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Tom McHugh
  Irish Voice  


Background
From Rockland County. Mother emigrated from Co. Leitrim; father emigrated from Co. Mayo. Resides in Spark Hill, Orange County.

Family
Wife Lee.

FDNY Background
"I've been in the department since June of 1990. I thought it would be a good job and a chance to help others. I'm currently with the fire marshals at the Bronx base, working on investigations."

Describe your September 11 experience
"I was off that day, and I heard on the radio what happened. I drove down to work; everyone was ordered to report. A few hours later I went down to the Trade Center. "I'm not sure what time I got down there; it was a few hours after it happened. It was just a surreal scene, totally unimaginable.

"I was looking for my brother, Dennis. He was a firefighter in Ladder 13. I tried to piece together where they last were. There were lots of firemen looking for their companies or their trucks. I was able to locate his truck, but there was no sign of anyone from his company.

"We didn't find Dennis that day. My mother and father are as well as can be expected, but it's been so difficult for them. They had four boys. They're just taking it day by day now. Dennis was married and had three children. The oldest is just five and he had 10-month-old twins. It's so tough on his wife now.

"They found Dennis's body a few days after his memorial service on September 28. We had a small service after that for the family."

What has your job been like since?
"The fire department is trying to get back to normal. Fire marshals do the origin and cause and investigations on fires, but now we've been working at the morgue helping to identify the firemen. Fortunately I've been on vacation for the past couple of weeks. It's been a help.

"I still think it's the greatest job, though. What happened was so unfortunate. Nobody could have foreseen it."

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