New York Daily News

October 12, 2001

Finishing Fallen Comrade's Job

ESU cops team up for house project

Daily News Staff Writer

Barbara Talty, whose husband, ESU Officer Paul Talty, is missing in twin towers disaster, holds 6-week-old daughter Kelly and family photo in front of her home in Wantagh, L.I.

Paul Talty, a city cop and part-time carpenter, was in the midst of remodeling his Long Island home when he was lost while evacuating workers from 2 World Trade Center.

Barbara Talty, whose husband, ESU Officer Paul Talty, is missing in twin towers disaster, holds 6-week-old daughter Kelly and family photo in front of her home in Wantagh, L.I.

He left behind a wife, three young children — including a newborn daughter — and an unfinished second-floor addition to his 1950 Cape Cod home in Wantagh.

But for the past three weeks, fellow officers in the NYPD's Emergency Service Unit — many of whom also are licensed tradesmen — have been spending their free time spackling, sweating pipes and painting in Talty's home.

ESU cop and handyman Paul Talty with wife Barbara Talty.

"It's really a sign of their brotherhood. The guys have been here every day," said Talty's widow, Barbara, 37.

Their generosity came unsolicited. They just showed up one day, tools and materials in hand.

It is their role to rescue — a job description underscored in their unofficial motto: "When the public needs help, they call police. When the police need help, they call ESU."

So when the twin towers fell Sept. 11, the ESU took a heavy blow. Fourteen of the 23 NYPD officers listed as missing and presumed dead belonged to the ESU.

Talty and his partner Thomas Langone (above) were lost at Trade Center.

Talty, 40, and and his partner that day, Tommy Langone, 39, — members of the ESU Truck 10 squad in Flushing, Queens — are among them.

Barbara Talty said her husband, for whom services will be held tomorrow, phoned her that morning about 8:30.

"He called just to say it was a quiet day, that not much was happening, and he would see me later that night," she recalled.

But at 8:48 a.m., the events that would change the world sent Talty and Langone racing from their Queens barracks to lower Manhattan.

In 1993, Langone helped evacuate thousands from the Trade Center when a van packed with explosives blew a crater in the underground parking garage. The medal he won for his bravery that day was one of 42 he received from the department, including four commendations for risking his life in rescues.

Langone, a married father of two, was born into a tradition of service.

His father was a chief of the Roslyn Rescue Fire Co., a title that Langone, who served as a volunteer with the same department since 1980, himself had twice held.

Langone's brother, Peter, was a firefighter in Engine Co. 252. He also responded to the Trade Center attack and is among the dead.

"All he wanted to do was help anybody who needed help, from civilians to the precinct cop," said Randy Miller, Langone's longtime ESU partner.

Miller said Langone was a lead ESU instructor and taught at the Nassau County Fire Academy.

"We called him Capt. Adrenaline," added Glen Klein, a fellow ESU officer. "He just wanted to be out there where the action was, helping people."

Where Langone was the gung-ho mentor, Talty displayed quiet dedication.

He won a police medal, the Finest of the Finest, last year for rescuing a Corona toddler who became wedged between a building and a shipping container.

He was an avid runner, yet liked cigars. A powerfully built man, he had a kind and humble disposition.

"He never gave me five minutes of trouble," said his father, John.

Also a licensed electrician, Talty was the handyman of Truck 3.

"If anybody needed help in any kind of construction project, Paul was the guy we turned to," said Miller.

To Barbara Talty, the man she met in high school and married in 1987 was a doting father to his son Paul, 12, and daughters Lauren, 10, and Kelly Michelle, now 6 weeks.

"They knew the type of work he did. They knew that he always helped people," she said.

She finds some solace in the officers banding together to complete her husband's work.

But it's bittersweet, she said, adding, "It should have been such joy to move upstairs."