YONKERS, N.Y. – Friends, family and fellow firefighters gathered Friday at Flynn’s Memorial Home to say goodbye to one of Yonkers’ bravest. Members of Station 4 firehouse called the death of Antonio Rodriques earlier this week a big loss to the department.
“The day he stepped into our firehouse, it was a good day for us,” said Capt. Dominick Fornabaio. “I’ve spent the last 12 years with him and worked very closely with him. He was a fun guy to be around and he could always be counted on.”
Rodriques, 49, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke he suffered after a daylong training session with 15 other firefighters in May. Rodriques had tried to return to work after the incident, not knowing what was wrong, but was eventually hospitalized July 18, and fell into a coma.
“There’s nothing that prepares you for something like that,” Fornabaio said. “It’s a rigorous training process and we’re not really sure how this occurred.”
Fellow firefighters say that although Rodriques did not have any kids of his own, he participated in various children’s charities, including the Ronald McDonald House.
“I think for Antonio, he kind of felt those were his kids,” said Assistant Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick. “We spent tireless hours working with children from Ronald McDonald. It wasn’t just raising funds; Antonio would go out of his way for those kids.”
“Four words: Integrity, dedication, loyalty and valor,” said Capt. James Ennis. “That’s what it says on our patch, and Antonio epitomized that for our department.”
Capt. William Urban will remember Rodriques as a great cook and the firehouse joker.
“He was always involved in practical jokes around the firehouse,” Urban said. “He wasn’t always like that. When he first got to our house, he was quiet and the first one scrubbing pots and pans. Eventually, he came out of his shell. I’m going to miss him and his cooking. He made the best chicken piccata I ever tasted.”
A funeral Mass for Rodriques will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at Immaculate Conception Church, 103 South Broadway in Yonkers.