Joseph Lovero

World Trade Center

Fan of the Firefighters

Joseph Lovero was the ultimate fire buff. He fell in love with firefighting as a child hanging out at the firehouse a few doors down from his family's house on Bergen Avenue in Jersey City. His brother and friends became firefighters; but a heart problem disqualified Mr. Lovero. So he joined the Jersey City Gong Club, a fire buffs' group, and turned up at every fire, often with the club's canteen, helping out the firefighters.

Several years ago, the Jersey City Fire Department began hiring civilian dispatchers. Mr. Lovero, who had worked in construction and hoped for a cameo role in "The Sopranos," got one of the jobs. Late Tuesday, his family learned that he was in St. Vincent's Manhattan Hospital, where he later died.

Asked why Mr. Lovero had been at the World Trade Center, his sister-in-law, Joan Lovero, said, "We're not certain. Because we didn't ourselves know that he was there."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 18, 2001.

Joseph Lovero, rushed to scene to help

Joseph Lovero was chasing firetrucks before he could add.

The firehouse five doors from his house in Jersey City became a second home, its occupants his heroes. When he was old enough, Mr. Lovero took the fire test, but a heart condition made him ineligible.

While Mr. Lovero had to give up his dream of fighting fires, he found ways to help out on the scene both as a volunteer and later as a fire dispatcher.

"He tried to live it in any single way he could," said Maxine McCormack, his daughter.

On Tuesday, just after Mr. Lovero completed a shift as a civilian fire dispatcher in Jersey City, he rushed to the site of the World Trade Center attack and did not return. He was 60.

Mr. Lovero's friends and family don't know exactly why he went to the scene. He may have been asked to help set up a communications center at the site. And he was also an amateur photographer and might have gone to take photos, they say.

But, McCormack said, if his original purpose was taking pictures, he would have dropped his camera upon seeing the mass destruction.

"His desire to help people would have so far superseded that," McCormack said. "If something was going on, he would always be there to help."

Born in Jersey City, Mr. Lovero was the eldest of three sons born to a glassmaker father and a homemaker mother.

He too worked with glass as a young man and later was in construction as a member of Cement and Demolition Local 325. Mr. Lovero was also an Emergency Medical Technician and had worked at the Jersey City Medical Center for a time.

In the early 1980s, a ceiling collapsed in the PATH station at Journal Square in Jersey City and Mr. Lovero was the first one on the scene. Risking his own life, he crawled under the crumbled concrete to help stabilize trapped victims. He was cited for his bravery, said Anthony Chiusolo, 33, a Jersey City police officer.

Mr. Lovero was past president of the Gong Club, a nonprofit volunteer group that serves food to firefighters and victims.

In addition to his daughter Maxine McCormack, Mr. Lovero is survived by another daughter, Joanne Mahon, a son, James, two brothers, Michael and James, and a former wife, Lucille. He had two granddaughters.

Visitation will be today from 7 to 9 p.m. and tomorrow from 2 to 9 p.m. at Greenville Memorial Home in Jersey City. A funeral procession on Wednesday will leave the funeral home at 8:45 a.m. to arrive at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Jersey City for a 9:30 a.m. funeral Mass.

Profile by Kimberly Brown published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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