President Obama Visits Engine 54, Meets With Firefighters

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Every time the firefighters of Engine 54 enter their firehouse, they’re reminded of the horrors of 9/11. The faces of their 15 colleagues who died that day hang on the wall, one of the many things that grabbed President Barack Obama‘s attention as he visited Engine 54 on Thursday.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: Obama Promised The Firefighters That He And The Administration Would Have Their Backs

Police order people to close their windows in the area around FDNY Engine 54, which was being visited by President Barack Obama - New York, NY - May 5, 2011 (credit: Kyle Reitan / WCBS 880)

Police order people to close their windows in the area around FDNY Engine 54, which was being visited by President Barack Obama - New York, NY - May 5, 2011 (credit: Kyle Reitan / WCBS 880)

Obama arrived under very tight security at the firehouse, which is known as “the Pride of Midtown,” for a 45-minute visit.

The lost firefighters had 28 children among them. Their pictures, along with messages from their families, line a wall at the firehouse.

“This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago,” Obama said at the firehouse. “When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.”

The President said the Navy SEALs who took Osama bin Laden out did so, in part, in the name of their brothers who perished in 9/11.

“You’re always going to have a president and an administration whose got your back,” Obama declared.

PHOTO GALLERY: President Obama Visits NYC

“To see him take off his coat, sit down in the kitchen, sit back in the chair and relax and just have a nice conversation was wonderful,” FDNY Chief Edward Kilduff said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Obama Thanks And Congratulates Engine 54

Obama also broke bread with the men of Engine 54 enjoying a meal of eggplant parmesan, a shrimp and scallop pasta with cream sauce and a salad.

“He was a really down to earth guy, you know, just like hanging out with the rest of the guys at the firehouse,” Firefighter Joe Ceravolo, who prepared the meal, said.

“He’s very personable. I can’t get over what a nice man he is and down-to-earth. You know, he was trying to be like one of us and he was — he fit right in the firehouse. He could’ve been a fireman today,” firefighter Leonard Siele said.

The news of bin Laden’s death brought a somber reaction to many of the firefighters of Engine 54.

Captain Tom Venditto was working when word came down that the leader of al-Qaeda had been killed by Navy SEALs. His fire truck 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’ Steve Sandberg.

obama firehouse1 President Obama Visits Engine 54, Meets With Firefighters

US President Barack Obama looks at a display of name plates of firefighters who were killed in the 9/11 attacks as he visits the Midtown Firehouse (Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9) in New York on May 5, 2011. (credit JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The firefighters also said they wanted to convey their appreciation for the  President giving the orders to bring bin Laden to justice.

“We wanted to tell him, we thank him for what he did on Sunday and all the troops and all. We want them to know we’re with them every step of the way,” firefighter Joe Ceravalo said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: Engine 54 reacts to news of bin Laden’s death 

On a wall at the firehouse, located at 8th Avenue and 48th Street, are the 15 photos and a bronze memorial plaque that commemorates the brave men who gave their lives to save others on 9/11.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the city in dark days after the attacks, joined Obama in the visit to the station.

Obama went to the firehouse before visiting with families of 9/11 victims at Ground Zero.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • HooDatIS?
  • Big Fat SteveO

    Navy seals should be charged with killing OBL plus the idiot in the Whitehouse who said that he gave orders to kill him. Very transparent this fool is.

    • Janet Harrison

      you are sick pathetic idiot

  • GB

    Is MichellefromMadison a terrorist or just a —- job?

    • Hunter Down

      she’s (or a she-he) is a fool.

  • Judy

    Are NYC firefighters allowed to drink in uniform? This is gross firefighters in my city would never act like idiots on a day like this. Disgusting

  • Dakota

    Michelle, go jump in the ocean and find OBL then…. you are an imbecile.

  • GREG


  • Patricia Warmington

    I am so pleased to see the pride of midtown fire house. My family and I visited this firehouse in 2002 on a visit from England, we were shown round by a young fireman who was starting his first duty on 9/11, having seen the first explosion on tv he called in to find out if he should report for duty early and was told to get to the firehouse and he lost 15 colleagues on one day. Our son who was 15 at the time and a journalist for his school asked if could interview the firefighter and this was agreed,. What a wonderful young firefighter who inspired us all. We have so many memories of our visit to 8th Avenue. Everyone involved in the aftermath of 9/11 deserves every recognition coming their way, I hope I can visit New York again when the 9/11 museum opens next year.

