Mohammad Salman “Sal” Hamdani was born in Karachi, Pakistan on Dec. 28, 1977. He and his parents left for America when he was 13 months old.
The three settled in Queens in a small home on a 42-by-95-foot lot at 34-31 204 St. in Bayside. Later, two more boys were born into the family. Hamdani’s mother, Talat, taught English at a Queens middle school. His father, Mohammad Saleem, worked long hours at his convenience store in Brooklyn.
Hamdani, known to friends as Sal, wanted to advance himself in many ways. He studied biochemistry at Queens College and worked part-time as an EMT. He also worked as a research technician at Rockerfeller University, but joined the NYPD as a cadet in case he could not get into medical school.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Hamdani was on his way to work when he saw the flames. He used his EMT credentials to enter the restricted danger area to assist the victims. Hamdani died in the tragedy.
Because of his Muslim identity, he was initially accused of being part of the terrorist attack, but was cleared and hailed a hero by Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly for unselfishly giving his own life to save others. He was also declared a hero by the U.S. Congress 45 days after the attack.
A police funeral with honors was given a year after the attack and a street was named in Hamdani’s honor.
His father passed away at age 56 in 2004, and the family sold the house 2016 for $752,000 and moved to Pennsylvania.
Hamdani will be one of thousands remembered on the 20th anniversary of the attacks next month.