WTC steel arrives at the Flanders firehouse

07/19/2011 12:30 PM |

The Flanders Fire District brought to its firehouse two pieces of steel from the wreckage of the World Trade Center Tuesday morning.

The steel will be incorporated into a new Sept. 11 memorial that the district and fire department plan to construct at the Flanders Memorial Park on Route 24, according to Brian Williams, the chairman of the Flanders fire commissioners.

Fire officials hope to have the new memorial in place by this Sept. 11, which is the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. They picked up the steel from a hangar at JFK International Airport using a truck donated by Riverhead Building Supply and with an escort by Southampton Town Police and the Patriot Guard, which had about 12 motorcycle riders leading a process down the LIE and Flanders Road into the firehouse.

Three members of the Hampton Bays American Legion post also rode with the Patriot Guard.

“I went to Ground Zero, so for me to be picking it up was pretty emotional,” Mr. Williams said. He was a Flanders fire chief at the time and was one of five members of the department who provided lighting support for one night at Ground Zero, he said.

“As a Vietnam Vet, I want to pay back my country for what they’ve done for me and my family,” said Bones McGowan of Middle Island, who was one of the Patriot Guard riders Tuesday. “I have a lot of respect for men and women who’ve lost their lives serving their country.”

The district first got word that the steel was available in February and were notified in June it would get two pieces, Mr. Williams said.

The rest was just paperwork, he said. To get the steel, which belonged to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an order from a federal judge is needed, since it is officially considered part of a crime scene, he said.

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