Thousands mourn fallen medic in New York City

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Colleen Long

new york» Emer­gency medic Yadira Ar­royo was beloved — by her col­leagues, by pa­tients she trans­ported to the hospi­tal, by the store owner she spoke to on her way to work and by chil­dren who walked by her Bronx sta­tion house.

The 14-year vet­eran of the New York Fire Depart­ment and mother of five sons, killed March 16 when she was struck by her own am­bu­lance that had been stolen, was re­mem­bered Satur­day by thousands of mourn­ers who packed a Bronx church and poured into the streets.

“Most of all, she was a hero,” said Fire Com­mis­sioner Daniel A. Ni­gro. “She died as one, but most im­por­tantly, she lived as one.”

Ar­royo, 44, and her part­ner, Monique Williams, were re­spond­ing to a call of a preg­nant woman in dis­tress when they were flagged down by a pedes­trian about a theft, au­thor­i­ties say. Ar­royo got out of the ve­hi­cle and a man darted into the driver’s seat and ran her down be­fore crash­ing into parked cars. The hor­rific scene was cap­tured on by­stander video and shows Williams sob­bing in the street over her fallen part­ner.

Ni­gro said emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cians do a dan­ger­ous job, but Ar­royo did it time and time again, even dur­ing asthma at­tacks. She took her job very se­ri­ously.

Ar­royo’s part­ner at­tempted to give a read­ing, but could only cry at the lectern while an­other read in her place. Ar­royo’s aunt and 23-year-old son Jose Montes de­liv­ered eu­lo­gies, telling of a kind, brave and re­silient woman who loved her job and loved her fam­ily.

“My mother wasn’t per­fect, she was ex­cel­lent,” Montes said. “The way she in­spired me, the way she lights up the whole room with her won­der­ful laugh. On top of any other lessons she showed me to make me as tough and as gen­tle, as wise and a cu­ri­ous as I am now, she taught me how to lis­ten. Be­cause she lis­tened.”

Montes said that he missed her, but that he and his fam­ily would en­dure.

“Mommy’s OK guys, and we’re all OK,” he said to his broth­ers, the youngest of whom is 7. “Be­cause we all have each other.”

Twenty-five-year-old Jose Gon­za­lez has been charged with mur­der in Ar­royo’s death. Au­thor­i­ties say Gon­za­lez hopped on the back of the am­bu­lance, then darted into the driver’s seat and ran Ar­royo down af­ter a man on the street flagged the ve­hi­cle down to say Gon­za­lez had stolen his back­pack. Gon­za­lez told re­porters he is in­no­cent, while his lawyer said he’s men­tally ill and didn’t act in­ten­tion­ally.

The streets out­side of St. Ni­cholas of To­len­tine Ro­man Catholic Church were crowded, where a large view­ing large screen was set. First re­spon­ders from Bos­ton, Bal­ti­more and Canada at­tended.

“The hearts of our city are bro­ken to­day,” Mayor Bill de Bla­sio said.

An am­bu­lance car­ries the body of fallen emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cian Yadira Ar­royo past hun­dreds of fire­fight­ers on Satur­day. New York City Mayor’s Of­fice

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