A ‘HERO’ who fed rescuers during the 9/11 disaster in New York has been killed in a car crash.
Mick Baldwin, originally from Blackburn but who moved to the USA 16 years ago, lost control of his Subaru, which then hit a fence and tree in Connecticut.
The 41-year-old Blackburn Rovers fan was pronounced dead at the scene.
When the Twin Towers were hit in 2001, Mick, who managed a fish and chip shop called A Salt and Battery just a mile away from Ground Zero, prepared free food for the doctors and recovery workers.
The fish and chips were then taken in large vats to the site and distributed free to the rescuers.
He also took it in turns with his co-workers to sit outside the chip shop in Greenwich Avenue with an empty, upturned water cooler bottle, which was filled with $5,000 in just two days by generous passers-by.
The money was then given to the family of a fallen police officer who had been a regular customer.
At the time Mick and his staff were praised by the emergency services for their actions.
Mick’s brother Steven Baldwin, who lives in Blackburn, said his brother had acted ‘heroically’ after the disaster.
Steven said: “It was all about the community pulling together but he was a hero for helping make sure they all had food and could keep going.”
After 15 years living in New York, Mick moved to Falls Village in Connecticut, where he was working as a chef at the prestigious Hotchkiss School.
He had been driving home from a shift when the accident happened. Police said no other vehicles were involved.
Steven, 30, who works at Blackburn College University Centre, said the family were now raising £20,000 to bring Mick’s body back to Blackburn.
He said: “Mick loved life like every day was his last.
“He was positive and infectious to be around.
“He always managed to bring a smile to people’s faces.
“Mick was my hero.”
The former John Rigby High School pupil was brought up in Westminster Court, Blackburn, before moving to Great Harwood, Baxenden and Rishton.
He moved out to New York with his girlfriend Louise Goulding, originally from Accrington, to work in the A Salt and Battery.
The pair got married but split up about four years ago. However they remained very close friends.
Mick began to DJ at the Orchard Club and also wrote for the First Touch magazine, where he had band reviews and interviews published.
He went on to write for other websites, which inspired him to set up his own site The StreetDog, and even created long boards - 4ft skate boards often used to get around in Central Park.
At parties he met the likes of Iggy Pop and Debbie Harry and even lit the candles on a birthday cake for world-famous photographer Bob Gruen.
He had also worked as a forklift truck mechanic, an insurance rep and a chef at Blackburn Rovers at various points in his life.
Mick’s dad Dave, 58, of Pleasant Road, Blackburn, said: “Mick crammed so much into his life, every day was a new adventure.
“He was only 41. If he had lived to 82, I don’t know what he would have done.
“It was such a shock to hear about the crash.
“He had the accident on his way home from work, but we are not 100 per cent clear on everything.
“We are led to believe the conditions were bad. It was the same night it was snowing here.”
Speaking from America, Mick’s sister Joanne, who also lives in New York, said thousands of tributes had poured in on Facebook to her brother She said: “Mick was the best brother.
“He had an amazing personality and a thirst for life.
“The response we have had from people here and abroad is overwhelming.”
Lieutenant Paul Vance, from Connecticut State Police, said: “The crash happened at 12.30am on Saturday on route seven in Canaan.
“The driver was Michael Baldwin and he was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Mick’s friends and family held a fundraiser at the Orchard Club in New York where Mick once entertained crowds last night (Tues).
They are trying to raise £20,000 to fly his body back to Blackburn.
The details for his funeral have not yet been confirmed, however it is hoped that there will be a service at St Alban’s Church, Larkhill, at 11am followed by a celebration at the Blues Bar at Ewood Park on Wednesday next week.
Friends in America will have the chance to write messages on his coffin before it is flown back to the UK so that his family can see how popular he was.
Mick also leaves sister Jillian, 25, brother Lewis, 15 and mum Susan.
For more information visit www.firsttouchonline.com/2013/01/mick-baldwin-memorial-fundraiser