Patrick (Paddy) J. Brown was born in Oak Park, Illinois on November 9th, 1952.
His father, John, was an FBI agent and his mother, Ruth, was a talented pianist who gave piano lessons while raising her family. An FBI Transfer brought the family to Queens Village, NY
in 1953. Soon Paddy had a brother, Michael and a sister, Carolyn.
Paddy spent much of his young life here and would devote that time at a local firehouse.
He had a scanner in his bedroom and would respond to local fire calls on his bicycle.
Here Paddy is seen rescuing a baby from a tenement fire.
Soon Paddy was promoted to Lieutenant and found himself at Ladder 28.
While covering in Rescue One Lieutenant Brown was involved
in a daytime rope rescue that was captured on television cameras.
CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE DRAMATIC FOOTAGE
(as told by John Walsh)
As commander of the life saving rope operation he received a medal on Medal Day.
Pat poses with his Dad (left) and brother Mike (right) on Medal Day.
Pat also received a letter of recognition from President George Bush.
Soon he was promoted to Captain and he served many years at Engine 69.
His final assignment was at the prestigious Ladder 3 on East 13th in the East Village.
While Paddy was making a name for himself in the FDNY, he was also busy otherwise.
His passions extended beyond the walls of the firehouse.
He was a Golden Gloves boxer.
He also loved the martial arts, and soon earned a Black Belt.
He would volunteer his time to teach the blind in the art of Karate.
He was an avid runner and participated in six marathons.
He also attended John Jay College and earned a degree in Psychology.
Paddy never married but was never lacking for a Saturday Night date to see the
Broadway shows that he so loved. Handsome and very much of a gentleman,
he was actually declared one of
Manhattan's most eligible bachelors.
Over his 24 years of service to the FDNY, Patrick became one of the department's
most decorated firefighter. He blended his extensive knowledge of firefighting with creativity,
innovation, bravery and quick thinking to perform dangerous rescues and to guide his company
to safe havens. His men looked up to him and would look forward to working with him.
It always seemed that he was in the right place at the right time, whether he was on or off duty.
(it was once said that when Pat walked down a street a fire would break out spontaneously and
young women would appear at their windows crying out to be saved)
When awarded a medal, the monetary awards were always quietly donated to the
Burn Unit at Cornell University's Burn Unit
Paddy was becoming recognized as one of the Department's living legends.
As was said more than once, the only person that would object to this characterization would
be Paddy himself. He was not comfortable about talking about his heroic accomplishments.
He preferred to be an outspoken advocate for improving conditions for his men.
Here he demonstrates the importance of the thermal imaging camera.
(It is used to pinpoint hot spots in the wall and locate the fire)
This trait sometimes got him in "a bit of hot water" with his superiors.
But Paddy was not beyond ruffling feathers to get what he knew his men needed and deserved.
He developed a reputation of bravery, talent and integrity which was passed onto his fellow firefighters. Many would request a "transfer" to Paddy's firehouse for the opportunity
to work with him and learn from him.
In the last ten years of his life, Paddy Brown found spirituality and comfort in the practice of Yoga.
Experiences in Vietnam and heartbreaking losses of some of his closest friends in the FD left him
with feelings of deep pain and loss. He once dedicated 40 days to taking care of his good friend,
John Drennan, Captain of Ladder 5. John was badly burned in the Watts Street Fire and
endured 40 days at the Burn Center.
Pat devoted his time to driving John's family to and fro the Burn Center.
After John's death Pat continued to be there to offer
Captain Drennan's family support and comfort.
Pat is pictured here with Vina Drennan to his left and Fr. Mychal Judge to his right.
On September 11th, 2001 Pat and eleven men from Ladder 3 responded to the attacks
at the World Trade Center. His firehouse, "3 Truck", is located in very close proximity
to the Twin Towers, so his company were one of the first responders on the scene.
Along with so many other rescue workers, the men of Ladder 3 participated
in perhaps one of the most successful rescue efforts in U.S. history. These brave men,
at their own peril, managed to safely evacuate over 25,000 people from
the World Trade Center on that most tragic day. It is believed that Paddy
and his men were on the 40th floor of the North Tower when it fell.
(drawing by Jim Nedelak)
Patrick's life, soul and spirit were remembered at a Memorial Mass on what
would have been his 49th birthday, November 9th, 2001, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Thousands packed the enormous church to overflowing, while firefighters
lined up three and four deep, as far as the eye could see on Fifth Avenue to honor
and respect this legendary NYC Firefighter.
Pat's remains were recovered from the rubble of the North Tower on December 14th, 2001.
On a cold clear night two weeks later, according to Paddy's wishes, his ashes were spread
by his family and friends in Central Park along a path where he loved to jog.
Paddy's body was put to rest but his spirit and influence lives on
in the hearts and memories of all who knew him.
Since his death many people have shared personal stories of how Paddy helped
and inspired them. He touched so many people's lives. The honors for him continue
even though he is no longer physically here with us.
The Captain Patrick J. Brown Walk now runs along the East River
on Avenue "C" in the shadow of the Stuyvesant Town apartment building he lived in.
Also, a memorial scholarship fund has been set up in New Orleans in his name to
help educate underprivileged children.
A picture drawn by Canadian Firefighter, Jim Nedelak is one of the most visible
tributes to Paddy Brown. Mr. Nedelak used Pat's likeness to
represent firefighters everywhere and is a supreme honor.
Here is the drawing:
Patrick Brown was passionate, intense, complicated, humble and
an inspiration to both those who knew him and those who are just now finding
out about this incredible man.
He'll be remembered as a devoted friend, a dedicated firefighter, a warrior
and someone who made a difference.