On a Different Path
When Thomas G. O'Hagan was 7, he tried to stamp out a fire in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, but his pants caught fire. He ended up with second- and third- degree burns. "Even with all that," said his brother Raymond, "and all the pain that burns cause, Tommy wanted to be a fireman."
In a family of 11, where his grandfather, father and two brothers were police officers, Thomas O'Hagan's decision to become a firefighter, and later be promoted to lieutenant, set him apart. "Tom was very different from the rest of us," said the eldest of the five O'Hagan brothers, Frank O'Hagan, a banker. "While the rest of us are kind of quiet, Tom was very loquacious and extremely generous with his time, money and advice."
Lieutenant O'Hagan, 43, lived in Riverdale, where he grew up, and was an enthusiastic firehouse chef who knew all the best recipes because they were his own. He had been assigned to Engine Company 6 a few weeks before Sept. 11.
If anyone needed a hand, his brothers said, Tom O'Hagan's voice was first to be heard. He was dedicated to his wife, Andrea, and their twins, Patrick and Pierce. After his mother died in May, Lieutenant O'Hagan visited his father at least three times a week and often more. "He was there for dad a lot," Frank O'Hagan said. "That speaks volumes about his generosity."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 25, 2001.