FDNY Firefighters Go Above and Beyond to Help Man Stranded in Wheelchair
Ladder 4 in Manhattan and Ladder 102 in Brooklyn
It wasn’t an ordinary call, but firefighters from Ladder 4 in Manhattan and Ladder 102 in Brooklyn went above and beyond to help a man who was stranded when his electric wheelchair stopped working in the Times Square subway on May 24.
Firefighters from Ladder 4 – including Lt. John Kazan, and Firefighters Peter Conte, Daniel Beyrer, Wesley Cookingham, Patrice McLeod and Michael Zaczyk – were called by the NYPD to the underground subway station at around 3:30 p.m.
There they met a young man in an electric wheelchair with a motor that stopped working about 1000 feet from the elevator, possibly because he recently had been caught in a sudden rain shower.
The man said he just moved to New York City from Florida, and had not yet fully transferred all his paperwork and information for transportation services here. He therefore was concerned about how he would return home to Brooklyn.
The firefighters decided to carry him in his electric wheelchair, which weighed more than 200 pounds, to the elevator and brought him to street-level inside the station.
They then were helped by a New York City Transit supervisor, who connected them with Access-A-Ride representatives. They said they would be able to transport him, if the firefighters found someone to help the man home when he arrived in Brooklyn.
Lt. Kazan then called Manhattan dispatch and spoke with Supervising Dispatcher Diane Pekarski, who worked with Brooklyn dispatchers to ensure firefighters would pick him up on the other end.
At close to 6 p.m. a van arrived outside the subway station and firefighters again carried the wheelchair to the van and helped secure him inside.
Once the van arrived in Brooklyn, at around 7 p.m., the members of Ladder 102 – including Lt. Salvatore Belmonte, and Firefighters Ray Pollard, Greg McGuinness, Joe Adinolfi, Belgico Rodriguez and Danny Insardi – were ready.
They lifted the man and his wheelchair out of the van and into the residence, then accompanied the man to his apartment.
"We wanted to make sure everything ok … and he was very grateful," Lt. Belmonte said.