Peoria fire chief remembers assisting with 9/11
It's a day of remembrance across both the nation and the Valley, but for one fire chief, Sept. 11 means digging through rubble.
Peoria Fire Chief Bobby Ruiz was part of Arizona Taskforce One - Urban Search & Rescue Team, an 80-member group that was dispatched to New York City to help find survivors trapped in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
"It was the most surreal and truly real scene I've ever worked," Ruiz said in a release. "The landscape looked as though it was a recreation of a World War II bombing, but what made it real to me was when I would talk with survivors."
Ruiz said that a survivor told him a story of a firefighter who gave her water as she descended from one tower while he continued to climb. She later visited his memorial.
Ruiz keeps a map of evacuation routes for Ground Zero and a piece of the towers in his office.
"It's just as a constant reminder that we have to always be at the top of our game in case of another disaster -- may it be man-made or natural -- we have to be ready to react and make a difference," he said.
Martha Maurer, News Editor