The Lumberjack

110 flights of stairs

Humboldt County firefighters honor the fallen on 9/11

Within 45 minutes, local firefighters and nearby volunteers walked up and down Humboldt State University’s Founders Hall 18 times in memory of 9/11.

Of the 2,977 victims that were lost during the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, 343 of them were firefighters.

For several years now, fire departments nation wide walk an equivalent of 110 flights of stairs to honor those that entered the buildings.

“I think I speak for every firefighter when I say that this is a very daunting day for us,” said Arcata firefighter Jacob Cliff.

Cliff has now organized this event for the past two years to assure that Humboldt County firefighters continue to show their appreciation and recognition of their fellow fighters that endured the unfortunate happening of 9/11.

Last year Arcata Fire Department walked HSU’s Cypress Hall stairs after briefly deciding to start the event over a dinner table conversation.

This year, several nearby departments came out to participate, including: Arcata Fire Department, Fortuna Fire Department, Humboldt Bay Fire Department, Rio Dell Fire Department, and Samoa Peninsula Fire District.

“They are carrying their 75-100 pound gear on their backs as they walk these steps,” said President of the Volunteer Firefighter Association, Rob Cannon. “Because that is what those 343 firefighters had to do that day.”

Several nearby students and faculty members joined the local firefighters on the walk up and down Founder’s Hall. The departments provided gear for the volunteers that wanted to experience the walk with the extra pounds on their back.

“I decided to participate out of respect to those that actually had to do this,” said volunteer Fortuna firefighter Morgan Tuel. “It was a lot more challenging than I was expecting.”

At the bottom of the stairs was a blue cooler full of cold water bottles for any participants who needed a quick thirst quencher. Anybody passing by was welcomed to join, and most that were curious about what was going on, did not fail to do so.

“It is a nation wide patriot day,” said Cliff. “It is very humbling to see others out here honoring our fellow brothers and sisters as well.”