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New York City 9/11 first responders reunite at new memorial in Tampa

Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 22:03:33-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A new 9/11 memorial has been unveiled in Tampa, thanks to two first responders who were there that day.

Chris Casella and Stephen Spelman were partners back in New York City.

Casella was a police officer and Spelman an EMT. They were first responders on September 11, 2001.

Casella was at his precinct that day, while Spelman was at the World Trade Center.

“The ground started shaking, we looked up and saw people jumping and the columns came down on top of us,” said Spelman.

By fate both men, now retired, ended up in Tampa and have partnered up once again to create a memorial inside the food court at Tampa Premium Outlets.

“If you notice the gumball machines are right across from it, just picture young kids coming up to this gumball machine, turning around and asking their parents ‘mom, dad, what is this about, what is this for,’” said Casella.

At the center of the memorial is a small piece of ladder from the station 18 fire truck.

“All the firefighters from that particular truck ladder took cover underneath the ladder and saved their lives,” said Spelman.

As part of their September 11 tradition, the duo will also be delivering thank you notes and breakfast to fire stations in the Tampa area Wednesday morning.

“For the community to come out and support them is important,” said Casella.