Army Marine Corp Navy Air Force Coast Guard Police Firefighters Citizen Heroes

Lieutenant Robert D. Cirri, Sr.


Lieutenant Cirri'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

The day of the World Trade Center attack, Eileen Cirri received a call from her husband, Lt. Robert Cirri, a Port Authority police officer. He said he was a couple of blocks away, saw people running and was planning to help. "He told me he was safe but that he couldn't watch people running out of the building," Eileen Cirri said. "He said he needed to go help."

Reports say Mr. Cirri gathered a group of fellow officers and led an expedition into the North Tower to try and help people. He lost his own life when the tower collapsed.

"I'm not surprised at all," said Lt. Paul Haggerty of the Lyndhurst Police, one of Robert Cirri's best friends. "That's just the type of guy he was." From his work as a police officer to his part-time gig as a paramedic and even his hobby as a ham radio operator, friends and family say Mr. Cirri, a 39-year-old Nutley resident, lived to help others.

When he wasn't training other officers for the Port Authority, Mr. Cirri spent part of his weekends as a paramedic at Hackensack University Medical Center. "He loved helping people and he was a good leader," Eileen Cirri said.

Haggerty said he and Mr. Cirri started their ham radio operation as a hobby, but that he soon realized he could help people at the same time. Both men became a part of Jersey Coastal Emergency Services, a nonprofit organization that monitors emergency airwaves. "He wanted to look out for the public," Haggerty said.

Mr. Cirri was also a good father to his two children and three stepchildren, bringing them all together on the weekends.

And his willingness to help others didn't stop with the public. Once, one of Mr. Cirri's children began choking on a hot dog. Eileen Cirri, at that time an emergency room nurse, lost her cool and panicked, but not Mr. Cirri. "He was sitting at the table, popped a piece of steak into his mouth, calmly got up and performed the Heimlich Maneuver without missing a beat," Eileen Cirri said. "It doesn't surprise me at all what he did Tuesday."

Profile by Jeffery C. Mays published in THE STAR-LEDGER.
Information courtesy of the Remember 9/11/2001 memorial site on


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