13 September 2013

5 : Something Blue .... Ten house Firefighters

Ten House Fire Fighters
I just watched a documentary about the September 11 attacks on Foxtel last night, which was all about the Ten House NYC Fire Fighters http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/911-firehouse/bios/bios.htm
It was a very interesting portrayal of what it was like for the first fire fighters arriving at the Trade Centre site.  Ten House is located on Liberty street closest to the Trade Centre site and remains there today, it has crews from Ladder 10 and Engine 10.  Their stories are worth watching, including all the harrowing tales of bravery and survival they have to tell.
Recently on a trip to New York my daughter and I visited the Memorial site which is still under construction and under extremely tight security.  We had booked our free tickets online and were very keen to get to the site on time for our allotted time slot.  It was a very hot New York summers day and we were very rushed to get there, crowds were thick surrounding the site.  In the process we rushed past the Ten House Fire Station and saw all the crowds of people and brass memorial sculptures, but didn't get a good chance to take a look.  I now wish we had made the time, especially after seeing the documentary on the Ten House fire fighters, it would have been good to have visited properly.
We were able to spend considerable time at the Memorial where we reflected upon the 2,977 deaths that happened that day, with more than 400 of those being first responders.  The two pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers were an impressive sight, and I thought a very fitting memorial, with all the names of the victims inscribed in bronze parapets surrounding the pools.  The newly built and almost complete 1 World Trade Centre (previously affectionately known as the Freedom Tower) just beyond the north pool was very impressive, which at 1,776 feet is now the tallest building in the United States.
I was at University studying to be a Paramedic in 2001, and already a volunteer Ambulance Officer, when 911 happened.  The disaster has affected the way I have approached my job and it is a day that no one in the emergency services field will ever forget.   Many lessons were learnt that day.
After we had finished our visit we left the Memorial site and only a few streets away we heard a barrage of sirens echoing through the city.  Not an unusual sound for New York City, however, we realised they were heading our way.  Right in front of us a fire truck with lights flashing and sirens blaring pulled up to a stop, the crew got out and started evacuating a building opposite us.  Crowds were gathering in the street, including the workmen that had been working on the building that was being renovated and now evacuated.  There were reports of smoke, although we didn't see any at the time.  As other fire trucks and emergency vehicles continued to arrive we, like others in the gathering crowd, began to sheepishly take photo's of events unfolding.  Even the construction workmen were pulling out their mobile phones, so I didn't feel such a tourist in doing the same.
The whole time we stayed and watched them work, we had a strong feeling that these guys would have had something to do with September 11 as we were so close to the Memorial site.  I have just looked back at my photo's and discovered that without even knowing it at the time, we actually saw Ladder 10 in action, one of the very first fire trucks that had arrived on that fateful day.  I knew that the photo I took of the side of the fire truck listing names 'In Memory Of' would probably have had something to do with 911 losses.  It was a privilege to see these guys in action in their newly painted fire truck that had to be specially made post 9/11, as both their fire trucks were destroyed in the aftermath of the destruction of the towers, as was their fire house...

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