A Standout Among a Firefighting Legacy Teeming with Courage

A Standout Among a Firefighting Legacy Teeming with Courage

Radio used by FDNY Fire Chief Peter J. Ganci Jr. Photo by Michael Hnatov.

Fire Chief Peter J. Ganci Jr. ended up beneath the rubble of the fallen tower, his emergency radio busted in the collapse.

FDNY’s highest-ranking uniformed officer pulled himself from what remained of the South Tower and grabbed another multichannel radio. After ordering his men to establish a command post farther away, the undeterred Ganci stood in front of the North Tower and used the radio he found to continue the 9/11 rescue effort, saving thousands of lives.

Ganci, who also told then-Mayor Giuliani to clear out, was killed in the North Tower collapse. He commanded the rescue effort up until his final moments. 

"When the tower came down, he got his men out," Giuliani said in a New York Times story published Sept. 16, 2001. "He sent them north, and he went south–right into the danger–to get more of them out."  

Ganci’s multichannel radio and other FDNY artifacts are on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, where his story, and those of other first responders, are shared with the world.

This year, the city of New York is recognizing the 150th anniversary of the FDNY. Like the museum, the city’s commemoration of the department and its members is spreading awareness of the storied agency and honoring the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who serve.   

By 9/11 Memorial Staff