Chief Thomas DeAngelis (1)
Service was held
on October 13, 2001
the Thick of Things
Five years ago, when Thomas P. DeAngelis was promoted to battalion
chief in the New York City Fire Department, his wife, Patty,
told him: "You've been running into burning buildings for 22
years. But you're a battalion chief now, so you won't have to
do that anymore." In her heart, she knew better. Tommy DeAngelis
would never send a firefighter into a building he had not personally
entered and checked out. Around the East 51st Street firehouse
in Manhattan, he was known as "Chuckles" because of his sunny
good humor and his lust for life: sports, cooking, sailing,
carpentry, writing. But when the alarm sounded, he would suddenly
become all business. Sometimes he would kick around the idea
of retiring in a year or two — he was 51 — maybe to take up
writing children's books. But, again, Mrs. DeAngelis knew better.
"He loved being a firefighter way too much to ever quit early,"
she said. On Monday, Sept. 10, she had lunch with him at their
home in Westbury, on Long Island, before he headed into Manhattan
to pull a 24-hour shift. "See you Tuesday night," she said as
he left, giving him a kiss. "Be careful." Profile published
in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 16, 2001.
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