Capt. Brian Hickey, 47, had a 20-year career with the FDNY, a captain since 1998. His next promotion was posthumous. Hickey was also an instructor in the Nassau County Fire Academy, and a fire commissioner in Bethpage where he had begun his career as a volunteer at 18.
Two of his men had recently died in the “Father’s Day Fire” in which a hardware store in Brooklyn burned, igniting a propane tank that exploded the building and buried three firefighters. Hickey carried their mass cards in his helmet along with a photo of his family. 9/11 was his first day back on the job after recovering from his own injuries.
Regarding the dangers of the work, Hickey told his wife, “you can never lose sight of what our job really is.” He also said, “Ask a young firefighter why they joined and they’ll say, ‘I want to fight fires, I want to save lives.’ But it’s not really your main reason for doing it. It’s to belong to the club and do something exciting.”
Hickey had four children with his high school sweetheart. Just the week before he’d danced with his daughter at her Sweet 16 party.
Although in command of Rescue 4, on the morning of 9/11, Hickey had volunteered for an overtime shift and was the covering Captain for Rescue 3 in the Bronx. It was with those seven men that he responded to the WTC.