Court gives OK to 9/11 hero listing

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A Queens Supreme Court judge ruled this week that retired Little Neck Capt. James Corrigan should be listed alongside his fellow firefighters with whom he died Sept. 11, 2001, at a Ground Zero memorial.

Marie Corrigan, the firefighter’s widow, filed a suit in April against the city Fire Department and National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center. The FDNY had refused to place her husband’s name with other firefighters’ names on memorials because he was not recognized as being on active duty at the time of the terrorist attacks.

Marie Corrigan’s suit contended that state law reinstated him to active duty Sept. 11. On Monday, Queens Supreme Court Judge Augustus Agate agreed with her.

“While the court hesitates to become embroiled in the internal decisions of the FDNY regarding a matter of such a sensitive nature, there is simply no rational basis for the FDNY’s position herein given the circumstances of Captain Corrigan’s death,” the judge’s ruling read.

R.J. DeRose, Corrigan’s attorney, said his client was relieved her husband’s name would be listed alongside other firefighters who died at the World Trade Center.

“We crushed them,” DeRose said. “We don’t know if the FDNY will appeal, but my hope is they will do the right thing. He was restored to active status as a firefighter, so he should be listed with the other firefighters on the memorial.”

FDNY spokesman Steve Ritea said the department was looking over Agate’s ruling.

“We just received the ruling late yesterday afternoon and it’s still being reviewed,” he said Tuesday.

At the time of the attacks, Corrigan, 60, had been retired. The Little Neck resident had joined the FDNY in 1969, serving in Little Italy, Brooklyn and the Financial District in Manhattan. In 1992, he had been transferred to Bayside’s Engine Co. 320.

After retiring, Corrigan was employed by Silverstein Properties and became the fire and life safety coordinator at the World Trade Center.

Corrigan’s two sons, Brendan and Sean, were given “legacy credits” on their entrance exams to the FDNY, DeRose said. The credits bump up the score of any test-taker whose parents were killed in the line of active duty.

In 2002, former City Councilman Tony Avella had drafted a resolution which called on the city to grant full active duty status to Corrigan as well as William Wren and Phillip Hayes, both of whom had also died Sept. 11. The state Legislature later voted to grant all duties and honors as active duty members to all three men.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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