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9/11 Heroes: A Fireman's Story

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  • 9/11-anniversary, attacks
    (Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)
    Firefighters at the destroyed World Trade Center, September 11, 2001.
By Vincent Funaro, Christian Post Reporter
September 10, 2011|12:02 pm

September 11, 2001 started out like an ordinary day for FDNY member Steven Salzano of Ladder Co. 132, located in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn, New York.

Salzano was installing a hot water tank in his Staten Island, New York home on his day off when his wife broke the news to him that a passenger plane had crashed into the World Trade Center building after she saw it on the news.

Upon witnessing the carnage breaking out in downtown Manhattan on television, Salzano immediately phoned in to his firehouse who originally told him that they did not need his assistance, but once the second plane hit, he immediately packed his stuff and reported to work.

Eventually all off duty New York City fireman were summoned by the city to report to duty to assist in the rescue effort.

“When the first plane hit I told my wife everybody above is dead and not getting out," he said to The Christian Post. "With the amount of fire in that building, every firemen knew that it was going to be a major operation.”

When Salzano arrived at his firehouse, he and all the off duty fire fighters who reported there were dispatched to the World Trade Center on a city bus.

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While traveling on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway on their way to Manhattan, the first WTC tower collapsed.

The second tower fell once they arrived in Manhattan, while they were located near a Municipal building on Chamber St.

“When we got there you couldn’t see, even up to Chamber St. you couldn’t see,” Salzano said, “It was completely dark, you had about ten yards of visibility there, when we walked past Vessey street, everything cleared up.”

They arrived at 5 World Trade Center which was completely engulfed in fire. They could not get water into that building, and they all backed out and headed to Liberty St.

They found an Engine on West St. and hooked it up to a hydrant to douse the flames engulfing another building located on 90 West St.

Salzano and his fellow fireman managed to “knock down a couple of floors of fire” and spent the rest of that day assisting in the rescue effort.

They were outside when 7 World Trade Center collapsed.

Salzano’s firehouse lost six men that day who were last seen in the Marriot Hotel located under 2 World Trade Center, the south tower.

The effects of 9/11 have been detrimental to some of those firemen who survived the attack.

“Everybody’s different; some guys became drunks and alcoholics, some guys had to get off the job, and other guys deal with it,” he said.

Others struggle with survivor’s guilt, but according to Salzano, the effects of 9/11 are not frequently discussed among those still on the job.

Memorials are held annually at his firehouse for those firemen who gave their lives on that tragic day, where retirees, their families, widows and those still on active duty attend a lunch-in.

A Catholic priest usually attends to offer comforting words to the firemen and their families.

Salzano was raised as a Roman Catholic and stated that he does not blame God for anything that happened on that day.

To him, it was all just part of the job.

 

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