The Best Job to Have
Even as a child, Michael J. Lyons hung out at a firehouse in his South Yonkers neighborhood. He always thought firefighting was the best job to have. At 32, Mr. Lyons had grown up to be a firefighter himself with Squad 41 in the Bronx, and before that, with Engine Company 44 on the Upper East Side.
But Mr. Lyons was good not only at putting out fires. A graduate of Manhattan College, he worked as an engineer on the side to make extra money. His other jobs included fixing roofs, driving a hot-dog truck and taking counter orders at the Yonkers deli where he met his future wife, Elaine (she was a waitress there).
"He was always working," she said. "There would be spans of two days when I wouldn't see him."
Mr. Lyons had started slowing down, though, after his daughter Caitlyn was born 17 months ago on his birthday. He never had the chance to meet his second daughter, Mary, who was born last month and named after his late mother. Mrs. Lyons gave the baby the middle name Michael.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 7, 2001.