Derek James (top left) was fired from the FDNY four months before his death due to city budget cuts. (Photo: FDNY/Instagram)

A former member of the Fire Department in New York tragically died from a heart attack two weeks ago, four months after losing his job as a firefighter.

Derek Floyd was just 36 when he suffered a cardiac arrest and left behind his wife as well as a six-year-old son and two-year-old daughter. He had previously served three tours with the United States Marines in the Middle East.

Due to suffering from a heart attack five years ago, Floyd was among approximately ten employees on modified duty and had been spending his last days at the FDNY in an office position. Here, he helped with the arrangements of funerals for FNDY colleagues who had passed away.

Before getting fired in the run-up to Christmas, Floyd was highly motivated to return to the field and was waiting to receive the medical go-ahead.

The timing of the former firefighter's dismissal means he agonisingly missed out on more than $600,000 in death benefits, in addition to other medical benefits for his loved ones. It leaves his family in a tough spot as they struggle to stay afloat despite Floyd's years of service for his country and community.

Following his FDNY exit, Floyd took on a job at a nonprofit organisation intended to support veterans. However, he was not making anywhere close to the salary he earned at the fire department, and the job had few benefits.

The required working hours meant he spent little time with his two children in his final months.

Floyd's widow, Christine, spoke on how much her former husband loved his job and how we were as a person. She told The Post: "Being a firefighter was something he was passionate about. He was a big-time family person; he was all about his kids."

She also touched on the tough financial spot she finds herself in due to the circumstances around Floyd's death. The 34-year-old explained: "If Derek would have stayed on, he would have had a life insurance policy with the FDNY. That would have helped out financially because right now, it's really bad. I'm honestly swimming in a lot of debt."

The fundamental reason for Floyd's firing from the FDNY was New York City's urgent need to free up funds for the services and housing of migrants entering the city. Hence, numerous budget cuts were announced by New York City Mayor Eric Adams towards the back end of 2023.

City Hall's aim at the time was for the FDNY's budget to be cut by $74 million by the end of next year. As there are typically around 800-1000 members of the FDNY on modified or long-term duty at a time, many could lose their jobs to cope with the budget cut.

Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighter Association, was disgusted with how Floyd was treated. He told The Post: "What disturbs me the most is that the FDNY is understaffed by hundreds of firefighters. He had an important job, and the FDNY actually needed him in that unit. He was terminated so the department could prove they were making cuts."

The city's other plans to help fund migrant spending involved the New York Police Department having its budget reduced by $132 million, with initial plans for five Police Academy classes to be scrapped. However, three of these upcoming classes have been reinstalled and will go ahead.

Also, the Department of Education was set for budget cuts of $547 million, but that decision was reversed after Mayor Adams' executive budget announcement last week.