Attracted by Challenges
"He always wanted more action," said Patricia Tarasiewicz, describing her husband of 24 years, Firefighter Allan Tarasiewicz. So it is no surprise that he reported for work on Sept. 11, the day the couple had planned to leave for a scuba diving vacation in Mexico.
Mr. Tarasiewicz, 45, became a firefighter at 33, already having traveled widely and honed many skills. A Staten Island native, he met Patricia while stationed in Italy with the Marines. He went on to work as a sheet metal worker in California, a coal miner in Colorado. The New York Fire Department, Mrs. Tarasiewicz said, was his ultimate goal, or nearly so, since he kept volunteering for more challenging duty. His last assignment, with Rescue Company 5 on Staten Island, came after he used his free time to learn advanced scuba skills.
There was also his work at home, a weathered, 100-year-old house that he and Patricia, a flight attendant, bought two years ago to be close to the firehouse, a block away. By Sept. 11, he had rewired the place and remodeled the kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. His fellow firefighters have pitched in to finish the job.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 8, 2001.