2 bros rise to challenge
Promoted by FDNY same day
They’re going up the FDNY ladder together.
Two bravest brothers from the Rockaways will be promoted on Friday, less than a week after they marked the passing of a third sibling — a twin to one of them — who died on 9/11.
FDNY Lt. Sean Heeran will be bumped up to captain and younger brother Firefighter William (Billy) Heeran will be promoted to lieutenant during a special ceremony at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn, on Friday.
“We took the test six months apart,” Billy Heeran, 40, said Thursday. “We never thought we would get promoted together. Not in a million years.”
In attendance will be their wives, children and proud pop Bernie Heeran, a retired FDNY firefighter.
Also on their minds will be the memory of their brother Charlie Heeran — Billy’s twin brother — who died in the twin towers while working for Cantor Fitzgerald on 9/11. He was 23 years old.
Charlie, Billy and Sean were all working in the Financial District that fateful day, preparing to become the next wolves of Wall Street, when terrorists slammed two jets into the World Trade Center.
Billy was working for a small firm in Battery Park when his Bloomberg terminal flashed a news brief that a Cessna had struck the World Trade Center.
“I knew my brother was there, but he wasn’t picking up his direct line,” Billy remembered. “I called another guy there and he didn’t pick up either. I ran over and got a block away before cops stopped me.
“You could see a huge hole in the building,” he said. “You can tell it wasn’t a Cessna.”
Both Billy and Sean said watching the FDNY race to the towers and tirelessly sift through the rubble searching for survivors inspired them to become firefighters.
“That was definitely the deciding factor...losing my brother and seeing firsthand the companies responding to the Trade Center,” said Billy, who had already taken the written exam and had deferred two calls to be put into a Fire academy class. “If 9/11 didn’t happen I wouldn’t have taken the job.”
Sean, 43, said that after 9/ 11 the Wall Street lifestyle wasn’t as appealing.
William Heeran (top l.) and brother Sean (top r.) joined FDNY in wake of 9/11, which took the life of their brother Charlie (left). Their dad, Bernie (above) is a retired firefighter.