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Whistler firefighters to commemorate 9/11

Ceremony to take place at fire hall cenotaph on September 11



It's been a decade but September 11 still resonates with firefighters everywhere after watching their brothers perish beneath the crumbling towers of the World Trade Centre in New York following a terrorist attack.

It's for that reason that the Whistler Fire Rescue Service is hosting a small ceremony at the cenotaph at 7:15 a.m. this Sunday, to mark the time before the north tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed in 2001.

"There's a pretty strong brotherhood in the fire department," said Kim Vertefeuille, a Whistler firefighter organizing the service. "It's like an international community. When a firefighter dies, we will typically send a Whistler guy to that funeral. It's typically a big thing for the families and the people involved.

"You want to have a huge turnout of guys dressed in their fancy blue suits, so when 343 guys die in a swoop, we tend to recognize that."

Once people are gathered before the cenotaph, there will be a moment of silence at 7:28 a.m., the very moment that the north tower collapsed. All are welcome to attend.

Following the crash of two commercial airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, emergency services swarmed the site. When the towers fell, some 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed, as well as 23 New York Police Department officers and 37 Port Authority officers.

In the days after, firefighters continued to dig through the rubble in search of live victims, and, failing that, bodies to bring back to the victims' families.

In 2006 New York's Village Voice reported that up to 75 firefighters contracted cancer from sifting through the toxic dust and many of them have died.




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