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Thread: Family Of Firefighter Finds Peace

  1. #1
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    Family Of Firefighter Finds Peace

    Family Of Firefighter Finds Peace
    Brother recalls good times


    By Margaret Ramirez
    STAFF WRITER

    February 10, 2002

    Last Sunday, Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer carried his younger brother and fellow firefighter, Kevin, out of the ruins of Ground Zero. Yesterday morning as they laid him to rest, Pfeifer felt consoled that his brother had found peace.

    "We carried him through a field of twisted steel and twisted metal and then up a dirt hill," Pfeifer recalled during the funeral Mass at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church in Middle Village.

    Pfeifer said that as he rode the ambulance with his brother's body, "I remembered all the good times we had together. And that feeling of horror passed to a feeling of peace."

    Lt. Kevin Pfeifer of Engine Co. 33 in lower Manhattan, was one of the first firefighters at the World Trade Center after a hijacked jet hit the north tower. Joseph Pfeifer was setting up an operations base in the area when the two brothers met.

    The lieutenant was inside the burning tower, directing fellow firefighters to safety. But, seconds later, the tower collapsed and Kevin Pfeifer never made it out.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended Pfeifer's service yesterday, marking the first firefighter funeral he has attended since taking office Jan. 1. The mayor's absence at the five funerals this year ignited controversy last Saturday when he attended a Groundhog Day celebration in Staten Island on the same day of a funeral.

    During his eulogy for Pfeifer, Bloomberg referred to paper snowflakes and snowmen taped to the windows above the church by students at St. Margaret School.

    "The children are why Kevin was here. We all live because Kevin and the 11,000 people that he worked with go into danger to protect the rest of us."

    Speaking to Pfeifer's parents, Helen and William Pfeifer, the mayor said, "Thank you for giving us Kevin. We exist because of him."

    Hundreds of firefighters gathered at the Queens church, standing along 80th Street and past Juniper Valley Road. Bagpipes wailed again, as they have for the more than 80 firefighter funerals since Sept. 11. The Fire Department lost 343 members in the attacks, but only 147 have been recovered and confirmed dead.

    Kevin Pfeifer was born and raised in Middle Village along with his brother, Joseph, and sister, Mary Ellen Machcinski. His family remembered him as an adventurous soul. In his free time, he loved flying his Cessna to Block Island or sailing his catamaran on Jamaica Bay.

    His brother remembered him as a beloved leader of Engine 33, which lost 10 firefighters in the attacks. Funeral services for another member of Engine 33, John Tierney, were yesterday - also at 10 a.m. - in Staten Island.

    "As we take my brother across the street to his final resting place, my hope is that we all feel that peace and that we continue to feel the support of this great Fire Department," he said.

    While Bloomberg's absence at the services had become a sore point for some firefighters, Peter Gorman, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said the Groundhog Day episode had been blown way out of proportion.

    "He had a family funeral to go to that day. We don't hold that against him," Gorman said. "We're pleased that he's here today. And we know that he'll be here or his office will be here for future funerals as we continue to recover firefighters and police officers."

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  2. #2
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    God bless Kevin he gavis all for his city and country

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