Family and friends mourn 36-year-old firefighter who died of heart attack after being laid off

Abu Mubarik May 01, 2024
Derek Floyd. Photo credit: FDNY/Instagram

Derek Floyd, a 36-year-old Fire Department of New York probationary fireman, died of a heart attack on April 15, four months after he was fired as part of New York City’s effort to get funds for its migrant crisis.

In November, New York City Mayor Eric Adams implemented a series of unpopular budget cuts that led to the elimination of light-duty firefighter positions and civilian vacancies. Floyd was one of the workers laid off; he was on desk duty as he sought clearance to return to active duty after suffering a previous heart attack in 2019.

City Council Finance Chair Justin Brannan was very critical of the cuts at the time. He told Fox 5, “I think this is a moment that really calls for a thoughtful surgeon’s blade, not these wholesale cuts across the board.”

Also, Brannan and Adrienne E. Adams, the New York City Council Speaker, slammed Mayor Adams’ cuts and his reasoning for the cuts in a joint op-ed. 

“Our budget difficulties have been wrongly attributed to being squarely about asylum seekers,” the two wrote. “The sunsetting of billions in federal COVID-19 stimulus dollars, a static economy, real estate challenges, and other costs that preceded the arrival of asylum seekers have all contributed to gaps in our out-year budgets. These gaps are tangible and cannot be ignored, ranging from an estimated $6 to $7 billion in each of the next fiscal years.”

“Rather than instituting broad cuts to all agencies, we need to prioritize our investments, reduce ineffective and wasteful spending, and pursue revenues that help us protect New Yorkers. This period will require difficult decisions, but with clarity, we can persevere and ensure New Yorkers don’t fall through the cracks,” they concluded.

On April 15, Floyd, who was also a former U.S. Marine, died following complications related to his 2019 heart attack. Friends of Floyd and his wife, Christine, set up a GoFundMe, revealing that Floyd left behind two children, Ethan, 6, and Abigail, 2.

The GoFundMe will generate funds for housing expenses, daycare, and the children. Furthermore, the fundraising serves as a community show of support for Christine. So far, they have raised over $70,000 towards their initial goal of $90,000.

Meanwhile, the FDNY Foundation has also set up its own fund in the form of a probationary scholarship fund for Ethan and Abigail. According to the foundation, 100 percent of the funds will go to the Floyd family.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 1, 2024


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