Fire Apparatus Tribute to 9/11 First Responders

The Remembrance Rescue Project is a Schaumburg-based educational group that was formed in 2011 and is dedicated to remembering and honoring sacrifices made on 9/11.

It is staffed by firefighters who volunteer their time to operate two FDNY trucks the charity has restored, Rescue 4 and Rescue 5. Both vehicles responded to the World Trade Center emergency.

Rescue 5 is a 1996 HME Saulsbury and belonged to the Staten Island Rescue Company. In addition to numerous firehouses, the city of New York employs five rescue companies, each serving a particular borough.

A normal crew has six members but when the alarm bell rang out at Rescue 5, eleven firefighters willingly rode out. A shift change had just occurred, yet two firefighters at other jobs, two at the station studying for a promotion and one at home, all returned to help.

Upon arriving at the World Trade Center, Rescue 5’s crew was instructed to help with the South Tower. When the buildings collapsed, all eleven members died. The truck was heavily damaged but repaired and returned to service several months later. In 2002, a new vehicle was donated to the company. Rescue 5 continued to serve; first as a spare truck and later as a designated Hazmat vehicle.
In December 2011, the rig was decommissioned and went to auction.

The mechanicals were gone through and Capital Truck Body in Cicero sanded the body and applied a new coat of Dupont Red paint. Appropriate graphics were also installed. The volunteers opted to leave the interiors untouched.

With the overhaul complete, Rescue 5 was returned to the road. The project coordinates with host fire departments to facilitate 9/11 educational programming, memorials and remembrance events. Both trucks travel from coast to coast and are driven, never trailered.
In the past two years, they have been to 24 states and accumulated 25,000 miles. “Our charity works to preserve, share and operate the two rescues. They’re maintained as significant historical artifacts,” Gantz said.

Requests to host the trucks have poured in, even coming from Canada and Australia. “The trucks are a great teaching tool; they’re big, red and bold. It’s especially useful with kids who may need help understanding the historical events of the 11th.”

The project has even created specialized, age-appropriate curriculum. “With younger audiences, our presentation is the dangers of firefighting. With older middle school grades, we begin to tell the story of the guys on the truck. Men who never thought that everyone they were sitting with would never come back.”

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