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Firefighters climb in 9/11 memorial

Three hundred and forty three Sacramento area firefighters climbed 110 flights of stairs early Saturday morning in honor of the 343 firefighters who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

The second annual Sacramento 9/11 Memorial Climb was held at the 28-story Renaissance Tower on 8th and K. Fire departments representing cities including Sacramento, Davis, El Cerrito, Placerville and Vacaville participated.

Climbers made four ascents: three from the basement to the 26th floor, and a final ascent from the basement to the roof, bringing the total number of floors climbed to 110, the same number of floors in each of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Lloyd Ogden, operations deputy chief for the Sacramento Fire Department, gave opening remarks to the gathered climbers before the climb started.

An emotional Samuel Giamo, Jr., who joined the Fire Department of New York in 1979 and retired in 2002, took the podium next and shared some thoughts on his personal experiences with 9/11.

Firefighters then proceeded to start the climb, led by a firefighter carrying an American flag.

At minimum, all firefighters making the climb wore their department-issued turnout coats, the type of jacket typically worn by firefighters, and their helmets while climbing the stairs. Some elected to wear full gear, including turnout pants and boots, while others wore shorts and athletic shoes.

Each of the 343 climbers had a small, black banner with the name of one of the firefighters who died in the World Trade Center attacks pinned on the back of their coats, over their own name. This allowed each climber to symbolically carry each fallen firefighter 110 flights to the roof of the building.

As each climber reached the roof, each name banner was unpinned and hung inside two metal reproduction models of the World Trade Center towers. The names were saluted, and each firefighter then rang a red bell, which was embossed with each name of the FDNY firefighters.

Immediately following the climb, a tribute in the park event was held on Capitol Mall between Sixth and Seventh. The event gave families an opportunity to come together in a social environment and honor the families affected by the 9/11 tragedy by sharing the day with their loved ones. Those attending enjoyed food, drink, live music and children’s activities. All proceeds raised from the $5 entrance fee, food and beer sales, and donations went to the Sacramento Area Firefighters Widows and Orphans Fund.


Two-year-old Tyler, son of Vacaville firefighter Jeremy Sirois, joins his father during the climb preparation.


Firefighters prepare to climb 110 stories from the basement of Renaissance Tower.


Heading to the first flight of stairs.


A firefighter touches a piece of glass from the World Trade Center before starting his climb.


Climbing 110 stories in turnout gear.



Leading with the American flag, the first of 343 climbers makes it to the roof.


Hanging the name of a FDNY brother in the memorial.


Waiting to approach the memorial.


A firefighter pays his respects to his fire service brothers who died on 9/11.


Firefighters wait their turn to approach the memorial.


Each climber rang a bell which displayed the names of the 343 firefighters who died at the World Trade Center.


Bagpipes being played as climbers make it to the roof.


Honor Guard on Capitol Mall during Tribute in the Park.


The 9/11 Memorial on the roof of Renaissance Tower.

 Photos: Steven Chea

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