Retiring FDNY commissioner led COVID response, 9/11 recovery

Jan 21, 2022, 11:21 AM | Updated: 11:33 am

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s fire commissioner said Friday that he will retire next month after more than seven years in the job and a career that spanned more than five decades and included stints in every rank in the department.

Daniel Nigro led the nation’s largest municipal fire department through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic and recently oversaw its response to the city’s deadliest fire in three decades.

With the FDNY’s ranks decimated by the deaths of 343 firefighters and fire officials in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Nigro received a battlefield promotion to chief of department. He led rescue and recovery operations at ground zero and helped the department rebuild.

Nigro, one of the few holdovers from former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, will leave Feb. 16.

Mayor Eric Adams, who took office Jan. 1 and was with Nigro at the scene of a Bronx apartment blaze that killed 17 people on Jan. 9, called the retiring commissioner a “tireless champion for New Yorkers, and a friend who I’ve leaned on time and again.”

“From overseeing the heroic 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts to leading the FDNY’s unwavering response during the pandemic, Dan has worked tirelessly to protect all New Yorkers,” Adams said in a statement.

“New Yorkers, whether they know it or not, are all safer because of the work he’s done and owe him their thanks. Dan defines public service and will be deeply missed by me and the entire department.”

Nigro, 73, joined the FDNY as a firefighter in 1969. He retired as chief of department in 2002 and returned as commissioner in June 2014.

Nigro is one of six people to hold every rank in the department. His father, also named Daniel, worked for the fire department for 33 years.

“Since the day I raised my right hand 53 years ago and followed my father into the greatest fire department in the world, I have been blessed, privileged, and truly honored to serve the people of our great city,” Nigro said.

As commissioner, Nigro continued a 16-year streak of fewer than 100 fire deaths in the city per year, expanding fire safety education efforts, installing alarms, and turning tragedies, like the Bronx blaze, into teachable moments so they don’t happen again.

Nigro also sought to diversify the department and end pervasive racism in its ranks.

Last October, he suspended nine firefighters without pay in connection with a string of racist messages and memes they shared on their phones, including ones that mocked the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

The fire department called the suspensions the most severe punishments ever handed down in the history of the Fire Department of the City of New York, but some Black firefighters said they didn’t go far enough.

At the same time, the department said it has welcomed historically diverse classes into its academy and now has more women and firefighters of color than ever before.

Nigro’s biggest challenge as commissioner was leading the fire department through the chaotic, early days of the pandemic — the busiest stretch in the history of the city’s EMS operation. For a time, FDNY ambulances were responding to about 6,000 calls a day — more than 50% more than average and far exceeding the demand on 9/11.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Lina Khan, nominee for Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks during a Senate ...
Associated Press

Ruling could dampen government efforts to rein in Big Tech

The Supreme Court’s latest climate change ruling could dampen efforts by federal agencies to rein in the tech industry, which went largely unregulated for decades as the government tried to catch up to changes wrought by the internet. In the 6-3 decision that was narrowly tailored to the Environmental Protection Agency, the court ruled Thursday […]
4 hours ago
In this photo provided by the Luhansk region military administration, damaged residential buildings...
Associated Press

Governor: Russians gaining foothold in pivotal Ukraine city

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces are strengthening their positions in a grueling fight to capture the last stronghold of resistance in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk province, the region’s governor said Sunday. Ukrainian fighters have spent weeks trying to defend the city of Lysychansk, and to keep it from falling to Russia, as neighboring Sievierodonetsk did […]
4 hours ago
Associated Press

North Texas shooter kills 2, wounds 3 cops, takes own life

HALTOM CITY, Texas (AP) — A gunman killed two people and wounded four others, including three police officers, before taking his own life Saturday evening in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, police said. Haltom City Police Det. Matt Spillane said early Sunday that all of those wounded in the shooting in a residential neighborhood had non-life […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 file photo, Associated Press Special Regional Correspondent f...
Associated Press

Hope and despair: Kathy Gannon on 35 years in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan policeman opened fire on us with his AK-47, emptying 26 bullets into the back of the car. Seven slammed into me, and at least as many into my colleague, Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus. She died at my side. Anja weighed heavy against my shoulder. I tried to look […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Associated Press

Google to erase more location info as abortion bans expand

Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies.
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden, center, meets with South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol, left, and Jap...
Associated Press

North Korea slams US-South Korea-Japan military cooperation

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Sunday slammed the United States, South Korea and Japan for pushing to boost their trilateral military cooperation targeting the North, warning that the move is prompting urgent calls for the country to reinforce its military capability. North Korea has long cited what it calls hostility by the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Retiring FDNY commissioner led COVID response, 9/11 recovery