GROVEPORT -- A fire truck, crushed during the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, arrived in central Ohio Friday morning.
A semi-truck hauled FDNY Ladder 18 to Motts Military Museum in Groveport.
Dozens gathered to welcome the artifact, including Karen Russelo, who lost her son, U.S. Army Spc. Vincent James “V.J.” Pomante III, to an Improvised Explosive Device in 2006 in Iraq.
“There’s still many of our soldiers out there. I lost my son as a result, and we need to bring the rest of them home safe,” Russelo said.
It took Warren Motts 8 months, and significant donations, to get this big addition for his 9/11 collection at the museum, which includes police cars from Ground Zero, a piece of the World Trade Center, and an antenna.
“I really felt that this would be the capping glory of the whole thing because it encompasses the entire action that took place at Ground Zero,” Motts said.
During the ceremony, Congressman Steve Stivers spoke to the crowd, and told the story behind this special fire truck, named Fort Pitts. Stivers said the truck was at the base of the second tower when it collapsed. Fire crews hid under it to protect themselves from the falling debris. Stivers said none of the Engine Company 18’s crew were killed because they used the trucks as shields.
“We had firemen and policemen, not running away from danger, but running into, and this is an incredible symbol of the job they do everyday to protect our lives,” Rep. Stivers said.
Motts Military Museum in Groveport will become home to the second largest collection of artifacts from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the country.
“When we’re finished we will have the biggest collection of 9-11 artifacts outside of Ground Zero in New York,” Motts Military Museum Director Warren Motts said.
Trucks bringing the artifacts arrived at Motts Military Museum on March 29.
Motts contacted Washington, D.C., officials at the Pentagon, as well as those who are caring for the World Trade Center artifacts in New York City, and requested the items. He said the officials were open to Motts bringing artifacts to Motts Military Museum and gave him free rein to select what he wanted.
Among the items Motts will receive are: a piece of the damaged superstructure from the Pentagon; a 20-foot piece of the antenna from the North Tower of the World Trade Center; two damaged police vehicles; a large directional sign from the World Trade Center; marble slabs from the World Trade Center; flags and more.
He said the marble slabs could be used for flooring in a new building he hopes to build at Motts Military Museum to house the Sept. 11 items.
Motts Military Museum could also possibly receive a damaged 41-foot hook and fire ladder truck.
Additionally, Motts will obtain a piece of damaged concrete weighing more than a ton from the earlier terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993 when a truck bomb was detonated at the base of the North Tower.
“This chunk of concrete has a heart and a cross painted on it by recovery workers,” he said.