Commemorating Jesse Gerhard, a Local Hero

Courtesy of Newsday

Courtesy of Newsday

Nicolina Bilella, Staff Writer

On February 21st, a house fire went ablaze at around 4 pm in Far Rockaway, Queens. Jesse Gerhard was a member of Ladder 134 (a fire station in Queens) and was responsible for finding a way of entry into the house engulfed in flames and looking for anyone trapped inside. This Islip native was successful on the field, but had a medical episode and died the next day. 

His funeral in Bay Shore was the same day as his passing.  According to CBS News, thousands attended, including Mayor Eric Adams.  The procession was silent except for the red and white New York City Fire Department flags waving in the wind and the song “Amazing Grace” celebrating his life.  Multiple family members and colleagues shed tears for Gerhard and spoke about his carpenter skills and his admiration of the fire service.  Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, relaying a story from Gerhard’s mother, said, “At the tender age of only 2, Jesse would strut around the house with his great-grandfather’s seasoned leather helmet atop his head.”

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“We gather today to mourn this hero, young man, this child who committed and dedicated his life to the people of this city. We salute his commitment and dedication,” ”

— Mayor Eric Adams

     Gerhard’s death at 33 and cause of the fire are yet to be determined, yet it is clear the he will be missed.