Always Ready to Help
Over at the Ladder 3 firehouse, none of the coffee cups have handles. It's one of the many legacies of Michael Carroll, 39, who spent 16 years there. The other firefighters are not sure why he started snapping off the handles, but just like his other habits, it could not be stopped. He also cut a hole in the wall between the ladder company's dormitory and a room reserved for the aide who drives the local battalion chief around. Late at night, if the ladder company answered an alarm and the aide stayed in bed, Firefighter Carroll would reach through the hole, open a dresser drawer and slam it, just to let the aide know they had returned.
"He was an incredible teacher for the younger firemen," said Pat Murphy, whose idea of torture was speaking to school groups touring the firehouse — until Firefighter Carroll helped him.
Michael Carroll drove the truck to the fires, coached his son, Brendan, in baseball and doted on his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Olivia. He was "great, great and great," said his friend Gerard Brenkert.
During the blizzard of 1996, he was heading uptown from New York Hospital after his father had surgery there.
"On every other corner, there was a poor soul looking for a cab," said Nancy Amigron, his sister. One by one, Firefighter Carroll picked up the snow-covered New Yorkers and drove them home. "We were so relieved about my father that we would have driven anybody to California," said Mrs. Amigron, who is planning to send some new coffee cups — without handles — to Ladder 3.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 9, 2001.