Firefighters Hope to Bring Back Memories of Lost Ones Through Plaques at Anderson Cooper's Firehouse
By Nicole Breskin
GREENWICH VILLAGE — The father of a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11 is holding out hope that Anderson Cooper’s new home in a historic firehouse might honor his son and others who gave their lives to protect city residents.
When the CNN newsman bought the home for $4.3 million late last year, bronze plaques that paid homage to fallen members of Fire Patrol 2 had already been taken down to prepare the site for sale.
But Arnie Roma, a former firefighter who rescued the plaques, hopes to bring them back — especially one that hung outside the firehouse to honor his son, Keith, who died at the World Trade Center.
“That was the last place my son left and never came back,” Roma told DNAinfo of the firehouse. “It would mean a lot if Anderson Cooper would put the plaque back on the building.”
That plaque was given to the firehouse from the city and was hung on the 1906 building's facade until 2006, when the Board of Fire Underwriters decided to close the Fire Patrol, a fire fighting service that existed before there was a municipal fire department, and sell the building.
The plaque, along with others that honored Fire Patrolmen killed in fires at W. 17th Street in 1948 and Wooster Street in 1958 were tossed in the garbage.
“They had no clue what they were,” said Roma, who retrieved the plaques. “To the fire service these things are sacred. The Fire Patrolmen gave the supreme sacrifice.”
Roma was a Fire Patrolman at the W. Third St. building in the 1970s and Keith worked there for five years until he lost his life.
Roma has the plagues at this Staten Island home. He had been fighting since 2006 to restore the Fire Patrol at the Greenwich Village firehouse.
“We’re not going to put the firemen back in the building,” said Roma. “It would be nice to have the plaques back because it’s the only history left of these men who gave their lives to the city of New York.”
Cooper’s architect, Cary Tamarkin, did not immediately return calls for comment. He told DNAinfo last week, though, that he intends to preserve the firehouse.