Charlie loved rescue and special operations. Originally assigned to Ladder #1‚ one of the early tower ladders in the city‚ he responded to many Hi-Rise fires including one for the very first fires at the twin towers. As Lieutenant at Squad #1 and later as Captain of Rescue #1 in Manhattan‚ he continued to go to ‘Big’ fires‚ including the Empire State Building Fire and the ’93 bombing of the World Trade Center.
He traveled to Worcester‚ Massachusetts to assist in rescue on their darkest day and he and Chief Ray Downey devised a plan on Father’s Day 2001 to rescue their fallen brothers trapped and killed in a hardware store fire in Queens‚ New York. Both on Father’s Day and on September 11‚ Charlie was home with his family when his beeper rang and he responded to the call.
On the 11th‚ his response was to be both professional and personal. We had just received a call from our daughter‚ mother to Charlie’s most precious grandson‚ Dylan‚ who lives a mere 6 blocks from the World Trade Center and who‚ on an early morning walk with the baby‚ had seen the plane fly into the tower. She was crying and not knowing the full scope of the attack at that moment. Charlie told her that he’d be coming to pick up her and the baby‚ after he finished up at the World Trade Center. His aides were meeting him on the plaza with his gear. He was in his car in a flash with me calling after him not to try ‘any daring rope rescues down to the burning fuselage.’ and ‘Love you.’
As I watched‚ the horror unfold before me on the TV and as the children were evacuated with masks and finally made it home. We were all together but I knew he was gone. The moment the North Tower fell‚ my spine went weak and I knew that the man I knew and loved for 38-years was gone. As were those beautiful towers that he loved so much.