It was supposed to be a short stop in town but it quickly turned into an overnight stay and an unforgettable experience for several firefighters and first responders in Mercer county. A New York fire truck that was used in 9/11, rolled into Princeton Thursday night and served as a solemn remembrance for all who came in contact with it.
The Rescue 4 Fire Truck was just one of roughly 100 that were dispatched during 9/11. The truck responded to the twin towers with 8 firemen who would not make it out alive. Their names now appear on the side of the truck in remembrance.
“The Rescue 4 Firetruck was parked two blocks from the south tower and was damaged from the debris of the south tower,” Cordell Tjaden said. Tjaden is a volunteer with the Remembrance Project. Its a non-profit created by firefighters to preserve and share former fire trucks used in 9/11 as an educational tool. Tim Carey and his partner Cordell ended up stopping in Princeton Thursday while en route to North Carolina. The stop was for simply gas and food but ultimately turned into a once in a lifetime experience for those who saw it.
“Next thing you knew after we got done with our quick bite to eat we came out and the parking lot was full of fire trucks and firemen and ambulances and everybody came to look at the truck,” Carey said.
Before they knew what was happening, it was too late to get back on the road. So they decided to spend the night fellowshipping with local firefighters and first responders in Princeton. The truck was housed at East river volunteer fire department.
Nelson Short is the fire chief at east river. He said having the opportunity witness the fire truck first-hand was a blessing and an experience he won’t forget.
“you get kind of an eerie feeling about it I mean just knowing those guys were on this truck and they are not with us today and you’re just honored to be able to honor them,” Short said.