Orange County Fire Rescue holds annual hero challenge honoring firefighters killed in 9/11 attacks

343 firefighters lost their lives in 2001 terror attacks

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Monday will mark 22 years since the 9/11 terror attacks that killed thousands of people.

Ahead of Sept. 11, hundreds came out to the Central Florida Fairgrounds Saturday morning to pay respects to the 343 firefighters who lost their lives fighting to save people trapped inside the burning Twin Towers.

“To remember, memorialize the 343 firefighters lost on 9/11 in 2001,” Lt. Dave Coughlin said.

It’s Orange County Fire Rescue’s 9th year putting on the 343 Hero Challenge, consisting of CrossFit exercises with firefighter training skills. Many firefighters and volunteers took part.

“One of the reasons I became a part of this is the tremendous impact it has not only on our firefighters but our veterans and community across the country,” Orange County firefighter Doss Bozeman said.

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For many, it was a family affair — for others, a reminder of why they became first responders. Just ask Coughlin, who’s been with Orange County Fire Rescue for more than 18 years.

“I was going to continue my career in hospitality and then 9/11 happened and I felt drawn to service, a career of service, and that’s what brought me here,” Coughlin said.

Proceeds from the hero challenge actually benefit charities in our area.

“We raise money for two charities, the Children’s Burn Foundation of Florida as well as the Florida chapter of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network,” Coughlin said.

Nam Le was an honor athlete at Saturday’s challenge after a crash in 2012 burned most of his body. He recently sat down with News 6 Anchor Julie Broughton to discuss his commitment to volunteering with the Children’s Burn Foundation.


Before the 343 Hero Challenge Saturday morning, there was a ceremony honoring fallen firefighters, including the ringing of the bells.

“The ringing of the bell signifies in the beginning it was the start of the shift and then the end of the shift, and the last three is when a firefighter passes on to notify that he has left service,” Bozeman said.

A day we sadly will never forget.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.