Joseph P. Cavalieri, Lieutenant

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Firefighter Bohan, Firefighter Bopp, and Lieutenant Cavalieri were killed while fighting a residential high rise structure fire. As they rushed to the tenth floor to search for victims, they were overcome by a wave of heat and smoke that killed all three. The heat wave, or fireball, may have been propelled by a gust of wind coming through the fire apartment. The automatic closing device on the apartment door had been removed or had malfunctioned. The building’s hallway sprinklers did not activate due to a closed valve. Six firefighters were injured in the fire.

Department information

Fire Department of New York City
9 Metro Tech Center
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Chief: Commissioner Thomas von Essen

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Joseph P. Cavalieri was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.
Age: 42
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident date: December 18, 1998
Date of death: December 18, 1998
Cause of death: Caught or Trapped
Nature of death: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential