Today We Remember Firefighter Peter Ganci
Peter J. Ganci‚ Jr. was the Chief of Department‚ FDNY‚ the highest ranking uniformed officer. Pete died at the WTC while performing his duties.
He was appointed to the FDNY on September 14‚ 1968 and assigned as a firefighter to Engine 92 in the Bronx and then to 111 truck in Brooklyn. His climb to the top began as Lieutenant‚ Ladder 124‚ August 1977. While at Ladder 124‚ serving as a lieutenant‚ Pete was awarded the B.C. Frank Tuttlemondo medal in 1982 for performing an act of bravery and courage when he rescued a child from a burning apartment that was heavily engulfed in smoke‚ heat and fire.
Knowing that children were trapped‚ Ganci and his men were determined to rescue them. Ganci watched for an opening in the flames. When he spotted a niche opening‚ he scampered under the rolling wave of flames‚ past the protection of the line‚ to begin his search for life. Throwing burning furnishings out of his path‚ Ganci pushed on with his quest through the first bedroom and into the next. As he crawled through the punishing heat‚ midway through the search of the second room‚ Ganci found the lifeless form of 5-1/2 year old Lydia Perez. Scooping her up‚ he headed for the front window and help. Positioned between the hose line and the fire‚ Ganci absorbed unbelievable punishment because of the fan-like effects a hose line has on a fire. He began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Lydia. Then he handed his little charge over to another firefighter and returned to the fight where assisted with the removal of another victim through the breached wall.
B.C. Robert Scalone of the 28th Battalion‚ after investigating this incident wrote‚ ‘without regard for his own safety‚ Ganci‚ with unerring skill and accuracy‚ moved into an atmosphere heavily charged with heat and smoke. If it were not for his quick‚ skillful actions‚ the rescued child would certainly have perished.’ When the incident was discussed with Pete Ganci‚ he summed it all up very succinctly by saying‚ ‘When a firefighter realizes that someone is being robbed of life by fire‚ adrenalin and determination replace any thoughts of personal safety.’
It was this same determination that Chief Ganci‚ on September 11th as the Chief of Department‚ led and directed the most successful rescue operation of the modern era. Over 30‚000 people were saved because of Chief Ganci and his fellow firefighters.
His career achievements included Captain‚ 1983; Battalion Chief‚ 1987; Deputy Chief 1993; Deputy Assistant Chief in charge of Bureau of Fire Investigation‚ 1994; Assistant Chief of Operations‚ 1996; Chief of operations 1997-99; Acting Chief of Department‚ 1998-99; and Chief of Department‚ October 1999 to September 11‚ 2001.
Although Pete will always be recognized for his distinguished accomplishments in the FDNY‚ his greatest legacy will live on through his Family. Pete Ganci‚ a loving husband to his wife Kathy‚ a devoted father to his children‚ Peter‚ Chris‚ and Danielle‚ will be remembered for his quick wit‚ his zest for life and his unforgettable smile.