Mr. Hayes was a 20 year veteran of the FDNY. After he retired, he took the position of onsite fire safety inspector at the World Trade Center. After the first plane hit the north tower, he quickly began to lead people out of the buildings. He rescued several children from a daycare center in building 5.
He was last seen in the south tower lobby, as he continued to direct others to safety, concerned that the falling debris would hit them. According to his family, when his remains were finally recovered in March 2002, his name badge lay next to him. His brothers from Engine Co. 217 found him in the lobby and carried him out with delicacy and dignity.