'Gentle Giant' Had A Warm, Loving Heart

December 18, 2001

Firefighter Andrew Jordan's helmet told the story of his career. It was gnarled, curled, twisted, smoked out and fire damaged, said Lt. John Graziano, who worked with Jordan at Division 15, Battalion 38 in Brooklyn.

Even in his first year with Ladder Co. 132, Jordan was involved with some of the most intense blazes that the firefighters of 132 had seen.

About five years ago, the firefighters of Ladder 132 were deployed to Pacific Street in Brooklyn to extinguish what Graziano called "an unbelievable fire."

"There was a baby that died," Graziano said. "The guys were trying to get in to make the rescue." But, Graziano said, with the fire blazing out of every window, "firemen had to bail out with the fire chasing them." Jordan was among those who made it out. "If you get through a fire like that, it's something that we all respect you for. The more difficult the job, the more respect," Graziano said.

Jordan joined Division 15, Battalion 38 in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, in May 1995. "He was a pleasurable man. Always laughing, always smiling," Graziano said. Firefighter Randy Foss of Ladder 132 described Jordan as "a real fun-loving guy. A big fellow but a gentle giant."

Jordan, 36, of Remsenburg is presumed dead in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. He was dispatched along with the other men of Ladder 132 to the World Trade Center. Although his body was not recovered, Graziano said he saw Jordan's engine under the wreckage of the collapsed north bridge on West Street.

Born in Queens, Jordan and his family moved to West Islip, where he graduated from West Islip High School in 1983. He attended a technical school in Ohio for several years before working at LILCO, first in gas construction and later with overhead electrical lines.

His wife, Lisa Jordan, said her husband was a dedicated family man. He had taken their son Andrew Jr., 9, to Mets and Yankees games this past summer and had built a small baseball park in their backyard to encourage his son's love of the game. Jordan often wrestled with their son Matthew, 6. He and his daughter, Kelsey, shared a love for Tootsie Rolls, his wife said. "Kelsey remembers that her daddy always brought her Tootsie Rolls," she said. The couple's youngest son, Sean, was born on Sept. 26.

Graziano said Jordan was defined by his dedication, physical strength and amicable demeanor. "He was a super, super strong guy," Graziano said. "But as strong as he was, that's how nice he was."

Jordan's dedication was not just for fighting fires, Graziano said. "He was dedicated to helping people in a time of crisis: whether it be a fire, or car accident or whatever. He would give you 110 percent. He was top-notch in his field."

-- Nick Iyer (Newsday)