Steven Coakley: The Florida
Coakley, a firefighter with Engine Company 217 in
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, had just finished a full
shift and was preparing to leave the station house when
the alarm rang on Sept. 11.
Working long hours was not unusual for him. Mr.
Coakley, 36, would often work back-to-back shifts for two
weeks so that he could spend the rest of the month either
boating or at his house in Madeira Beach, Fla., near St.
Petersburg. He liked life in Florida so much that he
planned to retire and live there full time. "He had just
a few years to go," said Linda New, who had been dating
Mr. Coakley for about a year. "He used to say, '41 and
He cherished his time off, but being a firefighter was
also a passion.
"He liked working at the firehouse in Bed-Stuy," Ms.
New said. "It was an A house, with a lot of action."
Ms. New said Mr. Coakley never talked much about the
dangerous parts of his job, but would tell stories about
the lighter aspects. "He delivered five babies," she
said. "Two to the same mother, but at different
A man who did not waste words, Mr. Coakley worked hard
and played hard. "Steve was really pretty young," said
John Kauzlarich, a friend in Florida. "It wasn't easy to
keep up with him."