Big, Fast and Reassuring
Keith Fairben was the adrenaline kid, always on the run, said his mother, Diane. He would get home from his job as a paramedic for New York Presbyterian Hospital, get on the cellphone, the home phone and his e- mail all at once, and then field calls from all his friends as they decided what movie to see that night or where to have dinner. Sometimes, to assuage the tension of his job, Mr. Fairben, 24, and his fellow paramedics would play practical jokes on their supervisor, Jack Delaney, one time smearing grease on his office doorknob so he couldn't get in.
But when Mr. Fairben was on the job he was in command, big and reassuring. And he was fast. Records of the Fire Department's Emergency Medical Service show that he and his partner, Mario Santoro, arrived at the World Trade Center within minutes after the first plane hit. They immediately got to work tending to the injured, running in and out of the building. At 9 a.m., Mr. Fairben's father, Kenneth, reached him on his cellphone, but Mr. Fairben said he was too busy to talk. The elder Mr. Fairben told his son to be careful. That was the last time he spoke to him.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 7, 2001.