Skip to main content

New York fire lieutenant, 'one of our bravest,' dies after high-rise blaze

By Joe Sutton and Holly Yan, CNN
updated 6:40 AM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Fire is ruled an accident from an electrical cord
  • More than 100 firefighters responded to the high-rise blaze in Brooklyn
  • Lt. Gordon Ambelas was looking for trapped residents in the high-rise

(CNN) -- A veteran New York firefighter who darted into a burning high-rise building looking for trapped residents has died.

"New York City and the FDNY suffered a terrible and tragic loss when one of our bravest, Lt. Gordon Ambelas, died while trying to save lives," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"We have lost a real hero tonight, and our hearts are heavy."

Ambelas was one of more than 100 firefighters who responded to the blaze in Brooklyn late Saturday night, the Fire Department of New York said.

Fellow firefighters found Ambelas' unconscious body inside an apartment, de Blasio said.

Ambelas was taken to Woodhull Hospital and was later pronounced dead. Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The fire, which broke out on the 19th floor of a 21-floor building, was controlled in about one hour. The fire was determined to be accidental. The electrical cord of an air-conditioning unit where the fire started was "pinched between a bed frame and the wall," according to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Ambelas, who joined FDNY in 2000, was recently promoted to lieutenant.

"I ask every New Yorker to keep Lt. Ambelas in your prayers, keep his family in your thoughts and prayers," the mayor said. "We are all very fortunate to have the men and women of the FDNY at the ready to risk their own lives so that each and every one of us can be safe."

Two firefighters killed in Boston blaze

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:17 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 12:33 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 5:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT