Firefighter, 38, Dies of Cardiac Event at Department Fundraiser

Young firefighter cardiac arrest

On Sunday, Island Park Fire Department volunteer Michael Fischer went into cardiac arrest and died surrounded by his co-workers.

Former Island Park Fire Department Chief Anthony D’Esposito said Fischer, 38, had participated in a morning training event, then rode on a company engine to Peter’s Clam Bar on Long Beach Road, where firefighters were holding their annual clam-eating contest.

Arriving at the event, Fischer went into the bathroom to wash up, then returned to the dining area — and suffered an apparent heart attack.


Fire department and police medics worked for about 25 minutes in an attempt to revive their friend, but were unable to regain a pulse.

“He was in the best place he could be, surrounded by us, but in the end there was nothing anyone could do,” D’Esposito said.

Esposito said Fischer had no known heart issues. An autopsy is being conducted by the Nassau County Medical Examiner to determine an official cause of death.

The loss of Fischer is considered a line-of-duty death.


Known as “Fish,” Fischer was a lifelong Island Park resident. He was predeceased by his parents, Michael and Patricia; his father died in 2020 and his mother in 2021. He is survived by two sisters.

Fischer was sworn in as a member of the Island Park Fire Department in February 2013, and served as a lieutenant from April 2018 to 2019 and as a captain from April 2019 to 2020.

His maternal grandfather, Artie Riehl, had been a firefighter with Island Park.

D’Esposito said Fischer had spent Sunday morning training new department members, helping teach fundamentals like forcible entry, racking fire hoses and setting up new nozzles.


* Note that Newsday didn’t appear to make a distinction between a cardiac arrest (electrical) and a heart attack (blockage).

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