MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — They put their lives on the line every day, but when a Long Island firefighter died on the job, he was denied a spot next to his fellow fallen co-workers on a state memorial wall.
Six years later, the fight is over and his family is declaring victory.
Lisa Brady’s home is full of reminders of the husband she lost. At his old firehouse in Malverne, Firefighter Paul Brady is memorialized everywhere.
But for six years, the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control has denied Brady a spot on the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Wall in Albany. They argued his death was an accident and did not come in the line of duty, CBS 2′s Amy Dardashtian reported Thursday night.
It’s still hard for people to talk about that day. Paul Brady was on top of a rig, preparing it for a drill when a colleague of his, who didn’t realize he was up there, drove the rig out of the station.
“We kept coming back to why he would he not be honored on this wall — which is why we fought so hard,” said David Gildea of the Malverne Fire Department.
Gildea said that fight turned into a lawsuit brought by the fire department. The state attorney general argued Brady died performing maintenance and “…not while responding to an emergency and not while participating in hands-on emergency training.”
“All of these jobs are necessary to save lives,” Lisa Brady said in response.
But Wednesday, after two years of legal battles, an appellate court ruled Brady’s name should be included on the wall.
“As his friend, this means a lot to me. As a fireman, this means a lot to me,” Gildea said. “I think that he’s smiling knowing that we fought really hard for him.”
“It is just the greatest victory and it’s such a relief,” Lisa Brady added.
The honor won’t bring Brady back, but his widow said it serves as justice.
The Office of Fire Prevention and Control would not comment on the ruling, but said Mrs. Brady’s benefits would not be affected.
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