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Members of search and rescue team recall grim task after 9/11

More than 300 volunteers and K-9s searched through rubble from the towers that were trucked into the Freshkill Landfill in Staten Island.

DELAWARE WATER GAP, Pa. — For days following the horrific terror attacks on 9/11, rescue workers from all over the country were scattered across New York, helping in whatever way they could. and that included a search and rescue team from the Poconos.

Now 20 years later, the photos are etched into the memory of Bruce Barton of Delaware Water Gap, bringing him back to those moments every time he sees them.

"You remember everything, you know, the good, the bad," said Barton.

Barton is the chief of PA- Search and Rescue Recovery K-9 team and director of Rescue International. Following the days after the terror attacks in New York City, he was contacted by the FBI and NYPD to put together a search and rescue task force.

"We were trying to recover people's loved ones to bring something back that they could identify, and DNA and that was our goal," Barton said.

For two weeks, Bruce's team, over 300 volunteers, and K-9s searched through rubble from the towers that were trucked into the Freshkill Landfill in Staten Island.

About 60 dogs were on the search and recovery rescue mission.

"The bad parts were having to leave because we knew the dogs could do better than what the conveyor belts system was, and as a result of that, how many people were buried there or their remains were buried there at the Freshkill Landfill," Barton said. "So that bothered me a lot."

This display sits inside the Search and Rescue Recovery Team's building in Delaware Water Gap as a reminder to never forget.

"We say we'll never forget, but people have a tendency to forget sometimes, you know, so it's important that we do have the anniversaries and that we do have the memorials around the country," Barton said.

In total, those who worked the Freshkill Landfill operation were able to locate more than 500 pieces.

If you are interested in viewing the display at the Search and Rescue Recovery Team's office, the address is:

131 Oak Street,
Delaware Water Gap.

You can view it from 9 a.m. to noon.

Click here for more Newswatch 16 coverage remembering 20 years since September 11, 2001.

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