Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today We Remember Chief Peter Gancy, FDNY

Today we remember Chief Peter Ganci, FDNY, who died on September 11, 2001.

A 33-year department veteran, Chief Ganci managed all uniformed personnel, and was also responsible for the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. He rose to lieutenant in 1977, captain in 1983 and battalion chief in 1987, and was promoted to deputy chief in 1993, when he was working in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. 

In 1997 Chief Ganci was appointed chief of operations, the second highest uniformed position in the Fire Department. In 1999, he was named acting chief. 

The thing about Peter Ganci was, he didn't flaunt it. He was just a regular guy living with his family on Long Island, so at peace with himself that if you asked him what he did for a living, he would just say, "I'm a fireman in the city." 

"He would never say that he was the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the department," said Fire Marshal Steven Mosiello, his longtime friend and executive assistant. 

Most of the time, Pete Ganci, who was 54, was that regular guy down the street who happened to be a decorated hero and boss: the guy who loved to laugh, golf, go clamming in Great South Bay. On Deputy Fire Commissioner Lynn Tierney's desk is a photograph of him in formal uniform — five stars on his collar and all — and a pink headband that says "Happy Birthday." The photograph's meaning is simple, she said: "He was man enough to wear a pink headband that said `Happy Birthday.'" 

Then there were those times when Pete Ganci was Chief Ganci, as on that last morning. In the eerie calm between the collapse of the two towers, Deputy Fire Commissioner Michael Regan recalled, "Pete Ganci directed every civilian and every firefighter to go north. He went south."

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