Widely Respected New Rochelle Fire Department Captain Honored; Succumbed to COVID-19 in 2020

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — On the one-year anniversary of the passing of New Rochelle Fire Department Captain Andrew DiMaggio who passed on May 3, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19, his family, and department family gathered to honor him.

The department renamed Rescue 4 for Captain DiMaggio. An ornate logo on the side of the truck was unveiled by his family.

“Rescue 4 is very specialized. Everything that’s not fire is on here — rope rescue, water rescue, building collapse, vehicle restoration,” said New Rochelle Fire Chief Andrew Sandor. “Captain DiMaggio was very proficient with tools, and he brought that with him to the fire service.”

Rescue 4 was chosen because DiMaggio was well-known for his technical mastery of numerous rescue techniques.

A memorial was unveiled, a wooden and glass cabinet with photos of DiMaggio and his firefighter jacket. The memorial is to be prominently displayed on the second floor of Firehouse #1.

Fire Captain Andrew DiMaggio contracted COVID-19 on April 5, 2020, during the course of his official duties at the firehouse. He passed on May 3, 2020.

“Andy DiMaggio was one of those people you don’t meet to often in life. He had a very straightforward demeanor, and he used that in his teaching. He made sure everyone stayed focused and on task, but he did have a fun side to him,” said Sandor.

“You can’t replace a guy like that, but people have to step up. With Andy, it’s not so easy, but life is fragile. You get a guy like that, he’s larger than life, and you don’t think he’s not going to make it.”

“He was physically one of the strongest men I know,” said Chief FJ Spinelli of the Newburgh Fire Department. “He was making great progress fighting COVID-19 and was set to be released, then, in an instant he was gone.

DiMaggio was the father of four. He joined the department in 1989 with 3 years with the Hartsdale Fire Department from 1992 to 1994.

Capt. DiMaggio’s son Jimmy followed in his footsteps as a firefighter at Station 1 and during his remarks said how special it was to be on the same job as his dad, especially in the same firehouse. He also spoke about the effectiveness of the Fire Department as an extended family, and as part of the community the department serves.

Attending the ceremony were several members of Captain DiMaggio’s family including his wife and three sons, County Executive George Latimer, Mayor Noam Bramson, City Manager Charles B. Strome, III, Westchester County Fire Commissioner Richard Wishnie, Deputy Fire Commissioner Susan Spear, several Fire Chiefs from Westchester County career Fire Departments, and Commissioners from City Hall. Also in attendance were Peter Poulos and Gary Flynn of the New Rochelle American Legion Post 8, who presented the family with a plaque in appreciation for Capt. DiMaggio’s efforts in setting up young firefighters who were military veterans with benefits from the post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

Over his 31-year career, Captain DiMaggio was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2005, rising to the rank of captain in 2012. During his career, DiMaggio is credited with training hundreds of recruits from throughout the country at the Westchester County Career Chief’s Fire Academy.

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New Rochelle Fire Department Honors Captain Andrew DiMaggio

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