CTX firefighters to honor fallen 9/11 first responders in memorial stair climb

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:57-04

Eight Killeen firefighters are headed to Dallas to pay tribute to the hundreds of first responders who died on September 11, 2001 when New York's World Trade Center towers were attacked by terrorists.

343 firefighters, 70 law enforcement officers and nine medical technicians will be honored as participants climb a 55-story building twice. 

Those who died while trying to save people entered the Twin Towers before they collapsed...and they are the heroes who will never be forgotten.

"The person I'm climbing for this year is Stephen Siller," Jonathan Runde said.  

Killeen firefighter Jonathan Runde is climbing a total of 110 flights of stairs, the same number his brothers climbed on September 11th, 2001.
He's climbing the stairs to honor Sillers' memory.

Siller was a New York firefighter who voluntarily came back into work after hearing about the planes crashing into the two towers. 

 "He took his gear and his pack, and he ran two miles through the tunnels to get to the other side to get to the grounds of the Twin Towers... and ultimately, he gave his life," Runde added.  

This is Runde's fourth consecutive year to participate in the memorial stair climb, and this year, he specifically chose to honor Siller because... 

"I came across one photo of him with his helmet on, and his badge number is also the same as mine... and it so happens to turn out he passed on 9/11, and my first shift on duty was the day after 9/11," Runde said. 

Runde says he is going to continue to climb the 110 flights of stairs in Dallas every year, as long as his body will allow him to do so. 

"The newer generations, they're growing up without having actually experienced the catastrophe that happened on 9/11, so it's important that we remind them... and remind the newer generations and hold our promise to our brothers that we'll never forget," Runde added.

Runde, along with all other first responders who participate in the memorial stair climb, will be doing so in their uniform... and for firefighters like the eight from Killeen... their bunker gear and air pack will add anywhere from 50 to 75 pounds to their body weight. 

The day will start at with a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the north tower, and the climb will start immediately after.  

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