Today we remember Firefighter Paul Beyer, Engine Co. 6, FDNY. He was killed on September 11th, 2001.
The 37-year-old lifelong Staten Island resident, like the rest of his Engine Co. 6 crew, was due to finish his shift when the firefighters heard a loud explosion. As they neared One Police Plaza returning to their Beekman Street firehouse from another call, a police officer pointed to the World Trade Center, where billows of smoke were beginning to pour out of the upper floors. They immediately headed over.
Beyer’s friend and co-worker, William Green, who was with Beyer when they headed to the World Trade Center, recounted the events of that day: "Paul was gearing up like all of us when we got there. We were heading in to put out that fire, but getting up those stairs was very fatiguing. We regrouped at the 17th floor, and took a short break."
He said that firefighters were scrambling to find change to purchase water from a vending machine because of dehydration and exhaustion. Green axed the vending machine; water bottles were readily available for all. Green and Beyer were amused. "Paul and I actually laughed when I axed the vending machine," Green said.
The men of Engine 6 headed up to the 31st floor of Tower One and caught their breath. "A lieutenant from Engine 10 told us we had to make a push," Green said. The two men headed up again, but became separated by two floors. Beyer, who didn't have a radio, didn't receive evacuation orders.
No matter how bad a situation was Beyer was known for trying to keep everyone calm, whether it was by way of a humorous story or a soothing word. It was with that same attitude that he approached the escalating disaster at the World Trade Center.
A firefighter from another company later told Mrs. Beyer that on Sept. 11th he had been very frightened until he looked at the calm determination in Beyer’s face.
Paul was known as a strong firefighter who preformed his job with courage and integrity, fulfilling his lifelong dream. A fellow firefighter eulogized him as being “a tiger at heart, a real Superman. He never complained, never got angry, and didn’t talk the talk; he walked the walk.”
Paul was always there for family and friends. He was a loving father and husband, and spent a lot of time with his two boys. He was very proud of them.
He had a warm smile, quiet sense of humor, and great hugs. He was great cook and was known for his lemon chicken and twice-baked potatoes. He also made it a weekly tradition to prepare his "ultimate pancakes" for his wife on Saturday mornings and eggs on Sunday.
We Will Never Forget!