Peter Loftus

Peter Loftus

Birth
Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland
Death 28 Dec 1964 (aged 69–70)
Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA
Burial Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA
Plot Section 19, Range L, Plot 152
Memorial ID 88425448 · View Source
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By no doing of his own, Peter Loftus was the most impotent Chief of Department in the FDNY's history only assuming full authority after three years in the position.

Born in Pollawarla Bofeenaun Ballina, County Mayo, Ireland, Mr. Loftus joined the Department in 1920. He moved quickly up the ranks; to Lieutenant in 1925, Captain in 1929 and Battalion Chief in 1934. He moved into position to become Chief of Department after becoming Deputy Chief on August 1, 1938 and placing first on the Civil Service list in 1948.

When the rank of Chief of Staff & Operations was created in 1946, with authority higher than Chief of Department, the upper echelon of the Department went into turmoil. Upon appointment to be Chief of Department in 1947, Chief Harold Burke immediately retired. The post remained vacant until Chief Loftus was appointed on August 1, 1948. However, Chief of Staff & Operations Frank Murphy had total control over the Department, second only to Commissioner Quayle, who opposed Loftus' appointment. On the same day his promotion was placed in the Department Orders, the ranks of Assistant Chief of Department and Deputy Chief of Department were changed to Assistant Chief of Staff & Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff & Operations. As a result, nobody reported to the Chief of Department.

This situation continued until a new Mayor and his appointed Fire Commissioner came into office. Commissioner George Monaghan eliminated the rank of Chief of Staff & Operations on January 3, 1951 thereby restoring control to the Chief of Department, Peter Loftus. His responsibilities were diminished again in 1954 under Commissioner Cavanagh who re-structured the Department and moved administrative and personnel responsibilities under a separate unit. Chief Loftus retired and ended his 35-year career in September 1955.

As a member of the Department, at all ranks, Peter Loftus was seen as a true firefighter. He was cited several times, including at the age of sixty when, as Chief, he rescued a firefighter buried in the collapse at a Brooklyn factory fire. His career was not without controversy though. In December 1948, just four months after being appointed Chief of Department, he was charged with dereliction of duty by allowing a raucous Christmas party to take place at the quarters of Engine 33 on Great Jones Street. Alcohol and "women from a Broadway nightclub" were present. After a suspension and departmental trial, he was exonerated and returned to duty.

After his retirement, Chief Loftus continued to reside in Flushing, Queens. He died in Flushing Hospital.


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  • Created by: Gary Urbanowicz
  • Added: 12 Apr 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 88425448
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Peter Loftus (1894–28 Dec 1964), Find A Grave Memorial no. 88425448, citing Mount Saint Mary Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Gary Urbanowicz (contributor 47731674) .