9/11 REMEMBERED: The fallen of Engine 201

September 11, 2001 was the most deadly day in history for NewYork’s Bravest, with 343 firefighters killed responding to theterrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Among them were five firefighters stationed at the firehouselocated at 51st Street and Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, housingEngine 201 and Ladder 114.

Those who died from Engine 201 were Lieutenant Paul Martini, whohad been with the FDNY about 13 years on 9/11; Firefighter JohnSchardt, who had been with the FDNY about 10 years; FirefighterGreg Buck, who had been on the job about five years, andFirefighter Chris Pickford, who had served with the Fire Departmentfor about two years

In addition, Ladder Company 114 lost one member, FirefighterJames Riches.

Engine 201 had responded to the scene as soon as the first towerwas hit, said Captain Luke Lynch. They were the last ones throughthe Battery Tunnel before it closed, he recalled, calling hisdeceased comrades, all salt of the earth, really good people.

While the day unfolded horror upon horror, even after the towersfell, Lynch said, he had remained optimistic that the members ofhis company weren’t caught in the collapse.

You just don’t want to give in to the worst thought process,he said. I knew they were dead but I didn’t want to think it. Ididn’t want to acknowledge it.

There was also the larger catastrophe that those who respondedto Ground Zero had somehow to absorb.

It was dreamlike, surreal, Lynch said. We were there but weweren’t there. I just couldn’t make heads or tails of it, to seeall the destruction.

Another firefighter, now a member of Engine 201, was working outof a company in Williamsburg that day.

They didn’t send my company that day. Our engine went out, butthe truck stayed, said the firefighter who wished to remainanonymous. I wasn’t able to go down until the next morning. When Idid, it was horrible, like something out of a movie.

He said one of the men in his company died that day, as well ashis best friend. It was a painful, horrible experience, headmitted. But these guys came together – the whole country cametogether for a little while.

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