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Lawton Firefighters Honor NYFD 343 By Completing Stair Climb
Updated On: Sep 10, 2014

Article by KSWO.

Sept 04 2014

LAWTON, Okla._More than 30 area firefighters will join others from across the state on Saturday to honor the firefighters who did not make it out the World Trade Center on September 11th.

The third annual OKC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb will have Texoma firefighters in full gear, climbing 110 flights of stairs to represent the height of the World Trade Center. There will be 343 firefighters in all, in recognition of the precise number of firefighters who never came back.

Brandon Foss is one of 11 Lawton firefighters who will participate Saturday. It's Foss' second time to complete the climb.

"It's something to honor those guys and never let anyone forget what they did that day," said Foss.

Foss was still in college on 9/11. He described seeing the horrific scenes as a nightmare, but changing his goal of being a fireman never crossed his mind.

"As a firefighter, this is what we live and breathe for, to help people. And that only pushed it further. You make that motto of do what you can to help people, and that is what we do," said Foss.

He trains for the event 4 times a week, doing a brutal work out routine at the fire station. But he also throws in a few other workouts like climbing Mt. Scott with others participating in the climb.

"We will walk up it. We'll do a lot of treadmill work to get ready for the climb; a lot of putting in the time and effort to be able to go the 110 floors," said Foss.

Even with how active Foss is, the 110 flights of stairs can be exhausting, but he and every other firefighter participating is assigned a specific firefighter who didn't make it out that day and that is what helps keep them going.

"The whole time you're walking you think, what was he thinking that day? Ya know going up, no visibility, helping everybody he could on the way up, and making the roof…that's what we are doing. When we are done we put their name on their truck and ring the bell for them," said Foss.

Valley View firefighter and SkyWARN 7 meteorologist Matt DiPirro will also be doing the climb. He was in the World Trade Center just months before terrorists took it down.

“It made it very real because you never know if it was you in that building that day. It just makes it more real because you were in the place were other people were when it did get hit," said DiPirro.

DiPirro will be doing the climb in honor of Gary Box from Brooklyn. He researched Box and found his memorial Facebook page. He says that makes this experience even more real.

"There are pictures of him not just as a firefighter, but also he liked to ride motorcycles I guess. He looked to be maybe an Italian guy kind of like myself. It was pretty special to see those pictures," said DiPirro.

"They were unable to finish that day and we are finishing the run for them,” said Foss.

The climb will start at 8:46 a.m. Saturday, the time the New York Fire Department was dispatched. First National Center is only 33 floors, so participants will have to go up and down nearly three and a half times.

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