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Wake held for Lt. Richard Nappi of Farmingville

Firefighters salute as family members leave Maloney's Lake

Firefighters salute as family members leave Maloney's Lake Funeral Home in Lake Ronkonkoma, where a wake was held for FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi of Farmingville, who died in while fighting a fire in Brooklyn. (April 19, 2012) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Hundreds of mourners turned out for a wake Thursday for "a loved firefighter," FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi, the Farmingville man who died Monday while battling a blaze in Brooklyn.

Inside a Ronkonkoma funeral home, mourners paused before easels with photos of Nappi -- as a child, with his family and in uniform. Mementos also were displayed, including New York Rangers hockey jerseys, and a wreath bearing the logo of the New York Mets, Nappi's favorite teams.

Colleagues who worked with Nappi at Engine Co. 237 in Brooklyn described him as a "go to" guy who always talked about his family and was an avid sports enthusiast.

"Rich was just a loved firefighter, loved as a person. He was the kind of guy who always stepped up to the plate," said FDNY Lt. Thomas Minelli of Engine Co. 237. "Whether it was for fire duty, administratively, he was always the guy on point . . . and we're really gonna miss that about him."

An FDNY honor guard saluted Nappi's family as they left the funeral home Thursday afternoon. Nappi also was a 22-year volunteer with the Farmingville Fire Department.

Joseph Nyre, president of Iona College in New Rochelle, was at Thursday night's wake for Nappi, a 1986 Iona graduate.

Nyre said that Nappi donned his uniform and "took the time to come up to New Rochelle" for 9/11 week. "I think it speaks volumes about the kind of person he was. He not only lived a life of service as a fireman and that meant a lot to the families" of 9/11 victims, Nyre said. Nappi had been among the responders to the World Trade Center attacks.

About 6,000 firefighters from around the country, New York City and Long Island are expected to attend services through Saturday for Nappi, an FDNY spokesman said. His was the first FDNY line-of-duty death since 2009.

After leading a team of firefighters into a burning warehouse Monday in the Bushwick section, Nappi, 47, complained of dizziness and being overheated. He was rushed to Woodhull Hospital but died.

Officials are awaiting results of tissue and toxicology tests to determine the cause of death.

Nappi lived in Farmingville with his wife, Mary Anne, and their children, Catherine, 12, and Nicholas, 11.

With Anthony M. DeStefano, Patricia Kitchen, Bill Mason and William Murphy

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