Thousands poured into Lake Ronkonkoma Saturday to mourn the death of FDNY Lt. Rich Nappi, the Farmingville man who while fighting a fire in Brooklyn on Monday.
The funeral procession for the 47-year-old, who was also a long-time volunteer with the Farmingville Fire Department, took place between Moloney Lake Funeral Home and the Church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.
Nappi's coffin travelled atop a firetruck from Engine 237, the Brooklyn firehouse he was assigned to when he ran into a burning warehouse in Bushwick on Monday.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, delivering a eulogy during the funeral Mass, compared Nappi to Engine 273's mascot, a bulldog named Mugsy.
"Mugsy and Rich had a few things in common," Bloomberg said. "A stocky, powerful build, a playful, outgoing personality and perhaps, most importantly, a tough bulldog determination."
Bloomberg said Nappi "truly found his calling in life" as an 18-year-old volunteer with the Smithtown Fire Department. Over the years, Nappi would go on to train an estimated 10,000 volunteer firefighters at the Suffolk County Fire Academy, Bloomberg said.
Nappi was known for firehouse pranks and a love for the New York Rangers, but Bloomberg, in addressing Nappi's two children, Catherine, 12, and Nicholas, 11, spoke of their father's response on 9/11.
"Your father rushed to the firehouse he was assigned to in Lower Manhattan on the darkest day in our city's history and on 9/11 and then day after day, for weeks on end, like so many others including your uncle Robert, he worked amid the smoking rubble of the World Trade Center," Bloomberg said of the day that claimed the lives of 343 members of the FDNY. "Those were difficult times for our city and for the fire department that meant everything to your father...Part of why we are so grateful for your father is because he was such a big part of rebuilding the world's greatest fire department over these past 10 years."
Brian Dillon, a colleague of Nappi's at Engine 237, also delivered a eulogy and spoke of Nappi's dedication to firefighting.
"He loved his job more than anybody I ever knew," Dillon said of Nappi, adding, "but he loved his family so much."
"We will always be here for you, from now until forever, the extended family of the FDNY," Dillon said, addressing Nappi's wife, Mary Anne.
Dillon ended with a nod to Nappi's beloved New York Rangers, who are currently locked in a 2-2 best-of-seven series with the Ottawa Senators in the NHL playoffs.
"On a final note, I'd like to say, this is tough for me, as a long hardcore Islanders fan," Dillon said, "but I'll say it for you today Rich, this one time...Let's go Rangers."
The FDNY Foundation has started an education fund for Nappi's children. Donations may be sent to: FDNY Foundation, Lt. Richard A. Nappi Children's Education Fund, 9 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Donations can also be made on the FDNY Foundation website.