Joseph Hunter, 32, was 6’2” and a “stunningly handsome” bachelor. He loved fire trucks from when he was a little boy and would race his Big Wheel to the corner to watch every time he heard the siren wail. Later he would follow them as far as he could on his bicycle.
At 18 he joined the South Hempstead Volunteer Fire Department where he was the hydrant man extraordinaire for the “Rascals” in the annual drill races. “Joe was referred to as the best hydrant man in Nassau County, which meant he could get off the truck, get the hose on the hydrant and turn on the water in fractions of a second.” This is something he had practiced as a kid, setting up his own drill team in his backyard, practicing with neighborhood kids using his dad’s ladder, the little red wagon and the garden hose. He had always been serious about firefighting.
Hunter had six years in the FDNY, the last two in Squad 288. There’s a short video clip that has had wide play of Hunter and two others from Squad 288, in gear, walking towards the South Tower.