BROOKLYN - Jose Cordero says he wanted to be a firefighter since he was 7 years old, when he saw rescuers save an elderly woman from his burning apartment building.
He joined the FDNY in 2007 and has been featured in the department's famous calendar four times.
But when he's not at the firehouse in Canarsie, he has another job teaching fitness classes at a gym he co-founded in Bay Ridge.
"I actually broke my knee a few years back," he explains. "As I was home recuperating, I was watching the 'Biggest Loser.' And I saw that there were a lot of people out there who needed help. And a lot of them don't feel comfortable going to gyms. So I promised myself once I felt better, I would go to the parks with my best friend, and we would help the people in the community."
After recovering, he says he began training people free of charge until launching BA Academy in 2013.
And in Cordero's free time, he is a guest speaker at schools across the city.
"When I was a kid, I would have loved for a firefighter to come to my school or wave at me while they were in the truck," he says. "I have the opportunity to maybe help a kid out."