Omaha Firefighters Share New York's Pain

OMAHA, Neb. -- Omaha firefighters say they were touched deeply by the sacrifices made by their colleagues in New York City.

Local firefighters told KETV NewsWatch 7 that the heroes of Sept. 11 are never far from their hearts.

"First, realizing how many firefighters we had lost, how many civilians that died. I think that was the most vivid," Omaha firefighter Mike McDonnell said.

"Probably the initial films on TV. What strikes me the most in the whole thing, as a fireman, you know what the color of smoke means. And initially, what got me was the smoke was black. Burning hydrocarbons. But just before tower two collapsed, you could tell that the firemen were getting water on in because the smoke was starting to turn white. So myself, I knew that the firemen were trying to attack the fire plus at the same time, trying to get everybody out," Capt. Jim Clines said.

"It tugs at your heartstrings a little bit. You know it could be you or some of your co-workers," Capt. Joe Kurtz said.

Local firefighters also said they've seen public perception about them change since the Sept. 11 attacks. Although Omahans are always appreciative, firefighters said they are hearing "thank you" a lot more often now.

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