9/11 Stories: FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro was the Chief Of Operations on 9/11, second in command to Chief Of Department Pete Ganci. They had just finished a morning conference at department headquarters in Brooklyn when they felt the building shudder. Looking out the window of the 7th floor, they could see smoke pouring out of the North Tower of The World Trade Center. Nigro drove with Chief Ganci to the scene of the disaster and remembers telling his boss, “This will be the worst day of our lives.” That was before the South Tower was even hit. There was only one goal for the FDNY that day: evacuate as many people as possible from the towers . Nigro says not a single firefighter refused to report for duty that day. Many came, risking their lives, even though they were off duty at the time. 343 FDNY’ers died that day, including Chief Ganci, who perished in the collapse of the North Tower, the second to fall. Nigro says it wasn’t until the afternoon that he realized he was now the Chief Of Department. Until 9/11, the FDNY’s darkest day had been in 1996, when 12 members of the department died in a fire on 23rd Street. Now there were 343 fallen NYC firefighters on a single day. Sadly, even now, only half of their remains have been identified. And, the nightmare didn’t end on 9/11. As of January 2021, the FDNY has lost an additional 230 firefighters to 9/11 illnesses. Commissioner Nigro says ANYONE there that day had their health compromised.