Photo credit: © Joe McNally
Accession Number: C.2013.644.4
Dimensions: 109 in X 44 in X 1/16 in
Dimensions (Metric): 276.86 cm X 111.76 cm X 2.54 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Joe McNally in honor of Tom Brokaw’s impactful journalistic career and for his insightful participation in the "One Nation" 2011 book. Courtesy, Ellen Price, Inc. © Joe McNally.
Michael Price and Peter Blaich, Firefighters, Engine 9, FDNY
Life-sized Polaroid photograph taken by Joe McNally depicting FDNY Engine 9 firefighters Michael Price and Peter Blaich. Both men are wearing their full bunker gear and lugging fire hoses on their shoulders.
On September 11th, Firefighter Peter Blaich was on rotation at Engine Company 9 on Canal Street. With just two years of experience on the job, Blaich nonetheless represented the fourth generation of firefighters in his family. That Tuesday morning, he was outside the firehouse when he noticed a low-flying plane overhead, traveling south. Minutes later, Engine 9 was on the scene at the World Trade Center to assist with the emerging rescue and response operations.
Blaich and his coworkers ascended the stairs inside the North Tower and began aiding the civilian evacuation. They reached as high as the 25th floor when they were ordered to evacuate following the collapse of the South Tower. Advised to detour the dangerous lobby level, they headed below-ground to locate the loading dock leading out to Vesey Street. Blaich emerged outside just as the North Tower began to fall. With debris pummeling him, he was knocked to the ground. He readied himself to “curl up and die” when he felt someone tugging at him, then dragging him under a parked truck. The pull was the effort of Engine 9 firefighter, Michael Price. The two men sheltered beneath the vehicle in darkness as the rubble roared over and past them.
In McNally’s double portrait, the sober-faced firefighters stand together, having come to his studio from a shift at Ground Zero. Their fateful bond is commemorated in the proximity of their abutting arms and bunker coats.