11 Days of Heroes to September 11th, 2023: Mike Fabiano & Port Authority Employees

Image from the New York Post

On September 11th, World Trade Center fire warden and Port Authority employee Mike Fabiano thought of John Abruzzo, a colleague who was a quadriplegic. On September 11th, Abruzzo arrived at work with his new powered wheelchair to give him the most mobility.

Fabiano and coworkers transferred Abruzzo from his power wheelchair to a portable EVAC+Chair and began the descent from the 69th floor. The EVAC+Chair had sled-like components to make it easier to move, and Fabiano and his colleagues took turns handling it in the stairwell. When they were 59 floors down, they encountered firefighters who encouraged them to leave Abruzzo with them and continue their own evacuation, but they refused.

Reaching the lobby, they carried Abruzzo in the portable chair over broken glass and debris and lifted him through a broken window and onto the sidewalk. The building collapsed soon after their escape, debris chasing them along West Street. Firefighters delivered Abruzzo to the hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

Image from the Daily Mail