JAMESTOWN – The City of Jamestown’s fire chief is recounting his experience responding to New York City following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center 20-years ago.
Fire Chief Matthew Coon just started his professional firefighting career years prior to September 11, 2001.
A week following the attack, the then young firefighter Matthew Coon and his lieutenant Sam Salami, responded along with dozens of other firefighters and EMTs from across Chautauqua County.
“We took Busti’s ambulance and Ashville’s ambulance down to the Twin Towers site,” said Coon.
While there, Coon did not specifically assist with recovery efforts, but rather, provide emergency medical services to lower Manhattan for FDNY.
“There wasn’t a great deal of the general public walking around in the area, the power was off down there, there was a lot of activity part of the ongoing recovery efforts,” explained Coon. “We did treat one iron worker while he was working on the site itself, he was injured by some steel in the area.”
From his time at Ground Zero, Coon has two mementoes that mean a great deal to him. First, a hat from the USS Comfort, the Naval Ship docked on the west side where he stayed, and next a stuffed animal which has a lot of sentimental value.
“This is something that they handed to us, this came from the families and survivors and rescuers of the Murrah Building (bombing) in 1985,” said Coon. “They said, we understand what you are going through, we just wanted you to have some token of appreciation that we could send to you that would express our empathy.”
The now fire Chief will never forget the events of that day, and the months that followed, saying 9/11 was a pivotal point for first responders.
“No fire service agency, or any public safety agency for that matter, had ever faced such an incident of that magnetite, something that large, where do you possibly begin,” furthered Coon.
Coon goes on to say that immediately following 9/11, the country came together, rallying as Americans. He hopes that when Chautauqua County residents reflect on the 20th Anniversary this weekend, they will return to that mindset.