Robert Nagel, 55, a 28-year veteran of the fire department, grew up in Richmond Hill. He was assigned to Batallion 12 in Manhattan.

After graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in business from St. John's University. He saw action in the Vietnam War while serving in the Army.

"After Vietnam, he decided it would be a good career. He always wanted to be a firefighter," said his sister, Linda Kahn. She added that Nagel was fond of reading science and history books.

He's survived by his wife, Janet, a secretary at PS 158 in Manhattan, and a grown daughter, Bridgette.