(CBS) — The first fire chief to enter one of the Twin Towers on 9/11 is now the last fire chief who responded that day to retire.
Joseph Pfeifer spoke to “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor about what he remembers from that fateful day.
“I actually saw the first plane aim for the building, and I knew I was going to the largest fire of my life,” Pfeifer said.
Pfeifer lost his only brother, Kevin, a fellow firefighter on that day.
“He got there kind of early on in the situation and as he came in, he didn’t say anything,” Pfeifer said. “We looked at each other and we were concerned that we would both be OK. And then I gave him the orders to go up, evacuate the building, and rescue those that couldn’t get out. ”
When his brother left on that mission, it was the last time he saw him.
“I knew it, after the collapse of both towers and I couldn’t reach him on the radio, that the chances of survival was slim,” Pfeifer said.
Since then, his service has been dedicated to his brother’s memory, and the memory of all the other other first responders who were lost that day.
“When I think back on it, I think about turning traumatic memories into hope so that others may live, and to make a difference in people’s lives.”