New York City firefighter dies of injuries sustained while battling high-rise blaze

FDNY vehicles (

FDNY vehicles (

A New York City firefighter has died of injuries sustained while battling a blaze in a Brooklyn high-rise Saturday evening, officials said. 

The FDNY identified the firefighter as Lt. Gordon Ambelas in a Facebook post early Sunday. Ambelas, 40, is the first New York City firefighter to die in the line of duty since April 2012 and the 18th since 343 firefighters perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Post reported that Ambelas went into cardiac arrest and suffered from smoke inhalation while working to put out the fire that damaged the 17th, 18th, and 19th floors of the apartment building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The 21-story building is part of the six-building Independence Towers complex owned by the New York City Housing Authority. 

A mayday call came over the fire radio just after 10 p.m., followed by a report 20 minutes later that a firefighter had gone into in cardiac arrest and was being taken to Woodhull Medical Center.

Fire department spokesman Frank Gribbon said Ambelas was unconscious and "in very bad shape" as firefighters pulled him from the building

Mayor Bill de Blasio arrived at the hospital around midnight.

He and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed the death to reporters at the hospital.

Two other firefighters were treated at Bellevue Hospital for minor injuries. Two residents received treatment at the scene for minor injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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