Remembering Chief Stack, Safety Battalion

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Following the attacks on 9/11/01, like many families, the Stack family held out hope that one day the remains of Lawrence Stack would show up. Anything would do, something with DNA that they can say good bye to. 14 years with nothing and the door has yet to be closed, so the family made the ultimate decision they would attempt to locate something from him that they could say good bye to. Larry and his wife, Kathleen, were blood donors. Kathleen contacted the Blood bank in a blind attempt to locate his donation. A few months went by and the phone rings- Larry’s blood was found in storage in Minnesota. The donation was donated back to the family, which they chose to use as a piece of a loving husband, father, brother, best friend to say to good bye to.

Larry Stack was one of many real life heroes that day, but his life leading up to his death was nothing short of spectacular. Before he joined the FDNY, Larry spent 6 years in the US Navy. His last year was the Vietnam War. February 19, 1966, he joined the NYPD for a short period following his honorable discharge from the Navy, but being from a family of FDNY firefighters, joining the department was a no brainer. His father spent 38 years on the job, his brother Dennis retired as a Captain with over 25 years on, his 2 sons; Michael joined the FDNY in 1994 and is presently a Lieutenant in Ladder 176 and Brian is in Ladder 123 detailed to Rescue 4, and his brother-in-law retired as a Lieutenant with over 25 years on the job. 

October 19, 1968, Chief Stack joined the FDNY assigned to Ladder 107 then to Ladder 175 in 1970. In 1981, he was promoted to Lieutenant and after a year of bouncing he was assigned to 35 Truck in Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  On April 5th, 1984, he was promoted to Captain. He bounced around Manhattan until January 6th, 1987 when he got the spot in Engine 8, Midtown East. March 17th 1990, Larry was promoted to Battalion Chief, working in the 50 Battalion. In 1994, he transfered to the Safety Battalion. 

June 17th, 2016 is the date set for the funeral of Chief Lawrence Stack. This date has significant meaning; It is the 49th wedding anniversary of Larry and Kathleen. Also, June 17th, 2001 was a Sunday, it was also Father’s Day and Larry Stack was working the day tour. Around 2pm, Queens Companies were assigned to fire in Hardware Store- Long Island General Store at 12-22 Astoria Blvd. 40 minutes into the fire an explosion occured, this took the life of 3 firemen and injured many more. The Safety Battalion’s responsibility, in addition to firefighting duties, is investigating line of duty injuries and deaths. Following this fire, Chief Stack was on administrative detail to conduct his investigation of the fire that took place on June 17th which is known as The Father’s Day Fire.

On September 11th, 2001, Chief Stack reported to his office at the Brooklyn Navy Yard ready to put his final report together on the Father’s Day fire when the 1st plane flew into the tower. The view from the Brooklyn Navy Yard is lower Manhattan. All members in the firehouse went up to the roof. Larry had his binoculars with him and as he was watching the horror unfold, the 2nd plane struck the other tower. Larry turned to the others and said, “We will be needed, we need to go”, and off they went.

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