AFD docuseries spotlights Austin’s connection to 9/11 attacks


AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’ll be 20 years on Saturday since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and the Austin Fire Department’s public information office has released a docuseries that highlights three aspects of the event and how it helped shape AFD.

The second of three parts titled “Moved to Serve” takes viewers inside the lives of two Austin firefighters, Ryan Sartain and Lt. Sean Coggin. Sartain was five years old when the attacks happened and Coggin was a senior in high school, but both share the common bond that the events inspired them to become firefighters.

Both saw how the first responders in New York ran into the buildings to help while others were fleeing, and every day, they honor the 343 firefighters that died in the line of duty responding to the tragic event.

Sartain said he doesn’t remember much about the day it happened, only that he was in kindergarten and “something terrible had happened.”

“I knew, without a doubt, as I got older, this is something I wanted to do,” Sartain said. After he graduated from high school, Sartain got his certifications at Austin Community College, and after working at two other fire departments, he got the job he wanted with AFD in 2018. Sartain is now a team leader in the cadet academy.

Coggin joined AFD 17 years ago, opting not to take the military or college route and was accepted to AFD on his first try. He works out of Station No. 3.

“You hear all the stories of the firefighters that were going up the stairs, knowing what was going on, while everyone was running out. I kind of latched on that,” Coggin said. “It was my way to fight back without harming innocent people.”

The first part of the series, “Finish the Climb,” explains how AFD’s stair climb in remembrance of the firefighters who died responding to the attack came to be. AFD started doing the climb the day after the attacks and has done it every year since.

The third part, “Ground Zero,” tells the story of two Austin firefighters dispatched to help with recovery efforts in the aftermath of the attacks.

All of the videos can also be seen on AFD’s YouTube page.

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