Queens street co-named for Woodside firefighter who helped save 16 lives during 9/11

Photo courtesy of FDNY

A Woodside firefighter who helped rescue 16 people during the 9/11 attacks but later died from illnesses he contracted while working at Ground Zero was honored with a street co-naming on Sept. 9.

Jimmy Lanza, who died in April at 71 due to 9/11-related brain cancer, was part of the team that pulled people out of what is now referred to as the “miracle stairwell.” Lanza served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and after that, joined the FDNY in 1979 where he worked for 28 years at Engine 53, Ladder 43 in East Harlem.

To honor his service, Councilman Costa Constantinides co-named 31st Avenue and 54th Street in Woodside “Jimmy Lanza Way.” Lanza’s name was one of 32 names added to the World Trade Center Wall last week. The wall honors those who died of 9/11-related illnesses.

Lanza’s family, elected officials, the current commander of American Legion Post 1836, FDNY Queens Borough Commander Ed Baggott, Kurt Lester, a retired firefighter who served with Lanza and 200 members of the public attended the ceremony.


“On behalf of the Lanza Family, we want to thank everyone involved for this wonderful tribute and honor bestowed upon Jimmy Lanza,” said his sister and niece, Marian and Stephanie Pennachio, in a statement. “He will never be forgotten. Every time a person looks up and sees this street sign, he will be remembered. He was a genuine American hero and we are so very proud of all his accomplishments. He truly was a gift from God and lived his whole life helping others. He taught us well and now it is up to us to carry on his legacy.”

Lanza was also heavily involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and helped to take care of the families of fallen FDNY members. He was also the commander of American Legion Post 1836, which was based in the Boulevard Gardens co-op where he resided.

“I am proud to recognize Jimmy Lanza’s memory with this street co-naming. We honor Jimmy’s service in the Navy and at FDNY, especially his assistance at the World Trade Center,” Constantinides said. “His legacy of selflessness and devotion to his community serve as a role model for our entire city through this co-naming.”

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