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Dennis Cross
Age: 60
Occupation: Battalion Chief, Battalion 57
Worked for: New York Fire Department
Originally from:
Resided in: Islip Terrace, NY
School:
College:

I didn't know Dennis, but thought his name should be here.
Submitted by: Jay Dooling ()

Other links: Running for a Memory: NY Times

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This is my 2nd cousin; my mother's first. She hadn't seen him since she was a teenager. When she sent me the newspaper article about him, I had wished I had the chance to meet him. I pray that his soul now rests in peace. He truly was a hero
-- Jennifer Crump-Whiteley ()
01 Nov 2001

From NY Newsday November 14, 2001

'Sharing Danger With His Men'

In the beginning of his 37-year career with the New York City Fire Department, Dennis Cross asked to be transferred to a busy company because he wanted to respond to more fires; in the end, as a battalion chief, he would go into the blazes as far as any man whom he worked with.

Cross, 60, wasn't the type to linger outside a burning building. His wife, JoAnn, knew this. So did his lifelong best friend, Brian O'Flaherty, a fellow battalion chief. When O'Flaherty rushed to the World Trade Center Sept. 11, he knew Cross was already there. When the south tower crumbled around him, O'Flaherty knew Cross was most likely deep in the building.

"When I am in the ambulance and leaving the scene, I had this bad feeling that Dennis did not make it," said O'Flaherty, 59, from his home in Rockville Centre, where he is recovering from his injuries. "He would go in as far as anybody."

Watching television that day at home in Islip Terrace, JoAnn Cross knew too that her husband was lost. "He had a saying that he loved. He'd say, 'Take care of men, and men will take care of you,'" she said. Part of taking care of his men, she said, was to go into the fires with them.

Seven days later, rescue crews pulled Cross' body from the rubble at Ground Zero, something his wife called a "miracle." Cross was buried Sept. 22.

He was among the older men in the department. While some men his age left or considered retiring, Cross spent his free time running, biking and lifting weights to make sure he was fit enough to extend his career as long as possible. "He loved the job, and he was damn good at it," his wife said. "He didn't want to ever retire."

O'Flaherty called Cross "one of the most knowledgeable chiefs in the department," but said Cross never wanted to go for the promotion to deputy chief because that meant fewer chances to charge into burning buildings and less attachment to his men.

"He knew that corner of Bedford Stuyvesant where he worked better than probably anyone in the department," O'Flaherty said. "The department doesn't know what it has lost."

Cross was chief of Battalion 57. He served on a commissioner's committee to draft new firefighting regulations, and trained up-and-coming chiefs in a department mentor program.

Cross and O'Flaherty grew up together in Queens. They used to ski down hills north of Hillside Avenue and camp with the Boy Scouts in Bear Mountain State Park.

And they used to talk about their dads, both firemen, who both died young.

"He wanted to be a fireman since I met him when I was a kid," said JoAnn Cross, who through friends met her future husband when she was 12 and he was 15. Three years later, they started dating.

Cross took the firefighter's exam after high school, then fought in Vietnam with the Army. Upon returning home in 1964, he married JoAnn and was assigned to Engine Co. 2 in Manhattan.

"He really enjoyed it from the start," said O'Flaherty. "I saw how much he liked it, and I started."

The pair worked together 11 years, at Ladder Co. 105 and Ladder Co. 102, both in Brooklyn. Cross was promoted to battalion chief in 1990.

Although they never worked together after 1979, the men stayed close, spending time with each other's family, skiing upstate and sailing in Cross' boat on the Great South Bay.
-- Anon (Friend { })
04 Feb 2002

{from Newsday contd}

In the beginning of his 37-year career with the New York City Fire Department, Dennis Cross asked to be transferred to a busy company because he wanted to respond to more fires; in the end, as a battalion chief, he would go into the blazes as far as any man whom he worked with.

Cross, 60, wasn't the type to linger outside a burning building. His wife, JoAnn, knew this. So did his lifelong best friend, Brian O'Flaherty, a fellow battalion chief. When O'Flaherty rushed to the World Trade Center Sept. 11, he knew Cross was already there. When the south tower crumbled around him, O'Flaherty knew Cross was most likely deep in the building.

