Story Of Firefighting Family Almost Too Good To Be True

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s not uncommon for a son to follow in his father’s footsteps, but it is remarkable when a son foils a crime in the same spot his father did decades earlier.

It’s a story of heroism that runs in the family, reports CBS 2’s Rob Morrison.

Firefighter Vinnie Brennan remembers playing in his firehouse as a kid. His dad, also named Vincent Brennan, served there from 1977 to ’85.

For as long as the younger Brennan remembers, Companies 28 and 11 have been in his blood.

“Little league and hockey, everything was 28 and 11, 28 and 11. I had to have those numbers,” Vinnie Brennan said.

He’s a Marine, too – just like the father he idolizes. The parallels between father and son became almost unbelievable when Brennan captured a mugger who had attacked a woman just moments earlier.

“I heard, ‘Help me, stop him, stop him, stop him, please stop him,’ and he’s running this way,” Vinnie Brennan said.

Security video shows the attacker running east on 2nd Street, across from the firehouse. That’s when the younger Brennan, standing next to a fire truck, sprang into action, tackling the mugger and holding him until police arrived.

Now comes the unbelievable part.

If we were to rewind the tape 30 years, to 1980, we would see the elder Brennan doing virtually the same thing on almost the same spot.

Two undercover cops were working the neighborhood when they were attacked with rocks and bottles. Brennan’s father, also a Marine, made the split-second decision to intervene and apprehend the criminals.

“He took off down the street. I believe he went through that vacant lot,” the Vincent Brennan said.

Like father, like son – he held the men until police arrived.

“I’ve always been told the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but those are big shoes to fill,” his son said.

The younger Brennan said service runs in the family. His uncle, Pete, was also a firefighter. He died on 9/11 while working with Rescue Company 4.

“My whole life growing up is family members always helping people with anything,” he said. “I remember driving on the side of the road with my dad several times when he’d just pull over to help …. anybody.”

Vinnie Brennan said the similarities between his story and that of his father didn’t occur to him as it was happening. He said it didn’t get weird until “right after, and I called him and said, ‘you’ll never guess what happened.’”

The two shared a laugh after, of course, his father made sure he was okay.

“I said, ‘everyone is good,’ and he said, ‘well, be safe, will ya?’” the father said.

If history is any indication, Vinnie Brennan will heed his dad’s advice. He said his father is happily retired now, splitting his time between New York and Florida.

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