Former FDNY Firefighter Dies at 36, Laid Off After Migrant Crisis

Derek Floyd, a 36-year-old former firefighter with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), tragically passed away from a heart attack on April 15. Floyd’s death came just months after he was let go from his position as part of the city’s budget cuts aimed at addressing the migrant crisis. His untimely demise has left his family in a precarious financial situation.

Floyd was among approximately 10 FDNY employees who were dismissed in the weeks leading up to Christmas. These individuals were on “long-term duty,” meaning they were either injured on the job and reassigned to office work or had been out sick for an extended period. Floyd, a military veteran who served three tours in the Middle East with the Marines, had been working a desk job in the fire department chaplain’s office due to a previous heart attack he suffered in 2019 while at the Fire Academy.

In his role at the chaplain’s office, Floyd, who was on modified duty, was responsible for arranging the funerals of fallen FDNY members. He was actively trying to get medically cleared to return to active firefighting duty when he was let go.

Floyd’s dismissal came just before he would have vested additional medical benefits for his family and over $600,000 in death benefits. His family is now left without these benefits despite his years of service. Floyd’s widow, Christine, 34, shared the toll his firing took on him and their family.

After his dismissal from the FDNY, Floyd found employment with a nonprofit organization that assists veterans. However, the salary was significantly lower than what he earned as a firefighter, the benefits were limited, and the hours were not conducive to spending time with his two young children.

Floyd’s termination was part of a larger plan by City Hall to reduce the FDNY budget by $74 million by the end of 2025 to accommodate spending for the migrant crisis. The exact number of “long-term duty” staff who will be dismissed as part of this initiative remains unclear.

The city’s budget cuts have sparked outrage among some, including Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighter Association. Ansbro criticized the decision to terminate Floyd, stating that the FDNY is understaffed and that Floyd’s role was crucial.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh expressed her condolences and assured that all financial, legal, and legislative options would be explored to support his family during this difficult time.