NEW YORK -- The first firefighters to respond to the World Trade Center attack reopened their firehouse across the street and, in what one fire official called a sign of defiance, retained an old firehouse logo showing the twin towers burning.
Engine 10-Ladder 10, located at 124 Liberty St., was reopened Wednesday after a $3.5 million renovation that put better air conditioning, better plumbing, and a bigger kitchen in the 136-year-old fire station.
Some had mixed feelings about returning.
"It would have been nice to have been on the west side," said firefighter Anthony Konczynski, glancing across the street at where the twin towers stood, "so we wouldn't have to look at it."
But more than half the 40 firefighters at the station, known as "Ten House," are no longer assigned there. Many transferred or were promoted, said firefighter John Morabito. Five were killed at the trade center on Sept 11, 2001.
Morabito said he's glad to return.
"I think it's important for people to see what happened over here," he said. "This is my home. No terrorist is going to chase me away from where I live."
The station still retains a logo from 1984, when the two companies began sharing space at Liberty Street. The artist depicted a brawny firefighter with a foot on top of each tower, above the slogan, "First Due at the Big One." The towers in the picture are burning.
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the decision to keep the logo is "a sign of defiance."
"You don't give in to terrorist activity," he said.
The names of the five company firefighters killed at the trade center were painted on a fire engine. And a sixth was added, that of James Corrigan, a retired Engine 10 captain who was working as a fire safety director in the trade center on Sept. 11, 2001, and was killed.
When the twin towers collapsed, tons of debris fell on Ten House, blowing out windows and doors, flooding the building with 3 feet of debris, and destroying the ventilation system.
The two lower Manhattan fire companies were sharing space with other firehouses while theirs was being renovated. The companies are responsible for the trade center, City Hall, the Statue of Liberty, and Wall Street firms.
"We've been here since every one of these skyscrapers came up," said Captain Thomas Meara of Engine 10. "We're glad to once again be protecting life on Liberty Street."