March 13, 2002

WTC Workers Find Remains of 13

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Filed at 3:10 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Recovery workers made a significant discovery in the last mountain of debris at the World Trade Center site, pulling the remains of 11 firefighters and two civilians from the wreckage, a fire department spokesman said.

The remains were extracted Tuesday as workers continued to find pockets of body parts during the last stage of the cleanup effort. They will undergo DNA testing to determine their identities, officials said.

The six-story heap where the remains were found extends from what used to be the south tower's lowest basement level to street level, said Pat Cleary, a fire department spokesman. Recovery crews said they believe they may find more remains in the same area because the south tower collapsed first, so people had less time to get out.

As of last week, the bodies of 148 firefighters had been pulled from the rubble and identified through DNA testing, out of 343 firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 attack. The cleanup of the trade center site is expected to be finished by June.

About 100 firefighters lined up and saluted Tuesday as some of the remains were carried out on stretchers covered with American flags.

On Sunday, ground zero workers had dug out a battered fire engine belonging to lower Manhattan's Engine Co. 55, which lost five firefighters when the towers collapsed. One of the firefighters has not been found.

``That was the rig the guys went there in,'' firefighter John Olivero said. ``That was their last ride.''

Olivero said finding the engine ``starts to bring closure to it. But we've still got one of our guys down there.''

Before the demolished engine was taken away, firefighters took off one of its doors and added it to a memorial near the front of Engine Co. 55's firehouse in Little Italy, not far from ground zero.

On Monday, hundreds of firefighters gathered for the funeral of Richard Allen, 31, who had only four months on the job at Ladder Co. 15, based in lower Manhattan's South Street Seaport area.

``He was very energetic,'' said fire Chief Butch Brandes, who knew Allen from when they were lifeguards together at a park in Queens. ``He called me up the Friday night before 9-11. He was complaining that it wasn't that busy. I told him all it takes is one.''

Firefighters came from as far away as Chicago and Maryland for Allen's funeral, standing eight deep in two-block-long lines in 35-degree weather to salute his coffin.