Tuesday 12 December 2017

'We've survived the collapse. Now we're going to suffocate'

Not once, but twice, a twist of fate preserved the life of firefighter Kevin Murray on 9/11

A New York firefighter salutes during the singing of the US national anthem during the September 11 memorial ceremony in New York
A New York firefighter salutes during the singing of the US national anthem during the September 11 memorial ceremony in New York

Philip Sherwell in New York

In the East 2nd Street firehouse in Alphabet City, a once-gritty neighbourhood in downtown Manhattan, plaques line the walls in memory of the six colleagues from Ladder 11 who died on 9/11. There are photographs of Lt Mike Quilty, a big moustached character in his white officer's hat; and of Mike Cammarata, a baby-faced figure under his new fireman's helmet, just a few weeks on the job and, at 22, the youngest firefighter to die that day.

Above the two engines stationed there now hangs the blackened sideplate of the Ladder 11 engine, all that was recovered. And in a mural on the back wall, a five dice and six dice are superimposed on the Ladder 11 emblem with the motto "Lucky Eleven".

Kevin Murray looks at the words with a rueful shake of his head. "That was us, always Lucky 11," he says. "Until 9/11."

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