July 18, 2024
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July 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

RKYHS was fortunate to welcome New York City Fire Department Lieutenant Joe Torrillo for a 9/11 commemoration. Torrillo was a 25 year lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department. He spent the first 15 years of his career in Engine Company 10, across the street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center, before founding the Fire Zone, a fire safety learning center in New York City. Torrillo was about an eighth of a mile away from the World Trade Center when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the South Tower at 8:46 a.m. He made his way to the scene to render assistance.

While Torrillo was involved in the rescue operation, the South Tower fell at 9:59 a.m. He was buried alive with a fractured skull, broken ribs, a broken arm, crushed spine and heavy internal bleeding. Shortly after being found alive in the rubble, they removed Torrillo on a long spine board and placed him on the deck of a boat on the Hudson River, and he was eventually transported to a hospital in New Jersey.

Despite detailing his harrowing experience that infamous morning, Torrillo’s powerful message to the students covered much more of his illustrious and inspirational career and life. He imparted his message to students to honor the men and women of the Armed Services, keep patriotism alive, be responsible for your actions, challenge yourself and embrace the changes that come in life.

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