Hartsdale Fire Department

Peter Woods, HFD Commissioner, Dies from 9/11 Related Illness
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By Member Alan Zale
January 13, 2021

Peter Woods, a retired, decorated New York City Police Sergeant who had been serving as a Hartsdale Fire Department Commissioner, died on January 9th from complications of Leukemia. His passing was related to his rescue/recovery work on the pile following the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center in 2001.

Woods, 59, was a first responder to many emergencies throughout New York City. Besides the 2001 terrorist attack, he also responded to the first terrorist bombing at the WTC in 1993. He is also credited with rescuing passengers from US Air Flight 5050 that skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport into Bowery Bay in 1989.

Rising to the rank of sergeant in the NYPD, during a twenty-year career, Woods was thrilled when his first assignment, after being promoted, was the Mid-Town South Precinct which covered Times Square, the crossroads of the world, and where he worked many New Year’s Eves.

Woods eventually joined the NYPD Special Operations Harbor Unit, from which he would retire. While in the Harbor Unit, he worked on many special projects including a joint task force with the FBI looking into jet ski smuggling. This project took him from doing surveillance work at Orchard Beach in the Bronx to Florida. He also became an expert at investigating boat insurance fraud.

After his retirement from the NYPD, Woods worked for the US Marshall’s Office at the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan. He was a founding member of Police Officers Providing Peer Assistance, POPPA, a program committed to helping prevent police suicide.

Woods was born February 22, 1961 in New York City to the late Charles and Jean Woods.

Growing up in the Bronx, Peter graduated from St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School and from Dominican College in Rockland County.

His father, wanting to keep Woods safe and off the streets, got him a job, at age 11, counting worms on a fishing boat. This would eventually turn into a career as a commercial fisherman before joining the New York City Police Department in 1981.

In 1995 he married his wife, Sara Trujillo, at Saint Margaret’s Church in Riverdale. Wood’s colleagues affectionally referred to Sara as “Sergeant” and after Woods was promoted to sergeant, they referred to Sara as “Lieutenant.”

Woods was a devoted father to his daughters, Anna and Olivia. According to his wife, “Peter was a girls dad, a basketball dad, dedicated to his daughters.” He was also a passionate, lifelong, New York Yankees fan.

Community service continued to be very important to Woods during his retirement. He had been serving as a Hartsdale Fire Department Commissioner since 2018. Woods was a past president of the Sacred Heart Elementary School Parent’s Club and was a member of the Sacred Heart Church (Hartsdale, NY) Parish Council. He was co-chair of the Westchester County 9/11 Related Illnesses Memorial Committee for victims who died from 9/11 illnesses.

Woods is survived by his wife, Sara, daughters Anna and Olivia, sister Maureen Guiney (John) and many loving family members and friends. Funeral arrangements are pending and being handled by Ballard Durand in White Plains, NY. Photo by Alan Zale

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