MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Eight paramedics, 60 police officers and 343 firefighters. Those are the numbers of first responders who lost their lives that tragic day the World Trade Center collapsed.
"9/11. Firefighters. We look at it from a very narrow focus, but it had a big impact on everybody," said Batallion Chief A Shift Drew Peters of the Midland Fire Department.
First responders across the country walk a 9/11 memorial stair climb. 1,980 steps, the same amount of steps it took firefighters to walk up the World Trade Center to save lives. And for the first time, the Midland Fire Department brought that memorial stair climb to Midland.
"We really felt because it was the 15th year anniversary of 9/11, we wanted to of course never forget, and memorialize those 343 firefighters that died in the Twin Towers," said Peters.
"All of us getting into the fire department and getting into the fire department and to have been here already for years to realize regardless if they were hurting, they made it up there trying to save those people and help each other," said recruit firefighter Salvador Rizo.
The teams loaded up with bunkers and air packs, which is typically the norm for stair climbs across the country.
"You got a little bit of weight on. It's a little harder than climbing stairs than what I'm wearing right now," said Peters wearing a light T-shirt.
About 45 participants from the Midland Fire Department and recruit firefighters from Midland College geared up at 8 a.m. and ready to go.
"We're the local support team," said firefighter wife Alicia Frith. "Something so small as Midland can be such a part of something so big as what happened to our country in 9/11."
Groups started walking starting from the lobby, heading all the way up to the 22nd floor, head back down and repeat four more times to equal 110 stories.
"You start getting tired about the third lap," said Peters. "The fifth is by far the hardest. From experience, it really does. It pretty much wipes you out."
Although this is the first year the Midland Fire Department has done the stair climb here in the Permian Basin, they said they will continue to do the 9/11 stair climb and hope other departments including the public will join.