Loving the Eye of the Storm
It was Hurricane Gloria in 1985 that led Andrew B. Jordan into the firefighting life. With the power out, a neighbor in West Islip, on Long Island, lighted a kerosene lamp that wound up igniting the house. Mr. Jordan thought to back the neighbor's car out of the garage, so there wouldn't be an even bigger catastrophe, then led a disabled woman to safety.
He became a New York City firefighter in 1994 and was assigned to Ladder Company 132 in Brooklyn, nicknamed "The Eye of the Storm." Every day was a joy, despite his two-and-a-half-hour commute. "He loved the firehouse and all the guys that worked there," said his mother, Ellen. He loved even the unromantic parts of the job, like fire inspections, said his father, Thomas, because he saw them as one more way to save lives.
A 36-year-old father of four, he was keenly aware of the risks he faced. When the ladder truck pulled up at a burning building, he was often the first one raised high into the air to battle the flames. "Andrew was going into the bucket at one fire, and this guy said to him, 'Thank God it's you and not me,'" his mother recalled. "Andrew said, 'Thank God it's me and not you.'"
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 15, 2001.