Michael Esposito: Regular Guy, and
Mel," her voice quivered. "Oh my Mel. He was a regular
guy. But he was so much more than that."
Those are the words of a woman asked to describe the
man she made a life and two children with.
His name was Michael Esposito. He was 41 and a
lieutenant at the elite fire and rescue company Squad 1,
stationed in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Her name is Denise.
The children are Andrew, 15, and Michael, 12.
"When you say regular guy that's an inside joke," she
said. "What it means is that he just helped people and
asked for nothing in return."
Lieutenant Esposito checked the soundness of
neighbors' roofs. He shoveled the old people's snow. And
when the old neighbors heard of his passing, they came to
ask in a sad, friendly way, "Denise, who will shovel our
The boys at the firehouse nicknamed him Mel, a term
for an average guy taken from a Rodney Dangerfield
"Mel," said a friend, Firefighter Phil Solimeo. "Best
fireman in the whole house. A leader of men. He led you
into flames and you knew you were coming out.
"Mel was a regular guy."