555 Fitness Hero WOD
- For Time
- 800 meter Run
- 50 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
- 100 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
- 150 Double-Unders
- 800 meter Run
As a man who was once a waiter, a chimney sweep and a mechanic, Louis J. Modafferi knew what working for a living was all about. But being a firefighter wasn't just a job for the Fire Department's Rescue Co. 5 captain; it was a way of life.
He was courageous, organized, quick on his feet and he put others first. Weekends were spent with his children; he shoveled snow from his neighbors' driveways without being asked and, in the end, he volunteered his life to save countless others.
Mr. Modafferi wasn't scheduled to work on the morning of Sept. 11, but joined his squad at Rescue 5 in Concord when he heard that airplanes had slammed into the World Trade Center. He was among five firefighters from that elite company who weren't supposed to be there, but jumped on the unit's truck as it departed for Manhattan. And he was one of the 11 who never came back after the Twin Towers collapsed. Mr. Modafferi was 45.
"His job was very important to him," said his wife, the former Joanne Palladino. "If he had to choose how he was going to die, he would have chosen being a hero and doing what he did. That much gives me comfort."
Mr. Modafferi began his career with the Fire Department in January 1982 at Engine Co. 247 in Brooklyn. He was steadily promoted over the years, topping the department's lists for lieutenant in 1994 and again for captain in 1999. He had been with Rescue 5 since January 1999.
In March 1992, he was called to LaGuardia Airport when an airplane somersaulted off the runway into the freezing waters of Flushing Bay. Mr. Modafferi received a citation from the Fire Department for his work during the nor'easter of 1992. He was one of the first on the scene when a terrorist bomb ripped through the basement of the World Trade Center in February 1993, and assisted when the Chinese vessel Golden Venture was crippled on Rockaway Beach in June of that year.
His immaculate service record caught the attention of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1996. Trained to scuba dive and handle hazardous materials, he was commissioned by the agency to assist in rescue efforts abroad. When Hurricane Georges devastated the city of Santo Domingo in September 1998, he went to the Dominican Republic to help pick up the pieces of shattered lives. He was also called to operate in Puerto Rico. At the time he went missing, Mr. Modafferi was among the Fire Department's top candidates for chief.