Louis Arena is one of several firefighters from Ladder 5, Manhattan, who disappeared into the rubble Tuesday while working to save countless others. His death, which was confirmed yesterday, occurred as he climbed the stairs in the North Tower of the World Trade Center looking for anyone who needed help.
"He was running up the stairs when other people were running down," said his wife of six years, Wanda (Reynolds) Arena. "It's so typical of him. He was always helping people. He was not concerned about himself."
Arena was born in Besonhurst, Brooklyn, and his family moved to the Heartland Village section of New Springville when he was four.
He was a graduate of St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School, Huguenot, and was a parishioner of St. Patrick's R.C. Church, Richmond.
A firefighter for six years, Arena first served at Ladder 5 before working out of Ladder 225 in East New York and Engine Company 309 in Brooklyn. He returned to Ladder 5 about two years ago.
"He was very dedicated to his (fire) house and loved everybody there," said Ms. Arena. "It was his second home."
An Emergency Medical Service technician, Ms. Arena worked a full shift Tuesday in Manhattan after the disaster, keeping a watchful eye out for her husband. "I knew he was with such a wonderful team," she said. "They were smart and they were strong and I really thought they were going to make it."
Ms. Arena said her husband was a gourmet cook who also could build or repair anything. He did countless favors for family and friends, even scheduling his days off so that he could help others.
He also loved spending time with his children, Nina, 4, and Joseph, 3.
"He was very protective of everyone," said Ms. Arena-Eisinger, "especially his kids."
We honor you, Louis Arena.
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