Sept. 18, 2001

As he rides the bus back to the firehouse in Brooklyn after digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center, New York City firefighter Kenneth Haskell's arms and legs tingle and he begins to feel sick with exhaustion.

"It's been tough," Haskell said. "But going to sleep is the most painful part of the day, because that's when I start to think about it the most."

Since the terrorist attack Tuesday, Haskell, 32, has gone about his work with a special sense of purpose. Among those reported missing after the buildings collapsed were two of his brothers: Thomas, 37, captain of the New York City Fire Department's Hook and Ladder Co. 132 in Brooklyn; and Timothy, 34, a firefighter with the city's Squad 18.

Thomas Haskell still has not been found. But sometime around 2 a.m. Saturday, firefighters uncovered Timothy Haskell's remains in the ruins of the north tower, Haskell said.

"Obviously there's mixed emotions," Haskell said. "Finding Timmy was actually a sense of relief--especially for me, personally, because I've seen firsthand what some of the bodies looked like. We're not going to recover everybody. Some people, there's just nothing left of them."

On Monday, the family held a wake for Timothy Haskell that lasted from the middle of the afternooon well into the night. Timothy, of Seaford, N.Y., was single and "the daredevil of the family," Kenneth Haskell said. "He had his motorcycle, his boats, his pets. He had numerous dogs, birds, ferrets. He was a very happy-go-lucky guy."

Kenneth Haskell planned to go right back into the rubble first thing Tuesday and resume looking for his brother Thomas, he said. "His oldest daughter, Meaghan, is 8, and she's asking a lot of questions.

"She asked if Daddy was dead.

"I said, `No, he's just missing.'

"She asked, `What does that mean?'

"And I said, `It just means he has some stuff on top of him, and I'm going to go find him and get it off of him and bring him home."

On Sunday Thomas Haskell was promoted to battalion chief. A staff chief stood in for him at the ceremony and took the oath.

"Tommy, he would have been very proud," Kenneth Haskell said.

--Robert L. Kaiser (The Chicago Tribune)



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