to Rest on
June 11, 2002
is no telling how many New Yorkers are walking around because
Capt. Brian Hickey became a New York City firefighter 20 years
ago. He commanded Rescue Company 4, which rushes to every major
fire in Queens, not to fight flames, but to save trapped civilians
and firefighters. It has always been among the department's
most dangerous jobs. Two of his men were killed in Astoria last
Father's Day, and another died with him at 2 World Trade Center
on Sept. 11. Yet the 47-year-old captain, who had suffered burns
and other injuries many times on the job, never dwelled on the
dangers. Instead, he spoke with pride of the brotherhood (women
included) of firefighters. "It means they are ready to lay down
their lives for one another," his wife, Donna, said. "They all
knew it. It was something unspoken among them." He was also
a volunteer firefighter in Bethpage, N.Y., where he grew up,
married his high school sweetheart and had four children: Danny,
23; Dennis, 18; Jaclyn, 16; and Kevin, 10. In 1992, Captain
Hickey and his only brother, Raymond, created "Brothers in Battle,"
a 45-minute video documentary about firefighting. It is still
used in training. In 1993, Raymond died of cancer. "Brian was
at his side for 11 months," Mrs. Hickey recalled. "I've never
seen such love and compassion."
"Everyone's got to die one day; it's inescapable,"
he said that night. "I hope I go that way."
Newsday Article for more about Captain Hickey