Dominick Pezzulo

Dominick Pezzulo
World Trade Center

The Unusual Was Typi

Two kids from the Bronx just out of high school on their first date: Let's take the train to Manhattan and walk around, they say. Approaching a fountain, he's afraid she's not paying attention. He steps in front to block her, and falls right in. "We had to ride home with his brand-new sneakers squeaking," recalls Jeanette Pezzulo, with a laugh. And after that, she says, there was no way she could avoid marrying Dominick Pezzulo.

It happened at the World Trade Center.

Through the succeeding 18 years, Mr. Pezzulo fixed airplanes for T.W.A., taught shop at Herbert Lehman High School, restored a Porsche 944 (it is on hold for 7-year-old Dominick Jr.), pumped iron regularly, went on dinner cruises and just slipped under the 35-year-old age limit for the Port Authority police force.

Officer Pezzulo, who lived in the Bronx, was assigned to the bus station. "He knew everybody in there, from the maintenance guys to the elevator operators to the store owners," said Officer Michael G. Placido, a close friend. On Sept. 11, he commandeered a bus with some other officers, and died under the first tower collapse while digging out a fellow officer. "I would say that's typical," said Frank Augello, a boyhood friend.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 15, 2001.

When they heard about the attack on the two buildings, Dominick Pezzulo and other Port Authority officers at a Midtown bus terminal commandeered a New York City bus to get downtown, said Gus Danese, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.

Pezzulo, 36, arrived at the scene before either building collapsed and tried to rescue Sgt. John McLoughlin and Officer William Jimeo of the Port Authority police, who were trapped in the rubble from the initial explosions, Danese said.

While Pezzulo was trying to rescue the officers, the south tower collapsed, killing him, Danese said.

"The two people he attempted to take out of the rubble survived. They are currently in Bellvue Hospital," Danese said.

"When they did remove Officer Pezzulo's body, one of the rescue workers wrapped him in an American flag," Danese said. The flag was given to Pezzulo's wife, Jeanette.

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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