Many East Rockaway firefighters say they experience a wave of emotions when reflecting on Oct. 11, 1970.
On that day 50 years ago, firefighter Robert Pryer died when he fell off a Company No. 2 fire truck while responding to an early-morning car fire. He was 26. Pryer is the only East Rockaway firefighter to die in the line of duty.
To honor his life and commemorate his death, Pryer’s family and friends, dozens of East Rockaway firefighters and elected officials gathered on Clark Street last Saturday — the 50th anniversary of his death — to rename the street Captain Robert Pryer Place.
“My brother was very generous,” recalled Timothy Pryer, who has been a Hempstead firefighter for 12 years and is one of Pryer’s 12 siblings. “He never hesitated to help anybody, and I followed in his footsteps by becoming a firefighter. I was 10 when my brother passed away, and I can still hear his laugh today.”