Colorado structural engineer reflects on work helping rescuers after 9/11 – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-09-10 23:13:26 –

Denver — Mike Piper last set foot in New York City in 2011.

He was there to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and to honor the memories of those who died. This tragedy was personal to Piper, a structural engineer and one of the Colorado people deployed in New York in 2001 as a member of the Colorado Urban Search and Rescue Task Force One, which is part of FEMA.

I met Piper for the first time in New York City to commemorate the 10th anniversary. I was there as a reporter. Piper took the children and showed them where he was working.

Looking back, I met again in Colorado this time. As he approached 20, Piper’s eyes immediately wept as he asked what he felt and thought.NS Anniversary of the event that really shook us all.

“Well, I shouldn’t be emotional. There are things you never see and conversations you have. So what happens is that you may suddenly remember that. “Piper said.

Piper is not afraid to admit that he spent time talking to a mental health counselor after returning home.

“I just wanted to check in. How do I feel about things? She says I may be a little more sensitive than usual, it will be news to my wife , I guess. But did you get it on tape? “He said his eyes glittered.

After seeing what looks like a war zone, everyone will be emotional. His job as a structural engineer was to work with first responders and guide them through the safest path possible in the sea of ​​destruction.

“We saw a lot of broken buildings. I talked to a lot of firefighters. I couldn’t find anyone to rescue by the time I got there, so I’m really social rather than a rescuer. He commented that he was a worker and an architectural archaeologist. Rescue after the first day. Immediately, they wanted engineers to meet them and enter Tower One. So I’m two guys in Poodle. I went with him. “

This was an experience no one had ever experienced. They had never seen anything like that.

“It’s weird how to grab what you’re aware of in the chaos, and someone had a little stuffed animal in their office lying there. So the kids are involved No, thank you for the good, but someone had a small stuffed animal, “said Piper. So for me it was a mascot. “

He also remembers being in the elevator section of a building.

“I was on the 6th floor. I can see these 6 on the door, there is nothing behind the door. Only the door. And there I see the ropes suspended for miles, and the guide rails for miles are piled up. That’s what I’m aware of because I’ve done elevators and skyscrapers before, “said Piper.

First responders are heavy with images coming back at midnight, long after work is done.

“You deal with all of this outside of day and night working hours. Then it was a more difficult part as you start processing it. You are no longer a data recorder. You analyze “I’m doing it,” Piper said.

Piper says that such “processing” has stopped, but I wish I could do more.

What reaches him is an image of another tragedy. The image looks like a condo in Miami collapses.

“It was a bit hard. I know from Mullerville because I know what it looks like. I know from 9/11 because we experienced it. Mr. Piper said. “They will be very annoyed by what they are doing. It’s a big deal,” he said. It’s pretty difficult. For rescuers, that’s how we wire our heads. “

That experience changed him and his priorities forever.

“The guys get caught up in things. And I’m just that, why do I need to get excited about this? There are many others, but more important. After I come back, I remember for the first time someone blocked me in the traffic. It’s as if I was looking at what I saw, I wouldn’t be in such a hurry, and I still think so. ” Piper said.

He doesn’t talk much about his experience in the 9/11 tragedy anymore. Sometimes at home, but rarely in his daily work.

“We are training a new engineer. She is the same age as my youngest daughter born in 1990. She says so. When that happened, I was in elementary school. And that’s what you come across a lot, “said Piper.

And it worries him.

“Young people, that’s a problem, but it’s hard to assess how important they think it’s because they didn’t really live it like us,” Piper said. I did.

Piper is approaching the end of his time at Task Force One and he misses the men and women he worked so closely with. He is relieved to know that they made a difference. And he says he’s happy to go and do it again.

He wants people to never forget.

Colorado structural engineer reflects on work helping rescuers after 9/11 Source link Colorado structural engineer reflects on work helping rescuers after 9/11

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