Peter Loftus

U.S. Army / Fire Department

Peter Loftus from Mayo Men's Jubilee Edition
Author's Personal Photo
Meuse Argonne, France
Panorama Chateau - Thierry, France
Croix de Guerre Medal
New York City
Mayo Men's Assoc. Journal.
Author's Personal Photo

U.S. Army / Fire Department

This Irishman served with the American army.  The  NY Fire Department during his long career.  He received numerous citations also awards.  He was a leader in the drive for the reduction of fire hazards in multiple dwellings also in the testing of much needed new equipment.


Peter Loftus was born in Pollawaria, Bofeenaun Co Mayo during 1894. [i]


Peter Loftus emigrated to the United Stated during 1915. [ii]

Army Service

Seven days following the start of W.W. 2 Peter Loftus decided to enlist in the United States army.  He served with the 58th  Field Artillery in France. [iii]


Peter Loftus was decorated twice after battles in Chateau Thierry & Meuse Arginne. [iv]


Following his tour of duty he decided to enter the U.S. Civil Service.  So began an eventful yet interesting time with the New York Fire Department at the 14th Division of North Queen’s Fire Service. (29th December 1964 Obituary) [v]


Peter Loftus’s promotions were gained as the result of competitive civil service examinations. He became a Lieutenant in 1924. A Captain during 1929  then in 1934 promoted to Battalion Chief.  He secured the rank of Deputy Chief in 1938.  He was appointed Chief of Department during 1948. [vi]


Peter Loftus was accused during December 1948 of dereliction of duty by allowing a party at Engine 33 Quarters.  He was later exonerated after a department trial with suspension then returned to duty.  Controversies also arose within the political regime as Commissioner Quayle opposed the appointment of Peter Loftus also  during 1948. [vii]


On the same day that the order was placed with the department, the ranks of both the Assistant Chief of the Fire Department also the Deputy Chief were changed to Deputy Chief also Assistant Chief of Staff & Operations with the result that no one reported to the Chief of Department!  This situation continued until a new Mayor with a new Fire Commissioner came to Office.  Commissioner George Monaghan on January 3rd 1951 eliminated the role of Chief of Staff & Operations.  This act restored control to Chief Loftus.  However again during 1954 his responsibilities were further disseminated when Commissioner  Edward Cavanagh restructured the department:  He transferred Administration & Personal Responsibilities to a separate unit of the Fire Department.  Staff & Operations were changed to Assistant Chief of Staff & Operations.  [viii]


Chief Peter Loftus received several citations within the Fire Department that also included during  May 1954 a certificate of merit  as a reward for saving the life of a fireman who had been buried in the collapse of a factory fire.  Chief Loftus was the first recipient of the new award.  A tribute was provided by Commissioner Cavanagh as to Chief Loftus’s ‘acts and his leadership were over and beyond the call of duty and in the full glory of the traditions of the Department.’  [ix]


Chief Peter remained with the department for thirty – five years until his retirement on September 19th  1955 when he moved to at 33 – 11, 145th Street, in Flushing, Queens County.  As firemen passed his home they saluted their former Chief with an extra ‘Hoot’ of the horn! [x]


Peter Loftus’s demise occurred 28th December 1964 when he was aged seventy years old at Flushing Hospital.  His funeral service was held in St. Andrew’s Avellino Church, Flushing.  He is interred in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Flushing. [xi]

Personal Effects

During a rubbish removal of premises by Di Mola Brothers in Ridgewood, New York: boots worn by Chief Loftus also a framed certificate were discovered. [xii]


Chief Loftus is referenced in these publications:

Hashagen Paul 2002 The Fire Department, City of New York Turner Publishing Company. [xiii]

Urbanouicz Gary 2002 Badges of the Brave, a pictorial history of New York Fire Departments  (Turner Publishing Company) [xiv]

Peter Loftus is listed in a Catalogue of Copyright Entries, 3rd Series  Library of Congress 1957.  It may be assessed on a PDF. [xv]



[ii] Mayo Men’s Association Journal, Diamond Jubilee 1954

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid


[vi]  Mayo Men’s Association Journal, Diamond Jubilee 1954


[viii] Ibid

[ix]  Ibid


[xi]  Ibid






No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.