Richard Sheirer, the man in charge of New York's massive rescue and clean-up effort in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, died Thursday morning while driving to work.

Sheirer began feeling chest pains during his morning commute and pulled over to the side of the road at West 14th and 10th Avenue to call 911. He was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center where he died. He was 65.

Promoted to director of the Office of Emergency Management in 2000 by Rudy Giuliani, Sheirer was expected to prepare the city for hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as deal with water-main breaks, train derailments and other emergencies.

However, when two commercial jets flew into the World Trade Towers in 2001, Sheirer was responsible for coordinating the enormous rescue and cleanup effort between city, state and federal agencies.

Sheirer stayed with the agency until 2002. His latest job was as senior vice president at Guiliani Partners.

In his honor, flags will be at half-staff at all city buildings on Friday.