Submitted by his Family
Daniel F. ‘Danny’ Pujdak
Fire Department of New York – Ladder 146 – New York
Date of Death: June 21‚ 2007
Daniel Francis Pujdak came into the world on September 6‚ 1983. He attended St. Cecilia’s School in Brooklyn where he played basketball. However‚ Daniel’s true sports passion could clearly be seen on the pitchers mound‚ from little league on through to his high school team at St. Francis Prep. It was team experiences that influenced his desire to be a member of his dream team; the FDNY.
Fitness was a constant for Daniel not only for his own health and well-being but also to prepare him for his goal to be a firefighter. He attended SUNY Cortland and majored in Fitness Science with a concentration in Kinesiology. Daniel loved to help people; his ideal was to be both a firefighter and a personal trainer during his free time.
He graduated from college in May‚ 2005 and entered the Fire Academy that September. Daniel was assigned to Ladder 146 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He loved his job; Daniel would often arrive for his tour up to 2 hours early in order to relieve his fellow firefighters.
In his spare time‚ Daniel was a personal trainer at the Greenpoint YMCA. After suffering a devastating car accident‚ Rene B.‚ a colleague at the ‘Y’‚ trained under Daniel hoping to get back what she had lost before the injury. ‘Danny understood better than any physical therapist I had worked with after my accident. He understood it was about more than my hip and my back and my leg. He knew it was about my spirit‚ mind and body‚ and he coached me and pushed me on all those levels’ recalls Rene.
The spirit of adventure was an integral part of Daniel’s lifestyle. He took up rock climbing‚ accompanying his older brother David‚ a seasoned climber. The triathlon was his next target as he seriously trained for a race to be held at the end of that summer with a planned marathon for the following year.
On June 21‚ 2007‚ Daniel’s life came to a sudden halt at the mere age of 23 when he fell from a 4-story building while battling a blaze not far from his firehouse. The entire city mourned the loss of such a wonderful young man.
Daniel’s younger brother Matthew‚ a recent addition to the FDNY now proudly bears Daniel’s # 8655 on his helmet as his own.
We will miss Daniel’s infectious smile‚ his irrepressible laugh‚ his good natured antics‚ his genuine care for people‚ and his endless devotion to his love Vanessa‚ his family at home and his Brothers at the firehouse.