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Renamed road would honor fallen firefighter

FDNY Firefighter Joseph DiBernardo, of FDNY Rescue Company

FDNY Firefighter Joseph DiBernardo, of FDNY Rescue Company 3, who was seriously injured in a three-alarm fire on East 178th St. on Jan. 23, 2005. Credit: Matthew P. Daly

A portion of Nicolls Road in Setauket could be renamed to honor a fallen New York City firefighter from Stony Brook, if a bill introduced by county Legis. Kara Hahn gets the green light from lawmakers.

The road from Route 347 north to Fox Hunt Lane would be renamed for Joseph DiBernardo Jr., who suffered critical injuries in 2005 while battling a blaze in the Bronx.

DiBernardo was one of six firefighters searching for victims when they became trapped in an apartment-building fire, according to a release from Hahn's office. The firefighters had to jump out of the burning building. DiBernardo helped another firefighter escape, then his rope gave out, and he broke every bone below his waist in the 50-foot fall.

He spent more than two weeks in a coma, needed 20 hours of leg surgery and died in 2011 at the age of 40.

DiBernardo was a former Setauket Fire Department captain, a co-founding member of the Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force and taught at the Suffolk Fire Academy.

"Renaming the road that passes the development where he lived as a child and the Setauket Fire House where he spent many happy hours volunteering to assist his neighbors in times of need is a fitting tribute to Lt. DiBernardo's memory," Hahn said in the release.

"We would like the residents of Suffolk County who pass or go up Nicolls Road to be reminded of Joey's dedication to the fire service, his bravery and his heroism," said his parents, Barbara and Joseph DiBernardo, in the release.

The resolution is scheduled for review on Aug. 30, and upon approval by the appropriate legislative committees, could be voted on by Sept. 13.

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