A Firefighter's Scrapbook
Michael L. Bocchino kept a scrapbook of all the fires he fought and the people he helped rescue in his 22 years as a fireman. The first entry dealt with a Harlem apartment fire in June 1980 ‹ when he was 24 ‹ in which two firemen plunged to their deaths. The book's last chapter will be about the World Trade Center, his last fire. As family members compile material for it, his uncle, Leo Piro, a retired fireman, reminds people that his nephew's career started and ended with a disaster.
For the last 12 years, Mr. Bocchino, 45, worked as a chief's aide in Battalion 48 in Brooklyn, helping deploy units at fires. He was devoted to his elderly parents, Michael and Lucy, with whom he lived, and his work, family members said.
During a memorial Mass on Oct. 13, his brother Tom talked of the scrapbook, and the people Mr. Bocchino had saved since 1979. And he lamented the sudden end of his career. "We may never get to meet anyone he might have rescued on Sept. 11."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 20, 2001.