Firefighter Daniel Suhr spent ten years as a middle linebacker for the Brooklyn Mariners, a semi-pro team. He was “a big brave man who could get mushy over his 2-year-old daughter.” He was called “Captain America,” perhaps because he looked the part but also because he had a habit of always pointing out the exits and designating an emergency rendezvous everywhere he went.
The son and brother of firefighters and one himself since 1983, Suhr and his team from Engine 216 must have been among the first called on 9/11. They had just arrived and were setting up on the plaza when Suhr was hit and killed by a jumper. He was the first firefighter to die that day. Father Mychal Judge administered last rites. But Suhr’s death also made it clear that it was not safe at all on the plaza level and that entry and exit needed to happen from the more sheltered street level below. The men of Engine 216, joined by a team from 205 carried Suhr’s body blocks away to safety and delivered him to an ambulance to be taken to Bellevue. Then the tower came down. They all feel that Suhr saved their lives with his own.