For most firefighters, recognition is something they shy away from. Frank Cummins of Engine 255, Ladder 157, like countless other firefighters in the city of New York, dismisses his heroic deeds as “just doing my job.” In the aftermath of September 11, Cummins spent weeks searching through the rubble for the remains of colleagues and civilian casualties at what the firefighters call “The Pit” at Ground Zero.
Cummins, who lives in Rockaway Beach, NY, was home on the morning of November 12, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed less than a mile from his own home and just blocks from the homes of his parents and sister. He went straight to the crash scene to help in the search and recovery effort. With other Rockaway locals, some of whom had been affected by the World Trade Center disaster, he helped ensure that the fire was quickly contained, thereby sparing more homes and possibly more lives.
Cummins is a second-generation Irish-American and a second-generation firefighter. His father, Dennis, is a retired Fire Department lieutenant. ♦