Hero FDNY firefighters’ remains returned home after deadly chopper crash

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NEW YORK — The pain and grief was etched on the faces of the widow of FDNY Lieutenant Christopher Raguso, wearing her late husband’s clothing and blue cap, his mother, father, and brother.

The family, along with more than 100 members of the FDNY, watched as the purple bunting was hung on Ladder 113 Engine 249 firehouse where Raguso served as a firefighter for 11 years.

Raguso and six others were killed in a helicopter crash in Western Iraq after flying low to avoid detection when the rotors hit the power lines.

Raguso’s father, a boat captain, remembered his 39-year-old son as always wanting to serve this city and this country.

“He was born to be a member of the FDNY,” John Raguso, the victim’s father, said at the service.

Lieutenant Raguso left for deployment in January and was supposed to return in May and promised his family this would be his last time.

He leaves behind two little girls as well as his wife, who read briefly from scripture.

“There I am, send me so that others may live.” Carmella Raguso, the fallen hero’s widow, said as she read from Isaiah.

“We will never forget as we honor this American hero’s service to this city and country,” Daniel Nigro, the FDNY Fire Commissioner, said at the service.

Three of the six others killed in that chopper crash were also from our area.

FDNY fire marshal Christopher Zanetis, staff Sergeant Dashan Briggs and pilot Andreas O’Keefe all part of an elite air national guard 106 rescue wing based out of Westhampton, trained to medivac wounded soldiers.

But this was a time to remember Lieutenant Raguso of the FDNY.

“He was a big gigantic teddy bear.,” Lt. Chris Gorzynski of the FDNY said. “He had a heart the size of a Lion, The guy did anything for anybody. I wish we had done more for him,” he added.

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