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Vandals burn Bayside memorial of firefighter killed in 9/11 attack

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A Bayside woman said Tuesday she was outraged after vandals set fire to a memorial on Jordan Street that was dedicated to her son, a firefighter who died during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Theresa Mullan said someone had set fire to a wreath, picture and flag which honored 34-year-old Firefighter Michael Mullan sometime early Sunday morning. She said the vandals had also thrown the wreath in the gutter.

"It's disgraceful," she said. "This was a deliberate act of vandalism. The whole neighborhood knew Michael. But I don't think anyone from the neighborhood did it."

Mullan, who served in Manhattan's Ladder 12, was one of 343 firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The corner of 32nd Avenue and Jordan Street was renamed Michael D. Mullan Way during a 2002 ceremony.

The firefighter had served as a registered nurse and captain in the U.S. Army Reserves at Fort Totten in Bayside. He joined the FDNY in 1994 and served in the military from 1985 until his death.

He was working to rescue people from the Marriott Hotel, near the World Trade Center, when he and his fellow firefighters heard a call to evacuate the building. Mullan was about to leave when he got a mayday call from a pair of trapped firefighters and volunteered to go back.

Theresa Mullan said firefighters told her they would repaint the pole that held the wreath within the next few days and that she would put up a new flag and picture of her son. She said neighbors regularly place flowers at the memorial.

"He grew up on this block," she said. "This was his neighborhood. He was a real neighborhood boy."

Mullan's neighbors said they noticed the vandalized memorial at various times during the day Sunday. They all said they were shocked that someone would damage the memorial in the closely knit community.

"It's vicious and cruel," said neighbor Carole Cressy. "This is a good family neighborhood. What kind of sick individual would do this?"

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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