FDNY Halligan Stolen 9/11, Offered on eBay

The seller also volunteered to return it after he heard what had happened.A firefighting tool that disappeared from a Bronx firetruck at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 has been returned after an eagle-eyed captain spotted the device for sale on eBay.Capt. Joe...


The seller also volunteered to return it after he heard what had happened.

A firefighting tool that disappeared from a Bronx firetruck at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 has been returned after an eagle-eyed captain spotted the device for sale on eBay.

Capt. Joe Principio of Ladder Co. 58 on East Tremont Avenue saw the prying bar, called a Halligan tool, being auctioned in May ? and quickly notified fire marshals. "I recognized it immediately," said Principio. "We had spot-welded '58' on the forked portion."

The marshals contacted the seller, a volunteer firefighter in Florida who had posted three photos of the bar and wanted a minimum bid of $1,000, but the seller knew nothing about how the tool had vanished.

The seller also volunteered to return it after he heard what had happened.

"The guy was cooperative," said Principio. "He ended up sending it back at his expense."

Nicknamed the "universal key" for its ability to punch through or pry open almost any kind of barrier, the Halligan tool ? designed by ex-First Deputy Fire Commissioner Hugh Halligan in the 1940s ? is perhaps the most common device used in rescue and firefighting.

It costs about $100. Every firehouse in the city has at least one.

Ladder 58's Halligan tool disappeared Sept. 11 from the side of its truck after the company responded to the World Trade Center attack.

"Our rig was stripped," said Principio. "Most of our equipment was gone."