Today was a great day In Remembrance at Anderson Hospital.
We climbed 2,770 flights, equaling 25.2 World Trade Centers in honor of police and firefighters lost.
Emergency Preparedness and EMS Director, Eric Brandmeyer, took the time to reflect on his climb and for whom he climbed writing:
Today I had the opportunity to memorialize Paul Beyer FDNY.
Date of Death 9-11-2001
When the first of two planes slammed into the World Trade Center at 8:48 a.m. on Sept. 11, Firefighter Paul M. Beyer was returning from an EMS call to a downtown Manhattan housing project.
The 37-year-old lifelong Tottenville resident, like the rest of his Engine Co. 6 crew, was due to finish his shift when the firefighters heard a loud explosion. As they neared One Police Plaza en route to their Beekman Street firehouse, a police officer pointed to the World Trade Center, where billows of smoke were beginning to pour out of the upper floors. Heading to the scene, they picked up William Johnston, who was just starting his shift.
Although Mr. Beyer was suffering from excruciating back pain caused by the construction of a new two-family home for his family and mother-in-law that he was working on, he didn’t want to take the day off or let anyone know he was hurt.
Concerned for her husband’s health, his wife, Arlene, called the evening before the attack to see how he was feeling. Instead of complaining, Mr. Beyer focused the conversation on the new house and his wife’s apprehension about starting a new job.
“Don’t worry, everything’s going to be OK. We don’t need all this stress,” she remembered him reassuringly saying during their last phone call.
It was with that same attitude that Mr. Beyer approached the rapidly escalating disaster at the World Trade Center. No matter how bad a situation was, Mr. Beyer was known for trying to keep everyone calm, whether it be with a humorous story or a soothing word.
“He was a great fireman,” said his friend, Firefighter Billy Green of Engine Co. 6. “I knew him for eight years and never saw him angry. He was always able to see the good.”
A firefighter from another company later told Mrs. Beyer that he was frightened until he looked at the calm determination in her husband’s face. “He had that ‘nothing bothers me, let’s just do it’ look,” she was told.
“I saw him on the 9/11 tape [the CBS documentary shot by two French filmmakers, brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet] and I know that look,” said Mrs. Beyer. “I’m sure they knew how serious the situation was, but he had a responsibility as a fireman.”
As Mr. Beyer and three other crew members carried a hose up the stairwell, the building began to shake. Mr. Green last saw his friend on the 31st floor of Tower 1. Their engine, stationed on West and Vesey streets, was equipped with a specially-built pump powerful enough to push water to the top of the 110-story towers.
Although crushed in the collapse of Tower 1, that engine will become part of a permanent memorial display in the New York State Museum in Albany this fall. Mr. Green and engine operator Jack Butler, who was manning the Trade Center standpipe, were the only members of the crew to survive.
“Ever since I knew him, he was talking about being a fireman,” said Mrs. Beyer who grew up in the same Tottenville community as her husband. “He used to say you could be a fireman slash anything.”
In addition to working as a firefighter with Engine Co. 6 for the last eight years, Mr. Beyer also did side work as a welder and paver. From 1989 to 1993, he worked as a machinist with the city Parks Department in Queens. Prior to that, he worked as an apprentice machinist for the former Martin Schall Machine Co., Elm Park.
“He didn’t sit still much. He was always working on something,” said Mrs. Beyer. “He was a Mr. Fix-it.”
Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Eric Brandmeyer, EMTP, RN, BSN
Director, EMS & Emergency Preparedness