Even though he distinguished himself in service to the NYPD, John still felt that something was missing. As someone whose personality centered around helping others the Fire Dept was attracting him as a way to accomplish that. John also longed for the camaraderie and team ethic of the firehouse. After 12 years of service with the NYPD he followed in the footsteps of his father Anthony and his brother Gerard by joining the New York City Fire Department. "He knew you work as a team, as a unit in the Fire Department -- he liked that,' said his brother. "He always thought people call the Police Department when there's a problem, to get somebody bad, but you call the Fire Department when people needed help."
Although aged 37 at the time; John set to working out and preparing with singular determination. John graduated the Fire Academy in 1998. John was first assigned to Engine Co. 219 on Dean St in Downtown Brooklyn for his first year. As part of the standard rotation for probies; he rotated through Ladder Co. 81 in South Beach, Staten Island and Engine Co. 80 in Harlem through 1999 into 2001. John had just recently returned to his home company, Engine 219 on Dean St. to familiar surroundings serving downtown Brooklyn. Things were looking up for John. He attained his Fire department dream and had just ended his probationary period. He was back in the neighborhood he knew poised to start the rest of his career with his 40th birthday around the corner. Most importantly he had met the girl of his dreams, Gina De Falco and they had set the date to get married for October 2001. By all accounts, John was the happiest he had ever been.
On September 11th when John arrived at Engine 219, coverage necessitated that he move across the floor to the sister unit in the house, Ladder 105. That morning both units were called to respond to the World Trade Center.
John was last seen helping rescue people from Tower 2.