Injured Firefighter Returning to Hero's Welcome

Kevin O'Toole of Bethpage was badly burned in February. His joyful return home comes on a day of sadness for the fire service.

Kevin O'Toole, the firefighter from Bethpage who was severely burned in February at a house fire in Maryland, is returning home Saturday to a hero's welcome.

O'Toole, a volunteer with the Bladensburg, Md. Fire Department, suffered third-degree burns over half his body in a wind-fueled blaze in Prince George's County, Maryland. O'Toole has endured rigorous rehabilitation that included 10 surgeries to this point at the Medstar Washington Hospital Center's burn unit, in Washington, D.C.

He is now well enough to continue his recovery at home, firefighters and friends said.

Firefighters from Bethpage, Plainview and other area departments will be on hand Saturday to provide O'Toole with a hero's welcome. Firefighters will line Stewart Avenue in Bethpage outside the quarters of Bethpage Engine and Squad No. 4. His arrival will be between 3-4 p.m., organizers estimated. He will pass beneath a large American flag strung between two tower ladders.

Traffic may be impacted in the area.

Ironically, O'Toole's return comes on a day filled with sadness for the men and women of the fire service.

Thousands of firefighters from around the world are in Ronkonkoma today for the funeral of FDNY Lt. Richard Nappi, of Farmingville.

Nappi, an officer with FDNY Engine 237 in Brooklyn, died battling a fire in Bushwick earlier this week.


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