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A tradition continued: Sons of 9/11 heroes graduate from FDNY Academy

Graduation ceremony for 301 FDNY Probationary Firefighters. (New York City Fire Department (FDNY)/Facebook)

Two sons of Staten Islanders firefighters who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001 joined the ranks of the FDNY on Tuesday.

The class of 301 probationary firefighters comprises 21 “legacy” graduates — children of FDNY and NYPD members who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Peter J. Carroll , the son of Peter Carroll — who was a 19-year veteran working at FDNY Squad 1 in Brooklyn when the 9/11 attacks occurred — was one of the graduates.

His father was highly regarded by his colleagues. The Advance reported on Sept. 15, 2001 that fellow firefighter Steve Beyar, also of Squad 1, said the senior Carroll “was the funniest man I knew.”

“He would have these stories of what happened to him on the way into work. He could imitate people exactly and could find the humor in everything,” Beyar said of his peer.

However, when it came to his job, colleagues said there was no one more serious.

Peter Carroll lost his life at the age of 42 while evacuating streams of people from one of the World Trade Towers after the attacks. He would lead workers from the building to the street, and then go back and repeat the process, the Advance reported.

Firefighters he worked with said there’s no telling how many lives he saved before the collapse. His body was found the following day.

Peter Carroll was the father of three sons, Michael, Peter and Christopher; a daughter, Nicole Carroll, and two stepchildren, Anthony and Dana Ann Deniro. A native of Brooklyn, he grew up in Arden Heights and settled with his wife, formerly Toni Ann Graffino, in Castleton Corners.

John C. Fischer, the son of Capt. John R. Fischer — who worked in Ladder 20 in Soho during the 9/11 attacks and joined the FDNY in 1983 — graduated among the largest group of “legacy” firefighters in the department’s history.

The senior Fischer was a lifelong resident of West Brighton and took joy in coaching his two sons in basketball and soccer, and his daughter in soccer, according to an Advance obituary.

“He never cared if the kids won the game,” his wife, Jean Corley, told the Advance in 2001. “He was more interested in how they grew up, knowing right from wrong, being able to make decisions,” she said.

Michael Toal, a fellow firefighter and West Brighton native, worked with the elder Fischer at Ladder Co. 20 in Manhattan.

“He thought the world of his wife and his kids. His days off were arranged around his kids’ schedules. He was always coaching,” the longtime friend told the Advance in 2001.

“Everyone liked working with John,” said Toal. “He knew what he was doing. He took care of the guys.”

John R. Fischer lost his life at the age of 46. He was posthumously promoted from lieutenant to captain on Sept. 17.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told the 301 graduates and their families during the emotional ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn: “Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children.”

“Today, they’ve fully achieved their dreams,” Nigro said. “They’re honoring now their loved ones. They’re continuing their family’s ­legacy of service.”


© 2019 Staten Island Advance