Mayor de Blasio announced the appointment of a 32-year FDNY veteran, who retired after helping lead the devastated department after Sept. 11, as the city's new fire commissioner Friday.
The newly appointed commissioner, Daniel Nigro, served as the FDNY's highest ranking uniformed officer after the chief of department on 9/11, Peter Ganci, was killed in the World Trade Center collapse.
Ganci's son, Chris Ganci, himself a firefighter, recalled how his father held Nigro in such high esteem.
"He thought the world of you." Chris Ganci said at the ceremony at the FDNY academy. "He was so confident of your leadership qualities."
While a fire chief, Nigro oversaw the 1996 merger between the FDNY and the city's ambulance services. After 9/11, he led the FDNY's search, rescue, and recovery operations at ground zero.
The 65-year-old retired in 2002 after holding every uniformed rank in the department.
With black firefighters standing beside him, Nigro pledged to continue recruiting firefighters of color to a department that is 87 percent white.
"We must no longer wait for a judge's rule to tell us what fairness means," he said.
Nigro will replace Salvatore Cassano, who has served as FDNY commissioner since 2010 and will remain in that role until Nigro is officially sworn in a few weeks.