Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Number 344

The New York Fire Patrol celebrated its 198th Birthday in 2001.  It heralded the occasion by absorbing the only line of duty death in its history.  

Keith Roma, 27 years young, was a member of the Fire Patrol 2 in Greenwich Village.  At 8:00 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, he started his twenty-four hour shift.  Less than an hour later, he was at the World Trade Center, helping in the rescue effort.  Born and raised on Staten Island, Keith Roma not only worked as a fire patrolman but he also served as a volunteer firefighter in Richmond on Staten Island and was an EMT.  As his patrol truck roared towards the Twin Towers, he called his dad - himself a former fire patrolman as well as a retired member of the NYPD - to let him know where he was headed and what was going on. 

Fire Patrolman Keith Roma spent the final forty-five minutes of his young life rescuing strangers.  In the chaos that was that awful Tuesday morning, a photographer captured this picture of Fire Patrolman Roma and his Sergeant, John Sheehan, carrying an injured victim to safety.  Shortly after it was taken, Fire Patrolman Roma disappeared back into the North Tower to help more people to safety.  He was last seen in the North Tower on the mezzanine level.  Eighteen members of the Fire Patrol responded to the World Trade Center that morning.  Keith Roma was the only member of the Fire Patrol to be killed while attempting to save others. 

In the annals of "officialdom" Keith Roma's death on September 11, 2001 is not counted among the 343 deaths that the FDNY suffered that day.  The Fire Patrol is not the FDNY.  On that subject, there can be no debate.  Nor, however, can there be any debate on the related subjects of this young man's bravery and his selfless sacrifice of his own life in order to preserve the lives of others.  

Keith Roma
Fire Patrol 2
New York Fire Patrol


No comments: