We recently had the 17th anniversary of the September 11th Attacks that resulted in the loss of  2,763 lives.

It’s a day everyone remembers. People can recall exactly what they were doing in the moments that the news unraveled like wildfire across the United States and the rest of the world.

There are thousands of stories that arose from the aftermath.  United bystanders who walked into the ashes with one mission: to save as many lives as possible. Firefighters, police officers, and many others who served their country with the honorable bravery to help civilians. Employees within the building who fought through fire to aid someone when hearing a desperate cry for help. There are those haunted by the goodbye phone calls and messages from loved ones within the building.

All of those first-responders are heroes and deserve recognition.

We would like to share Jan Demczur’s story, the window cleaner who helped five others safely leave the building with none other than his squeegee…

Demczur and five other people were on an elevator when the car came to a sudden halt and started descending downward fast. Miraculously, someone was able to press and successfully stop the elevator, but when smoke started seeping within, they knew that they now had to solve an even bigger problem. After all of them were able to open the steel door, Demczur started using a pocket knife to hack at the sheetrock that stood between them and their escape. But, when the pocketknife fell down the shaft, their hopes of escaping were destroyed until someone discovered the squeegee in Demczur’s bucket.

The seemingly arbitrary device was what helped them escape after hacking at the sheetrock for 45 minutes. It took them 90 minutes from the time that the elevator halted to safely leave the building. All 6 of the people trapped survived.

Now, the squeegee is held as a glorified artifact at the Smithsonian Museum, along with the ABM uniform Demczur graciously donated.

We would also like to honor the memories of two other window cleaners, Roko Camaj and Fabian Soto, who passed away the day of the attacks. 

 

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