When the day began on September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood 110 storeys tall. By the end of the day, both towers had collapsed, showering the streets of New York with debris and killing thousands.
Among those killed on the tragic day 17 years ago were over 300 firefighters and paramedics who rushed to the scene to help those trapped and injured by the planes that crashed into the towers. On September 11, 2018, firefighters around the world remembered their fallen colleagues in their own way. They donned full gear, found a stair-climber at their local gym, and climbed 110 floors in memory of those they lost.
Among those who took the challenge were three members of Estevan's fire department. Lincoln Empey, Justin Charron, and Brandon Frank went to Studio-C and ascended 110 floors in their full fire gear.
Charron, according to the other two, was the driving force behind the idea. He saw other departments remembering their fellow firefighters this way and convinced the others to join him.
"On September 11, 2001, we lost 343 firefighters and a number of other first responders," Charron said. "Day by day these numbers are increasing, whether it be by illness or suicide. It's always sad to see that number rising. So today we decided to take on the challenge of 110 floors to honour the fallen firefighters and all the other first responders."
The climb took Charron, Frank, and Empey just over a half an hour. According to Charron, the toll it exacted on their bodies was only part of the trial both they and those who entered the towers on 9/11 faced.
"The first few floors we thought we had it all together," he said, sweating and grinning following the ascent. "We did take a couple of 30 second breaks here and there. It's definitely not only hard on the body but on the mind and emotionally as well. We just had to keep pushing ourselves through. It was good to have some brothers there with me, we just keep pushing each other all the way through."
Although the climb was gruelling, those who entered the remains of the tower on September 11 faced far more than flights of stairs. With smoke in the air and fire all around them, many of those who risked their lives on that day still suffer from the mental after effects.
"I don't think we can ever really put ourselves through what happened that day," Charron said. "We can try to train ourselves, to be better and better every day. What they went through on that day, we can never mimic it. With all the adrenaline going through your body when you're going through a scene like that, it's mentally draining."
"It's not only physically draining," he added "it's mentally exhausting. But if you let it, the adrenaline can carry you through."