He died at age 71 in the collapse of the north tower, the second building to fall. He insisted on helping pull firefighters to safety after the earlier collapse of the south tower. In all, 343 members of the fire department were killed on 9/11.
“This was this was the biggest fire in the city’s history and he had to be there, where he was meant to be,” Feehan’s son-in-law, firefighter Brian Davan, told The Associated Press in an interview.
“It gives great comfort to my wife and me that he died doing what he loved. And that might sound hackneyed, but it’s absolutely the truth,” Davan said.
Feehan held every rank in the fire department, including a three-month stint as commissioner in 1992. Colleagues said he had such intimate knowledge of the department’s inner workings, he could pinpoint the last time a truck was repaired.
Feehan, the son of a firefighter, began his fire department career in 1959 after college and serving in the Army during the Korean War. In the 1970s, he fought to change the law to require sprinklers in new buildings and in the 1990s he oversaw the integration of EMS into the fire department.
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