Ladder 165

1. What is your name, title and years at FDNY? Where are you currently assigned, and what are your work-related responsibilities?

My name is Matthew Tyrrel. I’m a firefighter—22 years this July, in 2024. I work at Ladder 165 in Battalion 54 right now.

My responsibilities are battalion staffing. I drive the chief on runs, and I act as communication channel between them and the Queens Dispatch during a fire.

2. What called you to a life of public service at FDNY?

My father was a Nassau County police officer, and he’s also a volunteer firefighter in Long Island. He really enjoys helping people. So that inspired me. Also, I worked in downtown Manhattan, 55 Water St. I was a municipal bond analyst for Standard & Poor’s when 9/11 happened. I was one of the people running away while firefighters were running in. I was already on the list when that happened, but this tragedy unquestionably inspired me to take the job.

3. Can you share one of your most memorable moments while working at FDNY?

We had a firefighter here, Chuckie Jones, who passed away. It was very quick; he had esophageal cancer. But the way the house came together to support him and the family during the tough time—we had a huge fundraiser at Mulcahy’s. And that’s just an example; it happens all the time with the Fire Department. Everyone just comes together and supports everyone else. Sometimes at the cost of their own family life, the Fire Department life is a top priority. We support each other, and just to see that day in and day out is very inspiring.

4. What does We Are FDNY mean to you?

We Are FDNY demonstrates the diversity of the FDNY. It shows civilians from different backgrounds and cultures that this job is not out of reach for them. Some people have a preconceived notion of who a firefighter is. This campaign puts a visualization on the diversity of the job and who can do this job. Really, anybody from any background can go for this job.

5. What is your superpower (best quality or skill)?

I think my superpower would be my open-mindedness. In this job, you’ve got a lot of type-A personalities that can be stubborn and butt heads a lot, and you’re living together. I like to think of myself as a little different, where I can see diverse perspectives. I can see different points of view in a same situation, which comes in handy with conflict resolution and situations like that.

6. How does your role support the public safety mission of the FDNY?

When I think of safety, what comes to mind is kind of specific, but to me, seatbelts are very important. And as a Ladder 165 chauffeur for a long time, I always wore my seatbelt, even though not everybody would all the time. I think if people see a senior guy wearing their seatbelt, they might not think it’s, you know, “Oh, that’s not cool.” So they’ll hopefully wear that seatbelt too, and that saves lives. You’ve got to make it a habit. I try to lead by example.

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