First fire chief to respond to 9/11 attacks is last to retire

"I actually saw the first plane aim for the building, and I knew I was going to the largest fire of my life," Joseph Pfeifer said


By FireRescue1 Staff

NEW YORK — The last remaining fire chief who responded on 9/11 has retired.

FDNY Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Pfeifer, who was the first chief to rush into the Twin Towers after the attacks, spoke with CBS News anchor Jeff Glor about his experience that day.

"I actually saw the first plane aim for the building, and I knew I was going to the largest fire of my life," Pfeifer said.

 

Pfeifer lost his broher and colleague, Kevin, on 9/11, and said the last time he saw him was when he “gave him the orders to go up, evacuate the building and rescue those that couldn’t get out.”

"I knew it, after the collapse of both towers and I couldn't reach him on the radio, that the chances of survival was slim," Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer said he has dedicated his service to his brother since his death, as well as all of the other responders who gave their lives that day.

"When I think back on it, I think about turning traumatic memories into hope so that others may live, and to make a difference in people's lives,” he said.

When asked by the New York Times what he would do upon his retirement, Pfeifer said he planned to “do some sailing” and “decompress.”

 

Recommended for you

Join the discussion

Thanks! You've been successfully signed up for the Fire Chief Newsletter!

Copyright © 2018 FireRescue1.com. All rights reserved.