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Firefighter Thomas W. Kelly

Ladder 15, Truck 4, FDNY

Firefighter Kelly's Act of Heroism

Over 400 first responders lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Heroically performing their sworn duty, these firefighters, members of the NYPD and PAPD, and numerous other rescue workers will forever be remembered for their sacrifice.

My Hero

He died while responding to the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center.


Firefighter Thomas W. Kelly, 50, wasn't one for telephone chit-chat — "Hihowareyo, here's Kitty" was his standard greeting as he turned a call over to his wife — but his actions shouted. He quietly stuck by his friends, worked a second job to help his widowed mother, and at Ladder Company 15 in Manhattan was known as Mr. Dependable, a mentor to the probies. But, his sister, Maureen Paglia said, "Tommy never wanted praise for anything."

Something else his actions shouted: this Sinatra fan and father of two sons had a big, squishy, sentimental streak. Raised in Brooklyn, he bled Dodger blue so truly that he paid $1,420 for an original seat from Ebbets Field. Firefighter Kelly, who lived in Staten Island, collected bats, cards, statistics and baseball caps from special events. He was so proud of his little brother Dennis that he saved his sports trophies, newspaper clippings and diplomas, from grammar school on, and presented them after the birth of Dennis's second child.

His wife saw that sentimental streak on their first date, in September 1971. Mr. Kelly, then a steamfitter, took her to his construction site, his grandest project: the 40th floor of 2 World Trade Center.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on August 25, 2002.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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