Last Man Down. The Fireman's Story - Richard Picciotto

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Last Man Down. The Fireman's Story - Richard Picciotto

On September 11th, leading seven companies of firefighters up the B stairway to Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre, Battalion Commander Richard 'Pitch'...

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Review of "Last Man Down. The Fireman's Story - Richard Picciotto"

published 01/10/2017 | CoffeeQueen68
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"One Firefighters story of how he survived 911"

A photo of Pitch.

A photo of Pitch.

When I am called to duty, God,
Wherever flames may rage;
Give me strength to save some life,
Whatever be its age.

This is the first verse in The Fireman's Prayer poem.

When 911 happened, I can clearly remember what I was doing that day, as I'm sure most of us can. I had just been shopping & walked in the front door. As I switched on the TV I put Channel 4 on to see the scheduled programme and thought to myself "Oh, they've put a film on." As you can imagine, it wasn't long before I realised that, alas, it wasn't a film but real life events. Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto was a Chief Fire Fighter in New York at the time and had not long got on duty when the 1st plane hit the Twin Towers. This books tells his account of how the day unfolded.
Book Information

Published: 2002
Author: Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto
Publisher: Orion
Genre: Biography
About The Book

Battalion Commander Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto had already been in the Fire Service for a number of years. On the morning or 11 September 2001, it was just like any other morning. It was early morning when he had arrived at his Fire Station in New York. It was shortly after him getting to work when things quickly took a turn for the worse. With the TV on, him and other fire fighters were gathered around watching the unfolding events. They just couldn't believe what was happening before their very eyes. It wasn't long before they were on the scene. This book explains his role on the day of going inside the north tower and his role of chief. It fell upon Pitch's shoulders to get the public to safety and also keep his men safe.

Pitch goes into great detail in how he and his crew made their way into the north tower and started checking each and every room for people. He explains how he witnessed people running down the stairwells for their lives and how he witnessed the collapse of the south tower. The book contains vivid accounts of his experiences inside the tower and the raw emotion he felt when he heard the thumps on the ground of people jumping to their certain deaths. I'm sure you all felt exactly the same as me on the day watching this on television and just feeling the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You just can't imagine what it must have been like to be there. But what is extraordinary is the fact that he was between the 6th and 7th floor or the north tower on the stairwell when it collapsed. Not only did he live to tell the tale, but surprisingly, there was hardly a mark on him. He writes about how he, and others, were trapped in here for about 4 hours before they were rescued from fellow fire fighters. He also mentions in the book how he and other fire fighters helped a civilian called Josaphine Harris. She was making her way down from 50 floors up and had grown so weak and tired. Her, along with a few other fire fighters, survived the collapse, and Pitch mentions her quite a lot in the book of how they helped her to get down the stairs and the subsequent collapse.

There are some parts of the book which I found myself skim reading a little. This was when he was talking about the tools they had with them whilst inside the tower and how they got used in the rescue mission. I found in some parts it was going into a little bit too much detail, but I can understand why he needed to mention this. He also mentions the need for the blow horn he had so the other fire fighters on the outside could hear him. This proved particularly useful when their radios were down.
My Thoughts

This is an interesting and intriguing book to read from someone who was involved in the rescue mission of 911. It was interesting to read the book from a different perspective and how not only the fire fighters, but all the emergency services, came together during and in the aftermath of 911. But, there's also the fact that both Richard and other people were trapped in the north tower after the collapse, and he goes into great detail about what happened in the hours he spent down there, and his subsequent rescue. Having spent about 4 hours in the rubble of the north tower, of course he will have thoughts of death and how his family will manage if this happens. The book was well written and gives the reader a clear insight into what the emergency services had to deal with on his horrible day.
Price and Availability

This book is available to purchase on Amazon. At the time of writing this review, it costs £4.34 for a hardback copy or £3.51 for a paperback copy.

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Comments on this review

  • RICHADA published 15/11/2017
    Sadly such awful events very often lead to engrossing stories afterwards. R.
  • euphie published 17/10/2017
    vh :o)
  • CelticSoulSister published 13/10/2017
    Well reviewed!
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Product Information : Last Man Down. The Fireman's Story - Richard Picciotto

Manufacturer's product description

On September 11th, leading seven companies of firefighters up the B stairway to Tower 1 of the World Trade Centre, Battalion Commander Richard 'Pitch' Picciotto was the highest ranking fire department commander in the twin towers when Tower 2 fell. Pitch and his men were on the 17th floor racing upward when the world seemed to explode around them. From his intimate knowledge of the Towers gained during service after the 1993 WTC bombing Pitch was able to lead the firefighters to an alternate stairwell to floor 12 where they were met with a horrifying sight -- more than 50 workers too crippled, too old, or too weak to have made their way out on their own. Pitch ordered his firefighters to form a human chain and pushed and cajoled them down the stairs. They were in the 7th floor stairwell when Tower 1 fell, accordioning into a mound of burning rubble. Pitch and a handful of survivors woke to find themselves buried on the landing of floor 2. This is the story of how they made it out, and how Pitch Picciotto, the highest-ranking firefighter survived the collapse of the twin towers and led his men and the survivors to safety. See all Product Description

Product Details

Author: Richard Picciotto

Title: Last Man Down. The Fireman's Story

Genre: Biography

Type: Non-Fiction

ISBN: 752852620

EAN: 9780752852621


Listed on Ciao since: 21/05/2003