Like Father, Like Son
Like his buddies, Christopher Santora played stickball and basketball growing up in Long Island City. Unlike them, he rooted not for the Mets or the Yankees but for the Toronto Blue Jays. He thrived on holding different opinions — "He would always argue," said his father, Al Santora. And he traded friendly putdowns, as Richard Grech, his oldest friend, remembered. "If you said something stupid, he was all over you."
The other thing he loved was being a firefighter, following his father, a retired deputy chief. After he graduated from Queens College, he was a substitute teacher. But he turned down a permanent job at Junior High School 10.
His hard training helped him earn a perfect score on the Fire Department's physical exam, to go with the 100 on the written test. He joined the department in February.
Just after 9 a.m. on Sept. 11 his father took a call from Engine Company 54, saying he should come back to work.
But even though his shift had just ended, Firefighter Santora, 23, had already jumped back on his truck and set off for the World Trade Center.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 1, 2001.