By Jessica Easthope
New York City will be getting ready for a funeral for another first responder.
On Thursday Mayor Eric Adams and Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh announced the death of 33-year-old firefighter Jesse Gerhard, a seven-year veteran of the FDNY.
“The entire city mourns the loss of this firefighter, a young man who dreamed of being a firefighter all his life,” said Mayor Adams.
Late Wednesday night Gerhard suffered a medical episode at his firehouse Ladder Company 134 in Far Rockaway, Queens. He was transported to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“He is exactly what we would want an FDNY member to be, as the mayor mentioned, he dreamed his whole life of becoming a member of the FDNY and he achieved that dream responding everyday to help New Yorkers in need,” said Acting Commissioner Kavanaugh.
That’s exactly what Gerhard was doing the day before his death, responding to a two-alarm fire in Far Rockaway. Gerhard’s job is described as the most strenuous position in the FDNY. He was tasked with forcing entry to the home and searching for victims.
Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, who was sworn in as an FDNY chaplain earlier this week, said Gerhard’s family is in shock and will be relying on their faith for comfort.
“He made that ultimate sacrifice and now we have to give him the sendoff he deserves putting his life on the line,” Msgr. Jamie said.
Diocese of Brooklyn’d Bishop Robert Brennan put a call out on social media for prayers for Gerhard, his family and the FDNY. During his seven years with the department, Gerhard was honored for his bravery.
“This was everything he wanted, there was no other job for him. It was what he sought out to do and from the moment he got it there was nothing he loved more than doing that job,” Kavanaugh said.
Gerhard was the 1,156th member of the FDNY to die in the line of duty. Wake and funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. He is survived by his parents, brother and sister-in-law.