BC. TOM NEARY; FF L 31 / Lt. L 28

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Just received notice Tom Neary died a few days ago. Info as it becomes available.
 

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Joined
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Story about Tom written by BC Bob Manson as Captain of E 82:

Warm summer night tour 1974, 82/31. The Deputy Chief from the 6th Division came into quarters. With the chief was a photographer from Life Magazine. The photographer from Life had permission from downtown to take photos of members and quarters of 82/31 for a human interest story in the magazine. As we were lining up for a Roll Call a first due box for both companies came in. We responded and the deputy with the photographer followed in the division car.

Engine 94 and Ladder 48 were returning from a box in the area and saw the column of smoke from the fire. Assigned second due on this box they both arrived first. When we rolled in I saw we had a top floor fire in a 5 story occupied tenement. There was a front outside fire escape. On the top floor exposure 2 side of the building 3rd window over there was a woman holding a young 2 year old child out the window. Fire was beginning to vent from this apartment's fire escape window, with heavy smoke showing from the other two windows in the women's room.


94 was stretching. 48 were raising their aerial. The ladder was malfunctioning, would elevate and extend but was jamming rotating, rotating only a foot or so on each try. Several hundred people were in the street, half yelling for her to throw the child out to people in the street, the other half to stay. 31 arrived, FF Tom Neary went up the building's front stoop into the fire building followed by his Lieutenant Don Butler. The other 31 members went for their roof rope for a rope rescue. 82 carried a life net on the rig, I told my guys to get it. But even if we had time the building had an outside front cellar stairs with an iron picket fence under her line of apartments. If the woman threw the child the child most likely would hit the stairs or be impaled on the fence.

At this time the fire escape window was all fire and the 2nd window over was showing fire. 48's ladder was still about 5 feet from the window. The woman raised the child to throw her when a firefighter was seen embracing her and the child to stop her, it was Neary. A second later Lt. Butler was there. Butler took the child and dove out onto the aerial, caught by a 48 member who had raced up the aerial. Neary then "threw" the woman out onto the aerial, he then dove out onto the aerial, his turnout was smoldering and his pants were on fire; no bunker gear then and no mask as there was no mandatory mask policy in the FDNY at this time.

All four went to the hospital, Neary was out for several months with the burns. Both received Class One awards (rescue made under extreme danger) and Neary received the FDNY's highest medal, The Bennett medal for that year. I asked the photographer from Life if he had taken pictures of the rescue, which would have been great pictures for the magazine, he said "no, I was so taken by what was happening I forgot to take any."

Neary was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to 28 truck in Harlem. Another fire and another child trapped in a tenement room with a fully involved room blocking her rescue. Neary took a door off an adjoining apartment door, used the door as a shield over him and slid under the fire to the child, rescued her and slid back out, again no bunker gear or mask. Out several months for burns to the hands (had gloves on) from holding the door. Awarded a second Class One award and the Bennett medal for that year also.

My years in the FDNY again were the, to steal a line, the best of times and the worst of times. The worst were the war years and the lives lost, shortened and hardened for so many, the best were the men in the FDNY. While it would be like trying to pick one diamond out of a pile of diamonds Neary was the bravest firefighter I had the honor of working with.
 
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REST IN PEACE BROTHER.....THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE BOTH MILITARY
(US ARMY) & FDNY...PRAYERS FOR THE COMFORT OF THE FAMILIES.....Tom was a FF in LAD*103 & LAD*31....a LT in LAD*28 .....a CPT in LAD*138 & a BC in BN*11 all during those Units busiest yrs ....one to the Toughest of the Tough....not a bragger just did an exemplary job...Tom certainly lived his life to the fullest both On & Off Duty.......Tom also worked in the original "Suspenders" (FF's Bar) when it was on 2nd Ave & 38 St in Manh.
 
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Sep 23, 2013
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my wife and i were with tom at the blue parrot in st petes beach thurs nite
used to meetup with him every thurs nite
2 time james gordon bennet...yet never talked about it
we went to the blue parrott last nite to toast tom..tilted his chair into the bar
played his favorite songs on the juke box
rolling stones to edith piaf
and for those who worked with tom at suspenders..the night ended with patsy clines "crazy"
you will be missed my friend..rest in peace
no details as of yet
 
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A newspaper article detailing a 1995 Fire in Tom's FLA Condo.....


From 1995.......
WOMAN DIES IN FIRE
Published Dec. 24, 1995

A St. Petersburg Beach woman died early Thursday when her condominium unit caught fire, police said. Firefighters were called to Boca Shores Condominiums, at 8911 Blind Pass Road, about 2:38 a.m. According to condo resident Michael Collins, the fire was put out by Thomas Neary, a retired firefighter from New York City. Neary kicked in the woman's door and used four fire extinguishers supplied by other residents, Collins said. Joan Stein, 58, died in the fire, police said. Police theorized that a lamp was placed too close to the woman's bed.
 
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Jul 25, 2010
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The John Wayne of the New York City Fire Department. Vivid memories of late nights in Suspenders with guys surrounding Tom, Fitz, Billy Ahearn and the Corning brothers watching and listening to the stories and antics. A truly legendary figure...as Chief K said above, never once heard him brag or bring attention to himself or his exploits. May he Rest in Peace.
 
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I had the honor of running into Tom Neary during my time covering as a Lieutenant assigned in the South Bronx. Tom was special and very looked up to by his brothers in the FDNY. Now that Tom has "taken up" for the last time, "Tom Rest in Peace Brother."
Captain Bob Rainey FDNY Engine 26 retired
 
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UPDATED ARRANGEMENTS FOR NY.....

The arrangements for Tom Neary are as follows:
Wake:
Thursday, August 10th
4-8 PM
Kearns Funeral Home
61-40 Woodhaven Blvd
Rego Park, NY

Funeral:
Friday, August 11th
9:45 AM
Resurrection Ascension Church
85-25 61st Road
Rego Park, NY
 
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Sep 23, 2013
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tom neary was also a u.s. army paratrooper
his florida license plates had two parachutes on it
 
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Jun 19, 2023
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In Monday's Daily News August 14th was a nice two page article on his career. Never met him but sounds like he was a swell guy. Rest in peace
 
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