Ladder 118 could watch the smoke rising from the Trade Center from their “Fire Under the Bridge” firehouse in Brooklyn. For the 14 minutes between when their housemates in Engine 226 had been called and the second plane strike, Ladder 118 prepared. Within seconds, they were mobilized.
An amateur photographer, Aaron McLamb, was on the roof of the Jehovah’s Witness building on the edge of the river and he shot this photo looking southwards toward the Brooklyn Bridge. That’s Ladder 118 racing across with Lt. Robert Regan, Firefighters Joseph Agnello, Vernon Cherry, Scott Davidson, Leon Smith, and Peter Vega inside.
Ladder 118 is a tiller ladder that needs someone steering from the back too. 650 people safely evacuated from the 20 stories of the Marriott Hotel that morning and the six men of Ladder 118 were helping to make that happen.
A firefighter from Ladder 131 survived the first collapse in the lobby of the Marriott. After the dust cleared a bit, when they were seeking a safe way out, they found a roll down gate and managed to raise it, letting several trapped hotel employees out. They reported seeing “Ladder 118 on the stairs.” Bobby Graff, an elevator mechanic at the Marriott clearly remembers them “because they were so tall” and they had a big red 118 on their helmets.