Photo credit: © Joe McNally
Accession Number: C.2021.24.1
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: Collection 9/11 Memorial Museum. © Joe McNally.
Louie Cacchioli, Firefighter, Engine 47, FDNY
Life-sized Polaroid photograph taken by Joe McNally depicting FDNY Engine 47 firefighter, Louie Cacchioli. Cacchioli is wearing his full bunker gear with his helmet tucked under his arm. His gear is covered in dust.
Louie Cacchioli was a 20-year veteran with the FDNY on September 11. He had just arrived for his shift at Engine 47 in Harlem when he heard on the news about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. He witnessed Flight 175 crash into the South Tower while watching television. Shortly after, Engine 47 was dispatched to lower Manhattan. When Engine 47 arrived at the World Trade Center they mistakenly went into the North Tower as opposed to the South Tower, where they were originally dispatched. Cacchioli was in an elevator on the 23rd floor when the South Tower collapsed, triggering a brief power outage which caused the elevator he was in to become stuck. He and another firefighter extricated themselves and began evacuating via the stairwells. Cacchioli made it outside shortly before the North Tower collapsed. He was caught in the dust cloud but survived.
Cacchioli eluded death on 9/11 and later went home to a tearful reunion with his wife and children in Queens and returned to Ground Zero day after day to assist with the recovery. For years he struggled with guilt, anger, and debilitating bouts of post-traumatic stress, including thoughts of suicide. Eventually, these lingering issues were eased by therapy, which he came to strongly endorse. Many years later, Cacchioli authored an autobiography about his career titled Soldier of a War That Never Ends: A Memoir of a 9/11 Firefighter.