TODAY   |  September 11, 2013

Firefighters from FDNY’s ‘Ten House’ recall 9/11

TODAY’s Willie Geist is hosting “9/11 Firehouse,” a Discovery Channel special about the firefighters of “Ten House,” some of the first firefighters on the scene of the 9/11 terror attacks, who discuss the sacrifices they’ve made that day and since.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> look at the reflecting pool of the 9/11 memorial. on september 11th , 2001 . 3,000 people died. 343 firefighters were among them. six of those lost were part of tin house . the only fire station actually inside ground zero .

>> the brothers of tin house brought hope to thousands as they were among the first to go into the twin towers and some of the last to be pulled from the wreckage.

>> in the new discovery channel special we introduce you to the men of tin house as they share their stories in that attack on america.

>> on the morning of september 11th , the men are changing shifts. suddenly, above them, american airlines flight slams into the tower and igniting thousands of gallons of jet fuel .

>> this huge fire ball and debris comes reigning down.

>> on liberty street , tin house leads into action. what the men see there defies belief.

>> the gentlemen came out of the lobby. he was completely engulfed in flames. his skin was dripping like wax.

>> reporter: 9: 02:00 a.m ., new yorkers watch in disbelief as a second hijacked plane slams into the world trade center , this time hitting the south tower .

>> it's obvious that everybody is going to tie above that point of impact. so for the first time in your career, you don't even make an effort to try to save somebody.

>> reporter: at 9:58 a.m ., 56 minutes after it was struck by flight 175 , the south tower of the world trade center collapses.

>> i'm running and i could see the south bridge and i'm saying if i could run fast enough to make it underneath that bridge, maybe they'll find an identify my body.

>> reporter: next door, in the north tower , the tin house firefighters climbing the stairs have no idea the south tower has fall fallen.

>> you felt this unbelievable rumble and the north tower started shaking violently.

>> couldn't breathe, every time you rub your face the grit would make you bleed.

>> reporter: the collapse of the south tower tells everyone the north tower is a ticking time bomb . fire chiefs in the north tower order a may day .

>> liberty west and trapped in the rubble.

>> my ribs were broken. my arm was snapped. my back was crushed. my head was open. i was bleeding internally. i said please, just go. go, leave me. i'm not going to make it.

>> reporter: the personal strain on the men of tin house takes it's toll. 2:30 p.m . he asked for permission to find his wife jean. she had gone to work on the 81st floor of the north tower .

>> i came out. burning debris all around me. i was walking in grey falling snow. it was so silent.

>> reporter: he prayed she escaped and went to their home.

>> i remember knocking and banging on the door and i became overwhelmed and that's when i came down and i sat on the bench. i said to myself, she's dead.

>> reporter: after surviving the south tower collapse, jean potter wandered the streets until she was told to wait for dan at the china town firehouse.

>> i said do you have a beautiful red head in here? i saw her standing there.

>> we hugged. what a blessing we were given.

>> reporter: after 9/11, they began a new life. as the focus of america's grief and pride for the fallen heros of 9/11.

>> so they lost six firefighters that day on september 11th . all of these fire houses are such a tight knit group and you can still feel -- it eats him up. it eats him up. it's a really hard day for him.

>> they're so much a part of each community there. the communities feel it. obviously not as much but it really makes an impact.

>> well, we all of course remember this day, every year, it's every day for all of these families that they're dealing with this loss and their grief and the emotional pain that continues.

>> one of the great ironies is they call this the slow house, tin house , because nothing ever happened down there. they fought one fire in the years before that. and in september 11th , 2001 they got the big one. watch 9/11 firehouse tonight on the discovery channel .