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Brockport monument is tribute to firefighters, memorial to 343 who died on Sept. 11

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Statuesque, New York – An occasional series

Photos by Tom Rivers

BROCKPORT – When the World Trade Center towers were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, 343 firefighters died after rushing to rescue people in the buildings.

The fallen buildings unleashed plumes of dust and sorrow. Brockport firefighter Scott Warthman, a former chief, watched the news footage that day. He saw a spirit of resiliency in New York. He was moved when a now famous photo was published in newspapers around the world an image of three New York City firefighters raising the American flag amidst the ruin.

Warthman wanted to honor the firefighters who died that day, and he wanted to recreate the scene in the famous photo by Thomas Franklin. Less than a year after the terrorist attacks, the “Ground Zero” memorial was dedicated in August 2002.

Originally, the 6-foot high statues of the three firefighters were made of white oak by Richard Kron of Brockport. He painted the sculptures to look like the men in the photo.

However, the harsh winter weather took a toll on the wooden sculptures. The Brockport Fire Department decided to make them bronze so they would last longer and hold up in the winter. Kron’s original pieces are inside the building next to the memorial, the only fire museum in the Rochester area.

The memorial is located on a triangular piece of land in a high profile spot in Brockport at 237 Main Street, next to Capen Hose Company No. 4. Inside Capen Hose is a museum that is open for Sept. 11 memorial services, and other times during the year. Visit capenhosefiremuseum.org for more information.

One of the bronze figures looks up at the American flag. Brockport officially dedicated the site as the Fire Fighters Memorial Monument.

The memorial includes a structural steel beam and terrazzo marble tile recovered from the World Trade Center Tower wreckage.

The two stone monuments, which eerily resemble the twin towers, were added to remember Brockport firefighters, including Warthman, who pushed for the initial monument.

He was killed in a car crash just before Christmas in 2003. His Brockport firefighter colleagues created a black granite monument stone for Warthman that was placed by firefighters’ monument. The “Scotty Memorial stone” was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2004.