It was a family of four firefighters and a cop, a father and his four sons. When Lt. Timothy Higgins, 43, went missing on 9/11, they “made a pact that some member of the Higgins family would be involved in the recovery at all times.” A tool from Squad 252 was found in the north stairwell so they had some clue where to look. And so it was that on the cold, rainy night of September 30th they got the radio call that Tim was found. The brothers joined his company in carrying his flag-draped body from the ruins of Tower One.
Higgins had 22-year career, beginning in 1979 when he turned 21. He was very highly trained, yet always interested in learning more. On 9/11 his story overlaps that of Capt. Terence Hatton, a friend and long-time colleague. Both had been handpicked for one of the city’s busiest companies, and their captain, Ray Downey, a departmental legend, “taught them to press into the flames beyond where others dared to go. He’d say, ‘You always go farther. You always go farther.'” Hatton’s Rescue One responded in the first alarm. Higgins’ Squad 252 was called to the 5th alarm. Both responded to Tower One.
After rescuing people trapped in an elevator on the 20th floor, Squad 252 responded to a Mayday from Hatton’s team higher up. Others evacuating down the stairs remember seeing Squad 252 still climbing up. “We’ll meet you,” Higgins shouted through the din to another firefighter as they passed in the stairwell on the 28th floor.
He and Hatton were found a day apart with only a few yards between them. On Saturday night they found Hatton, on Sunday they found Higgins.
This father of three loved to sang a cappella.