An FDNY firefighter from Long Island suffered a “medical episode” and died Wednesday after fighting a house fire in Far Rockaway the day before, Mayor Eric Adams and fire officials said.
The FDNY on Thursday identified the firefighter as Jesse Gerhard, 33, of Ladder 134 in Far Rockaway. Gerhard was also a volunteer with the Islip Fire Department.
Gerhard would split his time between Islip, where he grew up, and Long Beach, where he’d sometimes stay with fellow firefighters, according to Islip Fire Capt. Thomas Butler.
His father, Bruce Gerhard, noted that his son followed in the path of his great-grandfather, a fire captain in Queens.
“I’m numb. It’s just like out of the blue, how could you think something like this could happen? You know it’s always inevitable and never think it could happen to your kid,” Gerhard said Thursday. “All he wanted to be was a fireman. His life was a fireman, and all his friends were firemen, and he lived in Long Beach with all the firemen. He was a good kid. A really good kid.”
Jesse Gerhard was first appointed as a probationary firefighter in December 2017, and 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, officials said.
He graduated in April 2018 and was first assigned to Engine Co. 264 in Far Rockaway before transferring to Ladder 134 in March 2020. Officials said he’d been previously honored for bravery.