'Rich in heart.' FDNY chief from LI retires after battling fatal Bronx fire
An FDNY chief from Deer Park is retiring after battling the deadliest fire of his 41 years on the job.
Chief Thomas Richardson raced from his Long Island home to the five-alarm fire at a Bronx high-rise Sunday.
The fire left 17 people, including eight children, dead.
Chief Richardson says he could see the sadness and sympathy in the faces of firefighters for all of the victims of the fire.
Others in the building were able to survive thanks to FDNY firefighters and EMTs. First responders ran into the flames and smoke to rescue victims on every floor of the building.
"It's sad, but frankly at the same time I was so proud of our people and how they demonstrated the work that they do and how important it is and how dangerous it is and how dirty it is," Richardson says. "But they rose to the challenge."
Richardson chose to be a firefighter after watching his father fight fires as a member of the Deer Park Fire Department.
He officially retired Wednesday afternoon feeling "blessed" to lead some of New York's Bravest.
"You're not going to become all rich and everything, but you're rich in heart, rich in service and that's always been my message," Richardson says.