Phony 9/11 Hero Comes Clean, But His Apology Falls On Deaf Ears

Jordan Lifander Talks Of Getting 'Caught Up' In Lies And Is Now Paying Price

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man accused of posing as a 9/11 hero has owned up to living a lie.

The phony firefighter has apologized for his wrongdoing, but for those who gave so much on that day it’s simply not enough, CBS 2’s Lou Young reports exclusively.

They needed a hero and he filled the bill: dress, uniform, weathered FDNY helmet and inspiring stories of surviving 9/11. Last year, Jordan Lifander told fellow firefighters in South Carolina he was at Ground Zero with the FDNY on 9/11. Even worse, he claimed he was captain of Ladder 133, which lost 12 men that day.

It was all a lie.

“You know, once you tell one lie, you gotta keep up that lie. I got all caught up in the whole 9/11 anniversary and just lied. I was not a member of the FDNY, was not a captain in Ladder 133,” Lifander said Wednesday.

Special Report: Remembering 9/11: 10 Years Later

On the day the towers fell Lifander, who was compelled to come forward after some real New York City firemen got wind of his charade, was really a volunteer in Cedarhurst on Long Island. He did not “survive” the disaster any more than those of us who watched it on television.

“It was that whole thing about portraying something I wasn’t. The ego, the lie, keeping up with it, a very big mistake,” Lifander said.

At his old firehouse there was no sympathy for Lifander’s masquerade. They have a real 9/11 hero of their own. Kevin O’Rourke was a captain at the volunteer department before joining the FDNY. He died on 9/11. They don’t have much patience for fake heroes there.

“It’s a terrible situation. I feel bad for the people of South Carolina and I feel bad for the people in the whole 9/11 system,” said Capt. John McHugh of the Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department.

Former FDNY Deputy Chief Jim Riches took an even dimmer view, having lost his own son and 40 firefighters under his command that day.

“It happens a lot because they want to get that hero worship, people telling them ‘thank you’ and everything else. It’s a sick mind, but he’s not the only one doing it. It’s out there and I think people should verify who’s actually speaking to them,” Riches said.

“It just snowballed into something that was out of my control. I’m truly sorry for misleading and lying about the fact I was on FDNY,” Lifander said.

We’ve seen 9/11 imposters before, but usually in connection with attempts to defraud the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund. It appears that Lifander was interested in glory and not money. Chief Riches said he probably needs mental counseling, more than incarceration.

If you could speak to Lifander, what would you say? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. …

  • PJ

    Whitney Houston was a great singer but she was also a full blown crack-head
    and a flag should not have been flown at half-mast. only should have been flown for Hero’s period.

  • PJ

    I used to be a member of Lawrence Cedarhurst and im a member of FDNY
    Jordan was always a liar and a douch bag

  • Chuck Scheid

    10 House all the way…. I met the people from 10 House while I was at OWS in NYC. While our politics may have differed a bit they were nothing but great people. I had a great afternoon talking with their retired Chaplin (Father Pat, or Francis or something, when I was growing up Frs. didn’t have names other than Fr.)… After having being accepted by him the rest of them warmed right up. Good hardworking people, I look forward to going to O’Hara’s and buying them all a round… again.

  • Joeseann

    Well, whats all the fuss about? Bush and the rest of the Chickenhawks lied about what really happened on 9/11 and then started the phoney War on Terror. So whats the problem with having a few Joephoney heros?

    • greg

      What the heck are you talking about?

      • Capt Reingold

        I talked to your doctor and he said you can try just taking half of the pill.

  • vnoifvet

    What about, what about, what about!!!!!!!! Enough of the “What About’s” There’re some crack heads, smoking pot, cocaine users, alcoholics and rapists in all branches of the military as well as “wanna be’s,” but, when “they” get KIA they’re still buried with full honors and no one says anything about it. So, to pacify y’all, the world is full of crap, yeah that includes me, too If you want people to talk bad about you, get a divorce; if you want them to talk good about you, DIE!!!!

  • Grace

    It’s better that he told the truth than to live his whole life with that lie. C’mon people we all make mistakes and get carried away sometimes. NONE OF US ARE NOT PERFECT SO DEAL WITH IT. This guy knew his mistake and had the guts to set things right and that’s whats more important.

  • ray

    He remind me of this Dude named Steve, from my old job.
    We had an augument and so forth.

    He’s showing me his, Late Fathers retired police badge.
    Like what does that even mean,? If steve wasn’t never a real officer.

    He shouldn’t be walking around with any police badge.
    Especially, From a dead person.

  • Willis sands

    shame on you you are lower than whale sh.t you can get no l ower than that

  • Rick D

    I am a make believe hero too,

  • Jeremy

    Better yet, leave your comments on his voice mail. (864) 357-6171 I just did.

    Jordan Lifander, you are a complete ass. Destroy that uniform and old fire helmet. You don’t deserve them. Firefighters aren’t any more special that the rest of us citizens, but your lie and falsehood to so many goes so far beyond the bounds of any semblance of propriety that you can only be found as a disgusting example of what AMERICA is NOT about!

  • Grant

    Really????? This fire chief lost 40 men he should shut his mouth

    • greg

      Just curious….why should he shut his mouth?

