Lt. Joe Maiello, 53, was a family man first, a 22-year veteran firefighter, friend, and bartender with a smile for everyone.
The 22-year member of the FDNY lost his life on December 26, 2021, after suffering a heart attack while on duty in his firehouse, leaving behind Irene and their two children, Jake (17) and Cecilia (14); his mother, Eileen Maiello; his brother, James (wife Sarah); his sister, Gina (husband Chris); and his five nieces and nephews, Kaila, Jack, James, Michael, and Anthony. His father, Joseph Maiello, passed away in June of 2020.
Born in Brooklyn, Maiello was a graduate of Xaverian High School in Brooklyn. He attended Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Tech and earned a bachelor’s degree. He began his career as a teacher at PS 205 in Brooklyn, like his parents, who were both teachers, and his father, who was a principal.
Joe joined the FDNY in August 1999. As a probie he started at L148, then rotated through E325/L163 in Queens, which is where he was working the day of the fatal Father’s Day Fire in 2001, and then three months later on 9/11, where he survived the collapse of the North Tower. He spent most of his career at L148/E282 in Borough Park, Brooklyn. He was promoted to lieutenant from L148 in February, where he served as a firefighter, mentor, and company union delegate for many years.
He grew up with the ambition to become a firefighter, and he loved every aspect of the job–helping others, giving back to the community, and the camaraderie within the firehouse.
When he was a little boy, his mom would take him to the local firehouse in Brooklyn so he could ride the poles. They would stop every day, and he always loved it. If he was home and heard a siren, he would get up and go follow it as far as he could. It was his dream to become a fireman.
When not working at the firehouse or his second job bartending at the Staten Island Hilton for events, Maiello spent time volunteering at both PS 30 in Westerleigh, when his children were students there, and at IS 51 or taking one of our many road trips, local and not local, always exploring new areas.
“Joe was as dedicated to his profession as he was to his family,” said his wife, Irene. “He was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, colleague, and friend. He was loved by all who knew him. He always had a smile and an insightful comment; he was just that type of guy. We are heartbroken by this loss.”