Wilmington's Fire Chief reflects on the attacks of 9-11

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Most people remember where they were on September 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked New York and Washington, DC.

Buddy Martinette was not yet Wilmington's Fire Chief, but he saw the horror of the attacks up close as he spent the day searching for survivors inside the Pentagon.

"They really didn't even have the fire under control when I got to the Pentagon," said Martinette.  "Most people don't realize, but there was a significant fire in that building."

Martinette was a command officer for an urban search and rescue team in Virginia.  The images from inside the building are etched in his mind forever.

"Some of the victims didn't get out of their chairs," said Martinette. "I remember an Army officer in his uniform with a key card in his hand, sitting in his chair at his desk and didn't have a chance to leave."

Martinette's office inside the Wilmington Fire Department is filled with pictures taken during that week.  He lost 20 of his closet friends in New York on 9-11, firefighters who lost their lives inside the Twin Towers.

"This is always a very emotional day for me," said Martinette.  "I get a chance to reflect back on the great work that they did and the thousands they saved, but also the tremendous toll it took on our profession."

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