Firefighters mark 9/11 anniversary with minute’s silence

Firefighters in Greater Manchester are today marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a minute’s silence at fire stations and fire service workplaces.

The minute’s silence is part of a community effort to commemorate the 343 firemen who lost their lives twenty years ago.

412 emergency workers in total were killed in Manhattan that day.

The act of reflection will be held across the country at 13:46 – the time in the United Kingdom when the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: “This tragedy was and remains particularly shocking for firefighters everywhere, given that so many firefighters were killed.

He added: “It is a stark reminder of the risks that firefighters can face across the globe”.

To date two-thirds of the firefighters who were present in lower Manhattan now have a long-term illness.

Inhaled toxic fumes from the destroyed towers continue to kill servicemen.

Nearly 16,000 members were exposed to dust particulates, noxious gases, chemicals, and fibres, while more than 11,300 of them have been diagnosed with at least one condition for physical or mental health.

In an interview with Mancunian Matters, Paul Embery, an influential member of the FBU, said: “I was a frontline firefighter in the UK when this happened.

“In the twenty years since there have been close links between firefighters in the UK and the US.”

He added: “The fire service is a big family internationally…there is a real kind of kinship between firefighters right across the globe.

“When this atrocity happened…there was just an instinctive sadness and devastation.”

Set up in December 2001, the Tunnel to Towers foundation continues to organise events in the UK and across the Atlantic to raise funds.

Events are organised in remembrance of the servicemen who died and continue to suffer related long-term illnesses.

The foundation has raised over $250 million dollars.

Main image: License use Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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