Raymond Ragucci was born on January 3, 1952, in Staten Island, New York. He grew up surrounded by a large, loving, extended family. In 1987, he married Rosalie, moved to Queens, then in 1990 made his home in Levittown, New York.
In 1983, Ray was assigned to Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) Engine Company 5, located on 14th Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one of the oldest and busiest firehouses in New York City. For decades, it was considered one of the legendary fire companies in New York City. Firefighters who serve with Engine Company 5 are considered among the most highly motivated and dedicated members of the FDNY. At Engine Company 5, Ray would build not only a career, but lifelong friendships and a second family. It was here that he spent his entire career of 21 years.
The only thing more important than Engine Company 5 was his wife, Rosalie, and his three children, Raymond, Jr., Danielle, and Jeana. Ray loved spending time with family and friends and enjoyed hosting parties at his New York and Arizona homes. He treasured those times.
Ray was one of the first responders to the 1993 bombing of One World Trade Center, where he took a serious fall in the blinding smoke near the hole, yet continued to soldier on until he was relieved hours later. Ray sustained serious injuries and spent close to the next four years on medical leave and then light duty while he rehabbed as he fought his way back to health. In 1997, he returned to his beloved Engine Company 5.
Ray never sidestepped his duties and bore a great deal of responsibility to the department and his brothers at Engine Company 5. He responded to the World Trade Center following the collapse of the Towers. Ray’s determination and resolve was evidenced by his dedication to the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. He worked at Ground Zero for 49 days, which led to the illness that claimed his life. Quoting Ray’s lieutenant, “Ray was efficient, fluid and a work of art–a firefighter at the top of his game.”
After Ray’s passing, his wife received a card which clearly depicts Ray’s life: Everyday heroes go about their routine business of living, laughing, and loving. They make sacrifices, not headlines. They touch hearts and change lives, have high hopes, low profiles… and the admiration of all who recognize them as true heroes.
Ray was a true hero to all who knew him. “It’s a Beautiful Day”