Ronald Bucca, 47, a 23-year FDNY veteran, was promoted to Fire Marshall in 1992. Fire Marshalls investigate fires. On 9/11, he immediately knew it was a terrorist attack. His wife said, “He had been expecting something like that for a very long time.”
He responded with Orio Palmer and the men of Ladder 15 on the 70-something floor of Tower Two trying to clear a path for those higher up to evacuate down.
Bucca had been in the military for 29 years, and had recently been promoted to Warrant Officer in the US Army Reserves. He had spent time with military intelligence, Special Forces Green Beret. He was also a licensed practical nurse and had degree in fire science from John Jay College.
He earned the nickname “The Flying Fireman” while a member of Rescue 1 in 1986. Attempting to rescue a brother firefighter, he fell five stories, striking a telephone wire and a pair of cables on the way down. Fire officials concluded the cables slowed his fall only minimally. Instead they conjectured he was saved by his Airborne and Special Forces training. Landing on his hands and feet like a cat, he suffering only a broken back in a fall that for almost anyone else would have been fatal. He was determined to come back. “I designed my own rehabilitation program – calisthenics, running and other exercises,” Bucca was quoted saying. “There was never any doubt in my mind.”