GREENPOINT - Family members and firefighters paid their final respects Tuesday in Greenpoint to a firefighter who plunged four stories to his death while on the job.
The sound of solemn music filled the air as tearful mourners packed Saint Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church to remember 23-year-old Daniel Pujdak. The funeral took place after two days of public wakes. Pujdak, who had been a firefighter for less than two years, was killed June 21.
Fire officials say Pujdak fell four stories from a Williamsburg building while moving from a cherry picker to the roof. He suffered severe head injuries and later died at Bellevue Hospital.
Investigators determined the blaze was started by a cigarette left unattended in an illegally rented apartment.
Leo Pujdak, the victim's father, remembered his son as a kind young man who avoided the spotlight. The father described a close bond between the firefighter and his two brothers, one of whom plans to also join the FDNY. The victim is also survived by his mother and girlfriend, who joined the family at the funeral.
"He was the kind of guy who made sure everyone else was taken care of before even taking care of himself," Pujdak's girlfriend, Vanessa, said.
"I can't say enough about him," said Captain Jerry Horton. "I wish I had 25 guys like him in my company."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg also spoke at the funeral, saying the city is grateful for Pujdak's sacrifice. Bloomberg spoke about the firefighter's volunteer work and love of cooking, which he shared with his fellow firefighters at Ladder 146.