Thomas J. McCann: An Unforgettable Cook

Thomas J. McCann was a great firefighter, a low- handicap golfer, a devoted father to Courtney and Sean and a loving husband to Anne Marie. But he was perhaps best known for his cooking.

A few years back, he decided to whip up a little chicken dish for the guys at Engine Company 65, where he spent most of his career. He got everything ready, set it on top of the range, turned on the heat and then the alarm began to wail. Everybody, Firefighter McCann included, pulled on their coats and boots and jumped onto the truck, pulling out of the firehouse on West 43rd Street and leaving the meal-in- progress behind.

When they returned, several hours later, orange flames and black smoke were billowing from their firehouse and firefighters from another company were spraying water everywhere, trying to bring the situation under control. "I guess they didn't quite turn everything off before they left," said Firefighter McCann's brother, George.

Fire departments from all over started sending Firefighter McCann recipes for barbecued chicken. "Put the chicken on a tray, leave it on the stovetop, turn the stove on and leave your firehouse for two hours," they wrote. "When you come back, it will be well done."