Monday, August 18, 2014

The Men Of Engine 40, Ladder 35 - Part I

The firehouse that is home to Engine 40, Ladder 35 in Manhattan is located at Sixty-Sixth Street and Amsterdam Avenue.  On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 thirteen men from this firehouse headed south into the maelstrom that was the World Trade Center.  Twelve of the thirteen men died.  Beginning today - and over the course of the next three days thereafter - this space's purpose shall be to pay homage to those dozen heroes.  I might suggest that you might avail yourself of David Halberstam's beautiful work, "Firehouse", which tells their story far better and in far more detail than I could ever hope to do.  

Kevin Bracken was a Firefighter at Engine 40.  FF Bracken was thirty-seven years old when he died in the line of duty on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  He had been a member of the FDNY for eight years at the time of his death.  His first house was Engine 23 in Manhattan.  He and his wife, Jennifer Liang, has been married for five years.  Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was Primary Election Day in the City of New York. Jennifer Liang and her husband said their goodbyes that morning at their local polling place, after having performed their civic duty and voted.  In addition to his wife Jennifer, FF Bracken was survived by his parents, one brother and three sisters.

Captain Frank Callahan  was a twenty-eight year veteran of the FDNY and the ranking officer of Engine 35 on scene at the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  One of Captain Callahan's four children, his twenty-year-old daughter Nora, worked part-time at the World Trade Center.  Prior to heading down that morning Captain Callahan called home to make sure that Nora was not in harm's way.  He was relieved to discover that she was not at work that morning.  Captain Callahan had been a member of the FDNY for twenty-four years when Callahan was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1997.  Shortly after he was promoted to the rank of Captain, he was assigned to Engine 35, the house he would call home for the remainder of his career.  Captain Callahan was survived by his wife Angela, their two sons, Harry and Peter, and their two daughters, Nora and Rosie.

Michael D'Auria was a new member of the FDNY.  FF D'Auria had only graduated from the Academy and joined Engine 40 on May 2, 2001.  A bright, physically capable young man, FF D'Auria scored perfect scores on the physical and written tests.  He was only twenty-five years young but in spite of his youth and his own relative lack of experience on the job, his firefighting pedigree was well-established.  He was one of nine firefighters on his mother's side of the family.  When he responded to the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001 he was responding to his second fire.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life
To something bigger than oneself. 
- Joseph Campbell 


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