FDNY Firefighter Jesse Gerhard.

FDNY Firefighter Jesse Gerhard. Credit: fdny

The wake for an FDNY firefighter from Long Island who died a day after battling a blaze in Far Rockaway last week will be held Tuesday in Islip, New York City officials said.

The wake for firefighter Jesse Gerhard, 33, will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Frederick J. Chapey & Sons Funeral Home, 200 E. Main St. in Islip. A funeral Mass for Gerhard will be celebrated Wednesday at noon at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Bay Shore.

Suffolk County police announced there will be road closures in the area around St. Patrick's between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday. Main Street will be closed between Community Road and 4th Avenue, Mechanicsville Road will be closed between 4th Avenue and Clinton Avenue, and Gibson Street will be closed at the intersections of South Clinton, Bay and Ocean avenues.

"The heartbreaking loss of this brave young man who was so committed to saving others is a painful reminder of the dangerous and difficult work New York City firefighters do every single day," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Officials said Gerhard and other members of Ladder Company 134, which is based in Far Rockaway, responded to a two-alarm fire on Beach Channel Drive Tuesday at 4:05 p.m.

Gerhard was assigned to the "irons" position, meaning he was responsible for gaining entry to the building by forcing open the door so that other firefighters could enter to fight the fire and join him in searching for those who may have been trapped. The fire, brought under control at 5:49 p.m., resulted in minor injuries to four civilians. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Gerhard was on duty just before 11 p.m. on Wednesday when he suffered an undisclosed "medical episode," officials said. He was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where he later died.

The autopsy to determine what caused the death is "pending further study following the initial examination," the New York City medical examiner’s office said Friday.

Gerhard, a volunteer with the Islip Fire Department since 2009, split his time between Islip, where he grew up, and Long Beach, where he would sometimes stay with fellow firefighters when he was scheduled to work in Far Rockaway.

Gerhard was first appointed as a probationary firefighter in December 2017, and he had previously worked as an emergency medical technician, beginning in July 2014. As an EMT, he'd been assigned to Station 10 in Manhattan and Station 47 in Far Rockaway, before entering the fire academy in 2017.

He graduated in April 2018 and was first assigned to Engine Co. 264 in Far Rockaway before transferring, in March 2020, to Ladder 134. The FDNY said he'd been honored once for bravery.

Gerhard is the 1,156th FDNY member to die in the line of duty, the department said. The last FDNY member to die in the line of duty was Lt. Joseph Maiello, who died on Dec. 26.

With John Valenti

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