NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A square in New York City was renamed Saturday for an EMT who died from his exposure to the materials at ground zero.

Amsterdam Avenue at 172nd Street in Washington Heights is now Luis de Pena Jr. Square. De Pena fell ill after working long hours at the World Trade Center site following 9/11. He died in May of last year.

On Saturday, he was remembered as someone with a big heart and an enormous personality.

“It is always an honor and a pleasure to have the ability to use our streets as a reminder of the individuals who brought our communities to where we are today,” said Council member Ydanis Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he was also known for inviting neighborhood children to EMS barbecues and was committed to serving the residents of Washington Heights and Inwood.

His family was given a sign just like the one now displayed on the street.


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