Thomas G. Schoales: Competitive Baby Brother

Tommy Schoales landed at Engine Company 83 in the Bronx as a novice firefighter. A low-key one, too, everybody thought. That was before they experienced his competitive streak. He'd dash into the fire truck when the alarm rang because there was a prize: controlling the hose at the fire. "Here, if you get to the back step first, you take the nozzle," said Michael Scanlon, who worked alongside him. "And it was hard to beat him to the back step. He was always there."

He fought flames in the tenements of Mott Haven and responded to alarms from Randalls Island. He bunked in Stony Point, N.Y., with a battalion chief