The call went out over the radio at Engine 24/Ladder 5 late Sunday night: "We got him."
The SoHo firehouse that lost 11 members on 9/11 was one of many rejoicing citywide after word that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden, nearly 10 years after he orchestrated the attacks that claimed more than 2,900 lives.
The FDNY lost 343 of its own that day.
"The entire FDNY shares this equally," said Lt. Ray O'Hanlon. "As a matter of fact, I think all of America shares this equally."
"I don't want to say it was celebratory, but it was kind of like winning a Super Bowl," he said.
After the announcement went out, firefighters gathered in front of the firehouse, near a memorial for the men who died. It was a "moment to get together and express relief" that the man responsible was finally dead.
A bouquet of white roses laid on the ground outside the firehouse on Monday.
Marvin Bethea, a paramedic who responded to the attacks, said when he learned the news he "sat there and cried."
"And I thought about the fact that I almost died that day... it's just a raw, emotional time that after almost 10 years now ... that this person who inflicted so much evil upon this country and the world is no longer with us."
At Engine 54 in midtown, which lost 15 members, Carl Asaro Jr., who lost his firefighter father of the same name, said bin Laden's death "is a sense of relief, but at the same time, it's not going to bring anyone back."
FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said "our members are grateful for the news, and thankful to all the brave members of the U.S. military that had a role in this successful operation."