SEPTEMBER 11

Five Arlington First Responders recall terror of 9/11

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For five first responders, 911 is more than memories.

There was the smell of jet fuel and burning concrete. The burned bodies.

A decade after the epic tragedy, the first responders are sharing their stories. They were from Truck Five, the first Arlington fire truck to reach the Pentagon.

Derek Spector was one of three firefighters on that truck.

“You were by yourself for a good 15 minutes,” Spector said. “Our job at that point was search and rescue to look for people to rescue people.”

But there were few rescues to be made on the inside.

Lieutenant Bo Bennett, a rookie 10 years ago, says when he got inside flashlights would split the darkness and reveal the lost.

“A lot of people had their shirts over top of their faces but they had passed on,” he said. “They didn't make it out of there and some of them were so close.”

Lieutenant Gregg Karl says training had to overwhelm the shock.

“You kinda had to take a few seconds and step back and take everything in,” Karl said. “And then you're like, ‘okay now I need to go to work.’”

The fire eventually out, the work was far from over. But no one spoke. It was too overwhelming to talk about.

The piece of the World Trade Center is a memorial here, along with a stone from the Pentagon. It’s a reminder, a lesson and a legacy.

“It's good to remember, it's part of who we are,” Spector said. “It's part of our history and I don't think it should ever be forgotten.”

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