At 8:30 a.m. that morning, Stephen headed home after working the night shift at his Brooklyn firehouse. He had planned to spend the day golfing with his brothers, but when he heard about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, he turned his truck around.
On his way back to New York City, Stephen got stuck at the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which was already sealed off to traffic, according to his family. Instead of turning back, he strapped 75 pounds of gear onto his back, abandoned his truck and ran through the tunnel...straight for the burning buildings.
"What must have been going through his mind running through that tunnel with gear on his back...he has a wife and five children. You have to be torn running through," says Frank, Stephen's brother. "He knew that he was a firefighter. His job is to save people."
Stephen ran through the tunnel and straight for the World Trade Center, where he lost his life when the towers collapsed. More than 340 firefighters and paramedics also lost their lives that day.