Firefighters Mourned

By Graham Rayman

April 2, 2002

It has been 202 days, and the funerals continue.

At St. Anthony's of Padua, in East Northport, they remembered Philip Hayes Sr., 69, a retired firefighter who worked on the fire safety crew at the World Trade Center and died when the towers collapsed after being attacked Sept. 11.

Nicolas Froelich, 3, wore his grandfather's Engine 217 fire helmet. A line of firefighters stood along Cheshire Place, and the Fire Department Pipe and Drum Corps played as the coffin was carried into and out of the church.

Hayes was found last week with the three other missing fire safety men in an area of the south tower. Another member of the quartet, James Corrigan, 61, was mourned yesterday in Douglaston.

"We had the memorial service in October, but we always wanted to give him a proper burial," said Hayes' son, Philip Jr., 47.

Hayes' remains were found in the ruins of the south tower by members of Engine 217, which is in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Hayes was in the lobby, which had been driven 70 feet underground by the collapses.

"We found his nametag next to him," said Lt. Thomas McGoff, 48, of Engine 217 said in a gathering at the East Northport firehouse after the burial. "It was just an honor to go in there and find one of the guys we were looking for. We removed him with delicacy and dignity."

The unit lost three active duty firefighters in the attack.

"Once a fireman, always a fireman," Capt. Jerry Migliore, of Engine 217, said of Hayes. "He stayed at the towers, and he's considered as much of a hero as anyone else."

Jim Savastano, 49, now a battalion chief , worked with Hayes at 217 in the 1970s at the start of his career. Back then, Bed-Stuy was a very active area for fires - a period known as "the war years."

"He taught us how to be firemen," Savastano said. "He had 18 years in and he was meticulous. Even when he was organizing a picnic, everyone got an assignment.