Remembering The Brave

Photo of Joseph Higgins for Patch by Amy Mortensen

Thinking of all the first responders I know on this Sept. 11 anniversary – those who have chosen a career to serve and save others. Thank you for your service.

Two years ago I was granted the prestigious opportunity to interview the FDNY Deputy Director of Dispatch Operations for all five boroughs of New York, Joseph Higgins. Higgins is now a Branford resident.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview published on Branford Patch, Sept. 11, 2011. (Read full article here (it has some errors due to Patch redesign issues))

Higgins was stationed at the Manhattan call center. He fielded 911 calls from those trapped inside the Towers:

At the center, Higgins recalled the experience as surreal. He remembers talking with Kevin Cosgrove who was on the 105th floor of tower two. They were on the phone he stated, nine minutes and 10 seconds. “The quality of the conversation was deteriorating rapidly because of the smoke inhalation,” he said. Cosgrove asked Higgins, he recalled, if the fire trucks were coming from Ohio? To Cosgrove, the rescue seemed as though it would never come.

Somewhere in the stairwells of tower two, firefighters were trying to get to Cosgrove but they did not make it. Higgins said, while on the phone with Cosgrove, he heard a rumble and then heard Cosgrove yell, “Oh my God.” Then, said Higgins, “the tower came down.”

Higgins attended 27 funerals post-Sept. 11 ­– sometimes three in one day he said.

Photo for Patch of glass from window of one tower by Amy Mortensen.


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