World Trade Center - FIREFIGHTERS on the SCENE

FIREFIGHTERS on the SCENE (Illustration) American History Disasters Famous Historical Events Film Geography Social Studies Tragedies and Triumphs

This U.S. Navy photo, by Chief Photographer's Mate Eric J. Tilford, was taken at Ground Zero on September 17, 2001.  Navy News describes what we see: “A lone fire engine at the crime scene in Manhattan where the World Trade Center collapsed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Surrounding buildings were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers. Clean-up efforts are expected to continue for months.”  Public Domain


As thousands of shocked people made their way down twin-tower stairways, they passed New York City firefighters on their way up. With their backs loaded-down with gear, hundreds of selfless men endangered themselves to save others.

What would rescuers see as they tried to reach stricken areas? Could anyone near the places of impact have survived? If so, people would be badly injured. Would anyone on floors above the crash points be alive? If so, how would they get out of the buildings if no one came to help?

Firefighting fathers and sons climbed interminable steps. The commander, a chaplain and a rookie - among many others - ascended into the most fearsome place in New York City that September day. They did not flinch from putting others first. They did not stay behind, inventing some reason not to ascend the towering inferno.

David Frank, an escapee from the 78th floor of the North Tower, recalled when his journey down intersected with the firemen’s journey up:

They were perspiring profusely, exhausted. And they had to go all the way to the 90's - straight into h___. This was not lost on the crowd. We all broke out into applause at one point.

A staggering number - 343 - of firemen died on September 11, trying to save people from the burning buildings. No one expected the towers to collapse. But when they did, families of firemen joined those of World Trade Center workers whose lives were savaged by the acts of suicidal terrorists.

Then there were the Port Authority Police officers - the people in charge of safety at the World Trade Center. With total disregard for their own well being, a group of five volunteers - led by their sergeant, John McLoughlin - raced from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the towers, seeking to help those needing assistance.

They arrived just about the time Flight 175 plowed into the South Tower.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Aug 01, 2006

Updated Last Revision: Sep 14, 2016

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"FIREFIGHTERS on the SCENE" AwesomeStories.com. Aug 01, 2006. Feb 18, 2020.
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