There'll be little room for history in Anderson Cooper's new home.
Before he bought his century-old firehouse in Greenwich Village,
bronze plaques honoring members of Fire Patrol 2 who died in the line of
duty -- including on 9/11 -- were stripped from the building to make it
easier to sell.
The plaques were rescued from a pile of trash by Arnie Roma, whose
son, Keith, a member of the fire patrol that worked out of the building,
died on Sept. 11, 2001, rescuing people from the World Trade Center. A
plaque in his son's honor graced the firehouse's facade.
MEMORIAL: Arnie Roma holds a memorial plaque taken from the new
home of Anderson Cooper.
Roma said he got a call last week from the Board of Fire
Underwriters, the insurance-funded group that sponsored the patrol
before it was shuttered in 2006, letting him know where he could find
"If you want, come up here and get them because we don't know what to
do with them," Roma said he was told by the insurance group. "They were
laying in a corner with dust and garbage all around them."
The four plaques that once hung at the firehouse had been pulled down
and removed by the building's former owners, fearful that the presence
of the historic plaques might have made Cooper reluctant to buy the
building, Roma said.
The board sold the firehouse to Cooper for $4.3 million late last
year. The CNN newsman is now renovating it into a home.
"These guys didn't realize what these plaques meant to us," Roma
The plaques were part of a storied history behind Fire Patrol 2,
which traces its firefighting roots back two centuries.
The patrol's mission was to help limit damage to property at fire
scenes, but they often assisted lifesaving efforts.
Roma served in the Fire Patrol from 1971 to 1973 before becoming a
city cop. His son, Keith, had been with the Greenwich Village unit for
five years before his death.
"Keith made four or five trips out of the towers escorting people to
safety," Roma recalled.
Roma has taken the plaques to his Staten Island home for
Roma is now leading an effort to re-establish the Fire Patrol and
relocate it to another building. If he's successful, he plans to hang
the plaques in a new firehouse.
"They'd be afforded the respect that they're due," he said.