News / USA

Ladder Company One in New York Remembers 9-11 Attacks

Multimedia

Peter Fedynsky

Ladder Company One of the New York Fire Department is among the closest to Ground Zero, the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood.   On the morning of September 11, 2001, one of its members was checking a possible gas leak in the city streets.  The routine task was recorded by a French film crew as part of a documentary about the company.  Coincidentally, they recorded the first plane striking the World Trade Center and also the very first reaction to the event. 

The first known reaction to the September 11th attacks was recorded by a French film crew documenting a life at Ladder Company One.

It was an expletive uttered in disbelief by Steven Olsen.  He related that moment to VOA. "At that point I didn't know for sure that it was a terrorist attack, but I knew something was wrong, because there was nothing wrong with the plane, and it flew right in there.  The more I thought about it, then I realized we're under attack," he said.

By the time the second plane hit, Olsen says he was in the North Tower pulling people out the building.  He said the building began to shake violently, throwing people around like rag dolls with hurricane force winds and extreme heat.

Ladder Company One did not lose any firefighters on September 11th, but Olsen says many of the firefighters are coming down with cancer, possibly in connection with subsequent recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

"We're trying to keep on top of our health, trying to make sure that we're going to be all right.  But it's scary; we're almost like sitting here waiting our turn to see who's going to be sick next," he said.

Olsen says he saw a lot of disturbing things that day - people jumping from the towers, piles of bodies and other horrors that haunt him to this day. "For me, I'm still living the raw ugliness; I live it almost every day.  I have flashbacks, bad dreams. I can't sleep at night. I'm always anxious.  It hasn't stopped for me," he said.

New firefighters at Ladder Company One have replaced most of those who worked there nine years ago.  On this, the Ninth anniversary, they remembered those who died.  Station Chief Michael Vindigni recalled a Biblical Psalm during a ceremony at the station.

"My help comes from the maker of heaven and earth.  We believe that the Almighty asks us to be human helpers with Him as we seek to make this a better world for all people," he said.

New York City firefighters are closely associated with the attacks, as witnesses and participants in history.  More than three hundred twenty five firefighters and paramedics gave their lives that day and others continue to suffer various the physical and emotional consequences.  But they say they all remain committed to making the world a better place.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid