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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 11:24 pm | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

For Santa Barbara Couple, 9/11 Still a Somber Reminder

Bob and Margie Niehaus, who were in the World Trade Center when it was attacked, join the community in marking the eighth anniversary

When Santa Barbara residents Bob and Margie Niehaus ended up in Manhattan eight years ago for a business trip, they had no idea how much their lives would change.

Bob was in the middle of a business meeting on the first floor of the World Trade Center, at the Marriott Hotel, when the first plane was flown into the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001. Margie was on the second floor in the hotel’s restaurant, and the two were separated as confusion set in and people rushed to evacuate.

“Neither one knew where the other one was,” he said, wiping away tears Friday during a remembrance of the terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in the coordinated hijackings of four jetliners. The pair were separated for five hours until they found each other on Staten Island.

The Niehauses were able to make their way out of the building swiftly, but Bob said they were still in danger on the street.

“We were in some danger because things were blowing off the building and people were being blown out of the buildings,” he said. “It was a horrific time.”

Bob lauded the efforts of police officers and firefighters that day, and said it was “remarkable” that more people didn’t perish, considering the dense population in Lower Manhattan.

Local firefighters pay tribute Friday to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Local firefighters pay tribute Friday to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

The pair returned to Santa Barbara and wanted to do something for local firefighters, and Friday’s tribute, held at Santa Barbara County Fire Department headquarters, was all part of that.

A group of public safety workers, officials and residents gathered with the Niehauses to mark the 9/11 anniversary.

“We will never forget the 343 firefighters who gave their lives to save others,” county Fire Capt. David Sadecki told those gathered at the event.

Fire Chief Mike Dyer also spoke, honoring those who put their lives on the line to put the safety of the community first.

In honoring those who put their lives on the line for the safety of the community, Fire Chief Mike Dyer said Friday that 9/11 serves as a reminder that such a career can be very, very dangerous.
In honoring those who put their lives on the line for the safety of the community, Fire Chief Mike Dyer said Friday that 9/11 serves as a reminder that such a career “can be very, very dangerous.” (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

“This event of eight years ago and the recent tragic death of firefighters at the Station Fire in Los Angeles County remind us that a career in public safety can be very, very dangerous,” he said.

Los Angeles County fire Capt. Tedmund Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnaldo Quinones were killed Aug. 30 when their vehicle plunged into a canyon while they were fighting the fire. Dyer said he will attend the memorial service Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

County Supervisors Salud Carbajal and Janet Wolf attended Friday’s remembrance.

Sheriff Bill Brown called 9/11 “the darkest day in the history of American firefighting and American law enforcement.”

“We’ll never forget the sacrifice and heroism of people who ran into buildings while others were running out to ensure that everyone had a chance to survive that horrific event,” he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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