A New York City emergency medical technician, who was killed in the line of duty last week, has been honored with salutes, memorials and donations in the days following her tragic death.
Yadira Arroyo, an EMT and 14-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, was driving an ambulance with her partner in the Bronx on Thursday night when a civilian flagged them down. Arroyo pulled the vehicle over and both she and her partner got out to assist, according to a press release from the New York City Police Department.
That’s when a man entered the driver’s side of the ambulance. Arroyo and her partner tried to stop the individual from driving away but the man put the vehicle in reverse, knocking down Arroyo and driving over her with the ambulance. The man continued driving in reverse, hitting two occupied cars and a parked, unoccupied vehicle, police said.
Then the man drove the ambulance forward, subsequently dragging Arroyo into the middle of an intersection. While trying to turn left at the intersection, the man crashed the ambulance into two more parked vehicles before coming to a stop near a corner. The man tried to flee the scene on foot but was apprehended by an on-duty officer with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who was on patrol at the time, according to police.
Police officers responding to the incident found Arroyo lying unconscious and unresponsive in the roadway with trauma to her body. She was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where was pronounced dead, police said.
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 17, 2017
Arroyo is the eighth member of the FDNY EMS to die in the line of duty. She was a 44-year-old mother to five children, the fire department said.
Arroyo’s partner, a 30-year-old woman, was taken to the hospital for injuries to her neck and shoulder. She is in stable condition, according to police.
No one else was injured during the incident, police said.
A makeshift memorial has been set up where Arroyo was killed.
Dozens of Arroyo’s fellow FDNY members were seen saluting her body, which was covered in an American flag, as it was taken into the medical examiner’s office on Thursday night.
The fallen EMT was also honored during a bunting ceremony on Friday outside Station 26 in the Bronx where she worked. A wake will be held at the Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home in the Bronx on March 23 and March 24. The funeral will be held at St. Nicholas of Tolentine R.C. Church in the Bronx on March 25, according to the fire department.
“We’ve always told our families that once their loved one joins this department, each member of their family joins the department. As you know she had five sons, every member of this station and every member of this department will be there for those people, for her mom and dad as we go through this difficult week,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said at the bunting ceremony on Friday. “She served this city as a hero and she died a hero of this city. Let’s not forget that.”
Players and fans at Saturday night’s FDNY vs. NYPD hockey game observed a moment of silence for Arroyo.
“I’ve served the department for 28 years and rarely do you find a member so dedicated. She was so selfless that at a moment’s notice she did what she thought was right to do in the face of danger. Knowing she was out there gave us peace and understanding that the right thing was going to be done every single time,” FDNY Capt. Joseph Jefferson of Station 26 said in a statement on the fire department’s Facebook page. “She served the public in the Bronx for 14 years. This is a woman, a mother of five, who dedicated her life in serving the community. She cannot be replaced.”
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which says its mission is “to honor our military and first responders,” kicked off a fundraiser for Arroyo’s family on Saturday. Frank Siller, the organization’s CEO, donated the first $100,000 to Arroyo’s Children’s Fund, care of the FDNY Foundation, which was created to support the five sons she leaves behind.
“This brave first responder was killed by simply doing her job, helping to save others. It is beyond horrific,” Siller said at the fundraiser. “The fact that she leaves behind five children makes it all the more necessary for us to accept the responsibility to help care for these children, to ensure that they’re able to lead the lives that their mother so wanted for them.”
Arroyo’s son, Jose Montes, was moved by the outpour of support for their family.
“Seeing everybody that she affected, I know that she didn’t die in vain,” he said at the fundraiser. “Me and my brothers, we’re all going to stick together and we’re not going to let go of each other. If you could take something from this — learn to hold your family closer every day, because life is short.”
You can support the family by going to www.FDNYFoundation.org/Donate and selecting “EMT Yadira Arroyo’s Children’s Fund” from the drop down menu.
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