The Ground Zero Cross
Gary Celentani was a 9/11 Hero
Remembering an Angel:
9/11 Hero Gary Celentani
by Kevin Caruso
Gary Celentani was an outstanding firefighter who worked with Squad 288 in New York City.
And Gary Celentani was a great person who everyone loved and respected. He was extremely strong, both physically and mentally, was dedicated to his job, and tried to help everyone that he could.
All of Gary's friends knew that they could count on him anytime they needed him. "Just call him and he'd come over and help you," said retired Capt. John Vigiano.
On January 11, 1999, as a member of Ladder Company 27, firefighter Gary Celentani, along with firefighter John Calvin and Capt. Richard Arazosa, responded to a call of a building on fire in the Bronx. When the three entered the building, they were told by residents that a woman was trapped in an apartment which was on fire.
Gary, John, and Capt. Arazosa quickly entered the hallway that led to the apartment.
Flames filled the hallway, making it almost impossible to get to the woman's apartment, but Gary used a fire extinguisher to knock back the flames so Capt. Arazosa could
make it to the apartment.
Capt. Arazosa found the resident, Cathlene Mathis, lying on the floor, barely able to move and gasping for breath. He was able to move her from the apartment. Then Gary Celentani and John Calvin assisted in moving Cathlene to safety.
Gary Celentani was a hero.
But when the September 11th tragedy hit, Gary's unit, Squad 288, suffered many casualties.
Gary lost several close friends on September 11th, firefighters from his squad, and police officers that he worked with.
Gary was devastated.
He suffered from depression and from post-traumatic stress disorder because of the horror of 9/11.
And about a year later, his mother, who he was very close to, passed away.
And about the same time, his girlfriend ended their relationship.
Shortly after losing his mother, and while still suffering from serious depression and from post-traumatic stress disorder, Gary entered the basement of his home carrying several photos. The photos were of firefighters and police officers that lost their lives on 9/11. He arranged the pictures so he could view all of them.
He then shot himself with his rifle.
Gary died by suicide on September 25, 2002.
You will always be a hero Gary.
And now you are an angel.
We miss you.
And we will never forget you.