William M. Feehan

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Feehan’s name is located on Panel S-18 of the National September 11 Memorial's South Pool, along with those of other first responders.

William M. Feehan (September 29, 1929 – September 11, 2001) was a member of the Fire Department of New York who died during the collapse of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks.


Feehan graduated from Saint John's University in 1952. Before his appointment to the FDNY, he served in the United States Army in Korea during the Korean War, during which he was decorated with the Combat Infantry Badge, Korean Service Medal, UN Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.[1]

Feehan held every rank within the fire department, starting with Probationary Firefighter upon his appointment on October 10, 1959,[1] and was the first firefighter to do so.[2] He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1964 and eventually to Chief of Department in 1991. In 1992, he was appointed Deputy Fire Commissioner. Upon the resignation of Fire Commissioner Carlos M. Rivera, he briefly served as Acting Fire Commissioner through the end of Mayor David N. Dinkins administration from August 31, 1993 until December 31, 1993.

After incoming Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani picked Howard Safir to become Fire Commissioner of the City of New York, Feehan returned to his previous position of First Deputy Fire Commissioner of the City of New York. Although high-ranking members of the FDNY and other city departments ordinarily are asked to step aside for incoming mayors to make their own appointments, according to an FDNY spokesman, nobody even thought of asking Feehan to do so, because he was so knowledgeable that he "was thought to know the location of every fire hydrant in the city." He served in that position until his death in the line of duty during the collapse of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, at the age of 71.[2] Along with FDNY Chief of department Peter Ganci, Commissioner Feehan was found by the FDNY's Search and Rescue K-9 "Bear."

Feehan was survived by his daughters, Elizabeth Feehan and Tara Davan, and sons, William Feehan and firefighter John Feehan, who had worked in Squad Company 252 and is currently Captain of Engine 249. He was also survived by six grandchildren.[1]

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Feehan is memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-18.[3]

In 2015 the FDNY acquired a fireboat named after Feehan.[4][5] The vessel is a fast response fireboat, capable of pumping 8,000 gallons per minute, with a top speed of 40 knots (74 km/h). It is 66 feet (20 m) long and was made by using scrap metal from the Twin Towers.


  1. ^ a b c "First Deputy Commissioner William Feehan". nyc.gov. Fire Department of New York. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (September 13, 2001). "William Feehan, Fire Dept. Leader, Dies at 72". New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-13.
  3. ^ William M. Feehan. Memorial Guide: National 9/11 Memorial. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  4. ^ Peter Kennedy (2015-08-06). "Kingston-built fireboat immortalizes 9/11 victim". Kingston Whig Standard. Retrieved 2015-08-10. Just shy of 21 metres in length, the William M. Feehan is powered by a trio of Caterpillar C-18 engines, each capable of pushing out 1,150 horsepower, with twin fuel tanks splitting 4,500 litres. Running at a top speed of 40 knots (about 75 km/h), it can stop in two boat lengths. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Invalid |deadurl=No (help)
  5. ^ "Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and Family of FDNY Deputy Commissioner William M. Feehan Christen Vessel Named in His Honor". nyc.gov. Fire Department of New York. Retrieved 2 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Media related to William M. Feehan at Wikimedia Commons

Fire appointments
Preceded by
Carlos M. Rivera
FDNY Commissioner
Succeeded by
Howard Safir