New York firefighter dies battling high-rise blaze

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 06, 2014 9:56 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City firefighter recently honored for saving the life of a seven-year-old boy was killed while battling a blaze at a high-rise apartment building, fire department officials said Sunday.

Gordon Matthew Ambelas, 40, a 14-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, was among more than 100 firefighters that responded to the fast-moving blaze at the Brooklyn building late on Saturday, officials said.

Ambelas was searching the 19th floor for trapped residents when he was overcome by flames and smoke, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a late night press conference.

"We've lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy," de Blasio said. "Unfortunately tonight one of New York's bravest has paid the ultimate price and we all mourn his loss."

Four other people were injured in the blaze, fire officials said.

Ambelas, a married father of two children, was honored in June for helping to save the life of a seven-year-old Brooklyn boy whose head and arm became stuck in a rolling gate, pulling the child 15 feet off the ground.

The last New York City firefighter to die in the line of duty was in 2012, according to fire officials.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)