Ex-FDNY member Michael Lyons of LI dies of 9/11 cancer
Retired FDNY Capt. Michael J. Lyons, a Dix Hills resident cited many times for heroism during more than 20 years on the job, including for efforts on Sept. 11, 2001, has died of 9/11-related cancer, the FDNY confirmed. He was 53.
Born in Brooklyn, Lyons spent most of his youth in Ireland, graduating from University College in Galway, now National University of Ireland-Galway, with a degree in history and English. He joined the FDNY on Nov. 22, 1998, and served as a firefighter with Engine 228 in Sunset Park, Engine 59 in Harlem, Ladder 153 in southern Brooklyn, Ladder 148 in Borough Park, and Ladder 30 in Harlem, as a lieutenant.
Lyons was assigned to Division 15 in Brooklyn as a captain before his battle with cancer led to his retirement in 2019. He is the 276th FDNY member to die of 9/11 illnesses, the FDNY said.
Lyons wrote about his bout with stage 4 cancer for the FDNY's in-house publication, offering advice and encouragement to fellow department members, the department said.
Pasquale Buzzelli, of Rivervale, New Jersey, was inside the World Trade Center's north tower when the building collapsed. Lyons and other fighters pulled him from the rubble, Buzzelli said, and the two never lost touch
“We’ve been friends ever since he rescued me,” said Buzzelli, 52. “I had an angel that day here on Earth. Now I have an angel in Heaven.”
Buzzelli, an engineer with the Port Authority, said he and Lyons met up at a block party in Brooklyn last summer and last spoke about two weeks ago.
“He said he was going through chemo,” Buzzelli said. “I replied ‘look man, you’re the strongest fighter I know.' I said ‘let’s get together soon’ and that was it. He gave everything. He's a hero."
A visitation for Lyons will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the M.A. Connell Funeral Home in Huntington Station.
An 11 a.m. funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, 175 Wolf Hill Rd., Melville.
Lyons is survived by his parents, two children, three brothers and 10 nieces and nephews.
With Matthew Chayes