Marine Park

Firefighter Christopher Bopp Triangle

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Christopher Michael Bopp was born in Queens, New York on March 7, 1971. Several years after his birth, he and his family moved to East 31st Street in Brooklyn. There he and his brother attended Our Lady Help of Christians parochial school. Firefighter Bopp went on to Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. There he played ice hockey and was a member of their team, the Clippers, for four years. Firefighter Bopp loved to play and would later play for his fire company 170. When he wasn’t on the ice, he was watching his favorite ice hockey team, the New York Rangers.

After high school, Firefighter Bopp attended The College of Staten Island and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in English. In 1993, he became a police officer, one of New York’s Finest. He served on the force for three years in the 61st Precinct in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, before transferring to the Fire Department; on October 15, 1995, Bopp became a firefighter, one of New York’s Bravest. He spent his first year as a New York City firefighter at Ladder Company 170 in Canarsie, Brooklyn. From there, he went to Engine 24 in Manhattan and finally Engine 224 in Brooklyn. After his last rotation in October 1998, he returned to Ladder Company 170.

One month after starting the job of his dreams, he married his grammar school sweetheart, Cori on November 17, 1995. They were married in Our Lady Help of Christians, where they both attended grammar school. After the ceremony, they came to Marine Park to take their wedding pictures.

In November of 1998 she was pregnant with their first child. On December 16, 1998, Firefighter Bopp and his wife saw and heard the heartbeat for the first time. That was the only time he and his wife together would see or hear their child. On July 26, 1999, their baby girl, Carli Michele, was born.

On December 18, 1998, Firefighter Bopp and two fellow firefighters lost their lives during a fire at the Vandalia Senior Housing complex while trying to rescue a resident who had already escaped from the burning building. The cause of the fire remains unknown; it is likely that a resident’s cigarette was responsible and the building’s sprinkler system had been shut off. The two other men who died were Firefighter James Bohan and Lieutenant Joseph Cavalieri. Firefighter Bohan is honored with the James Bohan Memorial Hockey Rink in Queens’ Juniper Valley Park. A park honors the memory of Lieutenant Cavalieri in his hometown Long Island Village of Malverne, and three trees were planted in the vest pocket park in memory of the three heroic firefighters. Firefighter Bopp was posthumously awarded the Medal of Supreme Sacrifice and the Medal of Valor.

This triangle, located in Marine Park near the intersection of Avenue S and East 32nd Street was acquired by the city between 1917 and 1937. Marine Park had been a special place for Firefighter Bopp throughout his life. As a little boy he enjoyed the playground and the swings or just running around and playing on the open fields. In high school, he played baseball at Marine Park and as an adult, Firefighter Bopp visited the park as much as he did when he was a child. He and his wife would often go for walks around the park or just sit and enjoy the scenery.

Directions to Marine Park

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