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9/11 hero Joseph Pfeifer comes out of retirement to take new job with FDNY

By WABC Staff

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    NEW YORK (WABC) — A 9/11 hero is coming out of retirement to take a new job at the nation’s largest fire department, the FDNY announced over the weekend.

Joseph Pfeifer was named first deputy commissioner, the second-highest civilian rank in the department, managing day-to-day operations.

“Joe Pfeifer is an incredible and innovative leader. He served as one of New York City’s Bravest for decades, created partnerships and programs that enhanced the safety and training of our members, and has always been there for our city, especially on our darkest days,” said Commissioner Laura Kavanagh.

Pfeifer, 67, retired from the FDNY in 2018 as an Assistant Chief. He is the founding director of FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness.

As a Battalion Chief on September 11th, he was the first Chief to respond to the World Trade Center attacks, which killed his brother, Kevin.

“Chief Joe Pfeifer embodies what it means to be New York’s Bravest, being the first chief to respond to the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 and founding the department’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Pfeifer’s hiring comes amid a revolt in the top ranks of the FDNY. At least six chiefs have asked to be demoted, claiming a communications breakdown with Kavanagh and complaints she is limiting her decision-making to a small group of inexperienced aides.

Pfeifer brings almost 40 years of experience to the job.

“The heart of FDNY is the ability to unify efforts to solve complex problems in the face of great tragedy,” said Pfeifer of his new role. “Our united team is a sign of resilience to reflect on the past and envision the future so that we can enhance the present.”

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