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Friends and family attended funeral services on Long Island for Paul Warhola, one of Williamsburg’s veteran firefighters, who died last week from an apparent stroke suffered while answering an emergency call.
Warhola, a 15-year member of FDNY’s Engine 221 in South Williamsburg (161 South 2nd Street), died at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan while being treated for stroke-related symptoms.An Eastport, Long Island resident, Warhola leaves behind his wife, Arleen, a son, Paul, 15, and a daughter, Tiana, 13. He was 47 years old.
“Paul and other FDNY veterans were crucial to the department’s rebirth.Because as its ranks filled with new members, they needed precisely what Paul had in abundance:Patience.Wisdom.A willingness to teach.He gave them all that and more,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in remarks he read at Warhola’s funeral service. “He was a man of famously few words.But as one of the officers at Engine 221 put it:‘Some guys just chatter-chatter.Paulie wasn’t like that.He always got right to the point.And when he said, ‘I think we should do it this way,’ it was the right choice, every time.”
In the early-morning hours on August 12, Warhola and other members of Engine 221 responded to a fire alarm in an apartment building Tower 1 at Northside Piers (164 Kent Avenue) on the Williamsburg waterfront.Warhola, who was driving the fire engine, suffered stroke-related symptoms while operating a fire hydrant outside the building.He was treated at Bellevue Hospital, which has a specialized unit for treating stroke victims, but succummed to his injuries on August 14.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the FDNY and the entire City of New York,” said FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta.“Firefighter Warhola was an honored and respected member of this department.He will be sorely missed.Our hearts go out to his family.”
Members of Engine 221, where Warhola spent his entire 15-year career, mourned their loss by hanging memorial bannersoff their house throughout the weekend and placed Warhola’s jacket on the bumper of a fire truck.
Williamsburg community members, many of whom demonstrated against the closing of Engine Company 212 in 2002, expressed their sympathy to Warhola’s family and to his colleagues in Engine 221 for their loss.
“We’re saddened to hear about the loss of any firefighter, especially someone who dedicated their life to protecting the community from fires,” said NAG Co-Chair Susan Albrecht.
Williamsburg resident Phil DePaolo noted how Engine 221 has been covering more ground in the years since the closing of Engine 212, while also recognizing the dedicated work of the pride of South Williamsburg.
“All I can think of is the family this man had.I think of his comrades at the house,” said DePaolo.“He spent his whole career protecting Williamsburg.He was an experienced chauffeur, driving the rig, and chauffeurs make abig difference responding to calls.”
For more information about donations to the Warhola family, call Sinnickson Funeral Home, (203 Main St., Center Moriches, L.I.) at 631-878-0065.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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