Affectionately referred to as "The Master of Disaster" and "God," Deputy Chief Raymond M. Downey, Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Command (SOC), died in the line of duty, while helping others escape from the fire and collapse scene of the twin towers at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The fire service was a major force in his life, as evidenced by his sterling career. He truly was a legend in his own time.
As a tribute to Chief Downey's legacy, his family has established the D.C. Raymond Downey Scholarship Charity Fund to keep his memory alive and to benefit the many organizations that Chief Downey cherished.
By Samuel Bruchey and Michael Rothfeld newsday.com, 12/16/2001
They braced themselves against metal railings on the cold, clear morning Saturday, hundreds of them, to pay their respects to the New York City firefighter they always knew as a giant, and now the world knows, too.
In the street, Raymond Downey's troops stood saluting him for the last time as the truck from Rescue Company 2 rumbled slowly down Deer Park Avenue.
Then with only his memory to honor, firefighters unloaded a bed of red, white and blue flowers with his helmet resting on top and carried them into the packed Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church. Additional mourners gathered in an adjacent school to watch the memorial service on a large-screened television.
Governor Keating Remembers Fallen New York Fire Hero Who Helped Oklahoma in 1995
I first met Ray Downey late on the night of April 19, 1995, in front of the bleak, bombed-out skeleton of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It was rainy and cold, and we were just beginning the awful work of bringing out the dead from the scene of what was, until Tuesday, the worst domestic terror attack in American history.
NEW YORK -- Thousands of firefighters gathered Saturday at a memorial for their fallen colleague Ray Downey, one of three top Fire Department officials lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Downey, chief of special operations command, was a firefighter for nearly 40 years and was the city's most decorated firefighter at age 63.