Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Thoughts again with NYC fire crews

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Between fire runs and training, Tristate firefighters had their eyes glued to television sets and their thoughts on their brethren in New York, who on Monday were responding to yet another plane crash.

        Deerfield Township Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Bromen said firefighters everywhere were already troubled by the loss of hundreds of firefighters in New York Sept. 11.

Continuing coverage from Associated Press
        “It's shocking, but we know that we're in the type of business where an emergency can come at any time and you always have to be prepared,” Deputy Chief Bromen said.

        As word of the plane crash in New York arrived, Colerain Township Fire Lt. David Pickering couldn't help but think of his best friend in the fire service: Fred Herrmann, a New York City firefighter who works on ambulance 270 in Queens, nine blocks from the crash site.

        “Knowing him like I do ... he'll go and go and go until he can't go anymore,” Lt. Pickering said. “I just feel for the firefighters in New York, that they're having to relive it again. They have a lot of pride ... just knowing that department like I do, those firefighters will do the job. They're not willing to give up and say "We quit, we can't do this.'”

        New York firefighter Lt. Patrick Sobota was in Hamilton preparing to speak at an assembly honoring veterans at Monroe Elementary School when he learned of the plane crash back home. He said he wouldn't be flying back to New York.

        “I think I might drive back,” Lt. Sobota said after accepting a quilt made by students. “I trust myself at the controls.”

        Hamilton firefighters, with whom Lt. Sobota had bunked Sunday night at fire headquarters, arranged a rental for Lt. Sobota's trip back to New York.

        “Of course, we have a certain degree of empathy with them,” Hamilton Deputy Fire Chief Bob Harmon said. “We all face dangers as firefighters, and we realize that they've had some extremely trying times here lately.”

        An off-duty firefighter in Liberty Township called the Stumpf Lane firehouse Monday and told them to turn on the TV. It has been on since.

        “We've kept on eye on the TV while we were doing our normal duties,” firefighter/paramedic John Mason said. Liberty Township firefighters have made several contributions to the various causes in New York, and have begun wearing American flags on their helmets.

        “It was a devastating blow that the NYFD took. I'm sure something like today's crash compounds their problem,” firefighter/paramedic Chris Robinson said.

        Some firefighters said they will try to help the New York crews but are not sure what form that may take.

        Enquirer contributors David Eck, Sue Kiesewetter and Marta Roberts assisted with this story.

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