BY ANGELA MATUA
Fire Department brass gathered at the headquarters of Engine Company 294 and Ladder Company 143 in Richmond Hill Wednesday to celebrate the firehouse’s 100th anniversary.
The firehouse opened in 1915 when the FDNY decided to expand to all five boroughs.
“The people who live in this community care for our department deeply and their admiration drives us all to be better every single day,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
Past and present firefighters stationed at this house, which primarily serves Richmond Hill, have been recognized at the site for individual acts of valor. Mark Janesky from Engine 249 and Arthur Shaw from Ladder 143 received the house’s first medals in 1922 when they rescued people trapped in a fire on Atlantic Avenue.
At the ceremony, two firefighters from Engine 249 who died in the line of duty were honored with a plaque. Members discovered that Firefighter Arnold Hafner, who died in 1955, and Robert Denney, who died in 1960, did not have their own plaques in the firehouse, but now their names will join three lieutenants who sacrificed their lives to help others.
“We remember their names always on the walls of this house,” Chief of Department James Leonard said. “It’s important to remember them today especially because their memory inspires us.”
Captains James Raymond of Engine Company 294 and William McCarthy of Ladder Company 143 congratulated the current members for their service and their efforts to celebrate the history of the firehouse.
“Our traditions must be carried on to all those that come after us,” McCarthy said.