Oklahoma firefighters prepare for stair climb to honor 9/11 victims

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OKLAHOMA CITY – This year marks 15 years since 9/11, one of the most devastating days in American history.

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists invaded and attacked our country, killing thousands of innocent civilians.

For the past 5 years, our Oklahoma firefighters come together for a stair climb in honor of the victims, including 343 firefighters who died on that day.

“Those guys didn’t get a chance to climb all the way and get the chance to save everybody they wanted to save,” said Josh Reason, with the Yukon Fire Department.

Reason is part of the OKC 9/11 Stair Climb Committee that puts on this event year after year.

“As a citizen it’s still the most heartbreaking day in American history that I know of,” said Reason.

On Saturday, hundreds of firefighters will climb 110 flights of stairs at the Chase Bank building in downtown Oklahoma City.

Reason said even today, New York firefighters are still feeling the impact of 9/11, many dying from health side effects.

“Over 6,300 FDNY have contracted up to 60 different types of cancers from working in the cleanup of 9/11, all the stuff that was in the air, the contaminants,” said Reason.

Around 1,800, nearly 30% of those firefighters have passed away, he said.

The crews will be climbing in full gear, air pack and all – an extra 70 pounds of weight.

“You got the brother next to you, in front of you, behind you pushing you and cheering you on you just got stay positive, push through the pain and make it,” said Reason.

A heavy load that they said doesn’t even compare to the pain families are still living with today, who lost their loved ones.

“Think about all of the things I`m blessed with. An excellent fire department, brotherhood I`m a part of, wife, children that I get to see that day and enjoy that day with,” said Brandon Rudek, Oklahoma City Fire Dept.

The simple pleasures of life stripped from many 9/11 families.

The OKC 9/11 stair climb is Saturday at the Chase Bank building.

Our own Ashley Kringen and Emily Sutton will be climbing with our hometown heroes, gear and all, to get a glimpse of what they go through daily responding to scenes and to honor all 9/11 victims.