NY fire chief survives 911 and tells Humboldt

People lined up as Richard Picciotto signed his book, “Last Man Down” both before and after his presentation Sunday at Humboldt High School. Humboldt Independent photo.

By Jeff Gargano
More than 1,200 people filled the Humboldt High School gym on Sunday afternoon to hear Richard Picciotto, the highest ranking firefighter to survive the World Trade Center collapse on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Humboldt Fire Department and Executive Functions Management (EFM) of Humboldt organized the event, which served as a fundraiser for the fire department as they raise money to replace the aging air cascade system the fire department uses to fill air packs.
During the event, which featured performances by the Humboldt Community Chorus, a check for $26,455 was presented to Humboldt Fire Chief Jim Gronbach and members of the department.
“I made the decision to evacuate the north tower,” Picciotto said. “It was a tough order to give because there were people trapped above who would have no chance without the help of firefighters.”
Picciotto was asked what he learned from the experience.
“Put priorities in your life. Focus on family and friends. Tell them you love them. Our country came closer together. After Sept. 11, the generosity shown to the New York Fire Department was unbelievable. We pay it back. We use our vacation days to help all over the country. That’s one of the reasons I’m here today. To help pay it back,” Picciotto said.
Read the full details of this compelling story and see photos from Sunday's event in this week's Humboldt Independent. Subscribe by clicking on the link at the top of this page.

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