murray, who joined the force in 1982, had
broken ribs and second-degree burns on his
hands and is expected to undergo surgery for
the rib fractures, city officials said.
Kanych had a broken ankle, cracked vertebrae
and burns on his face and neck.
Pagano called Joyce a “fearless and
dedicated” man who gave his life today in an
effort to save others.
“There were reports that people were trapped
inside and the crew he was with acted
immediately,” Pagano said.
“It went up like a blowtorch,” Kielb said of
Jose Colon, a 16-year-old neighbor, said he
saw this morning's fire explode
inside the tall, narrow vinyl-sided house
and watched as the firefighters
jumped for their lives.
"It looked like somebody threw a bomb
through the window," he said. "I heard
Everyone in the home escaped before anyone
was injured, the fire department said.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control
about 2:30 a.m.Back
Firefighters gathered outside Joyce's home
on Hutchinson Boulevard in Eastchester late
this morning but declined to speak to a
reporter. They said his family was not home.
At the nearby house of his brother, Peter,
also a Yonkers firefighter, a neighbor,
Bobbi Lagana, said, "It's so sad.
At the Eastchester Fire Department, the flag
was flying at half-staff. Firefighters there
said they were aware of the tragedy but were
waiting for information on arrangements
before commenting. They said Joyce was a
very popular man, and said they were
concerned for his small children and family.
As dawn broke, stunned neighbors in Nodine
Hill stood outside and shook
their heads at the the latest inferno to
plague their street. Three
multifamily buildings went up in flames on
Waverly Street in 2005, including
a still-damaged yellow house directly across
from today's fatal fire.
As police officers consoled firefighters at
the scene this morning, fire
investigators roamed through the charred
wreckage searching for clues. The
fire has been declared suspicious.
The Red Cross is helping a total of 15
people in four families with emergency
lodging, clothing and food. City officials
said a total of 17 people were displaced by
The owner of record for the home is Esther
Ugbogbo, who was listed as living at the
Waverly Street address. City records show
she purchased it on Sept. 11, 2007, and that
there are no outstanding code violations