All Muscle and Heart
David Martin Weiss, a New York City firefighter, was built like a fireplug. He stood 5-foot-9 and weighed 225 pounds. He was all muscle, with biceps as big as the thigh of a medium-build woman.
He was bulldozer strong. He looked as tough as he sounded. His head was shaved and his body was covered in tattoos. He drove Harleys.
He was an ironworker before he became a firefighter 13 years ago. He blended both experiences to become a member of the Fire Department's elite force. He joined Rescue Company 1 in Times Square about six years ago after receiving a medal for a rescue attempt: a man's car careered off Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and plunged into the East River. Mr. Weiss, off duty, stopped his car, climbed down the iron trestles of the elevated highway and jumped into the river to rescue the driver, whose heart had given out.
"He just jumped, knowing that he was the person's only hope," said Thor Johannessen, a firefighter.
Mr. Weiss, 41, of Maybrook, N.Y., had a mean sense of humor. "If he saw a thread, he knew how to pull it to unravel the whole shirt," said Joel Kanasky, another firefighter. "He was the king of that."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 4, 2001.
Weiss, David Martin, 41, FDNY Firefighter of Maybrook, NY was declared missing on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center Tower One. Born and raised in Freeport, NY, he joined the Freeport Fire Dept. in 1978 and the Ironworker's Union Local 580 in New York City. He was appointed to FDNY in 1989 and became a member of the Elite Rescue Company 1 after receiving the Emily Trevor-Mary B. Warren Medal for Heroism, in 1997 having rescued a man from the East River. In addition, David was a recipient of other awards including The Fire Fighter's Quarterly Man Of The Year Award in 1993. He also received the New York City Transit Award. He is survived by his children, Michael and Alissa of Lake Ariel, PA, his mother Joan Weiss-Prowler and step-father Robert Prowler of Pompano Beach, FL, brother Barry of LaGrangeville, NY, and sister Michele Little of Encinitas, CA, his companion Kathryn Emhardt of Maybrook, NY and his former wife Karla. His father Michael Alan Weiss preceded him in death in 1981. A memorial service was held at Central Synagogue, NYC, September 30, 2001.
Paid notice publiched in the FT. LAUDERDALE SUN-SENTINEL on 12/17/2001.