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Donations pour in for family of heroic Brooklyn firefighter

Died while saving daughter from drowning

June 15, 2023 Mary Frost
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BOERUM HILL — More than 800 donations have flooded into a GoFundMe account established for the family of Brooklyn firefighter Mark Batista, who served at Engine Company 226 in Boerum Hill. 

Batista, 39, died tragically on June 9 while attempting to rescue his teenage daughter from drowning at a New Jersey beach. First responders saved his daughter, but Batista didn’t make it.

Batista, a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, had jumped into the waters off Avon by the Sea after his daughter got caught in a rip current.

“Still can’t believe any of this is real and we’re having trouble finding the words. Our brother Mark Batista, from Engine 226, passed away June 9th, 2023 while saving his daughter from drowning,” read a moving tribute his fellow FDNY firefighters posted on GoFundMe.

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“In one final act of love and heroism, he jumped in after his daughter, Leann, who was caught in a rip current. His son Jhonner called 911 having witnessed what just happened and rescuers were able to save his daughter. She is alive and well. Tragically, Mark was found shortly after and had passed away,” the tribute said.

Brooklyn firefighter Mark Batista was a family man first and last, his fellow firefighters said. Photo courtesy of GoFundMe

Family man first, and hero to the last

Batista was a 15-year veteran of FDNY, serving as both an EMT and a firefighter. He was loved and respected at the State Street firehouse — but he was always a family man first, his fellow firefighters said. 

“He would describe how his loving wife, Lenin, brings him peace. How proud he is of his sons and how his princess Leann was his world,” they wrote on GoFundMe. In between responding to emergencies, Batista would frequently FaceTime his daughter. He would also visit his grandmother at a nursing home before and after every shift. 

Brooklyn firefighter Mark Batista died last week while saving his daughter from drowning. Photo courtesy of FDNY

Batista’s family has a long tough road ahead, the fundraiser’s organizers said. “His passing leaves behind the family he worked so hard to support. He is survived by his loving wife Lenin, his two sons Derek and Jhonner and of course his daughter Leann.”

As of June 15, roughly 870 individuals had donated more than $72,000 to help support the family.

On Monday, purple and black bunting was draped at Engine Company 226 in honor of the heroic dad.

FDNY posted a statement on social media saying, “We are heartbroken to learn about the death of Firefighter Mark Batista, who died Friday while swimming at the Jersey Shore. Firefighter Batista was a dedicated public servant who spent fifteen years serving in the FDNY, as both an EMT and a firefighter. We join his family in mourning his tragic passing.”

The GoFundMe account was organized by Staten Island’s Engine Company 226 on behalf of Batista’s wife Lenin Ventura. 

Donations may be made here

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