Fallen Firefighter Mourned
Mayor, Scoppetta hail a 9/11 hero

Daily News Staff Writer

On the day he was to have celebrated his second wedding anniversary, Firefighter Brian Bilcher was remembered as a hero yesterday at a church on Staten Island.

Hundreds of mourners, including Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, filled Holy Rosary Church in South Beach to honor Bilcher, who was among 12 firefighters from Squad 1 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, killed Sept. 11.

"All of us are safer today because of Brian and the men and women who worked with him," Bloomberg said.

Bilcher's only child, a boy, was born less than three weeks before the terror attacks.

"The baby was named Grant, because he was a wish granted," Bloomberg said. "What we have to do now is build a better world for Grant and all the other Grants left behind."

The mayor noted that the 6-foot, 240-pound Bilcher, who was known as Tugboat, was an offensive lineman on the Bravest's football team.

"I'm just glad I was not lined up opposite him. Firefighter Bilcher versus Mayor Bloomberg would not have been a pretty sight," said the mayor.

Bloomberg noted the generous spirit of the 37-year-old firefighter, who was known to carry extra clothing in his car "to give to [homeless] people who didn't have anything to wear."

Scoppetta said Bilcher was born to be a firefighter.

"His life was a success because of what he did for so many others," the commissioner said. "His son's life will be filled with stories of what a great man his father was, who will always be remembered as a hero."

'Kept Us Together'

Firefighter John Alborn of Engine 33 in Manhattan