Accession Number: C.2006.12.1
Dimensions: 16 in X 16 in
Dimensions (Metric): 40.64 cm X 40.64 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Mickey Kross
Black leather fire helmet with white leather front piece with identifier "16 Lieutenant" and personalized with various stickers, buttons, and a small portable flashlight. The helmet is worn and shows significant soot coverage, particularly on the visor.
Lieutenant Mickey Kross and his fellow firefighters from FDNY Engine Company 16 arrived at the World Trade Center as hijacked Flight 175 hit the South Tower. Directed to report to a command post on the 23rd floor of the North Tower, Kross headed up the stairs. While on the 23rd floor, he felt the building shake; the South Tower had just collapsed. Hearing the FDNY evacuation order, Kross began to descend stairwell B. He had reached the third floor when he heard a roar and felt a fierce wind. Kross crouched in a corner of the stairwell, curled his body tightly, and, as he described it, tried to crawl into his fire helmet for protection. The building was collapsing, killing almost all above and below this floor.
A few hours later, Kross emerged relatively unscathed into a landscape of twisted steel and rubble. Kross credits his survival to fate and his leather helmet. Thirteen others sheltered in the same stairwell section also survived: FDNY Battalion 11 Battalion Chief Richard Picciotto; FDNY Ladder Company 6 Captain Jay Jonas and Firefighters Bill Butler, Sal D’Agostino, Tommy Falco, Matt Komorowski, and Michael Meldrum; FDNY Engine Company 39 Lieutenant James McGlynn and Firefighters Robert Bacon, Jeff Coniglio, and James Efthimiades; PAPD Lieutenant David Lim; and Port Authority bookkeeper Josephine Harris.