Feb. 21, 1941 – Sept. 11, 2001
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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