He’s climbed the ladder of success.
Frank Naglieri is the longest tenured FDNY firefighter in the city. The 64-year-old from Gravesend, Brooklyn, celebrated his 43rd anniversary on the job Sept. 2.
“With this job, you will laugh everyday you go to work. And sometimes you’ll cry. But the laughs are certainly more than the crying,” the Stony Point, NY, resident told The Post.
The laughs came early and often when his veteran colleagues would “bust his chops” as a rookie by fabricating stories that his mother called the firehouse to tell him to eat his vegetables. Naglieri finally put a stop to the teasing by getting his mom to actually call and make the vegetable request.
“My mom, God rest her soul, is probably still laughing,” he said.
The Bee Gees were dominating the charts and the first Ben & Jerry’s was opening in Vermont when Naglieri — the FDNY’s hazmat battalion commander — joined the department in 1978.
In a career that has touched six decades, he’s been eyewitness to some of the department’s darkest days, including the Fathers Day fire of 2001, when three firefighters died in a collapse; the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and the 9/11 attacks.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Naglieri — assigned to the 19th Battalion in the Bronx — arrived just after the second plane crashed into the South Tower.
“We spent 48 hours there,” he recalled. “I lost so many friends and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it.
“Once the dust cleared … I met my wife. My wife worked right across from the Trade Center and we would be down there all the time. … It just changed the whole landscape. It took me a while to just get my bearings and say, ‘Ok, these buildings are not here anymore.’”
He added somberly, “I never thought after the Fathers Day fire it would get much worse than that. I would never think a couple of months later it would be a hundred times worse.”
He was also assigned chief officer to the FDNY’s Hurricane Katrina response.
In a bit of gallows humor, he jokes, “Don’t hang out with me because it seems I’m always around a disaster.”
Naglieri’s FDNY career 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 chief before his current post as chief of hazmat.
His No. 1 goal is “to make sure everybody goes home. … I always tell them, ‘You are gonna laugh a lot in this job and you are going to have a great time and you are going to learn a lot, but it 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 good-luck charms are the FDNY badge #6122 he wears that once belonged to his uncle Jack, and the photos of his wife, Maria; children, John, Jenna and James, and three grandchildren, Michael, Molly and Jack, that he keeps in his helmet.
The self-confessed “Broadway guy” bikes, runs marathons and enjoys Frank Sinatra. His favorite movie is “The Godfather.”
Of course, like any proud firehouse chef — and Italian — he loves to cook and “can make pasta with anything.”
And despite the tragedies he’s endured, he has no regrets that he has devoted two-thirds of his life to the FDNY, a career that will end this year when he retires.
“My kids tell me they can’t believe that after [all these years] I can’t wait to go to work,” he said.
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