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James J. Corrigan

Retired Captain, FDNY
Feb. 21, 1941 – Sept. 11, 2001

On September 11th, retired FDNY Captain James Corrigan, 60 years old, of Little Neck, NY was doing what he had trained to do his whole life - saving lives. Jim was the Director of Fire and Life Services for the World Trade Center Complex. Jim, with the help of three Fire Safety Directors who were also retired Firemen, saved numerous lives including all of the children at the Day Care Center. The exits near the Day Care Center were choked with people trying to leave the building, and these brave men broke through the glass windows and carried the children through those windows to safety. All of the children miraculously survived this terrible tragedy due to the effort, skill and heroism of these men. Only one man of the group of four would survive.

Jim then returned to the Emergency Command Center in the lobby of Tower 1 to assist in the evacuation. The FDNY had given the order for firefighters to evacuate but the radios weren’t working properly and they were unable to get the word out to all units. Jim, having worked at Ladder 10 for over 9 years, knew those buildings inside out. He proceeded to a lower level with Chief Grzelak to see if they could open the old command station that was in use prior to the 1993 bombing of the Trade Center. They did this in an attempt to get the building intercoms and elevators operational in the 4 buildings that the old command center controlled. Jim was able to make a last call to his son, Brendan, to tell him we were under terrorist attack and not to go anywhere until he heard something further. The South Tower then collapsed, and all communication was lost. Jim died as he had lived - helping others. His instincts, skills and heroism saved countless lives on that infamous day.

This tragedy followed one of Jim's proudest moments when his son, Sean, was married on September 8th. For Sean and his wife, Colleen, the tragedy was magnified as they arrived in Aruba on their honeymoon on September 10th and woke up on the 11th watching the tragic event unfold on CNN. They were stranded for 5 days waiting the opening of the airports.

Jim’s family and friends will dearly miss this kind and gentle hero. They will always remember that his sacrifice and bravery saved hundreds if not thousands of lives that tragic day.

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