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PETER GANCI

Peter James Ganci, New York City Fire Department's highest-ranking uniformed officer at the time, died on September 11, 2001, during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Born on October 27, 1946 in Queens, New York, Peter lived in North Massapequa, Long Island, with his wife, Kathleen; two sons, Peter III, a firefighter, and Christopher; and a daughter, Danielle.

A 33-year department veteran, decorated repeatedly for bravery, Peter Ganci joined the fire department in the 1960's: he became lieutenant in 1977; captain in 1983; battalion chief in 1987; deputy chief in 1993; chief of operations in 1997, and, two years later, he was named acting chief. "I'm a fireman,” the Chief would tell people who asked about his profession.

On the morning of September 11, he rushed to the World Trade Center with Dan Nigro, then Deputy Chief, to coordinate the rescue and relief efforts. He was in the basement of the first tower when it collapsed, but he dug himself out and survived. He was convinced that the second tower would collapse, so he ordered the mayor, the commissioners and others to get to safety, remaining behind with Reverend Mychal Judge, beloved chaplain of the Fire Department, and William Feehan, first deputy commissioner. Peter refused to leave his men. ''[He] would never ask anyone to do something he didn't do himself,'' said police commissioner Howard Safir, ''it didn't surprise me that he was right at the front lines. You would never see Pete five miles away, in some command center.''

Pete’s prediction came true: the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am. While Reverend Judge was repeatedly praying aloud, "Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!" debris went flying everywhere, killing them instantly. Peter Ganci was 54.