More than 80 years after he died in the line of duty, a Queens firefighter was finally recognized by the FDNY during a Tuesday ceremony at department headquarters in Brooklyn.
At the brief but poignant event, department officials unveiled a plaque honoring firefighter Thomas F. O’Brien to commemorate his death in October 1935 while fighting a fire in Manhattan. O’Brien, a widower with six children, had been living in Richmond Hills when he died at 48.
For years, the FDNY wouldn’t recognize O’Brien’s death as having been in the line of duty. But after his grandson Arthur O’Brien, 68, of New Jersey, hired retired Nassau County Surrogate Edward W. McCarty III to do an investigation and commence litigation, the FDNY agreed add the deceased firefighter’s name to its memorial wall, which includes the names of more than 1,150 other firefighters who died in the line of duty.