Firefighter Critically Injured In Brooklyn Blaze Faces Long Road To Recovery

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –– A New York City firefighter critically injured battling a Brooklyn blaze this week will need one year to fully recover, doctors said Thursday.

Firefighter Robert Wiedmann, 38, can expect a long road to recovery after sustaining burns to over 40 percent of his body — including his head, face and back — after responding to a Monday fire in Crown Heights.  Firefighter James Gersbeck, 52, was also taken to the hospital in serious condition.

“We just ask everybody to keep Robert in your thoughts and prayers and as well as Jimmy. These are truly two of the bravest and certainly the greatest firemen I know,” Wiedmann’s brother, Douglas, said Thursday.

Doctors provided a relatively positive outlook during a news conference at Cornell Medical Center. They said that while most people in a similar situation would need to be put in a medically inducted coma, Wiedmann remains psychologically and physically strong, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.

1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports

It is expected that Wiedmann will remain in the hospital for another 6-8 weeks and will need many more surgeries before fully recovering.

In total, 12 units and about 100 firefighters responded to the fire on the 3rd floor of the Prospect Place brownstone. Investigators do not believe the fire was suspicious, but the firefighters union said severe injuries would have been avoided if not for budget cuts that shrunk five-man crews to four-man units.

“The staffing had been cut on Feb. 1. The direct result is it took over 1 minute extra to get water on the fire. If 234 had been fully staffed, we wouldn’t have 2 firefighters in the burn center today. None of this would have happened. One firefighter’s life is hanging in the balance right now because of Bloomberg administration cuts to firefighter staffing,” said Steve Cassidy, of the Uniformed Firefighter’s Association.

The FDNY responded to Cassidy’s comments, saying there were multiple units on the scene within 3 minutes after officials received the call. In addition, the FDNY said that firefighters put water on the fire three minutes after arriving on the scene, adding that the amount of time it took to get water on the fire was efficient.

Meanwhile Gersbeck is in fair condition and won’t have a long hospitalization.  Three other firefighters also sustained injuries in Monday’s fire.

The FDNY has also set up a blood drive to try to help Firefighter Wiedmann in his recovery. If you are interested in donating, please click here for more information.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Yplonda Vega

    If he wasent so stupid he wouldn’t be hurt.

    • Rich Russo

      You are an idiot!!!!!!!!

  • Rich Russo

    Almost 14 years ago I was in a very bad car accident. Standing still at a light while waiting to make a turn we were slammed into from behind by a speeding car on a wet road and we spun into oncoming traffic. We got hit again in the passenger side door where I was sitting. The back seat of the car was literally pancaked up against the back of the front seat and the passenger side door was severely damaged, almost bent totally in half by the impact Police, firefighters and EMT’s arrived. 1 fireman in particluar removed all of his gear except for his helmet and gloves. He squeezed himslef into the back seat and put his helmet on my head, flipped the visor down, and put his gloved hands around my face. I couldn’t move from the neck down at the time and had no idea what was going on until I heard the roar of the machine they used to cut the door off the car. As they did, the window shattered but I was protected by the fireman’s helmet and gloves around my face. I will never forget all who responded that night but am sorry to say I never got to personally thank that brave man who put himself in danger to ensure I was safe when they cut the door off the car. I regained all movement about 6 to 8 hours later. On the 10th anniversary of the accident I wrote a very long, and emotional letter and sent it to the firehouse that responded. I hope someone there was on scene 10 years earlier and can appreciate how much what they did means to me. I have since had 2 beautiful girls given to me by God and everytime I would pick one of them up I can’t thelp but think how life would have been different were I not treated properly on scene by the polcie, fireman and EMT’s. Thank you all for a doing a tough job, and doing it very well.

  • SoTired

    God Bless all FDNY and I hope these two men make a full recovery

  • guts and glory

    mj- another Obama liberal

    • mj

      if calling me a liberal was supposed to be an insult . i’m sorry….. i take it as a compliment….. oh well YOU can’t win em all

  • Most calls are nonsense.

    Not that these fireman were not acting heroically at this call. My point was just to say that all calls are not life and death.

  • ricky g

    wishing u god speed and thoughts and prayers are with u guys and your families during the holidays

  • Robert

    Between Boomberg and Cassano I could not choose the biggest idiot!

  • Gerry Attrick

    These two heroic Firefighters who are in the Burn Center provide a painful reminder of the price that our Firefighters pay for the Mayor’s dangerous policy of short staffing FDNY Engine Co’s. This policy places both the citizens of NYC as well as its Firefighters in great jeopardy.

  • karen s

    my thoughts are with you firefighter wiedman. my dad was nypd for 30+ years and while living in massachusetts, i dated a boston fireman, and was a volunteer firefighter in northern vermont where i owned property with friends. while working at mass. general, i helped provide care in their burn unit where half the patients during one period of time were firefighters injured in a chemical plant explosion. your sacrifice daily in serving the people of ny is commendable beyond measure. dad on one occasion at a fire spoke with a fireman while they were both taking a break. as they got up to return to their duties, dad said i don’t envy you your job. his new friend said, “no you’ve got it harder.” i know clinically the road ahead of you. while i am on vacation next week, i plan to donate blood. i challenge other people of good will to do the same. in boston the term of respect for a fireman was to call them a “good jake.” you and your brothers fit that term. i wish you, your immediate family and the family of new york’s bravest a holiday season and new year of happier and healthier days. and thanks for all you’ve done, and will do.

  • mj

    fire fighters are the REAL heros … they respond and save people , they don’t respond and kill them. EVERY time they respond to a call its a possible life / death situation

    • nile

      why was this man in the building

      • Kleetis MacAnurney

        The Firefighter was searching for a person [taxpayer] who was reported to be trapped. That’s what Firefighters do, they place themselves in harm’s way to protect us. Firefighters also provide lot’s of other important services such as rendering first responder emergency medical care, cutting people out of wrecked vehicles and rescuing folks from every imaginable kind of life threatening situation. NYC needs more people like Firefighter Robert Wiedmann and less CEO’s & politicians who’s main goal is to make themselves ugly rich at the expense of the middle class.

        • chicago firefighter

          firefighters,cops,ems,military are the true public servants! get well soon brothers.

    • Most calls are nonsense.

      I guess you never actually olloked into the kinds of calls the Fire Department routinely respond to. Most of them are Medical Calls where an Ambulance is also responding to take care of the patient and calls for service such as broken elevators, water leaks and other nonsense.

      • mj

        SO are MOST police calls

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