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Firefighters mark 9/11 in Sky Tower climb

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/09/2016

The US ambassador to New Zealand Mark Gilbert, dressed in firefighting gear, joined firefighters climbing the Sky Tower in Auckland.

The Memorial Firefighter Stair Climb honours every firefighter lost in the line of duty.

The names of all 343 firefighters from the New York Fire Department lost in the September 11 World Trade Centre attacks and all 57 names of New Zealand firefighters lost while serving were read out, followed by a prayer before the climb.

Each firefighter climbing the tower carries a tag with the name of a firefighter lost in the line of duty.

2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and New Zealand firefighters are the first in the world to hold a memorial event on the day.

"Back home in New York right now on September 11 it'll be a very solemn day in every fire house in the city, remembering the members who passed away and remembering their families," says Steven San Filippo, the New York firefighter chief, who is in Auckland for the event.

New York firefighters tuned in from the US to watch a live stream of the New Zealand event at their local firehouses.

Mr Gilbert paid tribute to fallen firefighters and "those who are still out there every day still serving our country".

"It's an honour to be able to do the stair climb with them".

Tony Scott of the Auckland Airport Rescue Fire Service started the memorial climb following the 2009 cool store fire in Tamahere, Hamilton, where several Kiwi firefighters lost their lives.

Some firefighters climbed the tower twice.

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