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.