Janet Roy prepares to recreate brother’s final run up World Trade Center

Eric Yutzy Local 10 News South Florida

To see a video about Janet Roy and her brother, Captain William F. “Billy” Burke, FDNY, please click here.

There are moments when Janet Roy is just too tired to climb another step. It’s in those times when the Pompano Beach woman stops and says, “If he can do it, I can do it.”

He is her brother, Captain Billy Burke of the New York City Fire Department’s Engine 21.

Capt. Billy Burke climbed the steps of the World Trade Center's North Tower on September 11, 2001, never to return alive.

Captain Billy Burke climbed the steps of the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September 11, 2001, never to return alive.

On September 11, 2001, Burke and his company were in the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Roy cherishes the video she was given by two French brothers who produced a 9/11 documentary. It shows her brother in the lobby, securing his helmet, getting ready. Moments later, he would trek up the stairs, stopping on the 27th floor. That’s where Burke met two men who were trapped. One of the men was paralyzed.

“Billy was looking for some sort of evacuation plan to get him down,” Roy said. “(He) told the men from Engine 24 to leave. He told the men from Engine 21 to leave, telling them, ‘Keep going. I’ll meet you at the rig.'”

Burke chose not to leave those trapped men behind. He was still in the North Tower with them when it collapsed.

“All of Billy’s men got out,” Roy said. “Engine 21 got out. He was the only one (from that company) killed that day.”

That day never leaves her mind, but it is Sunday for which she’s been preparing.

Roy has been training on the stadium steps at Central Broward Park in Lauderhill for the Tunnel to Towers charity climb. This Sunday, she will be among the very first from the public to walk all the way up the stairs at the brand new One World Trade Center. More than 1,000 people will climb nearly 2,000 steps up 90 stories.

Roy’s event is the very first charity event in the new building. The climb is organized in honor of her brother.

Roy said she’ll find peace recreating those first responders running up the World Trade Center stairs, right next to where her brother did the very same thing.

“I think there are going to be points, the 27th floor being one of them, where my brother was, that will probably bring up some sad emotions,” Roy said. “He’s smiling, and I think a lot of those firemen and police officers are smiling. They’re going to be pushing us up a little bit — a little push as we go up those stairs.”

Roy is partnering with the Stephen Siller Foundation. All the money raised will go to build smart homes for catastrophically injured war veterans.

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