Chicago Firefighters Remember Aiding in 9/11 Rescue Effort - KMSP-TV

Chicago Firefighters Remember Aiding in 9/11 Rescue Effort

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By some estimates more than 250 Chicago firefighters went to round zero to help in the aftermath of 9/11.

Some were officially dispatched many others went on their own like he next three gentlemen you're about to meet.

In a time of urgent need, they answered the call for help - not for the glory of the spotlight, but simply to do the right thing.

Chicago firefighters Tim O'Brien, Michael Guzman and Steve Serb watched in horror and disbelief at what was happening in New York that day. Unlike most, the three got in their own cars and headed east.

They had to do something. Ten years later what they did, what they saw, is still seared in their memories.

"As we pulled up to the first fire house we asked, ‘How can we help?’ They said get on a truck and go down to ground zero and find our brothers," O'Brien said.

They were all hoping and praying, they would find someone alive in the mountain of rubble.

Guzman described the scene at ground zero as if a giant blender of tree chipper had been taken to the area.

"Dust, dust it was everywhere. It was hard to breathe. I mean, people still have problems with it to this day. I can't even begin to explain what it smelled like," Guzman said.

Soon enough they realized there would be no survivors. What was intended to be a rescue mission, turned into a recovery mission.

But the New Yorkers they met - even in their most desperate time - were kind, generous and welcoming to our guys from the Second City. That is why those folks out east will always be top notch to them.

Yesterday morning hundreds of firefighters from Chicago joined in a two wheeled caravan of honor and respect to their fallen brothers.

They will pull into ground zero on September 10, and will receive a full, official escort from New York police and firefighters.

Serb will drive his car there and meet up with them. Guzman will stay here at home and observe from afar. O'Brien will be back home too, to reflect.

To this day, he believes the more than 340 New York firefighters who died that day knew full well when they went in those towers. There was a great chance they wouldn’t be coming out.

"Every firefighter learns in the fire academy that steel melts at 500 degrees and jet fuel burns at 2,000 degrees. They knew this could be their last day and they still did it. So God bless every one of them," O'Brien said.

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