Dennis Smith: New York City Firefighter and Gritty Best-Selling Author

From a New York Times obit by Sam Roberts headlined “Dennis Smith, Firefighter Who Wrote Best Sellers, Dies at 81”:

Dennis Smith, a teenage hellion and high school dropout who transformed himself into a famed New York City firefighter, a gritty best-selling author and a leading guardian for the safety of his colleagues and the public, died in Venice, Fla. His death was caused by complications of Covid-19, his son Sean Smith said.

As a youngster, he was headed for jail as a juvenile delinquent when a sympathetic judge offered him an alternative: Join the military. He enlisted in the Air Force, returned to New York three years later and joined the Fire Department.