Michael Kiefer, 25, was still a probie on 9/11. He had joined the FDNY in December, 2000, after getting perfect scores on both the physical & written exams. Before that he had been an FDNY paramedic for 18 months.
Kiefer started dressing as a firefighter at age 3 after his dad took him for his first firehouse visit. He wrote “FDNY” on all his schoolbooks. He used to listen to the police scanner to hear about fires, then race his bicycle to the scene to watch. When he was old enough he joined the local Junior Firefighters, and then volunteered with various Long Island companies, “always looking for more action.”
He was also very religious. A priest once asked him if he had considered going into the priesthood (which he had). He answered: “You save the souls and I’ll save the bodies.”
A lifeguard on Long Beach before he joined the FDNY, he was known for swimming 15 miles at a time and surfing all year round.