  • BF

    Robin, if you’re going to be upset, you should probably be upset with President Obama and his administration. I’m sure he set up the firehouse visit, not the members of the FDNY. They members of the FDNY are just being gracious hosts. Or would you prefer they slam the firehouse door when the President comes a knockin’? The NYPD is not only there to protect them, but you as well. It was the quick thinking of the members of Enigne 54 & Ladder 4 (the firehouse featured in video) who realized on a fateful May 1st, 2010 that Faisal Shahzad’s 19993 Pathfinder was no ordinary car fire as was initially reported. Although the car bomb did not go off. The members of E-54 & L-4 took all the right steps to help mitigate a possible disaster. Click on the following hyperlink for more info: May you stay safe & God bless you and your family!

    • BF

      Robin, I apologize for the various typos. Ooops!

  • Smitty

    I agree Robin im sick of only hearing about the fire people who died on 9/11

    • BF

      “Only hearing about the fire people who died on 9/11”? I thought the coverage talked about the President meeting with NYPD in the 1st Precint, too?

  • Mile

    Although they don’t deserve a response, the naysayers like michellefrommadison, who claim that Navy Seals should be charged with murder need to understand the following. The Seals are a military unit, operating in a combat situation, and therefore cannot be charged with murder. To take Bin Laden as a prisoner would have been ludicrous, as zealots would have immediately begun the process of finding and freeing him.

  • Bobby

    Osama’s troops hijacked our own planes and crashed them in to our white house and our twin towers and admitted to it. so why shouldnt we invade his home and go and blow his head right off his shoulders? some idiot here typed that our seals should be charged for murder? why? listen….while our towers were here clumbling(melting from the plane fuel) on top of our pleople/firefighters and police officers they were over seas partying,kidnaping our troops beheading them and burning their body’s and our flag……yeah..our seals did the right thing they rock!!!!! if osama and his troops didnt get in trouble why should we.

    proud american until my death!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chris

    Hey Michelle, if the methods used by the USA to defend itself and seek justice on international terrorists upset you then you should move to another country. Try someplace like Pakistan, Iran, or maybe even Somalia. I hear their laws and govenment are like no other in the world.

    SERIOUSLY!!! Do us all a favor and play in traffic at night wearing dark clothes on hhe FDR or Belt Pkwy….

    • michellefrommadison

      So, does that mean the trials for the killers will be televised?

      • get lost

        michelleformmadison should be stripped of her citizen ship and sent to live overseas to live for making comment like that….she must be a blonde….lol

    • Bobby

      lets send michellefrommadison to serve Osama’s troops since she feels they were violated……they love blonds….lol

  • LOL

    MichelleFromMadison you must be a BLONDE!

  • Riche

    imagine the distraction,disruption and uproar that would ensue if Bin Laden was captured and tried in by the US.The trials would take longer,bin laden’s notoriety and popularity would skyrocketed eclipsing the important events and issues in the US.Huge amount of energy and resources would be wasted for the trial of a villian who not admits to killing more than 3.000 people but also boast and threaten to kill more.In the end Bin laden would have been put to death no matter the outcome.His verdict was already set in stone before the US thought of hunting him.If so why should the US go through pains and trails to proof to the world that they offer justice in accordance to International law.Terrorists don’t play by the rules of the game so I don’t see any merit in capturing and trying Bin laden.Doing so disrupts the US in a subtle but big way. of the trial but what would have been a waste of resources?


      poor richard..hate to tell ya but old ben has been dead since 2001..this whole charade was planned and executed and you and the rest of the brainwashed have been scammed…..hook line and sinker..brought to you by the animals who did 911..if you believed us then, you will believe this cartoon now.your president is nothing but the bankers puppet..something real wicket will be on the winds from hell was not done to get him elected..too early for that game of spades..the pun is serious..the game of war is too..

      • lou minati

        another idiot. cynical is one thing, delusional another.

