Stories of NYC firefighters killed in the line of duty to be collected

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Several years ago, a fire buff named Micheal Boucher began a project about death. Mr. Boucher wanted to compile a list of every firefighter killed in the line of duty since 1865, the year the paid Fire Department of New York was founded.

Mr. Boucher knows the world of firefighters. He is a Fire Department dispatcher, the person who sends firefighters to fires, sometimes to their deaths. The work can leave one with a heavy, if misplaced, feeling of accountability, and Mr. Boucher, a bespectacled fellow, sometimes suffers from that feeling.

The department’s memorial wall at its Brooklyn headquarters has just the name, rank and date of each death, so Mr. Boucher hoped to uncover the story of each death and make the plaque more human.

“I’m not really rewriting history; I’m correcting it,” he said.

So began a long and winding odyssey of hunting for answers regarding a department that, historically, was not given to writing much down.

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