Firefighter Couldn't Bring Himself to Retire

Dec. 11, 2001

At 62, Robert James Crawford, a 32-year fire department veteran, often talked about retiring, but just couldn't bring himself to do it.

He was at work at Safety Battalion 1 on Randalls Island on Sept. 11 when two hijacked airplanes flew into the World Trade Center. He responded to the call and never came out. The family held a memorial service at McManus Funeral Parlor in Brooklyn on Nov. 10, and his remains were recovered from Ground Zero on Thanksgiving Day.

"We know that he is and was a noble and good and kind man who loved his wife and family dearly," said Msgr. Brian Callahan during a funeral Mass on Dec. 1 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Brooklyn.

When he wasn't at the fire station, Crawford was in his workshop behind his East Flatbush home, or was raising money for St. Rose's Home, which aids cancer victims in their last weeks of life, according to a Daily News article.

"He was not one that sought the limelight for himself, but he did his job," Callahan said. Crawford leaves his wife Dorothea and five adult children, two of whom are police officers.

--Compiled by Newsday