Thomas Hannafin

Thomas Hannafin
World Trade Center

In a Brother's Footsteps

Thomas Hannafin was a high school and college basketball star on Staten Island. When he followed his eldest brother, Kevin, into the Fire Department, he joined Ladder Company 5 in Greenwich Village. The captain there, John Drennan, a football coach on Staten Island, was building the firehouse into an athletic powerhouse, Kevin said.

Then Captain Drennan and two others in the company died from injuries in a 1994 fire. "Being so young on the job, it affected him deeply," Kevin, a member of another company in Brooklyn, said of his brother. On Friday, Kevin was part of a search team, including members of Ladder 5, that found the bodies of Thomas, 36, and four other members of his group in the mound of trade center rubble.

Kevin carried his brother's helmet out of the wreckage. "It was the proudest moment of my life," he said.

"It means a lot for firefighters, in firefighter tradition, that members of their company carry them out. That day, I was part of that company."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 19, 2001.

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