John Heffernan

John Heffernan
World Trade Center

Man With Many Sides


Mary Heffernan's spirit just left her on the day of the attacks. One of her sons, John Heffernan, 37, a firefighter on the Lower East Side, was missing at the World Trade Center. Five years earlier, her son Patrick had died in a construction accident.

Another son, Michael Heffernan, 36, also a firefighter, looked for his big brother. He searched for weeks. Their sister, Deirdre Heffernan, 32, stayed with their 73-year-old mother. A fourth brother, Brian, 34, is a New York City police officer.

John Heffernan was a man with many sides. One moment, he was in a firefighter's uniform, rushing into burning buildings to save lives at the risk of his own. In the next, he was on stage in a black T-shirt and jeans, playing rhythm guitar in a punk rock band, the Bullys, that he helped found. In another, he was a devoted husband to his wife, Lori, and a devoted father to his 9-year-old daughter, Samantha.

A crew sifting through the wreckage at ground zero discovered John Heffernan's body on Oct. 2, his wife's 31st birthday, Deirdre Heffernan said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 24, 2002.




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