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Terra Alta resident recalls working after 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 9:17 PM EDT
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TERRA ALTA, W.Va (WDTV) - Preston County resident Tony Amato’s time in New York was committed to helping others.

Just days before the terrorist attack on September 11 2001...he was a volunteer firefighter.

“You know you can suppress the anger you can suppress the fear but you can’t suppress the feeling of losing 3,000 Americans that were just innocent,” said Amato.

Amato tells me he always turned on the news radio, but that day...he was uneasy.

“It was just the reporter speaking in very subdued tone and then I heard World Trade Center,” said Amato.

A few days passed before Amato’s fire station the Massapequa Fire Department, started getting called in to assist.

“And we just teamed up and searching for bodies...We never found an intact body just body parts,” said Amato.

Amato says there was a tradition in his fire department that you don’t clean your helmet as a badge of honor that you’ve done your work that day.

“This is the helmet I wore at ground zero and although I’ve never gotten it tested...I’m fairly certain that a lot of the dust that you see on the helmet does contain remains and out of reverence for those people I just can’t bring myself to clean it,” said Amato.

While serving as a firefighter...He’s earned several combat ribbons (they’re called combat ribbons?) but the one that means the most to him is black with a gold border for “World Trade Center.”

Now he visits local schools and talks about his experiences to kids keeping 9/11 alive.

“This is a story that has to be told.”

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