9/11 ID brings kin peace

The uncle of a firefighter whose remains have just been identified 3-1/2 years after the terror attacks said yesterday he's relieved the long nightmare of not knowing is over.

"Little Hector is at rest," Robert Tirado, of Teaneck, N.J., said of his nephew, probie Firefighter Hector Tirado of the Bronx.

"For us, he's more at rest now. And this is more final."

Hector Tirado, 31, who is survived by a wife and five children, was assigned to Engine Co. 23 in Manhattan on 9/11.

He is one of three victims identified this week from DNA samples by the medical examiner's office.

The agency's officials recently announced the grim identification process was over, but noted that results from some tests were still out.

Besides Tirado, victims Luis Manuel Lopez, 39, and George Merino, 39, were identified this week. A medical examiner's spokeswoman said it's possible the name of one more victim will be disclosed.

"We actually thought that they'd never be able to identify his remains," Robert Tirado said. "The family is very grateful." They already held a memorial service and are now considering a funeral, he said.

Of the 2,749 people killed at the World Trade Center, nearly 1,600 have been identified.