Playground named in honor of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo

Bronx EMT Yadira Arroyo, who was killed in the line of duty four years ago when her ambulance was stolen and the driver mowed her down, will now have her name remembered forever.

On May 27, the Parks Department renamed Blackrock Playground the Yadira Arroyo Playground in honor of the departed.  The somber ceremony featured FDNY, elected officials and family and friends of Arroyo.

Arroyo, a 14-year FDNY Emergency Medical Technician, was a dedicated leader and public servant who gave her life for the community.

Her uncle, David Malave and one of Arroyo’s sons, Jose, spoke about her.

“It’s a real honor, privilege and amazing experience to have had such a hero of a mother,” he said. “I appreciate all of you coming out. I know my mom is looking down and she’s very proud of all the faces she sees today.”

Malave told the attendees that life has not been the same since Arroyo was killed. He thanked everyone for honoring his niece and is grateful the playground was renamed for her.

“My only hope is she will be remembered the same way we remember her, a heroic woman who was fearless in the face of diversity,” he said.

The decision to change the park name was made with support from the FDNY, elected officials, Community Board 9,  EMTs, paramedics and the Hispanic Society Fire Department of the City of New York.

The newly renamed FDNY – EMT Yadira Arroyo Playground was designed with input from the students of the nearby P.S. 119 and most recently renovated in April 2019. A central water play area, used on hot days, divides the playground into two sections–one for older children and one for younger kids and tots.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Assemblywoman Karines Reyes also spoke about Arroyo.

“She was a hero because every day she came to work and went into this community answering each call for help,” Nigro said. “She was without question, a remarkable woman.”

Reyes, a registered nurse, knows firsthand about saving lives. The assemblywoman noted that no one leaves their home expecting to not come back.

“I find it fitting that we honor her memory in renaming this park so she can inspire the younger generation into a life of service,” Reyes said. “This community was better because of women like her.”