Thomas Phelan was working as a Statue of Liberty ferry captain on Sept. 11 when he helped evacuate Lower Manhattan. (Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York)
It is with great sadness that we have to report that an ALL AMERICAN HERO has passed away.
No, he wasn’t famous. He wasn’t a Hollywood celebrity or professional athlete. He was a firefighter.
He was a New York City firefighter, who heroically aided in the evacuation of thousands of people in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 as the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history took place.
Thomas Phelan, 45, of Brooklyn, died on Friday, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York. Phelan, family and friends told the New York Daily News he died from cancer linked to the toxic fumes at Ground Zero.
He was the 172nd firefighter to die as a result of an illness related to the attacks at the World Trade Center in 2001, according to the association.
Fox News reports that Phelan was working as a Statue of Liberty ferry captain on Sept. 11 when “he helped evacuate lower Manhattan & rescue many people to the other side of the river,” NYC Fire Wire wrote on Facebook. He “brought supplies, rescue workers & was a huge part of the operation.”
New York City firefighter Thomas Phelan, 45, died on Friday after suffering from cancer. (Facebook)
The ferry captain joined the Fire Department of New York in May 2003, where he was assigned to Engine Co. 55, the Daily News reported. Phelan later joined Marine 9 in Staten Island, where he worked as a pilot.
“[Phelan’s] work during the evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11 will not be forgotten,” the association stated. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. This has been a hard week for firefighters
“He would help anyone and everyone any chance he could. I just can’t believe this and honestly don’t understand why it’s always the good ones we lose way to early.”
Paul Iannizzotto wrote that he worked with Phelan at Engine 55.
“Always a stand up guy, always doing the right thing, and will be sorely missed,” he added on Facebook. “Rest easy brother.”
Edward Fahey said Phelan was a master mariner.
“I was just talking to my old man and he said even at a young age you were the best boat captain he had ever seen,” Fahey wrote.
Now THAT, my fellow patriots is a real hero.
Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
Rest in peace sir and thank you for your dedication and service to our country.