The world came together on 11 September 2021 to remember all those that lost their lives in the 9/11 terror attacks – one of the worst firefighter disasters in history.

A total of 2,977 people died on 11 September 2001, 343 of whom were firefighters, in a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks.

Memorial events and services took place to mark the 20th anniversary, including a private one set up by the September 11 UK Families Support Group in London.

Dr Jill Tolfrey, Chief Executive of The Fire Fighters Charity, said on the day: “Twenty years after that devastating September day across America, we once again come together to remember all those who lost their lives, including the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Today is a day to pay tribute to their huge sacrifice, as well as the sacrifices made by firefighters here in the UK and across the world every day as they go above and beyond to help their communities, often in the most dangerous of circumstances.

West Ashland pays tribute

“Across the UK, several fire and rescue services will be paying their respects with fundraising events to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. On behalf of everyone at The Fire Fighters Charity, I thank them for their support, and extend my deepest condolences to all those remembering loved ones lost as a result of these events.”

Several fire and rescue services and individual stations paid tribute with their own events over the weekend, with money raised going towards the Charity and its support of all fire and rescue service personnel and their spouses, partners and dependants.

You can see a few of them below:

  • Car Washes across the UK: There were 14 Car Washes scheduled to take place, raising funds for the Charity. You can see where more are happening on our map here.
  • Avon Fire & Rescue Service: Firefighters in full kit and BA sets undertook a difficult challenge at Ashton Gate Stadium. Each of them climbed up the Lansdown Stand staircase 28 times in 102 minutes – the equivalent of 110 floors – which is approximately a climb every 4 and a half minutes. The extra weight of the kit combined with a BA set is approximately 25kg for each of them. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • West Ashland Fire Station: A team of firefighters ran 6km and climbed the stairs to the top of Xscape Milton Keynes and back down again in memory of all the firefighters that were killed in the attacks – including Stephen Gerard Siller. The first group of firefighters wore 35kg of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and firefighting equipment. There was also a second group of runners from the Emergency Services who chased down the first group wearing either their own gym wear or full firefighting kit. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Fordbridge Fire Station: A team of firefighters walked over 5 miles and climbed 110 floors of a local tower block in full fire kit and breathing apparatus in memory of Siller and all the other firefighters that bravely rushed to help those in the Twin Towers, before tragically losing their lives. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Clyst St George Fire Station: Over several weeks, on-call firefighters have been taking part in a 343/20 challenge which includes a 20 mile walk wearing breathing apparatus, climbing a ladder 20 times each, cycling 343 miles, passing a ball 343 times wearing fire kit, rolling hoses, climbing stairs and lots of other personal challenges. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Merseyside Fire and Rescue Training & Development Academy: Members of the current recruit course climbed the 138m Radio City Tower in full fire kit, aiming to average at least three climbs each of the tower – which is approximately the height of one of the World Trade Centres. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service: Firefighters from across Merseyside FRS joined the recruits too in climbing the Radio City Tower a total of 343 times, in remembrance of the 343 firefighters who tragically lost their lives trying to save others. They each wore fire kit and BA sets for the group effort. The tower consists of 93 flights of stairs and 46.5 floors. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service: To pay tribute to all those that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, firefighters from Stroud fire station climbed 110 flights of stairs in full kit. They used the StairMasters at The Fifth Dimension Gym in Stroud, with all money raised being donated to the Charity. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • RAF Mount Pleasant Fire and Rescue: A team undertook an endurance event in memory of the firefighters that died Wearing full PPE and BA kit, they completed 2,071 steps on the StairMaster in the local gym to, as closely as possible, replicate the 110 floors of the World Trade Centre Buildings. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.

There were also several individuals going above and beyond to mark the day, while raising money for the Charity. Here are two of them:

  • Thomas Else: West Yorkshire firefighter Thomas and his brother cycled 343 miles in memory of the 343 fallen firefighters. He said: “Contrary to popular beliefs me and my brother are NOT professional athletes, we are normal beer drinking, Northern blokes who have decided to test themselves and raise some much needed funds for a great cause.” To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Rachel O’Riordan’s son Ethan: Cleveland FRS employee Rachel supported her 15-year-old son, Ethan, as he set out to climb 2,071 stairs at his home, having always been inspired to become a firefighter himself. To donate to their fundraiser, click here.
  • Chris Smith: Firefighter Chris, from Tyne & Wear FRS, climbed 110 floors on a revolving staircase in his local gym to pay his respects to all those that lost their lives. To donate to his fundraiser, click here.
  • Simon Coxell: Simon, who works for Lincolnshire FRS, also took on 110 floors (2,071 steps) on the StairMaster at his local gym in Skegness. To donate to his fundraiser, click here.

The Fire Fighters Charity offers health and wellbeing support to the entire of the UK’s fire services community, working and retired, including spouses, partners and dependants. If you feel you’d benefit from our support, call our Support Line on 0800 389 8820 or make an enquiry online.

All photos were taken at the West Ashland Fire Station fundraiser. Credit: DBH Photography.