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Hundreds mourn firefighter in Bayside

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They came by bus and by car, from as far away as Philadelphia and as close as Woodside, to say a final goodbye Saturday to Bayside firefighter Michael Mullan, who like so many of his colleagues gave his life trying to save people from the ruins of the World Trade Center.

A funeral service was held Saturday for Mullan — a city firefighter with Manhattan’s Ladder Co. 12, registered nurse and captain in the U.S. Army — at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament at 34th Avenue and 203rd Street. It attracted hundreds of people who spilled out of the church and onto the front lawn. Many listened to the service via speakers broadcasting the service.

Hundreds of firefighters attended the mass, arriving by the busload from across Queens and spots as far-flung as Philadelphia. Among the mourners were firefighters from Rescue Co. 4 in Woodside who lost seven men of their own in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Mullan’s mother, Theresa, told the TimesLedger last month her son was a person full of “merriment and mischief and devilment.”

“He had a joke a minute and was laughing all the time,” Theresa Mullan said of her 34-year-old son.

Mullan was working to rescue people from the Marriott Hotel, between the two towers of the World Trade Center, when he and his fellow firefighters heard the call to evacuate the building, Theresa Mullan said.

Michael was about to go when he got a mayday call from a pair of trapped firefighters and volunteered to go back, his mother said. He was not seen again, she said.

“He lived every day of his life,” Theresa said shortly after the Sept. 11 attack. “He had to be where the action was — he had to be in the heart of it.”

A graduate of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Mullan graduated from Holy Cross High School in Flushing and in 1992 from Queensborough Community College with a nursing degree. Mullan also earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Hunter College in 1999.

Mullan joined the city Fire Department in 1994 and served in the U.S. military from 1985 until his death.

At his funeral Saturday neighborhood residents lined the block, taking places on lawns and stoops as the funeral procession arrived.

Firefighters in navy blue suits and Army reservists in their green camouflage uniforms stood at attention as pallbearers lifted Mullan’s casket from a fire truck hearse into the church.

A large American flag flew between the ladders of two fire trucks at 34th Avenue and 203rd Street, providing a patriotic background to the hundreds of mourners forced to listen to the mass outside over loudspeakers because the church was full.

Reporter Daniel Massey contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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