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DUNWOODY: 27-story climb will be a 9/11 tribute | News

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DUNWOODY: 27-story climb will be a 9/11 tribute

DUNWOODY, Ga. -- When DeKalb firefighter Patrick Lindstrom transferred to Station 21 in Dunwoody, the tall buildings nearby both intrigued and perplexed him. So he invited himself into a stairwell at the Manhattan Condominium building, and began climbing.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

"When I came up here, I looked across the street and thought:  If we get something up there on the 25th floor, can I make that climb?" Lindstrom said.  "So that's why I started doing this."

The stairwell is an emergency exit, a place mostly avoided by those who work or dwell in tall buildings. But as an emergency responder, Lindstrom was drawn to the stairwell -- at first for the personal challenge.

"About floor eight, ten, you're gonna go:  Oh my goodness. I've still got 18 floors to go," Lindstrom said.

But then, he began viewing his stairwell through a more stark frame of reference. He considered his oblique surroundings as if filled with smoke, with people escaping in the opposite direction. Instead of 27 floors, he pictured 110 stories. And he saw haunting images from the World Trade Center, ten years ago, where more than 300 firefighters lost their lives.

"Every time I do this -- every time -- I think of them," Lindstrom said after climbing the 27-story stairwell with a reporter.  "Those people had no other place to go. There was no elevators. They had to go to the stairwell."

Saturday, Patrick Lindstrom is inviting the public to join him in the stairwell of this building. Together they'll climb 27 floors in tribute.  Lindstrom's group is charging $25, which benefits the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation.

Most of us experienced 9/11 from a distance. Lindstrom is offering a personal commemorative though his frame of reference. It ends with a rooftop view, but begins in a stairwell, the escape route where so many lives were spared and taken a decade ago.

The climb begins Saturday at 8 a.m., at 4561 Olde Perimeter Way in Dunwoody.  You may register (or simply donate) by clicking here.