Oct. 13, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
An 81-year-old FDNY inspector and Vietnam War veteran died on the job at the Queens Center Mall last week.
Fire Protection Inspector William Klobus suffered a heart attack and collapsed while carrying out an inspection for the fire department at the 90-15 Queens Blvd. mall on Oct. 3, according to the FDNY and union officials.
Klobus, who was from Jackson Heights, died a short time later. The New York Daily News was the first to report the story.
The octogenarian — who may have been the oldest active FDNY employee at the time — was in uniform and in the middle of a fire safety inspection when he was suddenly stricken, according to Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507. The union represents city fire protection inspectors, emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
Klobus was a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force. He joined the FDNY 11 years ago when he was 70, Barzilay said.
“Even decades after others likely would have retired, he carried on and continued to serve the people of New York,” Barzilay told the NY Daily News.
“Inspector William Klobus’ legacy of public service began with his service in Vietnam and continued until the very day he died. We salute his dedication and honor him for being so resolute towards making a positive contribution to public safety.”
Dozens of FDNY officials assembled outside NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens Tuesday and formed a guard of honor as his body was removed from the medical examiner’s office.
Acting Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh served his country and his city.
“For eleven years he helped ensure the safety of New Yorkers and his fellow FDNY members through his work in the Bureau of Fire Prevention,” Kavanagh said.
“We are grateful for his tremendous lifetime of service and dedication, and we will never forget him.”