Richard Picciotto to speak in Humboldt (Iowa) on Feb. 18

     A few tickets are still available to hear nationally known firefighter and author Richard Picciotto, the highest ranking New York firefighter to survive the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

     The public will have the chance to hear Picciotto speak on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. at the Humboldt High School gym. A total of 1,172 tickets have been sold and 228 tickets remain. Tickets are $15 each. Tickets are now available by emailing

     Proceeds from the sale of the tickets will help the Humboldt Fire Department replace its aging air cascade system, which is used to fill firefighter air packs. Estimated cost to replace the system is $35,000. A total of $26,700 has been raised thus far.

          “The people of the Humboldt area are very supportive of the Humboldt Fire Department. Whenever we have a need, they respond. We’re excited to give everyone a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear and meet Rich Picciotto,” Humboldt Fire Chief Jim Gronbach said.

     Chief Richard Picciotto delivers a gripping, firsthand account of the day that altered history, underscoring the significance of courage, preparation and effective leadership when confronted with enormous adversity.

     The FDNY battalion commander was in lower Manhattan when it was the target of terrorist attacks on 9/11, Richard and his fellow firefighters selflessly rushed inside the World Trade Center towers to rescue those trapped inside. The highest ranking firefighter to survive that day, he humbly reflects on his efforts and offers an insider’s knowledge of how courage and training helped save numerous lives. He also chronicles this experience in his best-selling book, “Last Man Down.”

     Picciotto retired from the fire department in 2003, but stayed involved in the fire service by serving as a fire commissioner for his small rural town. He does about 20 talks a year across the country.

     “I really enjoy stopping into the local fire stations when I’m out speaking. We are a big brotherhood. After 911, there was tremendous support for firefighters across the country,” Picciotto said. “It’s important for the general public to support your first responders all of the time.”

     When he speaks Picciotto said he tries to convey a message about priorities in life and how to get through a tragedy.

     “We have a lot of tragedies in this country. The first responders, the firefighters are the ones that go in and help these people who are in dire need,” Picciotto said.

     The effects of September 11, 2001, continue to this day as a number of firefighters who responded have suffered. Picciotto said he has diminished lung capacity, has had a hip replaced after being banged around when the World Trade Center collapsed and has problems with a rotator cuff.

     “When he gives his talk, everyone is on the edge of their seat. His story is amazing. We’re very happy Rich agreed to come to Humboldt for this,” Brian Gargano, regional director with one of the sponsors, EFM, and retired Humboldt firefighter said.

Blaze Publications, Inc.

Jeff Gargano - Editor
P.O. Box 122
Humboldt, IA 50548
Phone: (515) 604-6400
Fax: (515) 332-1505

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