Investigator Clyde Frazier

Brian Ahearn, 43, of Huntington, was a lieutenant at Firehouse 230 in Brooklyn. He was last seen in the lobby of the south tower.Ahearn “became a perfect American citizen,” said his mother, June Ahearn of Palm Bay, Fla.

But he didn’t start out that way.

“I don’t know if I should say this, but when he was younger he was a rip out of hell,” she said.

There was the time when he was 3 years old that he sawed the leg off the family’s couch. As a teenager he hung out with “dumb kids,” despite his 140 IQ, his mother said.

But that all changed, she said, when he followed in his father Edward’s footsteps and became a firefighter, married and had two children, Lauren and Christopher.

“He was a wonderful father, a little laid back,” she said. “He was very serious – like his father – and a good saver – also like his father – which was all to his benefit.”

He loved baseball, played with the fire department, and took good care of himself physically.

“As a man he was almost perfect,” she said.

Both of his children, 9 and 5 at his death, are honor students and his wife, Debracq, still close to her in-laws, is engaged. But the toll on all of them was a heavy one, June Ahearn said. “It’s something that never leaves you. You want it to, but it doesn’t.”

The parents, who had lost another son two decades earlier, said they “talk to them both everyday, no matter what happens.”

And she said she finds herself peering into the faces of men who would be her son’s age. “I study their faces. I wonder if what is happening to their faces, would have begun happening to him. He’s in a better place. I’m sure they all are.” – Ridgely Ochs