Hundreds of Casey Skudin’s siblings in the FDNY, as well as his loving family and friends, will bid final farewell to the 16-year veteran of the department at his funeral Friday.
Skudin was killed by a falling tree branch in North Carolina a week ago while on vacation with his family. Skudin, along with his wife and two children, were driving on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville when the branch fell over a road at the entrance to the estate amid high winds, officials said.
Skudin and his family were on vacation to celebrate his 46th birthday and Father’s Day, which happened to fall on the same day. The falling tree branch crushed the car, killing Skudin and leaving his 10-year-old son in hospital.
His wife and their oldest son managed to get out safely.
The tree branch fell on the SUV Casey Skudin, a 16-year FDNY veteran, was driving with his family in Asheville, North Carolina, on Friday. His body was flown back to New York on Tuesday. That reports NBC New York Melissa Colorado.
“It’s really hard to digest that it gets so tragic over such a meaningful weekend,” said Randy Eichin, Skudin’s best friend.
An escort of first responders followed Skudin after his body was flown back to New York on Tuesday. It went from a tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in Queens to a funeral home in Oceanside, where Skudin’s fellow firefighters waited to greet the 45-year-old.
“It’s the hero welcome that a hero like Casey certainly deserves,” Eichin said.
Visiting services were held for Skudin on Thursday. At Friday’s funeral ceremony, Skudin’s family and widow asked that mourners not wear black as they want it to be a celebration of his vibrant life.
The funeral will begin at 11 a.m. at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside.
A New York firefighter has been killed in a tragic accident in North Carolina. Officials say Casey Skudin would have turned 46 on Sunday.
For years, Skudin risked his life to help his fellow man. First as a lifeguard, then as an FDNY firefighter in Rockaway. Skudin’s cousin, Ian Skudin, said he was someone “you look up to, it’s hard not to.”
But in cruel twist of fate – it wasn’t a fire or a rip current that took Skudin’s life, but rather a freak accident.
Eichin jumped on a plane bound for Asheville to understand what happened and to support Casey’s family. Flowers and an FDNY T-shirt later marked the spot where the tree branch once was.
“If one person went, I’m sure, he would say take me and please spare my family. A lifeguard, firefighter. He would make that choice,’ Eichin said, fighting back tears.
The Long Beach surf community will probably remember Skudin too, as he was a longtime surfer and outdoorsman who earned a medal years ago for rescuing a drowning surfer. On Sunday mornings, there is a memorial trail for Skudin at Lido West Beach.