William Fischer was a NYPD Emergency Services Unit officer on September 11th. He was involved in the rescue of Port Authority Police Officer Sgt. John McLoughlin, the last man pulled alive from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Fischer comes from a family of cops that goes back more than 100 years. He says approaching Ground Zero on September 11th was literally like going from day into night.
Editor's Note: This segment was originally published Sept. 11, 2011.
This interview is part of an oral history project that began in an unlikely place: the office of Long Island medical doctor Benjamin Luft.
Shortly after 9/11, Dr. Luft helped start a clinic at Stony Brook University Medical Center to treat the chronic illnesses suffered by the responders who rushed to ground zero to help.
As he treated cops, firefighters, construction workers and others, Luft heard their personal stories of what happened during the attacks and the months of recovery work at the World Trade Center site.
As Scott Pelley reported on the 60 Minutes broadcast, Dr. Luft listened to their stories in his examining room for years when he realized that his patients were the authors of one of the most dramatic chapters of American history.
With his own money, a few donations, and a small, mostly volunteer staff, Dr. Luft started recording interviews with 9/11 responders from all walks of life. Those interviews have been turned into a documentary and also a book, called "We're Not Leaving! 9/11 Responders Tell Their Stories of Courage, Sacrifice and Renewal." You can find out more about this project at www.911respondersremember.org.
To see more excerpts from Dr. Luft's remarkable interviews, click on the faces above or go back to the start by clicking.