A Born Fireman With a Zest for Learning

September 26, 2001

When it came to guileless sarcasm, firefighter Dana Hannon could be a virtual artiste.

But Hannon, 29, also had a charming and romantic side, along with a flair for the dramatic: On a trip to Australia in July, while his sister, Kyle, and two friends watched, he proposed to Allison Dansen, his girlfriend of five years, atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Hannon, of Suffern, was "handsome, funny, caring, protective, compassionate and handy. He could fix anything," his sister said. He also was an avid camper, hunter and fisherman. "You name it, he did it. Put him in camouflage, and he was happy," she said. He was brave, too: When Hannon worked for the Bridgeport (Conn.) Fire Department, he and a fellow firefighter forced their way into an apartment engulfed in flames to find and rescue an unconscious woman. For that, he was awarded the Medal of Valor, Bridgeport's second-highest award.

As a boy, Hannon made sure he wore his red plastic fire hat as he watched "Emergency" on television. After graduation from Ramapo High School, he joined the town's volunteer fire department, where he attained the rank of captain. And on Feb. 3, 2000, he achieved his childhood dream: graduation from the New York City Fire Academy. Said his father, Tom: "He waited seven years to get this job."

Hannon now is one of six firefighters from Engine Co. 26, midtown Manhattan, missing in the World Trade Center disaster. He last was seen on the fifth floor of Tower One.

Hannon's first job in New York was with Ladder Co. 34 in Washington Heights, but after a year there, he rotated to Engine Co. 26. Recently, Hannon had been lecturing as part of the Fire Department Instructors Conference.

"He was always taking classes at the Bergen County Fire Academy. His appetite for learning about firematics was insatiable," his sister said.

"He was born to be a fireman. I know that. But it doesn't make this any easier."

Beside his father, sister and fiancee, Hannon is survived by his mother, Gaye. -- Mary Voboril (Newsday)


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