NYPD report details death of Bridgeport firefighter while climbing

Photo by Tara O'Neill

A police report from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in New York said Stephen Buda had reached approximately 150 to 175 feet of the approximately 200-foot section of the climb when he fell, sustaining fatal injuries on Monday, September 6, 2021.

Bridgeport FD / Contribution

BRIDGEPORT — A city firefighter who died of injuries sustained while climbing in New York City on Monday afternoon had nearly reached the 200-foot mark of his ascent when he fell, authorities said.

The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office said in a report that police and medics responded to the area at 3650 Route 44/55 in Gardiner, NY, for a 911 call about a fallen climber. The report identified the individual as Stephen M. Buda III, a 56-year-old New Haven resident.

Authorities said the preliminary investigation, which included testimony, suggested Buda was climbing at a popular spot in the Trapps Bridge section of the Mohonk Reserve. They said it looks like he was about 150 to 175 feet from the about 200 foot section of the climb when he fell. The report says Buda was not wearing any climbing or safety gear at the time.

The Bridgeport Fire Department announced the death of Buda Tuesday, adding that he leaves behind a wife and two children.

Buda, a pump engineer for the city fire department, was hired in August 2013. The department said rock climbing was Buda’s favorite pastime.

Virginia F. Goins