"When I am in the ambulance and leaving the scene, I had this bad feeling that Dennis did not make it," said O'Flaherty, 59, from his home in Rockville Centre, where he is recovering from his injuries. "He would go in as far as anybody."

Watching television that day at home in Islip Terrace, JoAnn Cross knew too that her husband was lost. "He had a saying that he loved. He'd say, 'Take care of men, and men will take care of you,'" she said. Part of taking care of his men, she said, was to go into the fires with them.

Seven days later, rescue crews pulled Cross' body from the rubble at Ground Zero, something his wife called a "miracle." Cross was buried Sept. 22.

He was among the older men in the department. While some men his age left or considered retiring, Cross spent his free time running, biking and lifting weights to make sure he was fit enough to extend his career as long as possible. "He loved the job, and he was damn good at it," his wife said. "He didn't want to ever retire."

O'Flaherty called Cross "one of the most knowledgeable chiefs in the department," but said Cross never wanted to go for the promotion to deputy chief because that meant fewer chances to charge into burning buildings and less attachment to his men.

"He knew that corner of Bedford Stuyvesant where he worked better than probably anyone in the department," O'Flaherty said. "The department doesn't know what it has lost."

Cross was chief of Battalion 57. He served on a commissioner's committee to draft new firefighting regulations, and trained up-and-coming chiefs in a department mentor program.

Cross and O'Flaherty grew up together in Queens. They used to ski down hills north of Hillside Avenue and camp with the Boy Scouts in Bear Mountain State Park.

And they used to talk about their dads, both firemen, who both died young.

"He wanted to be a fireman since I met him when I was a kid," said JoAnn Cross, who through friends met her future husband when she was 12 and he was 15. Three years later, they started dating.

Cross took the firefighter's exam after high school, then fought in Vietnam with the Army. Upon returning home in 1964, he married JoAnn and was assigned to Engine Co. 2 in Manhattan.

"He really enjoyed it from the start," said O'Flaherty. "I saw how much he liked it, and I started."

The pair worked together 11 years, at Ladder Co. 105 and Ladder Co. 102, both in Brooklyn. Cross was promoted to battalion chief in 1990.

Although they never worked together after 1979, the men stayed close, spending time with each other's family, skiing upstate and sailing in Cross' boat on the Great South Bay.
-- Anon (Friend { })
04 Feb 2002

On this 2nd anniversary of that terrible day.I just want to add what a Great Brother I lost.
He had a great sense of humor and although
physically strong he was a real gentleman.
I know he loved his Job with the NYFD.And
he could handle anything he was up against.
I was always so proud of him.
However Nobody,including Dennis and his
other 342 Brothers could invision what they were up against that awful Day.

Rest in Peace

Your Brother----Charlie Cross
-- Charles E. Cross (Brother {})
11 Sep 2003

My Uncle My Hero
Two years have past and you are thought of everyday. Coronado St. has been renamed and we had such a beautiful ceremony last night to honor you. I know you were watching from above because it was such a great night. We miss you & Love you.
-- Barbara E. Brucculeri (Friend Niece)
13 Sep 2003

Mr Cross it truly was an honor to have worked with you,even if it was such a short time spent.I'll always remember seeing you at the 10-75 in the Marcy Projects being so proud to have known you as a brand new probie.As time goes on we see your Grandson Colin Dennis grow but still remains the picture of you.Not a day goes by where everyone doesnt think of what we lost."If a mans honor and glory is weighed by that of his friends,my glory and honor will be to have he as a friend" REST IN PEACE CHIEF
-- Rory Allen (Friend {})
13 Feb 2004

Dennis was my 2nd cousin, and I am proud to be related to him. Every year since 9/11 I have sung Lee Greenwood's "God bless the U. S. A." in tribute to Dennis to keep his memory alive in my heart and to help encourage people to remember that this country was founded to give us the freedoms we have. On this day I pay my respect and deepest gratitude to Dennis and what he stood and fought for.
-- Tony Frevele (Cousin {})
11 Sep 2005

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