He has climbed the ladder of success.
Frank Naglieri is the longest-serving FDNY firefighter in town. The 64-year-old from Gravesend, Brooklyn, celebrated his 43rd birthday at work on September 2nd.
“With this job, you will laugh every day you go to work. And sometimes you cry. But the laughs are definitely more than the crying, ”says Stony Point, NY, a resident of The Post.
The laughs came early and often when his veteran colleagues wanted to “bust his chops” like a rookie by making up stories about his mother calling the firehouse to tell him to eat his vegetables. Naglieri finally stopped the teasing by getting his mother to call and come up with the vegetable request.
“My mother, God rest her soul, probably still laughs,” he said.
The Bee Gees dominated the charts, and the first Ben & Jerry’s opened in Vermont when Naglieri – FDNY’s hazmat battalion commander – joined the department in 1978.
In a career that has touched six decades, he has witnessed some of the department’s darkest days, including Father’s Fire in 2001, in which three firefighters died in a crash; the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and the attacks of 11 September.
On September 11, 2001, Naglieri – assigned to the 19th Battalion of the Bronx – arrived shortly after the second plane crashed into the South Tower.
“We spent 48 hours there,” he recalled. “I lost so many friends and not a day goes by that I do not think about it.
“When the dust was clear, I met my wife. My wife worked right across from the Trade Center and we wanted to be down there all the time. … It just changed the whole landscape. It took me a while just to get a handle on it and say, ‘Okay, these buildings are not here anymore.’ ”
He added gloomily: “I never thought it would be much worse than that after Father’s Day fire. I would never think that a few months later it would be a hundred times worse. ”
He was also assigned head of FDNY’s Hurricane Katrina response.
In a bit of gallows humor, he jokes, “Do not be with me because it seems like I’m always around a disaster.”
Naglieri’s FDNY career was launched at Engine Co. 255 in Flatbush, followed by assignments at Engine 248 in Brooklyn, Engine Co. 84 in Harlem, and promotion to Battalion 19 commander before his current position as commander of hazmat.
His No. 1 goal is “to make sure everyone goes home. … I always say to them, ‘You’re going to laugh a lot in this job, and you’re going to have fun, and you’re going to learn a lot, but that can all change in an instant. So you want to eliminate [hazards] as much as you can – and hope it’s not your day. ‘”
His own charm of happiness is the FDNY badge # 6122 he wears, which once belonged to his uncle Jack, and the pictures of his wife, Maria; children, John, Jenna and James and three grandchildren, Michael, Molly and Jack, whom he has in his helmet.
The self-proclaimed “Broadway guy” bikes, runs marathons and enjoys Frank Sinatra. His favorite movie is “The Godfather”.
Of course, like any proud fireplace chef – and Italian – he loves to cook and “can make pasta with anything.”
And despite the tragedies he has been subjected to, he does not regret devoting two-thirds of his life to FDNY, a career that ends this year when he retires.
“My children tell me they can not believe it afterwards [all these years] I can not wait to go to work, “he said.