W.T.C. firefighters get ready for return


By Elizabeth O’Brien

The firehouse across the street from the former World Trade Center site may welcome its firefighters back by the end of this month, a member of Engine Company 10 said on Monday.

Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, members of the Liberty St. firehouse known as the ten-ten house have been staying with nearby fire units. Engine Company 10 is working out of a firehouse on Duane St., while Ladder Company 10 has found a temporary home on South St.

Ten-ten members had hoped to return on the symbolic date of Oct. 10, but Engine 10 firefighter Scott Gaboff said that the homecoming would likely happen later in the month.

“I’m looking forward to going back,” Gaboff said. While his Duane St. hosts have treated him well, Gaboff said, “You get tired of being a guest after two years.”

Even so, some members have mixed feelings about their upcoming return. Between them, Engine 10 and Ladder 10 lost five members in the terror attack. Living so close to the former trade center site might bring unwelcome reminders of the horror of that day, firefighters said on Monday.

Also, one firefighter over a firehouse-made roast-beef sandwich said he worried about the practical and emotional disruptions expected from the thousands of tourists who stream by the site each week. He said that the Duane St. firehouse had received many unannounced visitors who cried as they talked to firefighters about the events of Sept. 11. Firefighters wanted to welcome each guest, but this kind of hospitality took its toll, he said.

The firehouse serves Battery Park City and used to serve the World Trade Center.

When they do return, members of Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10 will be greeted by a firehouse refurbished with a grant of $1.45 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While the roof, windows, and electrical system were badly damaged in the trade center collapse, the foundation stood firm. It was used as a medical center during the W.T.C. cleanup. A construction supervisor said that the house will be ready to open by next week.

In the renovated kitchen, firefighters will make their trademark elaborate meals in a fire engine-red stove with gold piping.

Judy Duffy, assistant district manager of Community Board 1, said that the fire department was working with the Department of Transportation to coordinate how fire trucks would exit and enter the firehouse at 124 Liberty St. amid the large-scale construction underway in the area.


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