Lt. Antonio Bencosme, 44, was one of many Montgomery County firefighters who went to subdue the fires burning through the Pentagon.
The Silver Spring-based firefighter was called to service early on Sept. 12, 2001. His unit was called to the scene because of a new low-profile truck it had purchased that could be driven through the tunnels to reach the inner circle of the Pentagon.
When Bencosme arrived, he could see where American Airlines Flight 77 had crashed, and he was stunned. He worked 15 hours alongside other local firefighters to control the flames.
It was a difficult assignment, but it serves as a reminder of why he became a firefighter.
Bencosme started his career about 20 years ago after leaving the U.S. Army. He had a choice to become either a police officer or a firefighter, and the latter won out.
He said he still finds pleasure in making a difference in people’s lives, and he believes that what he does every day is a constant reminder that life is precious.
A version of this story was originally published on Silver Spring Patch on Sept. 11, 2011.
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