The last 9/11 fire chief bows out

Joseph Pfeifer, the last FDNY chief working who was also a chief at the time of the terrorist attacks, is retiring.

Now assistant chief of the department at 62, he was the first chief on the scene on September 11, 2001. He spoke with his brother, Lt. Kevin Pfeifer, in the lobby of the North Tower before Kevin climbed the stairs. Kevin Pfeifer did not survive the day.

After the attack, Chief Pfeifer founded the FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness and worked tirelessly for safety reforms of all kinds, reports Jim Dwyer for the NY Times.

Last year, he climbed 30 stories of the Eiffel Tower and rappelled down it, training with a French hostage rescue team.

He plans to teach disaster preparedness at Harvard and Columbia, an example for future chiefs.

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