Sean Cummins: Firefighter

Sean Cummins.

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2002

Dublin man Sean Cummins narrowly escaped death on September 11 as he had swapped shifts to take his mother to the airport for her flight back to Dublin.

His firehouse at the time was Squad One in Brooklyn, which lost 12 members when the World Trade Center collapsed. He arrived at Ground Zero at about 10:40 a.m. on September 11 with a group of other off-duty firefighters from the Park Slope firehouse. They stayed there for nearly 24 hours that first day and rescued one man who was inches away from death.

In the days that followed, Sean, like every other firefighter in the city, was working at Ground Zero, while his wife, Maureen, was at home in Rockaway trying to comfort their children, Sean, Hannah and Tara, as well as the women whose partners had died.

Although Scan survived, the disaster had not passed over their house as their tenant and good friend, firefighter Gerry Dewan, was killed.

“We had friends without husbands. We knew children without fathers and parents without children, because a lot of people from Cantor Fitzgerald live out here, too,” said Maureen. Overwhelmed by the emotional impact, Maureen contacted the Catholic Charities for help and ended up hosting a group session at her home for the wives of surviving firefighters. The group were all trying to deal with husbands who would not and could not talk about what they had seen, and Maureen says the sessions helped.

“It made it a little easier to understand what Sean and the other husbands were going through. I stopped looking for explanations and tried to give him peace and quiet. I knew he was going through something terrible.” ♦

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