Facebook photo of FDNY Lt. Rich Nappi, seen in a...

Facebook photo of FDNY Lt. Rich Nappi, seen in a photo from August 2010. (Lloyd Mitchell) Credit: Facebook photo of FDNY Lt. Rich Nappi, seen in a photo from August 2010. (Lloyd Mitchell)

A 17-year FDNY veteran died while battling a warehouse inferno in Brooklyn Monday, becoming the first firefighter to die in the line of duty since 2009 and leaving department members to mourn their fallen brother's "ultimate sacrifice."

Five other firefighters were injured during the three-alarm fire, which broke out around 1 p.m. at 930 Flushing Ave. in Bushwick, officials said.

Lt. Richard Nappi, of Engine 237, felt dizzy as he battled the blaze along with 120 other firefighters and was handed off to paramedics, said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano.

Nappi went into cardiac arrest and was taken to Woodhull Medical Center, where the 47-year-old Farmingville resident was pronounced dead, officials said. The hot weather and heavy equipment that firefighters must wear may have helped contribute to the exhaustion Nappi suffered.

He leaves behind a wife and two young children, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, adding that his death is "a tragic day for New York City -- someone who devoted his life to keeping us safe is no longer with us."

The five other Bravest hurt were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Their names were not immediately available.

The cause of the fire, which took three hours to suppress, was under investigation Monday. Cassano said the flames were concentrated on the second floor, in an area stacked with cardboard boxes.

Officials lauded Nappi for his service since joining the department in October 1994, and said he also helped sift through the debris at Ground Zero.

"He was dedicated. He was brave," said Cassano, who once served alongside Nappi.

The city said the last FDNY firefighter to die in the line of duty was Paul Warhola, 47, who suffered a stroke while responding to a fire on Aug. 12, 2009, at a Brooklyn apartment building.

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Lt. Richard Nappi, 47
-- 7-year veteran; joined the FDNY in October 1994
-- Bronx native; lived in Farmingville, Long Island
-- Wife Mary Anne; has a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son
-- Instructor at Suffolk County Fire Academy
-- First FDNY member to die since 2009

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