Lawrence Francis Boisseau

Lawrence Francis Boisseau
World Trade Center

Grim Omens

Early last September, Lawrence Boisseau, the fire safety director at OCS Security, had a dream that the World Trade Center, where he worked, was coming down on him. A few days later his wife, Maria Teresa, had a bad dream about debris, followed the next night by a nightmare about people bringing food, mountains of it. And on their way to a christening on Sept. 9 the couple talked about death.

"He even said to me, `You know, if the time comes, if you need somebody to take care of you, I don't mind.' That's how giving and caring he was," she said.

"In my case, I said, `If I die first, you are not getting married.' I swear to God." She laughed. "He said, `Oh, that's not fair. How come? I'm allowing you to remarry if you need to.' I said, `No, I don't want to share this feeling. I don't want any woman to share this relationship with you, just me. The feeling that I have, I just want to lock inside my heart."'

On Sept. 11 Mr. Boisseau, 36, helped knock out the windows of a ground-floor child care center at the Trade Center; the grandparents of several of the children he helped rescue attended his memorial service with their pictures, said his brother, Bob Simon.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on July 14, 2002.

Lawrence Boisseau, 'always wanted to help'

While commuting on the New Jersey Turnpike to his job at the World Trade Center last year, Lawrence Boisseau spotted a dog on the highway dodging traffic. To the alarm of his wife and a co-worker, Mr. Boisseau wanted to pull over and rescue the animal.

"I said, 'No, honey, you can't do that. Look at those cars,' " recalled his wife Maria Teresa Boisseau.

"He said, 'Honey, I feel so bad that dog is going to be run over.' "

The fate of the dog is not known. But it was that same concern for those in danger that prompted Mr. Boisseau, a fire safety director for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to give his life to save others on the morning of Sept. 11, his wife said.

"My husband, he always wanted to help people," Maria Boisseau said.

Mr. Boisseau, a Freehold resident who went by Larry, was on duty on the 91st floor of the North Tower, showing around representatives of the new owners of the Twin Towers, when the first hijacked jetliner struck the North Tower, survivors told his wife.

Mr. Boisseau, who had worked as a contract employee for the Port Authority for eight years, sprang into action. With other fire safety directors, he broke the glass of a nursery, pulling several children to safety. That done, he was directed to go to the command post on the ground floor of the South Tower.

There, he helped direct fleeing office workers and firefighters before the South Tower collapsed, killing him, his wife said. He was 36.

Married since 1985, Mr. Boisseau and his wife, who had no children, commuted together from their townhouse in Freehold to the World Trade Center. In recent months, they took the bus. "We fell asleep in the bus together, holding hands," she said.

On the morning of Sept. 11, they followed their usual routine when they arrived in Lower Manhattan, where Maria Boisseau worked not far from the Trade Center. "I told my husband, 'Hurry up, you're going to be late.' We kissed and said good-bye," she recalled.

It was the last time she saw him.

Mr. Boisseau was one of 10 contracted fire safety officials hired after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, said his sister, Donna LaBella of Massapequa Park, N.Y.

"As soon as I saw it (the Sept. 11 attack), I knew he was in there," LaBella said.

Born in New York, Mr. Boisseau was working at Kennedy International Airport when he met his future wife, who was traveling with a roommate. Her roommate introduced herself to the handsome man working security and gave him her telephone number. But when Mr. Boisseau called, it was Maria, not the roommate, that he wanted to ask out.

"He really swept me off my feet," Maria Boisseau said. "He didn't give up, that was the first quality I saw in him."

They went to a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manhattan and were married a year later.

Mr. Boisseau played drums in a rock 'n 'roll band as a teenager. He continued his musical pursuits as an adult, but with a twist. Using a computerized drum set, he could still bang away, the sound audible only through his headset. It wouldn't bother the neighbors that way, his wife explained.

The couple had a dog, a York terrier named Snuggles.

In addition to his wife and sister, Mr. Boisseau is survived by another sister, Patti Sirota of Oyster Bay, N.Y.; a brother, Bob Simon, and his mother, Rose Simon, both of Massapequa Park.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Saturday at St. Rose of Lima New Chapel, Freehold.

Profile by George Berkin published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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