Peter J. Ganci Jr.

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Peter James Ganci Jr.
Ganci's name is located on Panel S-17 of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s South Pool, along with those of other first responders.
Born (1946-10-27)October 27, 1946
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 54)
New York City
Nationality United States
Occupation Firefighter
Known for Chief of the Fire Department New York

Peter James Ganci Jr. (October 27, 1946 – September 11, 2001) was a career firefighter in the New York City Fire Department killed in the September 11 attacks. At the time of the attacks, he held the rank of Chief of Department, the highest ranking uniformed fire officer in the department.[1]


Prior to joining the Fire Department, Ganci served in the 82nd Airborne Division in the War in Vietnam.[2][3]

Ganci joined the New York City Fire Department in the 1960s, serving in engine and ladder companies in Brooklyn and the Bronx, beginning with Engine Company 92 in the Bronx and then subsequently Ladder Company 111.[1][4]

During this time the FDNY, a time described by The New York Times as "an era of crisis", fire companies battled arson fires almost continually in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Ganci was promoted to lieutenant in 1977, captain in 1983, battalion chief in 1987, and deputy chief in 1993, when he was working in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In 1984 Ganci was made the head of the Bureau of Fire Investigation following the appointment as fire commissioner of Howard Safir, who needed a uniformed chief to address conflicts between fire marshals and uniformed firefighters, a conflict whose resolution Safir credits to Ganci. In January 1997 Ganci replaced his boss Donald Burns as Chief of Operations, the second highest uniformed position in the Fire Department.[1][5]

During the September 11 attacks[edit]

On the morning of the attacks, Ganci's best friend and executive assistant, Steve Mosiello, was going to drive Ganci to court, where Ganci had been scheduled for jury duty.[6] Immediately after American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower (1 World Trade Center), however, Ganci, Mosiello, and Chief of Operations Danny Nigro rushed there from their command post in downtown Brooklyn.[7] Driving there in Ganci's car, they arrived on the scene in less than 10 minutes, and set up a command post on a ramp leading to a garage near the North Tower, in time to see United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower.[6] According to Newsday, Ganci and others were in the basement of the South Tower when it collapsed, but they dug themselves out of the rubble that had caved in on them.[7] Ganci ordered his men to set up a different command post in a safer location, further north of the buildings, and ordered Mosiello to acquire backup. However, Ganci himself returned to the buildings,[6] coming to stand in front of 1 World Trade Center, where he was directing the rescue efforts with a multichannel radio, when the building collapsed. He and Mayor Rudy Giuliani had spoken just minutes before, when Giuliani had left for his command post, following Ganci's instruction to Giuliani, the fire commissioners and others to clear the area because it was apparent the North Tower would fall. However, Ganci himself did not evacuate the area, saying, "I'm not leaving my men", and remained at that location with William Feehan, first deputy commissioner of the fire department.[7] FDNY Chief of Department Peter Ganci, Commissioner William Feehan, and many victims of the WTC were found by NYC Parks Enforcement SAR K-9 Bear Shields.

Ganci and Feehan were killed when the second tower collapsed.[7] After a golden retriever rescue dog named Bear located Ganci's body,[8] Ganci's fire team, including Moseillo, pulled it from beneath four feet of debris.[6][7] Ganci's former supervisor, Howard Safir, commented that Ganci "would never ask anyone to do something he didn't do himself. It didn't surprise me that he was right at the front lines. You would never see Pete five miles away, in some command center."[1]

Ganci was survived by his sisters, Mary Dougherty and Ellen Ganci, his brothers, Dan and Jim,[7] his wife, Kathleen, their sons, Peter Ganci III (a firefighter assigned to Ladder Company 111 in Brooklyn) and Christopher (also a firefighter in the FDNY[9][10]), and their daughter, Danielle, who lived with Ganci in Massapequa, New York.[1]

Legacy and memorials[edit]

Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan was unofficially renamed for him as Ganci Air Base.[11]

On Memorial Day, 2003 the post office at 380 Main Street in Farmingdale, New York was named for him.[12][13][14]

In 2003 Ganci's son, Chris Ganci, wrote a biography of Ganci.[3][15]

At the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Ganci Jr. is memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-17.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e Glenn Collins (2001-09-13). "Peter J. Ganci, 54, Fire Chief, While Leading Tower Rescue". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. Chief Ganci was placed in charge of the Bureau of Fire Investigation in 1994 after Mr. Safir was appointed fire commissioner. 'There was a problem between the fire marshals and the uniformed firefighters,' Mr. Safir said. 'I needed a uniformed chief who could bring them together. It was a highly charged situation, and in months, he turned the fire marshals into a great operation.' 
  2. ^ Jo Ann Davis (2002-09-09). "Peter J Ganci Jr Post Office Building". C-SPAN. Retrieved 2011-02-13. Prior to joining the New York City Fire Department, Ganci served in the Farmingdale Fire Department as a volunteer and in the 82nd Airborne Division. Ganci served in the New York Fire Department for 33 years and was decorated repeatedly for bravery. 
  3. ^ a b Kathleen A. Baxter; Marcia Agness Kochel (2007). Gotcha for guys!: nonfiction books to get boys excited about reading. Libraries Unlimited. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-59158-311-0. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  4. ^ Paul Hashagen (2002), "Peter J. Ganci Jr.", Fire Department, City of New York, p. 251, ISBN 978-1-56311-832-6 
  5. ^ Bill Farrell; Virginia Breen (1997-01-03). "Fire Commish transferring 3 Chiefs". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-02-13. Burns' deputy, Assistant Chief Peter Ganci, will be named to replace his boss in the $166,800-a-year post, department sources said. 
  6. ^ a b c d "WTC survivors recall day of terror". CNN. 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Searcey, Dionne (2001). "Remembering 9/11: Long Island Remembers: Peter J. Ganci Jr." Newsday. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (June 2, 2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. Second Edition. ABC-CLIO, LLC. (Santa Barbara, California) p. 146. Google Books. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  9. ^ "Daniel Nigro Named 33rd Fire Commissioner". New York City Fire Department. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Kemp, Joe; Armaghan, Sarah (30 May 2012). "FDNY promotions include Chris Ganci, whose father, Peter Ganci, died at Ground Zero on 9/11". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Kyrgyzstan to shut key NATO base". RT. February 4, 2009.
  12. ^ Duleavy, Steve (May 27, 2003). "BAPTISM OF RAIN AND TEARS HONORS 9/11 CHIEF". New York Post.
  13. ^ McGowan, Marina (May 30, 2003). "A High Honor for a Brave Long Islander". Farmingdale Observer.
  14. ^ "S. 2918 Reported in Senate (RS)". U.S. Government Printing Office. October 15, 2002.
  15. ^ Chris Ganci (2003). Chief: The life of Peter J. Ganci, a New York City Firefighter. Orchard Books. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-439-44386-9. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  16. ^ Peter James Ganci Jr.. Memorial Guide: National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Retrieved October 28, 2011.

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