Santa Paula Times

SPFD receives 9-11 artifact, steel beam from World Trade Center

June 10, 2011
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula is the only city in Ventura County that possesses a poignant artifact with much meaning to Americans.

And with the approach of the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, plans are underway to display a piece of steel salvaged from the destroyed World Trade Center.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza told the City Council at the June 6 meeting it was fitting that the artifact was being presented on another day of closely held American remembrance: D-Day, the 1944 landing on Normandy, France that changed the course of World War II at the cost of many lives.

Firefighter Andy Van Sciver, said Araiza, “was instrumental in finding the contacts to get this artifact, an actual piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Our department was lucky enough to get a piece,” which will be on display as an “integral part of the 10th anniversary” of the tragedy that will be observed September 11 at the Ventura County Government Center. Santa Monica is the closest city that also received an artifact.

Araiza said 9-11-2001 was “the most destructive act of terrorism on U.S. soil” that killed almost 3,000 civilians and “first responders,” including 343 NYFD firefighters and 60 NYPD police and Port Authority officers. Terrorists’ hijacked jets that were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; a fourth jet crashed in Pennsylvania when the passengers stormed the cabin and overcame the terrorists.

The artifact was acquired from the New York/New Jersey Port Authority. The opportunity “arose two years ago, September 8, 2009, when we saw if we made a request” for an artifact that the Port Authority felt met the intent and use of such a relic - paying homage to 9-11 - the request would be considered.

Araiza added the department sent a letter on September 11, 2009, “went through a long litany” of paperwork including detailing how the artifact would be displayed for the general public, an important qualification caveat. Requests from throughout the nation and around the world poured in, but Santa Paula was awarded an artifact.

Finally, “We received” artifact G-0002g, identified as being part of a steel beam box, and Araiza said the artifact - which weighs about 75 pounds, is 19 inches high and 1.5 inch thick - will be exhibited temporarily at the Santa Paula California Oil Museum. “We’re looking for a permanent spot for it, we have various ideas” that Araiza said includes outside Station 81 highly visible from the heavily traveled 10th Street. The artifact, he added, will be encased with a plaque.

Araiza said Van Sciver “with his connections” was very helpful in getting the artifact to Santa Paula, which was responsible for its transport.

“Good work, thanks for doing that; it’s great for us,” said Councilman Ralph Fernandez, and he thanked Van Sciver “for the heads up” in seeing the opportunity to acquire the artifact and responding to same.

Mayor Fred Robinson thanked Araiza and noted, “Andy, your innovation and initiative” in “finding ways to help the city of Santa Paula never fails to amaze me... thank you very much.”