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De Blasio taps retired Whitestone chief as fire commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Daniel Nigro (r.) FDNY commissioner Friday afternoon. Photo courtesy Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio
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Mayor Bill de Blasio has named retired Whitestone fire chief Daniel Nigro as his FDNY commissioner.

Nigro, 65, served as chief of the department from 2001 until he retired in 2002 and led the FDNY following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He ascended to chief of department after his superior, Peter Ganci, died when the World Trade Center collapsed.

“Dan was apart of this department in some of its most challenging moments,” de Blasio told reporters at the FDNY academy on Randall’s Island. “Dan rose to the occasion over and over again.”

Born in Bayside the son of a firefighter, Nigro joined the FDNY in 1969 and served for 33 years before his retirement. He is credited with overseeing the merger of Emergency Medical Services with the FDNY.

“He had to lead the FDNY and inspire it through its darkest days and help get this department back on his feet,” de Blasio said.

The mayor tapped Nigro, despite rumors he was considering Mylan Denerstein, a former FDNY attorney who would have been the first black woman to get the Bravests’ top job. The city recently settled a lawsuit with former Fire Department workers who had alleged racial discrimination.

“Opportunit­ies to make a difference do not come along often in one’s life, if at all,” Nigro said. “Being apart of this administration is truly exciting.”

The Whitestone resident will replace Salvatore Cassano, who has been FDNY commissioner since 2010.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 8:28 pm, May 9, 2014
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