NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Firefighters are mourning the loss of a FDNY lieutenant who collapsed and died while battling a fire in Bushwick.

Richard Nappi is being remembered as a hero. The 17-year veteran and father of two devoted his life to public service and responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

“Rich always had a smile,” said Lt. Thomas Minelli. “He loved being in the firehouse. He loved being a firefighter. He loved protecting the City of New York.”

The 47-year-old was with Engine 237 when he overheated and collapsed while battling a warehouse blaze on Flushing Avenue Monday afternoon. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports 

Nappi spent the last five years at Engine 237 in Bushwick. Tuesday morning, he was honored by his fellow firefighters who placed black bunting above the firehouse door and observed a moment of silence.

“We’re still in shock,” Capt. James P. Hurley. “We’re still trying to siphon it through and decipher it all. It’s not setting in yet.”

While serving with the FDNY, Nappi volunteered for 20 years at the Farmingville Fire Department in Suffolk County where he lived with his wife and two children.

Tuesday morning, an electronic sign outside the Farmingville Fire Department read: “We are mourning the line-of-duty passing of FFD Member and FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi.”

Neighbors say they can only think of his family.

“It’s very sad when you see the two kids grow up without a dad,” said neighbor Jacques Plaisin. “It’s terrible.”

“He was just a guy that always helped everybody,” said neighbor Patricia Barberis. “He was just so nice. He was a really nice guy.”

Nappi is the first FDNY firefighter to die in the line of duty in three years.

“Rich Nappi was a tremendous family man, very involved with his kids,” said Hurley. “He was a good man and he will be sorely missed.”

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