Firefighters 9/11 memorial vandalized in San Diego

Firefighters 9/11 memorial vandalized in San Diego

POSTED: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 3:04pm

A memorial in Pacific Beach to the first responders who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, was damaged in an apparent act of vandalism on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

The memorial sculpture stands in front of Fire Station 21 at 828 Hornblend Street in Pacific Beach. It is more than four feet tall and consists of two polished aluminum replicas of the World Trade Center twin towers inscribed with the names of the 430 police, firefighters and paramedics who died when the buildings collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. Between the towers is a 250-pound piece steel I-beam from the World Trade Center.

At about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, firefighters heard one of the towers crash onto the steel I-beam and then hit the other tower. One of them said it sounded like someone had thrown a manhole cover.

"More than likely, this was intentional. It occurred at about 12:30 last night," San Diego Fire Capt. Bill Degrenier told Fox 5. "The crews on duty heard the tower go down. They gave chase, but the people got away."

The firefighters saw a woman and two men standing near the damaged memorial, but they weren't able to see them well enough to provide a useful description.

"The firefighter who crafted this, Tim Swanson from this station, he's on vacation, and he doesn't know about it yet. He's going to be pretty crushed. He put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this, " Degrenier said.

The fallen tower was moved inside the fire house, where it will remain until the memorial can be repaired, he added.

"When Tim gets back, I'm sure it's going to get welded back into place and it will stand as a proud memorial to the people who died in New York that day," Degrenier said.

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