Dyker Heights fireman dies in blaze near Ground Zero

A firefighter who died Saturday while battling a blaze at an abandoned building near Ground Zero was from Dyker Heights.

Joseph Graffagnino, 33, had been with the FDNY for the last eight years. Officials said Graffagnino and 53-year-old Robert Beddia were trapped and inhaled too much smoke, causing both firemen to die.

More than 300 firefighters spent more than seven hours fighting the seven-alarm inferno that spread from the 17th floor. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Sunday polyurethane covers on several floors may have fed the flames.

The Environmental Protection Agency required the covers to stop asbestos from spreading. The skyscraper had been vacant since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Authorities are also probing why nearby water sources failed to work, forcing firefighters to run hoses up to the 17th floor, where the fire started.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."