Michael Emmett Brennan

Michael Emmett Brennan
World Trade Center

Mikey B. the Prankster

His birth certificate said Michael Emmett Brennan, but everyone knew him as Mikey B. And if there was fun to be had, he would find it.

Growing up in a large Irish family in Queens, Mikey Brennan, 27, would delight in throwing a bucket of cold water on his brother Brian when he was in the shower. When his brother retaliated by smearing Vaseline in his hair, he could see the humor just as easily. "He looked like the Fonz for about three weeks," Mr. Brennan recalled. And he could keep a secret. "I found out about all these little pranks after the fact," said his mother, Eileen Walsh. "And I said, 'That's my Mike?' "

As a child he was fascinated with police officers and firefighters; his favorite television show was "CHiPs." So it was no surprise to his family when he left college in 1995 to become a firefighter. "He had a passion for it," Ms. Walsh said, adding that he was continually working to improve his skills. He answered the call on Sept. 11 with Ladder Company 4.

"I've never been in a fire," Mr. Brennan said, "but if I were, I would want Mikey to bring me out."

Yet his hard work never took the twinkle out of the eye of Mikey Brennan, an avid snowboarder and surfer who lived in Woodside, Queens. About a year ago at a family gathering, Ms. Walsh said, one of her daughters was talking about body piercing. "Oh, please, don't get your tongue pierced," Ms. Walsh pleaded. With that, everyone started laughing as Mikey Brennan stuck out his tongue to show off his brand-new stud.

"While living," Mr. Brennan said, "he lived."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 28, 2001.

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