WAR HERO FOLLOWS IN FIRE-HERO DAD'S STEPS

By PATRICK GALLAHUE

March 9, 2006 -- It's taken Brooklyn firefighter Peter Regan more than a year and a half to pursue his dream of following in the footsteps of his fire-hero father, who died in the World Trade Center.

Two tours in Iraq got in the way.

But yesterday - his third day back at the Fire Academy to brush up after returning from western Iraq - Regan said the best things in life are worth the wait.

"I'm happy to be back," Regan, 25, said yesterday at the Randalls Island academy. "It's definitely going to happen this time."

He was in the Marines when he first took the FDNY exam, in 1999. And after a tour in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, First Marine Regiment, he returned home expecting to start his career at Ladder 174 in East Flatbush, a firehouse in which his father, firefighter Donald Regan, had served.

After completing his training at the academy, Regan was called back to Iraq.

But he's now back at the firehouse where his dad made his name.

"I guess it was a little tough in the sense that I've got a new job and want to establish myself, and that I had to walk away," said the Park Slope native. "But it wasn't that bad."

The FDNY gave him an early, one-man graduation before he was again shipped off.

Firefighters at Ladder 174 - some of whom worked side-by-side with his father - sent him care packages overseas.

"If he becomes the same quality firefighter as his father, he'll be a tremendous asset," said firefighter Garry Knott, 46, a 20-year veteran of Ladder 174.

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