Hundreds of New York City Fire Department officers and officials paid their respects to probationary firefighter Vincent Malveaux in at the Christian Cultural Center in Starrett City on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old Brooklyn native fell sick while training at the FDNY Academy on Randall’s Island last week, according to the department, and died at Harlem Hospital the following day, just six weeks into his firefighter training.
“This is a heartbreaking loss of a young man who chose a life of brave service to others, first providing outstanding emergency medical care as an EMT in the Bronx and then training to be a New York City Firefighter,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, in a release. “Our entire Department mourns the passing of this heroic individual who dedicated himself to saving lives. Our thoughts are with his family, our EMTs who worked closely beside him, and his fellow Probies.”
Malveaux graduated from the FDNY EMS Academy in 2017, and spent the following four years serving the people of University Heights in the Bronx.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with Malveaux’s parents about his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter, he said, at the young man’s wake in Marine Park on Tuesday.
“I’ve had a conversation with a lot of parents about what their kids dreams are, but this one was particularly clear and sharp,” he said. “I said, ‘When did it start, when did he first want to become a firefighter?’ The answer was immediately, from his dad, ‘When he was five years old.'”
Nigro said Malveaux had the makings of an outstanding firefighter, and had proven himself during his years of service as an EMT.
“As an EMT of four years, he’d seen so much working during one of the most difficult times for any medical provider, the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “When New York City was the epicenter of that fight, Vincent was one of the many FDNY members front and center, bravely working to save lives.”
Malvaeux’s spirit will live on in his FDNY classmates and at EMS Station 19, Nigro said, as the people that knew him continue to save lives.
It will also be remembered with laughter.
“He was also a giant pranker,” said his fellow paramedic Chistian Marte. “He loved to duct tape people, I even became a victim of it at one point. I will miss you and love you.”
Officers presented Malvaeux’s family with a probationary firefighter’s helmet before police and firefighters escorted he and his loved ones to the cultural center on Wednesday.
“The list of lives he touched and so often saved goes on and on,” Nigro said. “That’s his legacy of service, having accomplished so much at such a young age and striving to challenge himself in new and different ways as he trained to become a firefighter.”
“The world needs more people like Vincent, those who are committed to helping others. He was noble and brave, and we will never forget him.”