FDNY dedicates disaster training site to honor deputy chief killed on 9/11

By Leila Merrill

NEW YORK — This week, the FDNY dedicated a fire academy disaster training site to honor a deputy chief who was killed on 9/11.

The site includes a shattered plane fuselage, crushed cars and piles of concrete, according to CBS New York. Many items were donated.

“Here they had a parking lot collapse with heavy concrete. We have a blind shaft elevator. We get this all the time someone is stuck in the elevator shaft,” the head of the FDNY Battalion, Joe Downey.

The battalion chief’s brother, Chuck Downey, is the deputy chief of the fire academy.

Their father was Deputy Chief of Special Operations Raymond Downey. The “master of disaster,” an expert in building collapses and technical rescues served in New York and elsewhere in the United States when called upon for incidents such as the Oklahoma City bombing.

Raymond Downey had served FDNY for 39 years when he was killed on 9/11. He was helping others escape the fire and collapse at the World Trade Center, according to FDNY.

Downey established the FDNY Technical Rescue School.

“He was a technical rescue visionary and spent years sharing his knowledge through intense training with members of Special Operations Command and FEMA Urban Search and Rescue forces. The All Hazards Disaster Training Site is dedicated to Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey in honor of his sacrifice and dedication. To prepare the FDNY and first responders across the United States to protect others during catastrophic natural and man-made events,” the department posted on Instagram.

Family, co-workers and friends gathered Thursday as a pile of rubble was named Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey All-Hazards Disaster Training Site.

“He would say it was too much for him. Very proud,” said his widow, Rosalie Downey.

“He cared deeply about the safety of his members and the public he served,” said John Hodgens, acting FDNY department chief.

Thousands of FDNY members will train at the site each year.

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