First Fireman On Scene Of Flight 93 Crash Reflects On 9/11

8:38 PM, Sep 6, 2011   |    comments
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Shanksville, PA -- Even ten years later, the stories of 9/11 continue to unfold.

The stories of what happened on that day, at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93 are now legend in American History.

But the story many people have not heard is what it was like in a tiny town in the countryside of Pennsylvania when a passenger jet, destined for Washington, D.C., crashed.

News 2's Lauren Melvin, who is from Pennsylvania, recently went back to Shanksville, where she spoke with the first firefighter at the Flight 93 crash site, the Assistant Chief of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department.

Rick King was at his home in Shanksville when Flight 93 crashed less than a mile from his house.

"A huge fireball went up in the sky. My porch just rumbled, it shook. A big, mushroom cloud of black smoke. It was just awful," King said.

It was a Tuesday morning, and since Shanksville's fire department is made up of volunteers, their crew was small.

"I only had three other guys who got in the engine with me and I drove. And on the way there, everything was going through my head. I called back to the store and told my wife, get the kids out of school. I didn't know what was going on. We knew what was going on in New York and what was going on in Washington," King said.

King said he rememembers looking over at another firefighter who was headed to the crash site with him, and saying his mouth was so dry that he couldn't swallow.

"It was pretty crazy driving to the crash site with that in your mind and then trying to prepare and get ready for what we were about to come upon. I was trying to get my wits together as to how we were going to handle this," he said.

King said they made their way up a dirt road that lead right to the crash site. The road ended right where the plane hit.

"The crater was there. There was a landing gear tire that was on fire. The trees were smoldering. There were small brush fires and the smell of jet fuel. Just small pieces of debris scattered everywhere. Nothing really identifiable as far as a plane," he said.

King recalled standing at the crash site asking where was the plane? Where were the people?

"We did a search through the woods and didn't find anything or anybody, at first. That was the scary thing for me," King said.

"It's a day you'll never forget. A day I'll never forget," said King.


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