Friday, October 31, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;38.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-10-31 00:00:55

ERROR: Video is no longer available.

pic1
pic2
pic3
pic4
pic5
pic6
pic7
pic8
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Nashua fireman Chris Marich rounds the corner of floor 17 in the Hampshire Plaza in Manchester, Sunday morning. When the World Trade Centers collapsed, 343 firefighters were killed. Firefighters from around the state climbed the 20 floors of the Hampshire Plaza six and a half times to equate the 110 stories climbed by rescue personnel on that day.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Nashua fireman, Julian Reed stands in the courtyard outside of Hampshire Plaza in Manchester, Sunday morning before the New Hampshire 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb. Rescue personnel from around the state climbed the stairs of the Hampshire Plaza six and a half times equating the 110 stories climbed by rescuers on 9/11.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Nashua fireman, Chris Murich waits in the lobby of the Hampshire Plaza for the line into the stairwell to move so that he and his team of fellow Nashua rescuers can begin to climb the second of six and a half lengths of the building's stairs as part of Sunday's New Hampshire 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb in Manchester.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Elevator buttons are topped by a fireman's helmet in the Hampshire Plaza in Manchester, Sunday, during the New Hampshire 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Hudson fireman, Eric Lambert stands with his hands folded during a prayer outside of the Hampshire Plaza in Manchester, Sunday morning. In remembrance of the 343 rescuers who died in the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001 fire personnel climbed the stairs six and a half times equating to the 110 floors climbed on 9/11.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Hollis firefighter, Kevin Pelletier bows his head as the Hampshire Plaza building stands above him. In remembrance of the 343 rescuers who died in the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001 fire personnel climbed the stairs six and a half times equating to the 110 floors climbed on 9/11.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Nashua fireman, Troy Saunders leads the Westford Fire Fighters Pipes and Drum Band into a memorial service in Manchester before the start of Sunday's New Hampshire 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb. In remembrance of the 343 rescuers who died in the World Trade Towers on Sept. 11, 2001 fire personnel climbed the stairs six and a half times equating to the 110 floors climbed on 9/11.
  • Staff Photo by GRANT MORRIS


    Facebook - Grant Morris of the Nashua Telegraph


    Each participant of Sunday's New Hampshire 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb climbed the stairs in rememberance of a rescuer who lost their life on 9/11 and wore a name tag and photograph of that individual around their neck.
Monday, September 12, 2011

Firefighters, others, climb stairs in memory of fallen

MANCHESTER – Trudging up 110 floors of the Brady Sullivan Tower in downtown Manchester on Sunday morning, it was hard not to imagine how first responders must have felt 10 years ago, as they braved dust and destruction to rescue people from the World Trade Center buildings, minutes before they came crashing down on Sept. 11.

343 firefighters sacrificed their lives that day, climbing dozens of stories to save others from the crumbling buildings. Their show of heroism brought 287 stair climbers together – some firefighters, some civilians – at the state’s first ever 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday in remembrance of those sacrifices.

Forty-two teams participated in the climb, wearing lanyards marked with the names and faces of each firefighter killed. Most carried 40 pounds or more of fire-fighting gear, as they marched up the Brady Sullivan building five and a half times to simulate what that brave 343 went through.

Team 13, a group of firefighters from Nashua, scaled the 110 floors in a little over an hour’s time – a time frame, they realized, many first responders in New York did not have when the towers fell 10 years ago.

“Even with the adrenaline of that day, as you can see, it’s not like you’re going to be able to sprint to the 80th floor,” Nashua Fire Lt. Steve Buxton said, halfway through the climb. “We’ve been at it say a half-hour, 45 minutes. If you do the timeline from when the planes hit, to when things started falling apart, a lot of them didn’t even have that.”

Buxton’s team of 13 Nashua firefighters had numerous personal connections to the firefighters who responded on Sept. 11.

Buxton was doing the Manchester climb for his colleague, Nashua firefighter Anthony DeRubbio, and in honor of DeRubbio’s brother, David DeRubbio (Engine Co. 226), a FDNY firefighter lost that day.