  • michellefrommadison

    Will the Seals trials for their crimes be televised? How about their potential execution when they are found guilty? How long before the date gets set? Are the staff on board the helecopters who never got off the helecopter culpible for the same crimes since they were still all there?

    • KCinNYC

      Better to remain silent and be thought of as a fool, than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt.

  • michellefrommadison

    Someone up here said they shot because the wife made a move. OK then, what did OBL get shot then? Looks like those Seals will all be in prison after this gets a thorough investigation. Still though, I am relieve they allegedly caught OBL. :)

  • Christopher W Clegg

    Bin Laden wanted a war and he got it. He is a combat enemy, not a street thug. Thank god we have people willing to put their lives on the line so people like you can whine about something you know nothing about!

    Good shooting Seals. God Bless America!

    • michellefrommadison

      Will they relevise the trial against the Seals for killing an unarmed person?

      Is the death penalty for the Seals an option or not?

      • Wess

        Sounds like you are not very happy with our sytem of dealing with war criminals maybe you should think about living over there with bin laden’s people! Please be my guest!

      • jon from nyc

        the SEALs were simply doing their job .. (assassination in this case) .. as were the terrorists .. i think you’ll find that laws are fuzzy and lines are blurred when you deal with military operations originating from the highest executive branches of various governments .. justice (and the death penalty as you’re calling for) is not a one size fits all sort of operation in reality

  • KCfromNYC

    Michelle, if you had friends and family crushed on 9/11 you might feel differently. Also, this is called Warfare and should not be confused with law enforcement tactics. Either know the difference or remain silent, you look silly. God Bless the boys in SEAL 6, they are true American heros. As for UBL, he got EXACTLY what he deserved. Did you want to see him in a court room near you?

    • michellefrommadison

      Who did binLaden actually kill? Thought he was overseas at the time. Looks like the pilots killed all those people, right? (did I miss something?)

      • KCformNYC

        Stop being foolinsh, you are only embarrassing yourself. Conspiracy to commit murder is a capital offense if it makes you feel better. And no, Presidential authorization takes murder or any other charge off the table. Maybe you should move to Pakistan or some other Stan where they hate America, you will fit right in. Could even be mayor if you’d like.

      • ECS

        You’re right Michelle-perhaps we should have set up OBL with a nice penthouse somewhere. Stop whining. Navy Seals are trained to kill guys like this so you can whine and talk your political correctness and eat cage free chickens. So if you want to keep on whining about “justice” then you should really support them. And if you ever happen to be assaulted or your home broken into-please do not fight back unless you KNOW they are armed. So ask the perpetrators to look in their bags and pockets for weapons before you defend yourself. Actually, don’t look-bacause that would violoate their civil liberties.

      • John

        Are you related to that idiot football player who tweeted that OBL wasn’t all that bad a guy?

    • michellefrommadison

      Facts do scare some people like yourself KC, but thanks for proving me correct. And, you are welcome too. :)

      • Bill

        wow you need help you nut job

      • KCfromNYC

        You are an embarrassment to our great Nation!

      • USA4 Ever

        Michelle your comments are so idiotic it makes me think you are one of Bin Ladens wives. You are a true emabrrassment to this country. I agree witheverything KC has stated

  • michellefrommadison

    Turns out that binLaden was unarmed and was not attacking any of the team who broke into his residence, but they shot and killed him anyways. Guess I missed the trial where he was sentenced to an immediate death by firing squad. Are the team members going to be charged with crimes they did for the murder?

    • Mike

      they said his wife made a move toward one of the soldiers targeting him. it was a twitch reflex but i have to ask this. do you really think a trial is going to do anything but cause more of an uproar? no matter what there would have been an uproar. he was shot, UPROAR, he is in jail, UPROAR, he is telling his side of the story, UPROAR, he is saying the guy on the tape saying he planned it isnt him anymore, UPROAR

      this is a guy that admitted many many times what he did after the video of him admitting what he did was discovered. he admitted guilt but didnt feel guilty about any of it, he was happy things went more catastrophic than he had hoped! he causes more people to go out there and kill themselves and take others with them for his cause.

      • michellefrommadison

        So many many many many many crimes committed by the US team members apparently. When will the charges come down?

    • Jay


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