JOHN R. FISHER: Guiding Force From
looked like the flight deck of the starship Enterprise.
The operations control center in the World Trade Center
basement was hooked up to every surveillance camera and
intercom in the twin towers. Only 15 people were
authorized to enter. John R. Fisher, a Port Authority
security consultant, was one of them.
As debris from the first plane to hit the towers
rained down, Mr. Fisher, 46, rushed to the bunker. He
refused to leave so long as he could guide people out of
the buildings. "John probably saved quite a few lives,"
said his friend and co-worker Ed Bonny.
Anyone who worked with Mr. Fisher knew he was obsessed
with details and hated running into anything unexpected.
But his personal life was different. "If there was an
ostrich, alligator or anything unusual on the menu, you
just knew that's what John would order," said Gail, his
former wife. On a vacation to Costa Rica a few years ago,
he swung through a rainforest canopy on a steel cable and
climbed up the side of an active volcano.
His sister Catherine Chiola said the compass of his
heart always pointed to his seven children in Beachwood,
N.J. Two years ago he took all seven, then aged 4 to 14,
to Disney World. He treated them royally, escorting them
to every ride, hauling onto his shoulders any who were
tired. He kept up that performance the whole week, losing
none of them, nor the slightest bit of his patience.