Michael Carroll: Always Ready to Help

Over at the Ladder 3 firehouse, none of the coffee cups have handles. It's one of the many legacies of Michael Carroll, 39, who spent 16 years there. The other firefighters are not sure why he started snapping off the handles, but just like his other habits, it could not be stopped. He also cut a hole in the wall between the ladder company's dormitory and a room reserved for the aide who drives the local battalion chief around. Late at night, if the ladder company answered an alarm and the aide stayed in bed, Firefighter Carroll would reach through the hole, open a dresser drawer and slam it, just to let the aide know they had returned.

"He was an incredible teacher for the younger firemen," said Pat Murphy, whose idea of torture was speaking to school groups touring the firehouse