If Martin Egan Jr. had a notion to do something, he went for it.
On a whim, the fire department captain tried bungee jumping. Then sky diving. He ran the New York City Marathon in 2000.
When he saw a near- century-old colonial-style house next to a pond in Great Kills, Staten Island, he decided he would buy it, completely gut it and put it back together again.
The only issue was that Captain Egan, 36, had no construction experience. Undeterred, he studied how-to books and magazines to learn to rebuild the structure's interior. "He wasn't afraid to try new things," said his wife, Diane. "He did a beautiful job, and I'll live here forever."
Captain Egan was also the first of his childhood friends from Midland Beach, Staten Island, to join the New York City Fire Department. His two younger brothers also became firefighters.
"He showed us the way," said John Mahon, a firefighter and longtime friend. "We saw how much he loved the job and what it did for him. The rest of us said we've got to get this job."
Martin Egan was promoted to captain in Division 15 not long before Sept. 11. On the 11th, he was on administrative duty when he decided to answer the call for help at the World Trade Center.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 17, 2002.