2013-03-28 / Front Page

Sayreville, So. Amboy to receive steel from World Trade Center

BY STELLA MORRISON
Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — Pieces of the twin towers will find new homes in Sayreville and South Amboy.

Fire companies in both towns are in the process of acquiring pieces of steel from the wreckage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and are planning to build memorials in their towns for those lost in the attacks.

“Our memorial will be to all those who lost their lives that day,” said John Dragotta, a fire chief in Old Bridge and firefighter in South Amboy and the Morgan Hose Company in Sayreville.

Dragotta and Owen Carlock met after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Dragotta volunteered with Carlock’s company, Ladder 122 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to help with the efforts after the towers collapsed.

“His company took us in like family. Sept. 11 changed the way we looked at each other; paid men [like in Brooklyn] and volunteers [like in Sayreville] got along better than ever before because we worked for a common goal.”

Carlock had survived both World Trade Center attacks and retired after Sept. 11, 2001, and even joined the fire company in Sayreville. He and Dragotta became fast friends and remained close until Carlock’s passing in May 2012 from a Sept. 11-related illness.

“He was my best friend and my daughter’s godfather,” Dragotta said.

The process to access a piece of steel had begun prior to that, when Carlock connected Dragotta to the appropriate people at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey last year to request a piece of steel.

Last month, an employee from the Port Authority called Dragotta to let him know that Sayreville’s request for a piece of steel, which is 56 inches high and weighs more than 3,000 pounds, was approved.

Sayreville is currently working on its final plans for the steel, which include a plaque or signage explaining where the steel is from.

“We haven’t really finalized our plans for the final design, but we’ve already told Owen’s fire company, and they’ll come,” Dragotta said.

Although no official date of completion or unveiling has been set, there will be a ceremony when it is installed.

“It’s been 12 years already, but we will never forget that day,” Dragotta said.

Phil English, a fireman with the South Amboy Fire Department and chair of the committee that is designing the monument, said that South Amboy will receive a 10-foot piece of steel. The steel, along with an interpretation of the New York City skyline, will be placed in a memorial near the South Amboy train station.

“There will be trains going by all the time, and a lot of people [who died] took the train every day,” English said.

South Amboy is currently waiting for approval from NJ Transit to place the memorial on its property.

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