Friday, January 8, 2016

A Firehouse. A Dog. A Life.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, seven members of FDNY Ladder 20 were among the 343 casualties that the FDNY sustained.  The seven men of Ladder 20 were last seen in the North Tower and were killed when that tower collapsed at 10:28 a.m.  

In New York City, a firehouse becomes an integral part of the fabric of its neighborhood.  Ladder 20's devastating loss on that terrible Tuesday morning was felt not just within the four walls of the firehouse and in the firefighters' homes.  It was felt throughout the NoLIta community that Ladder 20 serves and protects.  It was felt beyond the neighborhood's boundary lines as well.     

Among those who responded to the anguish that had befallen Ladder 20 were two sheriffs from Rochester, New York.  Shortly after September 11, 2001 they paid a visit to Ladder 20.  In addition to paying their respects, they delivered a present:  a Dalmation puppy.  

"Twenty" became a member of the Company almost immediately upon her arrival at the firehouse.  She was more than the Company's mascot.  She became a companion to the firefighters and - in the  process - a bit of a star.  According to Lt. Gary Iorio, "She really helped to build up the morale in the years following 9/11.  I can't say enough about what she did to help us.  She went on all the runs, she'd jump in the truck, stick her head out the window and bark.  She became a local celebrity."  

Earlier this week, Twenty died.  The FDNY announced her death on its official Facebook page, lauding her for fourteen-plus years of faithful service with her brothers of Ladder 20.   While she shall be missed by her two-legged companions, what she did to lift their spirits in the aftermath of a day that took the lives of Capt. John Fischer, FF David LaForge, FF Robert McMahon, FF John Burnside, FF Sean Hanley, FF Robert Linnane, and FF James Gray cannot be overstated.  

It shall never be forgotten.  Neither shall she.  Not by the men to whom she meant the world. The men of Ladder 20. 

"Today, Twenty has taken her final run to Heaven.
Rest in peace, man's best friend." 
- Lt. James Iorio, FDNY
(Photo Credit:  Tim Schultz) 


1 comment:

Tim Schultz said...

That photograph of Twenty poking her head out of the truck was taken by me, Tim Schultz