Michael Boyle, 37, Manhattan firefighter, involved in every aspect of FDNY culture

Friday, November 02, 2001

Michael Boyle came to Staten Island in early September to run in a race for another hero firefighter.

Mr. Boyle, 37, a firefighter with Engine Co. 33 in the East Village of Manhattan, led members of his house to their fourth consecutive victory in the Marty Celic Running Festival in Clove Lakes Park on Sept. 8.

Three days later, he responded to the terror attack on the World Trade Center and never made it out of Tower 1. A resident of Manhattan, he is now among the thousands missing in the attack on the World Trade Center.

His father, retired Firefighter James Boyle, a former president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said his son had many friends from Staten Island.

"A lot of people who worked in Lower Manhattan lived on Staten Island and they knew Michael," said his father, who served as president of the firefighters' union from 1983 to 1986, and again from 1990 to 1993. "Michael participated in everything. He was a step-up guy."

Mr. Boyle spoke to his son briefly the morning of Sept. 11. Michael Boyle, who hoped to someday follow in the steps of his father as head of the firefighters' union, was getting off duty.

It was Primary Day, and father and son were going to the Woodside section of Queens where a cousin was running for City Council. The plan was set shortly before the two airliners slammed into the Trade Center.

James Boyle watched the first flaming tower from a window in Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' office, where he works. When the second plane hit Tower 2, he set out on foot. He walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Lower Manhattan in search of his son.

Mr. Boyle was near City Hall when Tower 2 fell. He had made it to West Street -- just two blocks away -- when Tower 1 came down.

"It looked like it was 10 o'clock at night and I realized it would be a miracle if he was alive," said Mr. Boyle, who spent the rest of the day at Ground Zero searching for his son.

Born in Queens, Michael Boyle grew up in Stonybrook, L.I., and moved to Manhattan six years ago.

He was appointed to the department in 1996 and was assigned to Engine Co. 33. He had also served in Ladder Co. 35 at Lincoln Center and with Engine Co. 226 in downtown Brooklyn.

But his permanent house was Engine Co. 33/Ladder Co. 9, said his father. Last year, he wrote a history of the 19th-century firehouse and organized a memorial for all the fallen firefighters from the two companies there.

He was planning to marry his longtime love, Rosemary Kenny, and was in training for the New York City Marathon before Sept. 11, said his father.

On Sept. 8, he ran in the Marty Celic Running Festival, an annual event honoring Mr. Celic, a firefighter who lost his life while fighting an arson fire in Manhattan in 1977.

In addition to his father, James, surviving are his mother, Barbara; two sisters, Mary Lynch and Jeanne Boyle; two brothers, James and Peter, and two nieces.