FDNY firefighter helped foil Times Square bomb plot

He noticed fake license plates and popping sounds from the car, and decided to call in NYPD

By Cynthia R. Fagen
The New York Post

NEW YORK — They should call him "Captain Marvels."

When FDNY Capt. Mike Barvels got a call for a car fire in Times Square, he knew it would not be an ordinary run.

"That is not something we normally get, so going in there, we were very, very suspicious," said Barvels, 31, who was commanding Engine Co. 54 on that May 1 evening.

"It had fake [Connecticut] plates, and it was making popping sounds. There was white smoke, and it sounded like fireworks going off."

Barvels, then a lieutenant, could have simply ordered his men to douse the fire sparking from the Nissan Pathfinder.

"Instead of breaking the windows and putting water on it, we decided to take a different approach and not mess up any evidence," he said.

The firefighters - from Engine 54 and Ladder Co. 4 - called for the NYPD Bomb Squad, then helped clear the area while they searched for a possible deadly device.

"A lot of these terrorists have a second device, so we started to look around at suspicious garbage cans, cars and vans, mailboxes, and we stood with the hand line [hose] and prevented people from coming near the area," he said.

On behalf of both fire companies, Barvels has been nominated by the FDNY for a Post Liberty Medal in the Bravest category for helping foil the plans of Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.

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