Firefighters climb Sydney Tower to commemorate 9/11

Published: 11th September 2011

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters will climb Sydney Tower today in full firefighting equipment in a show of respect to fallen Fire Department New York (FDNY) colleagues on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The commemorative climb that will start at before 9am today was organised by retained (part time) firefighter Scott O’Brien from Doyalson Fire Station.

He will be joined by a Doyalson crew member David Simmons and members of City of Sydney’s fire station B platoon who will lend their support.

Firefighter O’Brien, a second generation firefighter, said he was inspired to do it in recognition of the bravery and courage those FDNY firefighters showed as the World Trade Centre towers collapsed after two planes flew into them.

“It’s to thank and honour those firefighters who put their lives on the line that day, and to those who continue to do so each time they turn up for work,” he said.

“This is about those firefighters who died at the 9/11 terrorist attack, and a time to reflect and think about what can happen in the line of duty.”

The firefighters will be fully kitted in “turn out” gear, including the breathing apparatus equipment, to walk up the 80 flights of steps of the iconic Sydney Tower in Pitt St.

They will start their ascent at 8.46am (the time when the first plane hit WTC tower 1 on 9/11 2001) and expect to finish at 10.30am. Along the way they will stop at certain intervals to reflect on the events that occurred that day.

“We aim to be on level 4 at 9.03am which is when the second plane hit the second tower. We keep going and at 9.59am we pause for a minute’s silence as that is when the second tower collapsed and we should be on level 55 by then,” he said.

“The aim is to be at the top at 10.28am and have another minute’s silence for the collapse of the first tower.”

At the top of the tower will be a media conference to allow the firefighters to answer any questions.

Inspector Wayne Buxton from City of Sydney said fire crews would be experiencing the tower climb walk as if there was a fire.

“This is what firefighters are trained to do. High rise fires do happen and crews would have to walk, fully kitted and carrying equipment, to attend an emergency. It’s our job,” Inspector Buxton said.

“I think this is a fitting tribute to those firefighters who lost their lives in 9/11, and to the families left behind. Even those who did survive still bear the scars of that horrific incident.”

Also visit Scott O’Brien’s facebook and twitter sites:,