Severely Burned FDNY Firefighter Faces Year-Long Recovery

A firefighter who was engulfed in flames when he made a desperate escape from a Brooklyn blaze will recover - but faces months in a hospital and a year for his injuries to heal, doctors said yesterday.

Doctors, Family Share Update on Burned FDNY Firefighters

“Anyone wishing to donate blood for Rob Weidmann, O Negative blood needed but any blood type can donate to give credit. Go to NY Blood Center, 1-800-439-6876 for more information. Use Patient ID 203859 and File No. 71614. This will make a donation directly to Rob. Thank you for all of your help and support.” FDNY Rescue Company No.2

Robert Wiedmann will need several surgeries, one per week beginning today, after suffering serious burns on more than 50 percent of his body, said Dr. Roger Yurt, at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

"Robert is awake and alert and psychologically strong," Yurt said.

He added that Wiedmann, who remains in critical condition, cannot talk but has been mouthing words and is "communicative a good deal of the time."

"We expect he will need extensive therapy for about a year - but I expect he will get back to work," the doctor said. "It will take a lot of work and stamina in order to get back function in all his joints.

Wiedmann, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, was "screaming like crazy" and about to jump after he was trapped Monday while searching a blazing brownstone on Prospect Place in Crown Heights.

He was saved when he dove onto a ladder and was pulled to safety by a fellow firefighter.

At a press conference at the hospital yesterday, Wiedmann's brother Douglas thanked "everyone for their help and support during this time."

"Robert will be undergoing lots of surgeries to get him back to his old self, and we will be having blood drives throughout the city," he said. "He is certainly the bravest firefighter I know."

"His mental state is absolutely 100 percent," the brother said. "He knows he's in for a fight and he's going to do it."

Fellow Rescue Co. 2 firefighter James Gersbeck may not need surgery and is recovering well, in fair condition, Yurt said.

Gersbeck was in serious condition after suffering second- and third-degree burns and being carried out of the raging blaze at the three-story building.


Stay up to date on everything Fire Rescue. Click the buttons below to learn more about how to subscribe.

Magazine Subscription Newsletter Subscription