Born January 26, 1963, to Marvin and Debra Lane in East Rockaway, New York, Keith graduated from East Rockaway High School in 1981 and from the University of Scranton in 1985, with a bachelor’s degree in communications and criminal justice. He served as a firefighter for Vigilant Engine Company #1 of the East Rockaway Fire Department for more than 14 years before moving to Oceanside and joining Salamander Hook, Ladder & Bucket Company 1 of the Oceanside Fire Department in September 1995. He served as a firefighter there until his death and was posthumously promoted to captain.
Keith was a cameraman for Fox 5. A cameraman has to be where the action is, but in the background. This was Keith at home, at work, and at the firehouse. He liked staying behind the scenes, but without him things didn’t get done. Keith’s love of firefighting and photography started at a young age, when he would follow the fire trucks on his bicycle to photograph the fire scene operations and apparatus. Eventually, Keith served as both the department photographer and the public information officer.
Keith worked hard for a lot of causes, especially those involving firefighters, police, first responders, military, and veterans. He made sure the stories he worked on showed the respect that they deserved, especially because his nephew, Ryan, is an active member of the United States Army.
Keith’s daughter, Tara, came first in his life. Despite the work hours and trips required for his job, his service to the fire department, and the behind-the-scenes work he did, he was always able to provide for her. The love and care he showed Tara throughout her life is an example for all of us to follow.
Keith died too young, but he survived a lot. He was present in war zones around the world and had multiple passports with hundreds of stamps each. On September 11, 2001, he was at the scene, covering and filming soon after the second plane struck the Towers. The courageous, dramatic, and traumatizing moments he caught on film won him an Emmy Award. Two years later he was one of 23 firefighters badly injured during an explosion at an industrial fire near Oceanside Fire Headquarters. He spent a month in the burn center with second and third-degree burns to his face, neck, and hands. As soon as he could, he returned to active duty.
Keith is missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and everyone who met him. He left a lasting impression. We love you and miss you more than you will ever know, Keith. Rest easy, Brother. We’ve got it from here.