The firebell tolls for a warm cook


They're eating a little better in heaven.

Firefighters across the city are mourning John Sineno, a retired 28-year FDNY veteran who was an award-winning cookbook author and a founding member of the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation.

Sineno - known as "Mama Sineno" because he cooked for and looked after fellow firefighters as if he were their mother - died at his Queens home Tuesday. He was 73.

"This guy was a firehouse legend," said FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon. "Every firehouse in the city has copies of his books."

Sineno retired in 1990 after the publication of the first "Firefighter's Cookbook." Six years later, he wrote "The New Firefighter's Cookbook."

The proceeds from both books went to various charitable organizations, including the burn center foundation, which he helped establish in 1979.

Sineno spent his entire career at Engine Company 58 in Harlem, a busy firehouse dubbed "The Fire Factory."

He is survived by his wife, Pauline; daughters Jackie, Jerrilynn and Michelle, and John Jr. His son, Thomas, died previously.

A wake will be held tonight from 7 to 9 at R. Stutzmann & Sons Funeral Home, 224-39 Jamaica Ave.

The funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Gregory Church, 242-20 88th Ave.

Originally published on April 4, 2003