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Climbing the FDNY Ladders to the Top

June 29, 2010 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Newsmakers

For Salvatore Cassano, nothing compares to the rush he would get from fighting fires. “The excitement of being able to help people never goes away,” says Cassano, who was appointed the 32nd commissioner of the New York City Fire Department in January 2010. “I hear a siren now and I figure I should be responding some place–I miss it every day.” In his forty-year career, Cassano has held every job in the department including chief, the highest-ranking uniformed position in the FDNY. In an interview in his Brooklyn office, Commissioner Cassano talked about his years of service, starting as a firefighter in 1969, as well as his experience at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fire science in 1976. “My professors understood if I was late for class,” recalls Cassano. “They could smell the smoke.”
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