Hook & Ladder 1/Engine Company 7

New York, New York | C.1905

Photo Credit: Nicolas Butler

Hook & Ladder 1/Engine Company 7 is a historic firehouse in New York City. Located in Tribeca, the firehouse was pivotal in the rescue mission and film documentation of the World Trade Centers during the September 11th attacks in 2001.

Originally two separate companies, Hook & Ladder 1 and Engine Company 7 have maintained an unusually close relationship over the decades. Located near each other on Chamber Street since 1865, the two fire companies would telegraph each other to solve communication problems.

Founded in 1772, many of the volunteers of Hook & Ladder 1 fought in the American Revolution. Following the War, it was reorganized and named Mutual Hook & Ladder No. 1. The fire company’s foreman, John W. Towt, would go on to design the fireman’s helmet with the high crown and broad rear brim.

The two companies remained closely tied to both each other and pivotal moments in American history throughout the centuries. In 2001, French filmmaker Jules Naudet stationed himself at No. 100 Duane Street to shoot a documentary about the routine of a new firefighter. On the morning of September 11th, Naudet began filming Battalion Chief Joe Pfeifer as he responded to the report of a gas leak. The sound of an airplane could be heard in the background, and as Naudet tilted his camera up, he captured the plane colliding with the north tower of the World Trade Center.

The firehouse has since become known as the “Miracle House”. All of its 55 firefighters, including the 13 on duty that morning, escaped the Towers alive following Chief Pfeifer’s decisive orders to clear C staircase of the north tower after their mission. Today, Hook & Ladder Company 1/Engine Co. 7 still remains at its original firehouse.

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