Thomas Sabella of Tower Ladder 13 grew tomatoes and cucumbers in his Staten Island garden and made his own red wine which he bottled and gave away as gifts. In 1999 New York City honored him for rescuing a man from an Upper East Side tenement fire the year before.
His wife who met him when she was 16 and still in high school said she “never really worried” about his choice of work. “I always knew that he knew what he was doing and that he would do his best.” He died on his second rescue trip up the stairwell of Tower 1 when the building collapsed.
Apparently Sabella always carried a speech by Teddy Roosevelt in his wallet that lauded the man who “strived valuably . . . who knows great enthusiasm, great devotion and spends himself on a worthy cause.”
Sabella left behind a daughter, 10 and a son, 6.