September 14, 2001
Memories linger as firefighter's family waits
By Dave Richardson
The Times Herald-Record
Tyler Marino isn't even 2 yet, but he knows his daddy is a firefighter, and he's proud of him. In fact, Tyler and his almost-4-year-old sister, Kristin, sat in the driver's seat of his father's fire engine in the garage of Rescue Company 1 in New York City Tuesday morning.
Just before their world changed forever.
Kristin and Tyler's father, Kenneth Marino, 40, a six-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department's elite rescue squad, was among the first to enter the stricken World Trade Center's north tower just minutes after a hijacked airliner smashed into its upper floors.
Now he's one of the missing, one of more than 200 firefighters unaccounted for or killed in Tuesday's unprecedented, unfathomable terrorist attacks.
Marino's wife, Katrina, wavers between tears and calm, looking at a spread of family photos on her dining room table in Monroe – Kenneth, Katrina and the children at the boardwalk on Long Beach, Long Island, just a week ago, Tyler riding on his dad's shoulders.
Kristin's birthday is in November. She's not quite sure where her daddy is. She knows there was a big fire and he's there, but she says he's lost and he needs a flashlight. Tyler grabs instinctively at the Rescue 1 logo on his mother's sweatshirt – he knows it's daddy's sign.
Katrina and her children were in New York City Tuesday morning, taking Kristin – who does occasional modeling for Sears – to a photo shoot. She made a quick stop at Kenneth's station for a surprise visit.
"He put them in the fire truck – they saw everything. You should have seen him – he was so proud," Katrina said.
A few minutes later, she and the children were walking down Sixth Avenue when she saw the first hijacked plane swoop low overhead.
"I said, 'Wow, that's pretty low,' " Katrina said. Minutes later, she realized what had happened, as traffic on Sixth Avenue slammed to a halt. Drivers leapt from their cars to watch, horrified, as the spectacle unfolded.
By the time the south tower collapsed, Katrina knew it was time to leave. She packed up the kids and headed for home, but comfort was still far away.
"I was watching it all on TV, and I saw the fire truck he was driving – it was all smooshed under rubble," she said, sobbing.
Now, surrounded by friends and family, kids running around blissfully unaware, Katrina waits, remembering her first date with Kenneth, more than four years ago. She was a TWA flight attendant. They went to an Italian restaurant in Long Beach.
"When he dropped me off, the song on the radio was "Oh, What a Night" – that's our song," Katrina said.
Her first instinct the second she knew something was terribly wrong was to call Kenneth's pager. "I kept beeping him – I know he has his beeper with him. I've been beeping him constantly."
But neither Kenneth nor anyone on his rescue squad has called back.
"They never saw any of those guys again."
Copyright 2001 Orange County Publications, a division of Ottaway Newspapers Inc., all rights reserved.
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