A Reflection on Individual Risk and Resiliency with FDNY Firefighter Brendan Cawley


FDNY firefighter Brendan Cawley is a survivor of the horrific Black Sunday Fire which occurred in the Bronx on the morning of January 23, 2005. Brendan is one of six members who jumped from the top floor of a 4-story apartment building on E. 178th St. Thirty-four months later, he returned to full duty status after a miraculous and grueling recovery from the physical and mental injuries he sustained as a result of his long fall. The fire tragically claimed the lives of three members of the FDNY – Lt Curt Meyran, FF John Bellew and Lt Joseph DiBernardo. 

The interview you will hear in this episode of the Leadership Under Fire Optimizing Human Performance Podcast featuring Brendan was recorded in 2019 at a LUF Human Performance Summit in Annapolis, Maryland. The event was devoted to the concept of resilience, namely asking the question, “what happens when we play to win and lose?” To help listeners gain context for each summit conversation, LUF Founder Jason Brezler and podcast host Patti Murphy discussed their reflections shortly after the event, which you will hear prior to the interview. 

Note: The podcast episode also includes tactical fireground transmissions from the Black Sunday fire in the Bronx. A word of caution to our listeners, the transmissions are raw and graphic.