Congressional tribute to fire lieutenant killed in Williamsburg blaze

Grimm calls Lt. Ambelas ‘a testament to uncommon courage’

July 17, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, pictured at a parade earlier this year, paid tribute to Fire Lt. Matt Ambelas on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday
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The story of the bravery of Fire Lt. Gordon “Matt” Ambelas, who was killed in a two-alarm blaze in Williamsburg over the Fourth of July weekend, reached all the way from Brooklyn to Washington D.C. as members of the House of Representatives paid tribute to the late fire hero.

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Staten Island) spoke from the floor of the House and lauded Ambelas as a hero. As a result of Grimm’s speech, Ambelas’s name and his story are now part of the official congressional record.

Ambelas, 40, worked out of Ladder 119 in Brooklyn and lived on Staten Island. Grimm represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

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“Lieutenant Ambelas, a veteran Staten Island fireman with 14 years of distinguished service, tragically gave his life this past Fourth of July weekend. He was attempting to rescue victims trapped in a horrific blaze in Brooklyn. Lieutenant Ambelas, who leaves behind a devoted wife and two beautiful girls, is New York’s first firefighter to fall in the line of duty since 2012,” Grimm said in his floor speech. “And while a family and a community mourn the excruciating loss of one of their finest native sons, one of their most dedicated protectors, Lieutenant Ambelas is a testament to the uncommon courage and sacrifice at the very core of the entire FDNY family and the harrowing dangers they face in keeping America’s greatest city safe every day.” 

“Lieutenant Ambelas died after searching the 19th floor of a burning Brooklyn housing complex, determined to leave no innocent victim behind, as the flames spread rapidly from floor to floor. Undaunted by the danger that would’ve melted the courage of almost any man, Matt faced it, undeterred, head on,” Grimm added.

The Wall Street Journal reported that thousands of firefighters from across the country attended the fire lieutenant’s funeral at Saint Clare’s Catholic Church on Staten Island on July 10.

Ambelas, who had been promoted to lieutenant in September of 2013, died in a two-alarm fire in a high-rise building on 75 Wilson Street in Williamsburg.

Ambelas sustained his fatal injuries after he went into an apartment to search for victims, according to Fire Department officials. He was found unconscious inside the apartment and was removed by his fellow firefighters, officials said.

Pix11.com reported that the deadly fire was caused by an air conditioner electrical cord.

Ambelas leaves behind his wife, Nanette, and two daughters, Giovanna and Gabriella. 



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