Joey DiBernardo, A True Hero

Joey DiBernardo

by mobrian on November 27, 2011

This is a post from the Secret List from Billy G and Firefighter Close Calls, we felt the need to spread the word, and ask you do the same!

We did not want today and tomorrow to pass without ALL of you knowing a bit about Joey DiBernardo. *

Joey is the FDNY Lieutenant who was found at home last week, he had passed away, at age 40. While Joey had a stellar career as a Volunteer Firefighter (and former Captain with the Hook & Ladder Company of the highly respected Setauket FD in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York) – he was also a very well known and popular FDNY Dispatcher, but the last chapter of his career was what he was so proud of-being a member of the FDNY and especially, Rescue Company 3.

There is the fact that he followed in his Dad’s footsteps. Chief DiBernardo is a highly respected (now retired) FDNY Deputy Chief and Division Commander. He is the kind of Chief whose reputation was no non-sense-and who deeply respected “the potential” of the job….and who understood his deep responsibility for the members operating under his command. Those under his command knew he was strictly business. As it has to be. As he guided his Son.

As his Dad told the media last week: “He (Joey) never fully recovered from 9/11 and since ‘Black Sunday’ – he has been in terrible pain and agony,” said Chief DiBernardo, who served 35 years in the department. “After all these years, he has been in physical pain and the mental pain. His whole life had been the FDNY .”

Joey was one of 6 Firefighters who were forced to jump out of the windows as they were trapped by fire in The Bronx “chapter” of Black Sunday, January 23, 2005. Lt. Curtis Meyran, 46, covering Ladder 27 and Firefighter John Bellew, 37, of Ladder 27, died after jumping that day. When the fire caught them, they were faced with a horrifying choice. They jumped out a fourth-floor window, knowing that it was really bad. Firefighters Jeffrey Cool, Joseph DiBernardo, Eugene Stolowski, and Cawley were very, very badly hurt at that fire.

Now Joey is added to those who gave their lives that day, since for so many involved or affected by The Bronx fire that day, it is a fire that never went out.

Last week we sent you numerous links to related reports, NIOSH reports and other details about The Bronx and the Brooklyn Fires, and that day, “Black Sunday” in NYC. That’s not the goal* of this issue of The Secret List.

All we are doing today is asking you to please watch these two short videos:

1-This video is a media story about Joey DiBernardo. It will show you who he was and what he was made of. It’s worth you watching-it’s a wonderful story (when you see him on video, you’ll understand) involving a horrific event – leading to a tragic and deeply sad ending. It will also allow you to hear from his Father as well as his “Brother” FDNY FF, Jeff Cool, who was also trapped-who will tell you all you need to know about Joey.

2-The second video is the “Readers Digest” version of the fire-that day-in 2005-in The Bronx. Watching it, seeing the pictures and hearing the audio will help you-no matter where you are or where you are from-get somewhat of an understanding of the conditions they (and especially Joey) faced-and what decisions they (and he) had to make that day.

*All we wanted to do today is make sure that Joey wasn’t buried tomorrow without as many Firefighters-and their families-getting a chance to know who he was, just a little bit. It is something we felt that you really needed to know. If you have read down to this part and have watched the 2 quick videos…mission accomplished.


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