Midtown Firehouse Remembers 15 Colleagues Killed On September 11

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For some New York City firefighters, the news of Osama bin Laden’s death brought a somber reaction. That was especially true at at Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9  — which lost 15 colleagues on September 11, 2001.

Captain Tom Venditto was working when word came that the leader of Al Qaeda leader’s had been killed by Navy SEALs. His firetruck was greeted by a cheering crowd in Times Square and people wanting to take pictures.

“[It’s] wonderful for the families to see that the public still thinks about them and remembers their loss and their sorrow,” Venditto told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon Speaks With Some Of New York’s Bravest At The Firehouse

On a wall at the firehouse — located at 8th Avenue and 48th Street –there are 15 photos of the brave men who gave their lives to save others on 9/11.

“Everyday when I wake up and I see my own family, I think about them. Everyday I come to work, I look at the memorial on the wall and I think about them,” Venditto said.

photo 22 Midtown Firehouse Remembers 15 Colleagues Killed On September 11

Engine 54, Ladder 4 Memorial Photos (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

“It’s never far from your thoughts here in this house. I mean, the moment you walk through the door, you see the pictures,” Firefighter Andrew Sforza said.

It has been a decade since Maureen Santora buried her son Chris’ remains. That day, she was the very picture of heartbreak, but on Monday she was elated.

“I’m just filled with joy that my son is up in heaven, screaming and yelling and saying ‘we got him.. we got him ma,'” she told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Firefighter John Fila was more somber, knowing that he could have been killed that day. He was supposed to be working, but switched shifts with Chris Santora.

“[Santora’s] parents have told me that it’s just the way it happened. There is nothing you can do about it, but you think about it every day,” Fila said.

Carl Asaro Jr., whose father was among the 15 firefighters killed, called the capture of bin Laden “a victory.” He said it was amazing to join his father’s colleagues to commemorate something joyful.

“Ten years without capturing this person and to finally do it, you know, some people maybe have lost hope. I know for a while I did — saying ‘what does it matter now if they find him or not,’ but now we got him and it really comes to light that it is a big deal,” he said.

  • kstu

    I had the honor of talking with John Fila at the station in 2006. Five years later and they were still so gracious about opening their station to others so they can share the story. I remember him telling us about how he had switched shifts with Chris Santoro and was supposed to be working on 9/11. It gave me chills. It is one of the most memorable moments of my trip. I will never forget.

  • PinkyToe

    A couple weeks after 9/11, I flew to NYC specifically to visit Engine 54 Ladder 4 and so some volunteer work. Had never been to NYC before and was all alone, but the station house guys were so comforting I cry just thinking about it.

    There were so many condolence flowers at the firehouse that they completely covered the double-wide sidiewalk and snaked down the street.

    I brought 50 or so Beanie Babies, each with an American flag pinned to it, and gave them to the firehouse for giving to frightened children they might encounter during their harrowing job.

    That evening, as part of volunteer work, I was assigned to serve coffee to police and fire workers. I’d never before made coffee in my life, and knowing how police depend on their coffee, I was scared to bits about messing it up. I learned that “regular” coffee does NOT mean black; it’s actually 2 sugars and a cream.

    The most moving moment of all was when a NYC cab driver REFUSED my money for the toll plus a generous tip. Despite hiim having lost most of his business due to the attacks, and despite my repeatedly begged him to take it, he absolutely refused to accept money once he knew why I was there and where he was taking me.

    So instead, I gave him a red, white and blue Beanie Baby bear with a little flag pin attached, which he promptly placed on his dashboard. Now that he DID take with a large smile. This young man spoke very little English, but words were not really necessary during that moment.

    Bless you, NYC, for you are the bravest city on earth.

  • Henry Miller

    When I visit NYC, I usually stay at a hotel near this firehouse. I always pick up a couple of boxes of chocolates or a tray of Danish pastries with a sticky note that says simply, “THANK YOU!”

    A small gesture to thank those who are heroes day-in, day-out…

  • bea

    I remember visitign NYC after 911 and the firehouse was right up the street from our hotel we went in to say hello and thank them for there service and they were kind enough to invite us in and ever offer us Ice Tea as we listened to some great stories. Great guys.

  • Marjorie Nicholson

    In 2000

    I will never forget walking down Eighth Ave and looking for a restaurant that my son in law had often talked about ….. A great Brazilian restaurant…..

    I walked by this station house knocked on the the door and asked directions

    It was right across the street and probabaly up a block or two down . Actually you could see the sign from the station house location. We all laughed and became friends!

    From that moment on every time I would walk by the station I would wave and say “hello” ……

    These men were the kindest and most engaging people anyone would ever meet.

    My heart broke on 9/11 when this happened …..I will never forget how wonderful and fun your comrades were …and how self sacrificing and brave.!

    My heart has never stopped breaking for the loss of these people.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express my thoughts and profound condolences on the loss of such wonderful people.

  • Richard Salzman

    RIP my friend, Alan Feinberg; Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battallion 9. You were a good friend when we went to Lafayette HS in Brooklyn, we reconnected just before our 2001 HS re-union and you are still messed by your HS buddies! Richie Salzman, class of ’71.

  • Julián Macías Moreno

    thank you, guys for your bravery actions !!!!

  • L2557

    You stepped forward while most ran away, we will never forget your 9/11.


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