Back at Work, as a Captain
After the floor collapsed in the East New York inferno of June 5, 1998, leaving two firefighters dead and Lt. Timothy Stackpole severely burned on his arms, legs, stomach and back, he worried that he might never work again. But he threw himself into months of treatment and physical therapy, encouraged by his wife, Tara, and his five children, who now range in age from 7 to 18. And he used the seemingly endless recuperation time to finish his bachelor's degree in education at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
After some months of light duty at Ladder 103 in Brooklyn, "he felt it was a tremendous victory when he came back to the firehouse to full duty a few months ago," said the Rev. Jim Cunningham, the Stackpoles' parish priest in Marine Park, Brooklyn. The Thursday before the terrorist attack, Lieutenant Stackpole was promoted to captain. And on the Saturday before the disaster, Captain Stackpole was named Irishman of the Year at the Great Irish Fair in Brooklyn, Father Cunningham said.
On Sept. 11, Captain Stackpole had just finished duty, but with the first news of the calamity he rushed to the trade center, "and he perished there," Father Cunningham said. "Tara knows that Timmy died doing what he wanted to do, serving the people of his city."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on September 22, 2001.