The City's Elite

The City's Elite

 The City’s Elite

As some firefighters from around the city are rescued, 11 from Staten Island's Rescue Co. 5 are still missing. They are the city's elite rescue personnel, and they were among the first on the scene in 1993 when a bomb ripped a hole in the bottom of the World Trade
Center. On Tuesday, they found themselves at the base of the Trade Center again, after two jetliners smashed into the Twin Towers. They are the men of Rescue Co. 5 of the New York Fire Department.

Their ash-covered truck returned to its headquarters on Clove Road in Concord yesterday morning, dented and loaded with debris. The doors opened, but none of the 11 men who left with it the day before emerged. The men - almost half of the company's 25 members are listed today as "missing" or "unaccounted for" by the Fire Department. Now members of the company and relatives of the missing men are struggling with the thought that many of them may never return to quarters, even as they cling to hope as long as rescue efforts continue in Manhattan.

"He was my whole life. He was everything that anybody wanted for a son,"
said Charlie Margiotta, father of missing firefighter and Westerleigh
resident Chuck Margiotta.

Fire officials said the Rescue Co. 5 rig left for the explosions at the Trade Center at around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, carrying six rescue workers. As it pulled out of headquarters, five more jumped on the truck to lend a hand. The location of the company stationhouse, only a few hundred feet from the Staten Island Expressway, gives it the most accessible path to Lower Manhattan of any Island company. Commuter lanes and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel allowed the company to reach Manhattan in a matter of minutes, quicker than rescue companies from Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan that fought rush-hour congestion.

En route to Brooklyn, Margiotta, 44, called his mother from the screaming rig to tell her he loves her. That was the last his family heard from the husband and father of two, who became eligible for retirement last week. "He's not on the dead list. Where is he, under the rubble?" asked his father. "All I know is, this is torture. It gives you that hope though that maybe, just maybe, they'll pull him out and by some miracle they'll find him alive."

It is believed that most of the men were near the base of Tower 2, assisting
in the evacuation, when the burning building collapsed.

 Staten Island Advance