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Longboat Key Friday, Sep. 11, 2009 5 years ago

Firefighters pay tribute to lives lost Sept. 11

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by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

Wearing full gear and oxygen tanks, 11 firefighters set out to climb 343 flights of stairs Friday, Sept. 11, at Plymouth Harbour, to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives when the World Trade Center Towers collapsed Sept. 11, 2001.

To remember one of their own, Sarasota firefighter Mike Yahraus, who died in a training accident Sept. 11, 2000, the firefighters climbed an additional flight.

“Today, we stand here to express our admiration and our appreciation,” said Plymouth Harbor President and CEO Harry Hobson. “You truly are our heroes.”

Their climb began at 10:28 a.m. today, the exact time that the second tower collapsed eight years ago.
Station No. 5 firefighter Erich Leipold, who trains almost daily on the Plymouth Harbor stairs with his partner and fellow fireman Dan Campbell, Lt. Mike Martini and Lt. Mark Soady, along with the other firefighters, hiked the first 78 flights three times up and three times down — equivalent to the number of flights the New York City Fire Department firefighters climbed to rescue those trapped near the impact area in both towers on Sept. 11.

“Today we gather to remember,” said Plymouth Harbor Chaplain Jerry O’Connor. “Let this day be a reminder of the cost of freedom.”

Contact Loren Mayo at lmayo@yourobserver.com.

 

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