DELAWARE WATER GAP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It is the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
As America and the world observes and remember that fateful day, Eyewitness News we spoke with a man from the Poconos who helped in the recovery efforts in new york in the aftermath of those attacks.
Inside the headquarters of rescue international based in Delaware Water Gap. Eyewitness News talked to the man, the director of the organization about what he saw what he experienced during the 9-1-1 attacks aftermath, his search and recovery efforts in New York.
“We from our stand-point were trying to bring home the remains of people so families can get closure,” said Bruce Barton, director of Rescue International Inc.
Barton says that was the mission of hundreds of volunteers and their specially trained K-9’s from search, rescue, and recovery groups from around the country. The call went out from New York City and they responded.
Barton has been involved in search efforts for 50 years. He and Ebby, his border collie mix, worked to find anything that could help identify people killed in the terrorist attacks at the world trade center.
“I think it’s important to understand that about 40 percent of the people that died that day have not been identified by remains or DNA,” explained Barton.
Barton first arrived at ground zero on the morning of September 12th. But it was determined to be too dangerous to send in search teams. Barton and Ebby were asked to help search at a landfill on Staten Island where debris from the world trade center was being searched for victims.
“My standpoint is we were trying to do what we are trained to do every day for the lives and to bring people back. Our goal is to bring back something for identification for every person that we could get that source for,” stated Barton.
Barton and his team spent two weeks at the Staten Island landfill, there is a video of him taken by our sister station based in New York.
“The hardest part for many of us we only got to be there for two weeks to do that. We wish we could have probably been there for six months and continue to use the dogs at the landfill to try to bring up that count of how many people were found,” said Barton.
Barton showed items that he used in that search including two-way radios and cell phones and a stuffed animal that was found at the landfill that was likely for sale at a gift shop at the World Trade Center.
There are also hats sent to him from new york city police and fire departments in appreciation for his efforts. And letters were sent to his team from children around the world, thanking them for what they did in New York.
Barton says, 9/11 did change who is as a person, “Absolutely. How can it not? You think about what you saw, the very ending of the aftermath. We saw pulverized buildings twisted steel computers reduced to toaster-size. Remember back then computers were big chairs look for remains.”
You can learn more about Barton’s efforts Saturday when the doors will be open to the public from 9 and to noon.