  • T.J. Gilmartin

    As a 9/11 First Responder I would like to Thank You for airing this story ,there are somany First Responders that need the money set aside for there medical coverage , in our Responder Comunity we try to police ourselves when it comes to frauds , there are a few more that are known but nothing can be done till they file for the 9/11 Zadroga Money , please keep in mind there are Real Hero’s that don’t need to be put in the same group with this garbage !!!

  • michaelfury
  • Bullett


  • thor's hammer

    shame on you! i hope what passes for a conscience in you head is forever haunted by the sound of the buildings collapsing. brave men and women died that day, and you got “caught up ….” many of us lost friends and loved ones that day. you should never have the audacity to go near any of the locations where honest men and women were murdered on 9/11/01. sorry doesn’t cut it, mychal judge (nyfd chaplain) may have had the capacity to forgive you, not me.

  • Haha

    Hahahahaha. Most real firemen walk around looking for hero worship.
    When I joined the Marines one of the first thinks we were told is if you wanna be hero become a firefighter.

    • Rip brothers

      Lol i was told the same thing in basic

    • PETE

      Marines need a war and Firefighters need a fire, to become heroes and get killed, that is the only difference!!!

      • Heather

        You guys really need to get a grip…who cares what you are or what you do…you all risk your lives to help others…I don’t really give a damn what the marine guy’s attitude is as long as when somebody threatens my country you will be there to shoot them in the ass….and when I am hurt or am in danger that a Firefighter or whoever else WHO’S JOB it is to help is there! Nobody is going to just get a job to put out fires…they do it for the rush…they do it because they know that at any moment something big could happen and they know it is their job to help.. I also know as a marine’s wife that men and women in our armed forces join for those exact reasons…but on the other hand i know an obscene amount of people who join for reasons that do not pertain to helping or serving anyone but themselves…. This Firefighter that lied only did this for the attention..It’s a damn shame that somebody would tell a tale like this in order to get his name recognized….I am disgusted by his actions and that he would take credit for something that others died to achieve.. This guy makes me sick…and I hope he catches hell for this for a long time!

        • Capt Reingold

          So what the guy lied and it really makes him look stupid. Peopel will do amazing things when faced with a life a death situation, a civilian can be a hero too. This guy lied and has what’s called Duden’s Syndrom, it’s sad but there are mental diseases that make peole do dumb things.

    • William

      I think that you are full of CRAP!!

      • Haha

        True story bill

      • William

        that’s to Haha…..

    • EWagner635

      I’d like to insult you by making a general crack at the marines like you did towards firemen, but then I figured why insult a brave bunch of people just because of one jackass, and that would be you in case you couldn’t figure that out.

    • Mack Seagrave

      You obviously don’t know any Firefighters and probably don’t know any Marines either … The last thing Firefighters look for is glory, thanks or the title hero. You ‘Haha’ are a ZERO. BTW, lot’s of Marines become Firefighters…

    • greg

      I absolutely salute you for joining the Marines and fighting for our country, however, you probably don’t know many members of the FDNY. You’re not entirely wrong b/c I cant speak for other departments, but in my 15+ years w/ FDNY, Id say we’re mostly just regular guys. We love our families, our jobs and live life as well as we can. Stay safe….

  • Bob

    Although I am disgusted to see this type of sad imposter,I am even more offended that NJ GOV Christie instead of facing the fact that he showed disrespect to all REAl HEROES by lower the American Flag for her funeral. Instead he once again has tried to deflect from the issue by quoteing a inappropriate e-mail he recieved regarding the Whitney Houston passing.Regardless what insensitive e-mails he might recieve, THE REAL ISSUE is that the Flag should only be lowered for REAL HEROES who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice,not a singer who fell on hard times,by her own doing or otherwise! Why is this not being addressed by more outspoken politicians & celebrities ?

    • Boomer

      If the flags can be lowered for an entertainer who had mob ties (Sinatra), there is no reason why they cannot be lowered for Whitney

      • PETE

        What about the police escort for convicted Murderer and Mob Boss GOTTI?

        • NYCSEWER

          What about all the white NYC fireman that smoke crack and get a flag lowered for them when they die

    • Dr. Dreisdale

      What if someone were to tell you that, in addition to showing reverence for heroes who have sacrificed their lives for our country, lowering the flag is also appropriate for Americans who have brought happiness and joy to millions of people around the entire planet for many decades, and who have enhanced the quality of life through their abilities to entertain and enthrall the masses to an exceptional degree? Would that seem unreasonable to you?

      In light of such remarkable accomplishments, it is my belief that MOST Americans (not ALL, of course) would not take issue with the flag flying at half mast when such an exceptional person passes away, honoring invaluable contributions to the lives of others as well as displaying great pride that such an international treasure was a proud citizen of the greatest nation on earth.

    • NJ Nurse

      I agree with you, Bob. The flag should NOT have been lowered for Whitney’s funeral.

      • Bob

        Thanks for agreeing. I certainly hope more people would voice outrage at this sad politically motivated pandering. i know families who have lost loved ones to war or public safety careers and it sickens me. My folks were both Marines & I was raised to respect the Flag, Country & God.

    • Jeremy

      Or he should follow the regulations regarding use and display of the national colors… as should everyone else.

    • Margaret Lobstein

      I agree, there are plenty of real Heroes out in the world.

  • john

    find a tree and some rope. hopefully you can guess the rest.

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