Friday, June 13, 2014

Hero Parks Worker Succumbs To Fire As Deadly Brooklyn Blaze Claims Second Victim


By Geoffrey Croft

A beloved Parks employee who leapt from a second floor window to escape a deadly fire in Brooklyn last week has died NYC Park Advocates has learned.

James Anthony Frye, 47, passed away last night in Brookdale Hospital where he had been in a medical induced coma since June 2nd. The blaze also claimed the life of a 59-year-old woman who was buried this week.

The deadly fire happened just after 3 a.m. at NYCHA's Unity Houses at 390 Georgia Avenue in East New York.

James had braved the fire and helped rescue 4 grandchildren in the flame and smoke-filled apartment. After helping to get them out he went back in a second time to try and save the 59-year-old woman but it was too late.

He was forced to leap from a second floor window to escape.  

No word yet on what caused the fire.

James's mother Betty Heyward said this week that she was not surprised he went in to help rescue them. 

"That's the kind of person he is, he would give you the shirt off his back."

She said he had been staying with a family friend in the building for only two days while his apartment was renovated when the deadly accident occurred.

James worked for the Parks Department as a City Seasonal Aid providing security throughout Brooklyn at different facilities including Bushwick Inlet Park where he was also assigned. 

"He was a down-to-earth loving person who would help anyone in need," said Park Enforcement Patrol Captain Tanya Prince who worked with him for the last 4 years.

Captain Prince said for the past two years James worked year-round including helping to secure the beaches and boardwalk in Coney Island during Hurricane Sandy recovery work.  

"We are deeply saddened his death,"  said Joe Puleo,  president of Local 983 which represents the workers. 

"He will be missed. Mr. Frye was a hero, and he deserves recognition from the city."

According to Mr. Puleo,  James worked for Parks Department as a seasonal worker for over ten years.

"NYC Parks is saddened by  the passing of Seasonal Officer James Anthony Frye, who had worked for the agency in various assignments since 2005 as a member of the Parks Enforcement Patrol staff," the Parks Department said in a statement.

"Mr. Frye’s death on Thursday, June 12, following his brave rescue of several others in a fire in his Brooklyn home, resulted from his trying to rescue another person trapped in the blaze and suffering grievous injuries as he then tried to flee. His bravery was reflected in the words of his co-workers, who called Mr. Frye a gentle giant who was always committed to his job. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Frye family and with those whose lives he touched while working for Parks."

Betty Frye, a mother of three said she lost her only daughter years ago due to a heart condition. 

James had shown signs of improvement at the beginning of the week his mother and colleagues said.  He was moving his arms and legs and was partially breathing on his own,  but things took a turn for the worse the last few days.  

On Monday when reached by phone Betty said the incident was "devastating" and a "shock" and that the family was hoping and praying.

"We are just waiting for him to wake up. He's my baby boy." 

Read More:

New York Daily News - June 2, 2014 - By Tina Morre  

No comments:

Post a Comment