After the towers fell

Firefighters recall time at Ground Zero after 9/11

Andrew Wagstaff awagstaff@citizenrecord.ca
Published on September 5, 2011
Joggins firefighters Maurice MacKinnon (left) and Laurie Melanson were among seven local volunteers who traveled to New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 to help with rescue efforts at Ground Zero. Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record

 

RIVER HEBERT – All hell had broken loose in New York City.

The twin towers of the World Trade Center lay in powdered ruins, and millions were in fear of where the next terrorist attack would hit. Seven volunteers from Cumberland County were on their way to the scene to offer their help.

“We just wanted to help our brothers,” said Maurice MacKinnon.

Mackinnon and fellow Joggins firefighter Laurie Melanson were part of the team led by Southampton firefighter Paul Seguin, who started putting a team together as soon as he realized the magnitude of the disaster. Also joining the group were Southampton firefighters Glenn Levy and Scott McLellan, Parrsboro Fire Chief Jeremy Dunphy and Danny Brooks, a paramedic living in Amherst.

Melanson said they didn’t really think twice about going when they received the call from Seguin. The towers had fallen by 11:30 a.m. on that fateful Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, and the local group was on the road, heading to New York at around 5 p.m.

Brooks, who was trained in rescue exercises and had worked the scene of the Swissair 111 crash near Peggy’s Cove only three years prior, said nothing could have prepared them for what they witnessed at Ground Zero.

(For the full story, see the Sept. 8 issue of The Citizen-Record)