Staying cool when things get hot

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2 firefighters from a Yorkville firehouse were among the first on the scene of a rooftop fire


  • Lieutenant John McGinty, a 19-year FDNY veteran, has been with Yorkville's Ladder 13 for 3 1/2 years. Photo: FDNY

  • Captain James Graney Jr. has been with Yorkville's Engine Company 22 since 2004. Photo: FDNY

For Captain James Graney Jr. and Lieutenant John McGinty, a passion for helping New Yorkers stay safe and a strong teamwork ethic are what drives them as longtime members of the New York City Fire Department.

A 34-year veteran of the FDNY, Graney has been with Engine Company 22 since 2004 and McGinty has been with the FDNY for 19 years and with Ladder 13 for the past 3 1/2 years. Engine 22/Ladder 13 serves Yorkville and beyond the neighborhood as needed and is located at 159 East 85th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues.

“What I love most about the job is helping to keep New Yorkers safe — being a firefighter is a rewarding career and it takes a lot of rigorous training and teamwork. I also enjoy the camaraderie of the firehouse, it’s like an extended family,” Graney said.

Ladder 13 was the first to arrive at the scene when a rooftop fire broke out last May at a 6-story apartment building on East 83rd Street and Park Avenue. The building houses local Jesuit priests, and at the time, was vacant while renovations took place. Smoke from the fire, billowing from the rooftop, was seen for miles.

“It looked like the entire roof was on fire and there were things raining down on the street but we got things under control pretty quickly,” McGinty said.

The fire — accidentally caused by torch work — was contained to the roof. But students at the Loyola School, next to the apartment building, were temporarily relocated to Regis High School.

Graney and McGinty both said that communication is key to keeping residents calm — and safe.

“Firefighters train non-stop to ensure the safety of civilians as well as provide them with guidance in terms of evacuating a fire situation. Most importantly, providing accurate, first-hand information as a witness to a fire is critical to our members so we can help those in the event of a fire or injury,” Graney said.

While at the scene, “we try to let people know that we’re here to take care of the problem,” McGinty said. “This is a job where you really have to be a team player. There’s nothing individual about this. In order for us to be successful and to get the job done, we have to work together as a group.”

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