On September 11, Lieutenant Robert Cirri was in his Jersey City office when the first plane hit the Twin Towers. He drove his car through the Holland Tunnel to help. When he was a couple blocks away, he called his wife, Eileen, at work to tell her he couldn’t watch people running out of the building, that he had to help. He called her again to tell her that he and Captain Kathy Mazza were rerouting people who had been heading into a fire. They were on the twenty-eighth floor. When the call came to evacuate after the collapse of the South Tower, Lieutenant Cirri and Captain Mazza were helping a woman down the stairs. They were in the lobby of the North Tower when it collapsed.
Cirri, thirty-nine, served the Port Authority for over fifteen years. He was an executive officer at the academy, where he trained others, and had received his promotion to lieutenant in 2000. On weekends he worked part-time as a paramedic at Hackensack University Medical Center. His ham radio operation, which started as a hobby, was used to help people when he joined the Jersey Coastal Emergency Services, a nonprofit organization that monitors emergency airwaves.
Lieutenant Cirri is survived by his wife, two children – Robert, Jr., seventeen, and Jessica, thirteen – and three stepchildren, Bianca, fifteen, Francesca, thirteen, and Kara, eleven. On the memorial service program, each of his children wrote a tribute to him. His name also appears on a monument at the base of the flagpole at North Bergen High School from which he graduated in 1980.
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