Funeral held for FDNY fireman killed in blaze

A funeral for an FDNY fireman killed in the line of duty took place Tuesday at a Staten Island church.Thousands of friends, family and firefighters

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - A funeral for an FDNY fireman killed in the line of duty took place Tuesday at a Staten Island church.

Thousands of friends, family and firefighters gathered at Saint Clare?s Roman Catholic Church to put John Martinson to rest. Martinson, 40, was killed in the line of duty earlier this month while battling a two-alarm blaze at the Ebbets Field Houses.

Firefighters say Martinson led the charge up to the 14th-floor apartment where the fire broke out. According to officials, Martinson ran out of air and later died from smoke inhalation and severe burns.

"Knowing John, he knew this was an occupied building," said fire Chief Sal Cassano. "He gave his life trying to save others."

The day after his death, ceremonial purple and black bunting went up at Engine 249 in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Martinson had been an FDNY firefighter since 1993, after a four-year stint as a city police officer.

Firefighters flocked to the Casey McCallum Rice Funeral Home to pay their respects to Martinson. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among city officials who attended and spoke at the funeral.Friends say in addition to being a friend of the community, Martinson was a handyman as well.

"John worked on our house several months ago and I?ll never look at it again without thinking about him," family friend Louis Forrelli said. "He was just a wonderful person."

To see extended footage of John Martinson's funeral, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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