FF George C. Cain earned his living battling the forces of heat and fire. His passion, however, was in the cold and on the snow. FF Cain, a member of Engine 7 in Manhattan, was only thirty-five years old when he was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. He joined the FDNY in 1994.
At the time that he got the call to join the department, he was living and working in Telluride, Colorado - where he spent five years earning his living as a carpenter in the off-season and enjoyed himself skiing on some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in these United States during the ski season. His mother Rosemary Cain remarked that her son, "could ski like the wind."
While his return to New York City and its environs might have put a damper on his downhill skiing exploits, the change of scenery did little to stifle FF Cain's love of the outdoors and his pursuit to challenge himself. He took up running as an activity. Not only was he so incredibly fit that his brothers at Engine 7 remarked at how much better he was than any of the rest of them at running up the stairs, he participated in the 1999 New York City Marathon. He finished the race in 4:33:43, which was a 10:56 per mile pace. He had registered for the 2001 New York City Marathon, which is run in early November annually, and was deep into his marathon training on the day of his death.
Rosemary Cain - feeling a mother's need to do something to ease the feeling of helplessness that followed the death of her son - signed up to be a volunteer at Ground Zero with the Salvation Army. The first day she was on site in her capacity as a volunteer, New Year's Eve 2002 - FF Cain's remains were identified. She continued to volunteer her time there for the six months or so thereafter until the Salvation Army's mission there was completed.
On May 6, 2012 the George C. Cain Memorial at the Caiaola Conservation Area in Putnam County, New York, which is located near FF Cain's home in Patterson, New York, was dedicated.
Fire and Ice. Heat and Cold. Life and Death.