Originally from Finglas, Co. Dublin. Emigrated to the U.S. in 1989. Resides
in Rockaway, Queens.
Wife Maureen; seven-year-old son, Sean; four-year-old twin daughters Hannah
"I've been with the department since February of 1996. I worked in Manhattan
before that; I was a carpenter. I had always been in the military since I came
here, in the Air Force Reserves, and the Fire Department allowed me to do the
same thing. I ended up in Squad Company 1 in Brooklyn. It's been good.
Describe your September 11 experience
"I was off duty that day as I was supposed to bring my mother to the airport.
She was visiting for two weeks from Dublin. I was supposed to be on duty but
I swapped days. Once I heard what happened I immediately went to the firehouse.
A bunch of us met there; we got downtown 15 minutes after the second tower was
"It's hard to describe my initial thoughts after arriving. The best description
I heard was that a gray evil had come over the city. It was a beautiful day,
but then when we walked into this thing it was indescribable. Evil best says
"We spent 20-something hours there; it was well into Wednesday by the time
we got out. Then we spent every day of the next three weeks there. It's been
"Our unit is a special operations unit, so we go in all the voids down there,
into all the holes. We search and hope that we can find someone. It's hard.
Our squad lost 12 guys. We've only found three, and we're still looking.
Are you glad you became a firefighter?
"It's still the greatest job in the world. I love it so much. I'm with the fire
department for life, no doubt about it."
What do you see for the future?
"It's a period of adjustment for all of us now. People talk about getting back
to normal, but that's not going to happen. There was the old normal that we
used to know, but now there's the new normal. That's what we all need to deal
with. There is no going back."
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