Testaments: Reflections on Sept. 11

Although he had a broken neck, Kevin Shea is among those who count themselves lucky to be alive

 

 
 
 

From the Courage Under Fire Issue

GALLERIES

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Testaments

Anonymous people reflect on 9/11.
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Kevin Shea is among those who count themselves lucky to be alive.

After the World Trade Center’s South Tower collapsed, Steve Zakheim, chief operating officer for MetroCare Ambulance, firefighter Richard Nogan (Ladder 113) and Al Kim, vice president of New York City operations, MetroCare Ambulance, crawled south on West Street to get away from fires burning in the debris. As they moved through the black cloud of dust that blanketed the area, the men saw the outline of a body beneath the debris, about 40 feet from the pedestrian South Bridge that had protected them when the towers crumbled. It was Shea—an FDNY firefighter who had been injured near Albany Street. Although he was alive, he had a broken neck.

Daily News photographer Todd Maisel, who was nearby taking photos of the incident, witnessed the trio’s efforts to treat and stabilize the injured firefighter and put down his camera to assist. He and Zakheim retrieved a backboard and other medical equipment from nearby damaged, burning ambulances. Maisel then retrieved his camera and captured Shea’s rescue on film.

The group immobilized Shea, moved him to the lobby of a building on Albany Street and left him with a female doctor and a group of firefighters. Shea had been rescued just in time: the North Tower collapsed minutes later. “I was glad we got Shea out of the area,” Kim says. Shea later learned he was the only member of FDNY’s Engine Company 40, Ladder Company 35 to survive that day.



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Testaments

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Never Forget

As I sat there looking at the final resting place for many of these men, I felt as if the dead were asking me not to forget them...to keep their memories with me for the rest of my life. I made them a promise that I would remember them every waking day until I finally join them. (Photo AP/Wide World Photos/Graham Morrison)


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Don't Think Twice

I don't think any firefighter that day thought twice about entering the Twin Towers. As firefighters, you never think twice about advancing into the jaws of death; it's instilled in our blood and character. (Photo AP/Wide World Photos/Chao Soi Cheong)


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Their Spirit Lives On

If anything good can from this tragedy, it would be knowledge that the spirit of these brave men will be with us for eternity. (Photo Doug Kanter)


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A Long List of Deceased

When the list of guys missing came out, it tooke me three or four days to go through it. After two or three pages, I had to stop. Guys I've known for 23 years were killed, over a hundred men -- and I know them. (Photo Steve Spak)


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Testaments Photo 5

This incident change me for the better. I've always been a very responsible person. I like to do things all by the book. Now, I''m starting to see life a little bit different. I now know that I'm not totally in control of certain things. So I'm taking things easier now, without all that anxiety that placed on myself. (Photo Stever Spak)


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The Day Lives On

I can still smell the Trade Center sometimes-in my car, in clothes that I wasn't wearing down there. I go to my closet and put three or four jackets on before it finally doesn't smell like the World Trade Center. (Photo Willie Cirone)


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Caring for Other Rescuers

From left: Steve Zakheim and Al Kim, both MetroCare Ambulance, and an unidentified police officer care for a firefighter Kevin Shea. Firefighter Richard Nogan points towards Albany Street as an exit route. Shea's neck was fractured in three places. (Photo New York Daily Times)



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Related Topics: Major Incidents, Incident Command, Mass Casualty Incidents, Special Operations, WMD and Terrorism, September 11, 9/11

 
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