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Memorial Firefighter Climb honours heroes lost

Memorial Firefighter Climb honours heroes lost

More than 200 firefighters will climb the stairs of the Sky Tower in memory of the September 11 World Trade Centre attacks, as well as honouring those New Zealand firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Memorial Firefighter Stair Climb honours every New Zealand firefighter lost in the line of duty since 1872, with the date of 9/11 chosen to coincide with the worst firefighter tragedy in recent history. The year the marks the 10th anniversary of the commemorative event which sees firefighters from around New Zealand and the United States come together to remember those lost; a nod to the fire service’s strong sense of camaraderie worldwide.

Tony Scott of Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Service was moved to start the memorial climb following the 2009 cool store fire in Tamahere, Hamilton, where Derek Lovell lost his life and several Kiwi firefighters were injured.

The event will personally honour each firefighter, with the names of the 343 firefighters from the New York Fire Department and all 59 names of New Zealand firefighters lost read out, followed by a prayer. Each firefighter then carries a special tag with the name of an individual firefighter lost in the line of duty, dedicating their climb to the memory of that person.

2018 marks the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and New Zealand firefighters will be the first in the world to hold a memorial event on the day.

Two chiefs from the New York Fire Department will be attending the event, Chief Peter Hayden and Deputy Chief Jay Jonas.

Chief Peter Hayden, who attended the event in 2017, is a 38-year veteran of the New York Fire Department and awarded member of the department. He played a pivotal role in 9/11 as the on-duty deputy chief in the first division and played a essential role in the North Tower, manning the FDNY’s command post.

Deputy Chief Jay Jonas has had a 35-year career with the New York Fire Department and was part of the first responding units to the World Trade Centre on 9/11 and one of only 20 people who made it out alive following the Twin Towers collapse.

U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown says he’s proud to support the memorial event, which is a tribute to the brave New Zealand and American firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty.

“It serves as a testament to the camaraderie that exists between those who serve, and the bond between our two nations, something only strengthened by the current efforts of Kiwi firefighters in California. As in previous years, we are honoured to support this event, and the participation of the New York City Fire Department” says U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown.

The Memorial Firefighter Stair Climb is on Tuesday 11 September, starting at 1.00pm with a procession down Federal Street to the Sky Tower, and formalities from 1.10pm. This is the fourth year the event has been held at the Sky Tower.


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