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MIke Ruddick
  Irish Voice  

Grandparents from Co. Leitrim. A native of Broad Channel; now resides in Malverne, Long Island.

Wife Joanie, children four-year-old Lucy, 21-month-old John Michael.

FDNY background
"I joined in April of 1989. Firefighting is a big tradition where I come from. I never spoke to an unhappy fireman, so that was a good recommendation right there. Before I joined I worked on Wall Street, and the crash there happened in 1987. I'm happy I made the move."

Describe your September 11 experience
"I dropped my children off at daycare, and then I had a doctor's appointment. I was listening to Imus in the Morning and they said something about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, so I blew off the appointment and went home to see what was happening. I turned on the TV and at first I thought a bomb had hit; then they showed the instant replay of the second plane crashing.

"When the buildings collapsed there was a total recall in the department, which means that everybody has to come to work. I went to the firehouse, we got a truck and went down.

"The first thing that came to my mind was our guys who were already there. We didn't know what was going on, as the buildings collapsed and there were a lot of guys missing. We were looking for our guys, searching every place we thought they could be. At that stage there was still a lot of hope that we'd find people alive." What have you been doing since the tragedy?

"The first week we were down there every day and every night, just doing whatever needed to be done. It slowed up a bit in the second and third weeks. The department stopped assigning companies in Manhattan that took big losses.

"Our company lost nine guys, the biggest number of all the northern Manhattan companies. The guys who were originally on duty that day got down there right away; the driver took the West Side Highway which was open. The company below us took the FDR Drive which was full of traffic, so they got there after the buildings collapsed.

What's it like to be a member of Ladder 13 post-September 11?
"There are four guys still not accounted for. Many of us who had relationships with the guys who died have been assigned to take care of their families, and do what needs to be done as far as getting money and services.

"I've been assigned to take care of Vinny Kane's parents in Breezy Point. He wasn't married, and his parents are in their 70s. They're in a state of shock."

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