Filmmaker Steve McCarthy explores the meaning of heroism by discovering the life of his friend, Captain Paddy Brown, NY’s most decorated fireman who died on 9/11. McCarthy starts with Brown’s incredible acts of heroism, saving people from flames, breathing life into fire victims. Eventually, McCarthy finds a more complicated subtext: Brown’s childhood in an alcoholic home, his abuse by priests, his traumatic tour of duty as a Marine in Vietnam, his string of lovers. Paddy emerges as a classic hero—one profoundly flawed and driven to acts of bravery by complex motives, including a drive for penance, self-destruction, and the creation of his own legacy. Ultimately, Captain Brown seeks inner peace and in the course of that quest touches innumerable lives. At his moment of redemption, he climbs the stairs of the North Tower and dies comforting burn victims on an upper floor.
On September 11th, 2001 Pat and eleven men from Ladder 3 responded to the attacks at the World Trade Center. His firehouse, “3 Truck”, is located in very close proximity to the Twin Towers, so his company were one of the first responders on the scene. Along with so many other rescue workers, the men of Ladder 3 participated in perhaps one of the most successful rescue efforts in U.S. history. These brave men, at their own peril, managed to safely evacuate over 25,000 people from the World Trade Center on that most tragic day. It is believed that Paddy and his men were on the 40th floor of the North Tower when it fell.