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Council set to name street for Kew Gardens fireman

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A Kew Gardens street was expected to be renamed Wednesday in honor of a firefighter who grew up on the block and died in a rescue attempt at the World Trade Center Sept. 11.

The City Council was scheduled to vote Wednesday to rename 122nd Street between 85th Avenue and Hillside Avenue Firefighter Christopher J. Pickford Street, said Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills), who introduced the legislation.

“I think this is a particularly great way to memorialize someone who died on 9/11,” said Katz. “This is a Queens kid through and through, and this is a good way to honor someone.”

Community Board 9 and the Parks Committee of the Council have both unanimously approved the idea, Katz said.

Pickford, who died at the age of 32, spent his entire life in Queens, growing up in Kew Gardens and obtaining an education in the borough. He attended PS 90 in South Ozone Park, JHS 226 in Richmond Hill, and Forest Hills High School.

Pickford also graduated from Queensborough Community College and lived in Ridgewood before he died.

Pickford first worked for Ladder Co. 136 in Elmhurst for nine months and died while working for Engine 201 in Brooklyn. He worked for the Fire Department for a total of 18 months before he died Sept. 11.

The firefighter is remembered as a humorous, thoughtful man who enjoyed life, members of his family and friends said at his funeral earlier this year. Pickford loved music and was an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, they said.

After the collapse of the Twin Towers, Pickford was missing until his remain were discovered New Year’s Day. He had previously been listed among the 343 firefighters killed in the attack.

Before his remains were discovered, a memorial service was held at which then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani paid tribute to the fallen firefighter and his courage during the attack. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, for whom Pickford once worked as a paralegal, also attended the service.

At his funeral, Pickford’s parents, Linda and Tom, who still live on 122nd Street, his brother David, and his longtime girlfriend, Amy Whalley, remembered him and his bravery.

Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 155.

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