Belton, Texas – On Wednesday, September 11, Joe Torrillo, a fireman who was very nearly killed during the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, led chapel services at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Torrillo survived being buried twice that day beneath the rubble of each of the Twin Towers.
Torrillo served for 15 years in Engine Company #10, which was located across the street from the South Tower of the World Trade Center, but that was not where he was supposed to serve on that fateful morning. Instead, Torrillo had been working for more than half a decade in the New York City Fire Department’s office of fire safety education. He had spent years developing education programs to help children know how to avoid and survive fires and, on the morning of September 11, 2001, he was scheduled to hold a press conference unveiling a new FDNY-themed action figure. On his way to the event, however, he learned that a plane had flown into the North Tower.
Torrillo was just a block away from the tower, so he called on the press event and proceeded to his old firehouse, where he donned borrowed gear and headed to the scene. Within minutes of his arrival, the second jet passed over his head and collided with the South Tower. Joe’s education in engineering led him to a devastating realization.