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Louis Pasteur Park

Firefighter Field

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This ballfield honors the memory of Harry Ford (1951-2001), Thomas Holohan (1965-2001), and James J. Corrigan (1941-2001), three men who became firefighters only after trying other professions. Ultimately, they died as they lived, risking their own lives in the hopes of saving others.

Firefighter Harry S. Ford was born in Astoria, Queens on June 5, 1951. His parents, Harry and Helen Ford, moved the family to Overbrook Street in Douglaston in 1956 and the family has lived there ever since. As soon as Ford could ride a bike, his love of sports drew him to this park where he would play with his friends until dark. Ford played on the Bayside High School football team and graduated in the class of 1968.

Although he had a union job in the film industry, Ford aspired to become a firefighter. In 1974 he entered the fire academy and simultaneously began his 14-year career on the F.D.N.Y. football team, The Bravest. He worked in Ladder 11, Ladder 108, and in 1990 was assigned to Rescue 4.

Ford met his wife Denise in 1983. They had two sons, Harry and Gerard, and Ford also was a devoted stepfather to his wife’s daughter Janna. During his 27-year career as a firefighter, Ford gained the respect of both the officers and his fellow firefighters while earning numerous citations. As a father and husband Ford was loving and involved, always helping out with his sons’ sports teams. On Father’s Day, June 17, 2001, Harry S. Ford and two of his comrades died while fighting a fire in Astoria.

Born on January 5, 1965 to Thomas Patrick and Iris Holohan, Thomas Patrick Jr. graduated St. Mary’s High School in Manhassett and then Baruch College. After working as a bank auditor for several years, Holohan went after his lifelong dream of becoming a firefighter. Holohan felt battling blazes was in his blood, because his grandfather Martin J. Sheridan had been a Battalion Chief in the F.D.N.Y. Graduating from the academy was one of Holohan’s proudest moments.

Whether at work or at home with his wife Colleen Fitzpatrick Holohan and their children Thomas Patrick III, Caitlyn Heather, and Liam Martin, Holohan maintained his characteristic calm, reliable personality and good work-ethic. He lived by the motto, “There is the easy way and the right way. Guess which way we’re going to do itΑ”

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Holohan and some of the other members of Engine 6 sat studying for the Lieutenant exam when the call came in that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Minutes later Holohan and his company approached the north tower. He asked if they were ready to go in and there could be only one answer, because these men never chose the easy way.

While Holohan and the other firefighters stormed into the burning towers that morning, James J. Corrigan was already inside working courageously to help people escape. The 60 year-old Corrigan spent his life protecting people. First with the New York Police Department, then the Military Police, and for 25 years with the F.D.N.Y. Married in 1971, James and Marie Corrigan had two sons, Brendan and Sean. As the boys grew their father received promotions and achieved the rank of Captain.

In 1994 Corrigan joined the Fire and Life Services at the World Trade Center. His experience at nearby Ladder 10 prepared him well for this job. Moments after the impact of the first plane, Corrigan and three of his co-workers rushed to the building’s day-care center and every child survived thanks to their efforts.

Corrigan then went down to the old fire command station, which lay unused since 1993, in an attempt to activate the public address system and warn everyone to evacuate. As the tower fell James Corrigan spoke to his son Brendan, telling him that terrorists had attacked the city. Sean Corrigan, who was married on September 8 and on his honeymoon in Aruba, watched helplessly as the World Trade Center collapsed on television, killing his father and the thousands of others inside.

Park Information

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