The name Fischer gives a local firefighter a unique tie to 9/11

WELLINGTON, Fla. - Dozens came to Wellington to pay their respects to the thousands who passed on 9/11 eleven years ago.

The stage was set with the eternal flame lit and the flag flying half staff at the Patriot Memorial.

Many brought flowers to lay by the list of names etched in the glass and watch the laying of the wreath during the ceremony.

One name in particular has a special meaning to a local firefighter from West Boca Raton.

For all firefighters, 9/11 has a deep meaning.

As the 343 fallen firefighters names were called Palm Beach County Fire Captain John Fischer, heard one that he had heard his entire life.

"At one point they called out Lieutenant John Fischer," Cpt. Fischer said. "I was a lieutenant at the time  and the guys looked over at me and they said 'Did you hear that?' I said 'Yes I did.'"

Lt. John Fischer, spelled the same way and they had the same title.

"So I researched it," Cpt. Fischer said. "I grew up in New York. I knew plenty of guys who were on the job up there and I got the information for his funeral service and I flew up for it."

There he learned the two shared more than a name.

"I'm sitting in a Roman Catholic church. I was born and raised Roman Catholic," Cpt. Fischer said.  "Listening to the eulogies, he has three brothers and a sister. I have three brothers and a sister. He worked in a delicatessen before becoming a New York city fireman. I worked in a delicatessen before I came down here."

The two even were both promoted to captain around the same time.

"He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain and shortly after I was promoted to the rank of captain," Cpt. Fischer said.

The only difference the West Boca firefighter has found is their middle names.

John William Fischer is the West Boca Raton firefighter's name and John Rudolph Fischer is the name of the fallen New York City firefighter.

Years later Capt. Fischer went to vote and something happened.

"I signed in and the gentleman behind the table said, 'Your name is wrong.' I said to him, 'What do you mean my name is wrong? I know how to spell my name.' He said what's printed on it from the elections bureau. John R. Fisher. It's his middle initial."

A identification mix up, Capt. Fischer believes only fate could have made up.

"I'm not a religious man but I am a spiritual one and I look at this experience and say he's my archangel now looking down on me and protecting me," Capt. Fishcer said.

Something he hopes to tell fallen firefighter John Fischer's family one day.

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