The mysterious blaze on Friday at the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania has resulted in a loss of several relics of 9/11.
The fire also wrecked the three administrative buildings of the Memorial that is dedicated to the 33 passengers and seven crew members who lost their life due to the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. The destroyed building included the headquarters and park superintendent’s office. A fourth building also caught fire but was saved from destruction.
“It’s just a pile of rubble, except the one building they saved,” said fire chief David Johnson describing the conditions of the buildings after the fire.
The flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on 9/11 was also among the destroyed artifacts from the Friday fire. National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst told that the losses included the personal items of crew members and passengers, DVD copies of the annual commemoration ceremony and meetings of the Flight 93 National Memorial Federal Advisory Commission, and about 100 handwritten notes and gifts left by visitors since 2001.
About 10 percent of the memorial’s archival collection was kept on site, and many objects were in fireproof safes, officials said.
No staff members have been reported of any injuries, and everyone was safely evacuated from the site. Though one of the memorial employees and member of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department, has reportedly faced some first-degree burns while he tried to extinguish the fire.
Families of the Flight 93 victims said they were heartbroken when they heard of the fire. Ken Nacke, who lost his brother Louis in the tragic incident, and who facilitated in the fund raiser for the Memorial and opined in its planning said, “It’s heartbreaking that we spent all this time to have this happen.”
“The more and more I think about it, the more it becomes heartbreaking.”
An under-construction memorial and visitor center remained untouched. The officials also mentioned their plans of a 93-foot (28-meter) tower with 40 wind chimes. Hundreds of oral histories and a photo collection were also among the saved items.
The cause of the fire that began at about 3 p.m. and spread so swiftly due to the gusty wind, hasn’t been clear yet.