Joseph Agnello, 35, is always alphabetically the first of the 343. He was an unassuming guy who loved being a father. “Bells” had two boys under three.
His remains were found on New Year’s Day 2002 along with Regan and Vega. He is buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery next to fellow firefighters Vernon Cherry and Pete Vega. Bobby Graff, an elevator maintenance mechanic for the Marriott Hotel is quoted as saying, “Their families should be proud of them. They knew what was going on, and they went down with their ship. They weren’t going to leave until everyone got out. They must have saved a couple hundred people that day. I know they saved my life.” Graff recalls, “Joey helped me bring handicapped people down from the 19th floor in the elevator. We then went up to the 12th floor where people were screaming and brought them down. Then the mayday call came on the radio and the command was ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’ Joey and the other guys used their bodies like a brace – like a riot squad – directing the people out. They knew what was coming, but they stayed where they were. I’ll never forget that. The men of Ladder 118 died side by side.”