Meridian’s fire chief recalls 9/11

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 12:15 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The attacks on our nation 20 years ago killed more than 400 first responders. This week, we are hearing from some local first responders on what they say they remember most about 9/11 and how it’s changed their lives.

Jason Collier has been with the Meridian Fire Department since 1996. He wasn’t working at the station on 9-11 but had just gotten off from an overnight part time security job.

“I knew the loss of live was going to be great,” said Collier, Meridian’s newly named Fire Chief. “I was hoping they would find more that survived in stairwells that we know as a firefighter that we know in a hotel or downtown building that stairwells are areas of refuge.”

As the horrific scenes of that September day unfolded, Collier said he really started to get a big of an understanding of the scope and magnitude of the attacks.

“I’ve never been a firefighter during a war time. Especially that our homeland is being attacked directly. All this is much more possible now. Infrastructure, power grids and water. The stuff I was worried about. Having fires and not having water and not having resources and that kind of thing,”

If there’s any positives that come out of 9-11, Collier says that fire departments and first responders everywhere are much better equipment now than 20 years ago.

“And the money just flowed out of Washington after that. FEMA set up all those grants for fire departments all over the nation.”

Collier also added that training is more readily available at all levels. R

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