Twenty years have passed since 9/11. The world watched in disbelief as news of hijacked planes spilled out of every TV, radio and newspaper across the globe. Time has moved on, but memories of that day have not.

To commemorate the anniversary of September 11, 2021, members of the Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. Fire Department at the Commerce City refinery participated in the annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb in downtown Denver, Colorado.  

In honor of the responding fire departments in the New York City area, the Denver firefighters climbed 112 stories – the same amount the first responders climbed while trying to rescue victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. 

commerce city firefighters in full gear standing for photo
Participating in the event were: Lieutenant Operations Shift Supervisor John Ness, Firefighter/Env. Operator Bill Piper, Firefighter/ Production Engineer, Ben Dugas, Firefighter/ Production Area Superintendent Chris Mack, and cheering on in support, Fire Chief Ron Sommers.

The refinery’s fire department participants were part of the exactly 343 Colorado firefighters that participated in this remembrance tradition. The number 343 is significant as it represents the number of New York City Fire Department (FDNY) members who lost their lives that day. 

Memorial Stair Climb participants ascended the building twice in full personal protective equipment (PPE), with air packs and tools just as the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) members did. Each climber received a photo of a FDNY member to climb with in their honor. 

commerce city firefighters preparing for the stair climb

“It was exceptionally tiring to complete, but it reminded us all of the extreme effort, courage and sacrifice that all the first responders displayed that horrible day,” says Fire Chief, Ron Sommers. “We were honored to be able to remember them and pay tribute.” 

Fire Department participants reflected on the importance of “caring for each other,” a key statement in Suncor’s purpose, ‘to provide trusted energy that enhances people’s lives, while caring for each other and the earth’ as they completed the stair climb.