'It's Hard To Leave:' Battalion Chief To Retire After 34 Years With FDNY

April 12, 2019 - 12:03 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Battalion Chief Jim McGlynn loves the FDNY.

"It's hard to leave," he tells WCBS 880's Sean Adams. "I have the greatest job in the organization in the world."

After nearly 34 years with the department, McGlynn will retire early next week.

He's led a distinguished career of service, which includes his response on September 11, 2001.


On that day, McGlynn, then a lieutenant with Engine 39, and his men were in stairwell "B" of the north tower of the World Trade Center when the building came down. 

"You knew obviously exactly what was going on. You heard the floors coming down one by one. You heard the 'boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.' So there was no question in my mind what was going on at that point," McGlynn said. "You basically just kind of said your prayers, tried to find a spot that might be safe. I crawled into a fetal position, went to a corner and just waited."

Shafts of light piercing the cracked, contorted concrete told them the tower was gone. The stairwell held. McGlynn and his men survived.

"After the noise stopped and the vibrations you just kind of got up, brushed yourself off and tried to collect yourself and make sense of what happened. Try to get your bearings, figure out who was around you, where your men were," McGlynn said. "Started giving maydays over the hand talkie, basically just waited for things to clear up so that you could formulate some kind of plan."

After being trapped for five hours, they climbed up ropes and dropped down through crevices. 

Some might have called it a career right then and there, but not McGlynn.

"In my mind we were at war. This was our Pearl Harbor. This was, you know, a focal point in our history where everyone is needed. There was no way I could have left," McGlynn said.