A New York City Fire Department lieutenant suffered heat exhaustion and died Monday after fighting a fire in a two-story warehouse in Bushwick, Brooklyn that injured five other firefighters.
Officials say the fire broke out around 1 p.m. Monday on the second floor of a warehouse located at 930 Flushing Avenue and was contained around 3:50 p.m.
Lieutenant Richard Nappi, 47, a Bronx-born, 17-year veteran of the fire department, lead Engine Company 237 to the fire.
Wearing full bunker gear at the scene, Nappi became overheated, collapsed from exhaustion and was brought to Woodhull Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Fire officials said the two-story warehouse, which houses several businesses including a medical transport company, was filled with stacked boxes and filing cabinets. The building had a functional sprinkler system but the firefighters had difficulty getting through the packed rooms.
"There are no mundane fires. As you see, a fire that is being kept in check by the sprinkler system, it's still dangerous," said Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano. "We still have to extinguish it, we have to turn over the material that's burning."
Cassano, who fought alongside Nappi at Manhattan fires, said the lieutenant had a "cardiac event" that is under investigation.
Nappi, who was born in the Bronx, was among the first responders at the World Trade Center following the September 11th terror attacks.
Both the commissioner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the late lieutenant's bravery.
"This is a very tragic day for New York City," said the mayor. "Somebody who devoted his life to keeping us safe is no longer with us."
"For us who knew Lieutenant Nappi -- I worked with Richie in Manhattan -- he was an extraordinary firefighter and an extraordinary fire officer," said Cassano. "He was a leader that people would follow."
Nappi is survived by his wife, a 12-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.
The five injured firefighters, including one in serious condition, were expected to recover.
Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the blaze on Monday.