Robert Parro, 35, of Levittown had been a firefighter for eight years and "loved it," according to his wife, Karen.

He left for duty at Manhattan's Battalion 8 the night before the hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center and was minutes from finishing his shift when the alarm sounded. He called his wife to tell her that he was on his way to the fire.

That was the last she heard from him.

Karen Parro said she would tell their son, John, 4, that "Daddy was trying to save people."

A lifelong Long Islander, Parro was born in Bethpage, and he and his three brothers and two sisters grew up in Levittown.

He graduated from Division High School in 1984 and was working as superintendant of a Babylon apartment house when he got the call to the fire department.