Buxton’s climbing teammate and Nashua firefighter Patrick Nelson worked in a lower Manhattan firehouse until May 2001, where five men he knew were killed Sept. 11.

“I went back and it was surreal,” Nelson said. “Manhattan was – cops on every corner. Navy patrol boats in the Hudson River. It’s hard to really explain what it was like. It was very strange. I went to a lot of funerals in the following months. I knew the five guys I worked with, and then I knew guys from my academy class, from overtime shifts. There was lots of moving around so you end up meeting a lot of people, knowing a lot of people . . . I attended as many memorial services and funerals as I could.”

Wearing lanyards honoring Angel Juarbe (Ladder 12) and Orio Palmer (Battalion Chief of Battalion 7), Nelson said it was difficult not to consider what could have happened if he had not changed locations four months prior to that tragic day.

“Immediately following, I thought what would’ve happened. Would I have been at work?” Nelson said.

The climb was the best way for him to honor everyone that was there, he said.

“I just wanted to somehow participate in a fitting tribute,” Nelson said. “To do something that they did that day – under much better conditions here today than what they went through.”

But climbing 110 flights of stairs is no easy feat.

The teams took to the Brady Sullivan Tower after a somber opening ceremony, with remarks from Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, event organizer Bill Campell, and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte – plus the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer, and a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Manchester West students.

At 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Manchester firefighters rang a department bell to remember the lives lost when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 hit the World Trade Center towers 10 years ago.

Climbers also shared the names of each of the 343 fallen New York firefighters, along with a ring of the fire bell, before taking to the stairs.

Though firefighters pass climbing tests as part of their job, many of them had never done 110 floors in 50 pounds of gear before, they said.

“The tallest building in Nashua is only eight stories!” one firefighter exclaimed on the hike up to the top.

Sweating and panting, some stopping to catch their breath along the way, dozens of firefighters dressed in heavy helmets and bunker gear caught up with guys they knew from other departments, in Hudson, Portsmouth, or Manchester, cheering on teammates as they went. Every floor with a neon orange number reminded the climbers of how many floors they had left to go.

“Sweat it out, brother!” “Dig deep!” “Come on, man!” echoed up and down the staircases over the 110-floor climb, along with the stomping sounds of heavy rubber boots.

After each trip up, firefighters squished into elevators to get a 10-second break traveling back to the bottom, before sweating out another trip to the top.

“This elevator will never be the same,” members of Team 13 joked on one ride down.

Buxton and his teammates passed 7-pound air tanks from one back to another as they made the five and a half laps to finish the 110 floors. Other teams carried heavy axes, fire hoses, and Halligan tools, which firefighters would have had with them on their rescue missions that day.

When Team 13 finally made it to the top – after a few short breaks, a couple bottles of water and roughly an hour’s time – they said they wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

“The third or fourth trip up was the hardest,” Nashua firefighter Michael Kass said. “If it wasn’t for these guys that carried me through, I couldn’t have done it – just about 44 it got really hard.”

Once they were done, each team exited the Brady Sullivan Building to an eruption of cheers – an atmosphere far different than that faced by the 343 for whom they climbed.

But while the event allowed local firefighters to remember their brothers and sisters lost in 2001, they also came together in honor of the task they continue to face day after day.

All proceeds of the climb went to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to support families of fallen firefighters across the nation.

“You reflect on the events of that day, you think of your friends,” Buxton said. “There’s a lot of connections between departments, with guys here and there. There’s relatives – blood relatives. I was born and brought up in this atmosphere. I’m a fifth generation firefighter. As far as our job, we go to fires, that’s what we do.

“When Sept. 11 happened, they said, ‘Who can we have do this now?’ – with biological threats, terrorist threats. . . .We are the first responders on the front line in our country, before anybody else, 24/7. When you think about it, if something happens to you at home, and you have no idea how to solve it, you call the fire department. There was certainly a change in the public perception that day of what we do.”

Maryalice Gill can be reached at 594-6490 or mgill@nashuatelegraph.com. Follow her on Twitter at Telegraph_MAG.