Updated: September 10, 2021 11:19 PM
Created: September 10, 2021 10:21 PM
Duluth Fire Chief Shawn Krizaj was off duty on September 11th, 2001. He was playing hockey with other firefighters when the rink manager told him what was unfolding in New York.
At first, Krizaj had the same reaction as most of the nation.
“I kind of couldn’t believe it at first,” Krizaj recalled. “At the time, just the first tower had been hit, so of course, there was speculation, was this an accident? Was it a terrorist event? You know, they didn’t really have a lot of information yet at that time, so went home and was literally glued to the tv for the rest of the day.”
His perspective changed the next day as the gravity of the situation set in.
“The reality set in a little bit differently when I came back to work and I got into more of that mode of thinking as a firefighter, not just as an American,” Krizaj said.
Firefighters across the nation answer any time the public calls, not knowing if they will be put in a dangerous situation.
“We’ve never of course had anything of that scale here, but we’ve had firefighters injured here,” Krizaj explained. “That makes you sit back and reflect on 343 firefighters died that day.”
At 8:56 AM on 9/11, firefighters from both the Duluth Fire Department and the Cloquet Fire Departments will be climbing stairs at the Amsoil Arena to pay tribute to the firefighters lost twenty years ago. The equivalent of 110 stories will be climbed, simulating the height of the World Trade Center.
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