WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The stairs were wet and the sky was gray at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium on Friday morning but that did not keep three Wichita Fire Department members from climbing the stairs in an act of solidarity.
John Hattrup, Randy Barnes, and Brandon Barnes climbed the set of stairs 12 times top to bottom to remember the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and to pay homage to one of the most successful rescue operations in fire station history.
“Those guys ran in when everybody ran out. Not only did they pay the ultimate sacrifice, but 20,000 people were rescued,” Hattrup said.
In years past, crews have taken part in formal stair climbs at Wichita’s Epic Center and in cities like Tulsa, Dallas, and Kansas City. Coronavirus effectively canceled most gatherings, so the men took it upon themselves to “finish the climb” that 9/11 firefighters could not.
“You just get the feeling that this is the way to remember them and what they did and you just embrace a bit of the suffering they took on that day and pay homage to them,” Hattrup said.
More area firefighters are expected to join throughout the day.
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