From Police Heroes, a book by author Chuck Whitlock:
On September 11, Lieutenant Robert Cirri was in his Jersey City office when the first plane hit the Twin Towers. He drove his car through the Holland Tunnel to help. When he was a couple blocks away, he called his wife, Eileen, at work to tell her he couldn’t watch people running out of the building, that he had to help. He called her again to tell her that he and Captain Kathy Mazza were rerouting people who had been heading into a fire. They were on the twenty-eighth floor. When the call came to evacuate after the collapse of the South Tower, Lieutenant Cirri and Captain Mazza were helping a woman down the stairs. They were in the lobby of the North Tower when it collapsed.
Cirri, thirty-nine, served the Port Authority for over fifteen years. He was an executive officer at the academy, where he trained others, and had received his promotion to lieutenant in 2000. On weekends he worked part-time as a paramedic at Hackensack University Medical Center. His ham radio operation, which started as a hobby, was used to help people when he joined the Jersey Coastal Emergency Services, a nonprofit organization that monitors emergency airwaves.
Lieutenant Cirri is survived by his wife, two children – Robert, Jr., seventeen, and Jessica, thirteen – and three stepchildren, Bianca, fifteen, Francesca, thirteen, and Kara, eleven. On the memorial service program, each of his children wrote a tribute to him. His name also appears on a monument at the base of the flagpole at North Bergen High School from which he graduated in 1980.
Portraits of Grief, The New York Times
A Second Turn at Love
Robert and Eileen Cirri met when she was an emergency room nurse and he was moonlighting as a paramedic. “There was this weird, electric charge,” Mrs. Cirri said. She had not believed in love at first sight until then.
It was the second marriage for both. The Cirris had a merged family, with three of her children and three of his, ages 17, 16, 15, 14, 13 and 12.
Lieutenant Cirri, a member of the Port Authority Police Department, had about 10 ham radios operating at their home in Nutley, N.J., and helped shore up the state’s emergency communications systems. One of the repeaters he set up for the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management was working on Sept. 11, with his voice, and his friends are keeping it. “His voice is still going on, as we speak,” Mrs. Cirri said. “It’s still keying up every 15 minutes on that repeater, out in space forever.”
She found another remnant of him when she tried to log on to his e-mail and found he had chosen her first name as his password.
Lieutenant Cirri’s body was found with the bodies of four other officers and that of a woman they had been trying to carry out in a rescue chair.