Father Recalls Son, Fallen FDNY Firefighter

Bob Carlo says he thinks about his son every day. 


FREDERICK, MD -- Bob Carlo's trepidation is evident.

There's a lot planned this week as he heads to New York City as the anniversary of his son's death approaches.

FDNY Firefighter Michael Scott Carlo perished along with five others from Engine 230 in the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The firefighter, with aspirations of sailing around the world, was on the phone that sunny morning 10 years ago with his brother Rob, also with FDNY at the time.

“Michael and the guys were on the roof of the firehouse watching the tower burn. He was telling Rob about it when he saw the second plane hit. He then told him his company was getting called. He ended with: ‘Talk to you tonight.’”

That call would never take place. As the Maryland father headed to New York City, he prayed that no news would be good news. “I knew cell service was down. I was thinking maybe he's just really, really busy with his crew. I was just hoping upon hope that it would be a matter of time before we heard from him.”

Carlo and five other firefighters had been busy in the south tower, and were helping to evacuate people when it came crashing down. The only survivor from the shift had stayed with the engine.

His brother Rob, now retired from FDNY, went to the site every day hoping that he would find him.

Weeks later, Bob Carlo went to his son's final resting place. He still remembers that first moment vividly. “It was horrible, just horrible. That pile was massive...”

While the world pauses to remember every September, Carlo thinks about his son every day.

“He was a good-looking guy, single and charming,” he says proudly. “He also had a roofing company. He would take the time to really talk to people. He got a lot of customers because he really did care about them”

Carlo, a motorcycle enthusiast, has a Harley Davidson featuring paintings of his son, his engine company and the skyline with the twin towers. “I get a lot of thumbs up when people see it, especially truckers.”

He's been part of the escort for rigs hauling pieces of steel to various places in the country, and never hesitates when people want to talk.

Sitting at his dining room table last week, Carlo showed the invitations and tickets to official events for the Sept. 11 anniversary that he has received, as a family member.

But, the one he spoke most about doesn't have a written itinerary or rules.

“We are spending the whole day at Engine 230 with other families who lost firefighters. We're going to have breakfast, go to Mass and have lunch. We're going to be in Mike's firehouse all day.”

The father, fighting to keep his emotions in check, added: “I'd rather be there than down at the trade center.”

Carlo, a devout Catholic, is upset that Mayor Bloomberg has nixed the reading of any type of prayer at the service. “That's just not right.”

As the anniversary draws closer, Carlo says he's certain that others who lost loved ones are feeling the same.

But, together, they will make it.