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Dispatcher Lost in WTC Collapse

Author: Matt Ziemkiewicz, Dispatch Supervisor, Jersey City FD

Copyright: 9-1-1 Magazine, Feature Content

Date: 2011-09-11
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Line of Duty Death of Jersey City Fire Dispatcher, Joseph Lovero

Originally Published in our Nov/Dec 2001 issue.

On Sunday, September 9th, 2001, Jersey City (NJ) Fire Dispatcher, Joseph Lovero celebrated his 60th birthday.  Joe certainly did not look or act his age.  Often using his uncanny witty humor to liven things us around the dispatch center.  Joe was always there when you needed him, he even showed up when you didn’t… just in case.

On September 11th, after the first plane attacked the World Trade Center, Joe, an avid fire photographer, responded within minutes to lower Manhattan. Grouped up with Jersey City Fire units on the scene, Joe and the command staff from Jersey City Fire were approaching the FDNY command post to report in, when the towers began to collapse. Everyone became separated in the desperate attempt to flee the falling debris. Several blocks away, the Jersey City units began to regroup, and there was no sign of Joe.

After the collapse of the first tower, an EMS unit found Joe, apparently suffering traumatic injuries from the falling debris, and was able to transport him to St. Vincent’s Trauma Center, near the World Trade Center. Unfortunately, the valiant attempt to stabilize Joe proved unsuccessful.

Joe’s dedication to the fire service began almost 60 years ago. Growing up near a firehouse, Joe and his friends were regulars at E19 and L8. Often noted for playing out fire calls, building and organizing his own fire company out of an old baby carriage with a bunch of his friends.  Joe always had a connection with the Fire Service.  Joe was a life member of the Gong Club, a canteen service that would provide refreshment and food to firefighter at scenes of major incidents, serving as its deputy chief for many years.  Joe also worked an an EMT for Jersey City as well, receiving several commendations.  In 2000, Joe received the rank of Honorary Battalion Chief, presented by the Jersey City Fire Director, recognizing Joe’s dedication and lifelong service to the Fire Department.

Both Jersey City and New York City are considering Joe's death as "Line of Duty" and will receive all that customarily accompanies that recognition.  Joe received a full departmental funeral, with representatives from around the country.  The firefighters of Engine 19 and Ladder 8 formed an honor guard to pay tribute.  He is survived by his daughters, Maxine McCormick and Joanne Mahon, his son James, and brothers James (who ironically passed away at the end of October) and Michael, a retired Jersey City firefighter who is now working as a fire dispatcher for JCFD.

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