Patrick Joyce 1970 – 2009

Sep 21st, 2014 | By | Category: Joyce Obituaries

From Rebecca Baker and Rob Ryser at
A 39-year-old city firefighter died today and two of his colleagues were seriously injured as they searched for tenants in an early morning house fire, officials said.
Patrick Joyce, a father of two girls and a 16-year veteran of the department, either jumped or fell from the top floor of the burning 2-story multi-family home and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“It’s like losing a brother,” Assistant Fire Chief George Kielb said through tears. “You never want to go through it again.”
The 1 a.m. fire at 149 Waverly St. is suspicious, city fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano said, because it was fully involved in two locations at the home.
Pagano called Joyce a “fearless and dedicated” man who gave his life in an effort to save others.
“There were reports that people were trapped inside and the crew he was with acted immediately,” Pagano said.
“I know you’ve heard time after time in our profession that seconds count… this is a time that seconds counted,” he added later at a midday news conference.
Two colleagues – 54-year-old Lt. Joe Murray and 12-year veteran firefighter William Kanych, 39 – were in serious but stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center, Pagano said.
Murray, who joined the force in 1982, was expected to undergo surgery for broken ribs and also has second-degree burns on his hands, city officials said. Kanych had a broken ankle, cracked vertebrae and burns on his face and neck.
Jose Colon, a 16-year-old neighbor, said he saw this morning’s fire explode inside the tall, narrow vinyl-sided house and watched as the firefighters jumped for their lives.
“It looked like somebody threw a bomb through the window,” he said. “I heard people screaming.”
“It went up like a blowtorch,” Kielb said of the blaze.
Pagano, at the news conference, said, “We believe the extreme heat is what cause (the firefighters) to exit the window.”
Everyone in the home escaped before anyone was injured, the fire department said.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control about 2:30 a.m.
Firefighters gathered outside Joyce’s home on Hutchinson Boulevard in Eastchester late this morning but declined to speak to a reporter. They said his family was not home.
Nearby, where his brother, Peter, also a Yonkers firefighter, lives, a neighbor, Bobbi Lagana, said, “It’s so sad. Everybody’s upset.”
At the Eastchester Fire Department, the flag was flying at half-staff. Firefighters there said they were aware of the tragedy but were waiting for information on arrangements before commenting. They said Joyce was a very popular man, and said they were concerned for his small children and family.
As dawn broke at the fire scene, stunned neighbors in Nodine Hill stood outside and shook their heads at the the latest inferno to plague their street. Three multi-family buildings went up in flames on Waverly Street in 2005, including a still-damaged yellow house directly across from today’s fatal fire.
As police officers consoled firefighters at the scene this morning, fire investigators roamed through the charred wreckage searching for clues. An assistant Westchester district attorney is also working with investigators in case they conclude the fire was arson. If that does occur, it would be considered a homicide investigation.
The Red Cross is helping a total of 15 people in four families with emergency lodging, clothing and food. City officials said a total of 17 people were displaced by the fire.
The owner of record for the home is Esther Ugbogbo, who is listed as living at the Waverly Street address. City records show she purchased it on Sept. 11, 2007, and officials said there are no outstanding code violations there.
Pagano said a team of city inspectors had visited the home July 1, “recognized that there was some (tenant) occupancy in the storefront that we had removed and secured.” He said officials found it remained empty on a repeat visit two days ago, but “are looking into (in) what areas of the house people were living.”
The last firefighter who died in the line of duty in Yonkers was in 1986.
Calling hours for Joyce are set for Sunday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at McGrath & Sons, 20 Cedar Street, Bronxville. His funeral is set for Tuesday at 9:45 a.m. at St. Margaret’s Church, 6000 Riverdale Ave. in the Bronx.

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