Brian Smith, an FDNY Battalion 31 Emergency Medical Specialist, was finishing a shift at his unit’s firehouse in Brooklyn on the morning of 9/11. As he left the station, he witnessed hijacked Flight 11 hit the North Tower. Smith deployed to the site, where he helped establish a triage center at a firehouse located on Liberty Street, one block south of the World Trade Center. While gathering supplies nearby, Smith heard the South Tower buckling. He raced back to the firehouse and was thrown in the air as the tower collapsed. Smith recovered and turned to help the injured. When the North Tower fell, he was forced to interrupt his rescue efforts and shelter in the firehouse.
Later in the day, after surviving both collapses, Smith was admitted to a Brooklyn hospital for multiple injuries. After being discharged from the hospital he returned home and placed all the dust-covered clothing he was wearing into plastic bags for storage. At the time, he sensed the importance of retaining this eye-witness material for the future. He later donated his clothing and boots to the 9/11 Museum.
Smith served at Ground Zero during the recovery period searching for the remains of victims, inculding his father, FDNY Hazmat Company 1 Firefighter Kevin Joseph Smith