Sanitation worker dies after complaining of heat while on-duty, all flags ordered to half-mast

A 37-year-old sanitation worker who was working in Staten Island was found dead in his car Wednesday afternoon while he was working after complaining about the heat, prompting the Mayor Bill de Blasio to fly all flags at half-staff on Thursday.

Sgt. Frank Musella, who has worked for the Department of Sanitation since October 2006, had come back after being on patrol Wednesday afternoon and mentioned the extreme temperatures, which hit the mid-90s. He then went to his car and was found unresponsive a short time later, said Belinda Mager, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Musella was found by his sanitation colleagues who called 911, and was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital South where he was pronounced dead. It was not immediately clear if the heat contributed to his death, Mager said.

Musella’s wife, Alessandra, said Wednesday was the worst day of her life.

“I lost my love, my friend, my life, my heart!” she wrote on her Facebook account. “I lost my other half, the one I was supposed to grow old with! My Love My Husband, HOW DO I GO ON WITHOUT YOU? How will life ever be happy again!”

The couple, together for 17 years, had two sons: Frank, Jr., 8 and Anthony, 4.

“How do I tell [the] boys Daddy won’t be home, EVER…He won’t be here to pull teeth, give piggy back rides, clean boo boos, hug you, play nerf with you! He lived to make US happy!” Alessandra wrote, adding, “I LOVE YOU Frank Musella May you always look upon our babies and be my strength, be my inspiration! ILOVE YOU! Rest In Peace my Sweet Sweet amazing beautiful Angel!”

Hundreds of photos on Facebook of pool parties, family celebrations, pets, and holidays showed a happy and loving family. Alessandra had changed her profile photo to an image of the sanitation’s crest with a black line through it.

On Thursday, de Blasio ordered all flags on city buildings and stationary flagstaffs throughout the five boroughs, including the American Flag, the New York state and city flags, and POW-MIA flags, to be lowered to half-staff “in honor of Sergeant Frank Musella, a dedicated member of the Department of Sanitation’s Enforcement Division, who died in service.”

They would be returned to full-staff after Musella is buried, de Blasio said in a statement.