Each year I choose 1 story to share in an effort to keep alive the memory of those who died. Buying a sticker or a T-shirt that says “Never Forget” isn’t enough, heck it’s nothing. Learning about the lives of those who went into that morning not knowing if they would be coming out and sharing their stories with others is the only way to remember and keep them alive in our hearts.
I used to think the ancient Egyptians were foolish for claiming they were going to live forever, yet we still speak their names and honor their traditions in our museums and textbooks. They truly did accomplish living forever and if we want these men to be remembered in the same way we must continue to share their stories and speak their names aloud.
In my search for a story to share about those who died on September 11th, I kept coming back to a number: 10. 10 years, 10 Engine, Ladder 10…10 House…
A firehouse is much like a family and when a member of a family dies it can have an impact on the survivors. But what if more than 1 dies? Or 2. What about 6?
This year I share the memories of 10 House and the day she lost 6 of her children.
10 House is the quarters of Engine 10 and Ladder 10 who, in 1984, adopted the logo of a firefighter straddling the tops of the twin towers on fire reading “First due at the big one.” And they were. Reports from survivors say that even as they rolled out the door there were already bodies in the street.
The firehouse is on Liberty Street directly across the street from the World Trade Center. The house survived the collapse and was re-opened after getting fixed up, but her family is still healing.
Both companies were established in 1865, later moving to the same house. It is one of the few houses where the engine and ladder companies happen to have the same numbers. For almost 150 years she saw only 3 deaths in the line of duty, on that September morning the number would triple.
Lt. Gregg Arthur Atlas – Aged 44 years, Lieutenant Engine 10
Firefighter Paul Pansini – Father of 3 children, Firefighter Engine 10
Lt. Stephen Gary Harrell – Age 44, Member of 10 House assigned to Battalion 7
Sean Patrick Tallon – 26, Marine Reservist and only weeks away from completing Probationary status on Ladder 10.
Jeffrey James Olsen – Age 31, Firefighter Ladder 10
James J. Corrigan – Retired Captain from 10 House, oversaw Fire and Safety Operation for the WTC complex
The house was a gathering point for those wishing to visit the FDNY to offer their condolences. Like many houses it was covered with patches and shirts from visiting firefighters, letting the members know they were in others’ thoughts. A beautiful memorial was erected inside dedicated to the 6 members who died and included was a newer plaque honoring the 3 that had fallen between 1867 and 2000.
10 House became the site of a 56 foot bronze relief sculpture donated by Holland & Knight , a Law Office, who lost employee Glenn J. Winuk, also a volunteer firefighter, when 10 House lost her children. The relief was dedicated in 2006 and is the only 9/11 related site on my list of things to see when I visit New York later in the month.
I don’t want to see where 10 House lost, I want to see where she lives on.
You can learn more about 10 House on their excellent website.