LAKE PLACID - Thousands of Facebook users have viewed a photograph of a firefighter covered in ice after battling a major structure fire here early Friday morning.
The photo, taken by Bobby Rondeau, shows Wilmington firefighter Bill McGreevy wearing ice-caked turnout gear, kneeling down near the fire that consumed a building at 263 Station St. that was home to four local businesses. Temperatures early Friday morning were close to 20 degrees below zero, and the water that was used to douse the flames froze quickly on nearly any surface it touched.
Reached by phone Friday night, McGreevy's wife, Paula, said the photo is especially striking because it doesn't show her husband's face.
Wilmington firefighter Bill McGreevy’s helmet and jacket are caked in ice Friday morning from fighting a blaze amid-nearly 20-below weather.
(Photo — Bobby Rondeau)
"There were 100 firemen at that call," she said. "Any of them could have been behind that mask. I told Bobby, 'You really captured a moment, because it's not about one person; it's about an unselfish act."
Nicole Lewis, a radio personality at Y106.3 in Saranac Lake, posted the photo to Fox44 TV's Facebook page Friday afternoon, starting a chain of shares that quickly ballooned into the thousands.
Lewis wrote in a text message to the Enterprise that she posted the photo because she wanted to show her gratitude and respect to all firefighters.
"I don't think they get enough credit for what they do and they are the ones risking their lives," she wrote. "I especially was trying to push for national recognition of this photo in particular. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and this one captures it all. I truly feel firefighters across the country will be touched in some manner and they deserve all the respect and recognition."
Lewis said she also shared the photo with the NBC, CNN and CBS television networks via their Facebook pages.
As of 8:30 Friday night, more than 2,360 people had shared the photo on Facebook, and it had racked up more than 3,720 "likes." More than 200 comments had been posted below the photo, nearly all of them commending the work of volunteer fire and rescue personnel.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.