Remains of 9/11 Firefighter Identified

Lt. Jeffrey Walz was killed in north tower of World Trade Center

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 6, 2013 7:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – The "gentle giant" is going back to his family. Improved DNA testing has identified the remains of another of the firefighters killed in the 9/11 attacks, reports the Staten Island Advance. Lt. Jeffrey Walz died in the north tower nearly a dozen years ago. “My family always felt at some point we would get a phone call,” his widow, Rani Walz, tells the New York Post. “I wasn’t so sure. This has reopened old wounds.”

Walz was 37 when he died, leaving behind Rani and their 3-year-old son, Bradley. He managed to call his wife and parents from the tower before it collapsed, says his sister. As for that "gentle giant" nickname: “It was obviously because of his height and because he was such a good person," explains his wife. "He was a saint with me.” A city official says the remains of 1,637 World Trade Center victims have now been identified, leaving 1,116 unidentified. “At least we can say he’s not missing anymore,” mom Jennie Walz tells the Journal News. (This news follows an announcement made two weeks ago that the remains of a 43-year-old 9/11 victim had been identified.)

In this Oct. 11, 2001, file photo, firefighters make their way over the ruins of the World Trade Center through clouds of dust.
In this Oct. 11, 2001, file photo, firefighters make their way over the ruins of the World Trade Center through clouds of dust.   (AP Photo/Stan Honda, Pool, File)
Lt. Jeffrey Walz.
Lt. Jeffrey Walz.   (NYFD/Associated Press)
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