Tags: 911 | firefighters | Dan Daly

9/11 Fire Chief: A 'Litany of Bad News' That Wouldn't Stop

By    |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 01:51 PM


Thirteen years ago today Dan Daly was a fire chief for the New York City Fire department when the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists on what he describes as "a crystal clear day."

"I fly small airplanes so I remember going out and looking up and saying, 'wow, what a great day to take a flight,'" Daly told J.D. Hayworth and Morgan Thompson on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Thursday.

"And then a friend called and said, 'Dan, did you see what happened?'" he said. "And I said, 'no, what happened?' He said, 'turn on the TV'. I said, 'what channel?' He said,' it doesn't matter.'"

Daly said that as soon as he saw that planes had hit the World Trade Center, he "instantly knew it was going to be a very, very bad day for New York and a bad day for the United States."

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The former NYC fire chief infamously commandeered a mail truck to get down to ground zero.

"When we finally got down to ground zero, the sun was totally blocked out from the sky," he said, describing the scene. "Everything was covered with a thick white dust and it had this surrealistic air to it like after a snowfall, that little kind of cushion to the sound.

"People were running around covered with blood," he added.

"I remember one of the chiefs I knew well walks out of this smoke and this haze and he walks up to me and he looks at me and he says, 'Father Myke is dead.' Without any further words he just kept walking," Daly said.

Father Mychael Judge was the New York Fire Department chaplain, who went to the twin towers after learning that the first tower was struck, and died when the South Tower collapsed.

"That was Father Mychal Judge, our very popular and very spiritual man," Daly explained.

After learning of Judge's death, the former NYC fire chief said that "someone else came up and said, Steve Belson is gone.

"Steve Belson was my oldest and closest friend," he explained.

"That litany of bad news wouldn’t' stop that day nor for many days to come," he added.

"I lost about a dozen really close friends and about 50 people that I knew," he said.

Daly said that "part of our duty at ground zero obviously was finding the remains of people," something he described as "a very emotionally wrenching job."

He said that the most "terrifying" moment that he will "never forget" is when "we found what appeared to be a woman's hand coming out of the dirt, and we weren't sure what that was attached to and we had to secure that hand."

"I had to actually sever that hand with a shovel so that at least we would have something to bring back to the morgue, so that the family would have something," he explained.

The former NYC fire chief said that it was something they had to do because "we were afraid in the movement of the steel it would get lost."

However, "just having to do that, for any human being having to do that kind of work with a shovel and what goes on in your mind, obviously I'll never forget that," he said.

Daly now speaks to organizations and groups all over the world about his experience on Sept. 11, 2001, and what he learned from it.

"At the end of the day, the true legacy of ground zero wasn't what heinous people could destroy, it's look what we can build by coming together," he told Newsmax.

"All the priests and rabbis that came down to ground zero, the doctors, the college students that all helped — it really became a very special place to work," he said.

"That to me is the message — that we made a difference with ground zero in a very, very tragic situation," he added.

"Let's truly never forget and keep in mind those who lost their lives so that we'll be empowered to find our voice and make a difference in our world."


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Dan Daly, a fire chief for the New York City Fire department when the World Trade Center was attacked 13 years ago, tells "America's Forum" what that day was really like.
911, firefighters, Dan Daly
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2014-51-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 01:51 PM
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