“ Listen up, whoever you are. I'm guessing you're Feds but really, it don't matter. You're doing the wrong thing, and you're gonna die because of it. The men you're facing, they're here to do what no one has the stones to do. They could have left. They could have gone to their families. But they stayed to burn this thing out, to make sure it got stopped here. They sacrificed themselves, and then you - you come along and try to fuck it all up, because you're not hard enough to do what's gotta be done? It ain't gonna work. My boys are better than that. And we're gonna see this thing through over your. Dead. Body.- When Division agents are entering the final section of the Napalm Production Site to go against Ferro ”
Joe Ferro was a former Manhattan sanitation systems expert. Upon the Joint Task Force failing to contain the Green Poison, he took matters into his own hands and founded and radicalized the Cleaners, becoming their charismatic leader. Deeply respected by employees and peers, Ferro attracted other sanitation workers who were left behind by the JTF, even as his vision darkened into a paranoid, barbarous cruelty. He was also on good terms with other union groups in the city: plumbers, pipefitters, construction crews, all willing to provide the scuttlebutt he needed to track and identify the infected. As the contagion crisis deepened, workers from these other professions began to supply additional volunteers to Ferro's cause of burning out the virus.
Before the Green Poison outbreak, Ferro resided with his wife Shawna in Manhattan where he worked for the city sanitation department. By all accounts, he lived a normal life as a hardworking baseball fan who liked to call in to radio talk shows. After Black Friday, Shawna was one of the first to succumb to the smallpox virus. Consumed with rage at the government's emergency-response failures, Ferro decided to organize his own attack on the virus. Believing that the only way to destroy it was with fire, he founded the Cleaners and established its headquarters in an abandoned Midtown construction site. As the grim weeks of the contagion dragged on, Ferro's early conviction slowly twisted into a psychotic pyromania. His HQ was soon transformed into a napalm production facility to fuel the Cleaners' flamethrowers.
Known for his custom yellow hazmat suit rigged with huge napalm tanks, Ferro stayed bunkered in at his napalm production site. Eventually, Division agents managed to storm his headquarters and terminate the threat.
Before the outbreak, Joe Ferro was most likely a normal individual who likes to call into live radio broadcasts. He also seems to be very caring and loving to his family and was deeply effected by the death of his wife from the Green Poison. He deeply cares for his niece (who lives outside of New York City) as one of his reason of forming the Cleaners is to make sure the virus gets destroyed in New York and doesn't spread outside as he fears she (and others) might contract it as well.
During the early stages of the outbreak, Joe believed the situation was going to get worse and was frustrated that the sick were not going to the hospital and government's lackluster response. He expressed his thoughts radio broadcast in a Cleaner report.
After the death of his wife and the JTF's inability to handle the crisis, Joe became much colder than his former self, believing the only way to eradicate the virus is to burn any trace of it, including infected people. Thus, he forms The Cleaners with many other sympathizing sanitation workers, using his natural talent for motivation to rally others to his cause. Joe seems to acknowledge that he and his factions' methods are morally questionable (and thus are marked as enemies by the JTF), but nonetheless believes he and his fellow Cleaners are simply doing what needs to be done for the greater good.
Joe is also shown to be hard-working individual who is committed to a cause and treats his fellow Cleaners as equals despite being the leader. Several Cleaner reports show him motivating his fellow Cleaners to continue their work, calling them heroes, and even gave a eulogy to a fellow Cleaner who died for the cause and motivated other Cleaners to follow in his footsteps.
He's known to also go out in the street to get the job done, a trait his fellow Cleaners admire and respect. During the boss fight, he expressed his desire to fight side-by-side with his comrades against the Division agents and was irritated when he couldn't because one of his men was having trouble strapping on his fuel tank.
When the player is storming the Napalm Production Site, he addresses the agent(s). In a way, he seems to understand the player might be from the federal government, but also tells the player to turn back as he and his Cleaners are doing what they believe the player and the government aren't "brave" enough to do.
His death does not affect the Cleaners as much as other factions losing their leaders. The Cleaners, unlike the other factions, have a goal that merely requires them to continue destroying the virus and contaminated objects, with Joe Ferro merely radicalizing them as a faction.
While the loss of Ferro's Napalm Production Site hurt the Cleaners' dream of achieving maximum force, his continued quest to unlawfully eradicate the Green Poison would live on through the rogue Division agent Vivian Conley.
Joe is a stronger variant of the typical Incinerator class enemy. His only weapons are firebombs and his flamethrower. When the player is too far away, or when a turret has been placed, Joe will run up and attack when in range to use his primary weapon. As with other Incinerators, he has three fuel tanks that can be shot and detonated- that will take a good chunk of his armor and health. His flamethrower's range is pretty far, so don't be fooled, run away when he's close, and take cover.