Today we remember Chief Richard Prunty, 57 years-old, Battalion Chief in the Second Battalion of the FDNY.
Chief Prunty was a firefighter for 33 years. His world revolved around two families. There was his family in Sayville, on Long Island, and there was the Second Battalion of the New York City Fire Department.
At 57, he was a tall, unassuming man, never the type to dominate a conversation or even brag. But when he did have something to say, his soft-spoken words were usually the strongest and most effective that could be said. Beyond his rough exterior, he was a real "teddy bear” on the inside. He once spent a week sleeping on his daughter's floor when she was sick in college.
On September 11th, several firemen were trapped under the debris after the north tower collapsed. There were many mayday calls over their radios, one of them was Chief Prunty. “Listen,” he says, “you have to get here quick.” He was trapped in the lobby. He said his legs were pinned by an I beam and he was feeling numb and starting to lose consciousness. Several firemen who were also trapped in the collapse heard his call and asked him to hold on, try to stay awake, they would try and get to him. Try to stay alive. At that point Chief Prunty said “Tell my wife and kids that I love them.” Hours passed and they never heard from Chief Prunty again.
Battalion Chief Richard Prunty lost his life on that horrible day.
This picture is a still from video footage captured that morning, the last picture ever of Chief Richard Prunty.
Retired FDNY Captain Jim Ellson writes a tribute to his friend and Brother Louie Modafferi who died on Sept. 11th:
Louis was one of my Lieuts. when I was the Cpt. of Squad 1 FDNY, he was very smart and just a pleasure to work with, Louis was promoted to Capt and assigned to Rescue 5, he was waiting for promotion to Battalion Chief when he was taken from us at the WTC on 9/ll, Louis was a rising star in the FDNY, until we meet on the other side.... Cpt. Jim