Oct. 2, 2001

When firefighters were ordered to evacuate the World Trade Center's north tower, Capt. Walter Hynes, leader of Ladder Co. 13, was with his men as they descended the stairs.

Somewhere on the way down, they found about 50 people in distress and tried to help them leave. Many never made it, including Hynes, a man who always made time for others.

"His greatest personal quality was his generosity of time, spirit and even his money," recalled his brother-in-law, Richard Fanning. "He was always the first guy to pick up a restaurant check or a bar tab."

In addition to being a firefighter for 22 years, Hynes, 46, of Belle Harbor, N.Y., was a practicing attorney, Fanning said.

"He was widely known throughout the community and throughout the fire department for being able and willing to provide free legal advice," Fanning said. "Walter seemed to have an inexhaustible reserve of time. He never turned down a favor."

Hynes met his wife, Veronica, while helping Fanning move to a new apartment 17 years ago.

Around the neighborhood, Fanning said, Hynes and his three grammar school-age daughters were known as "Walter and His Ladies."

--Ted Gregory (The Chicago Tribune)