NEW YORK – The remains of 11 firefighters and two civilians were pulled from the World Trade Center rubble Tuesday as workers continued in the last stages of the recovery effort, said a fire department spokesman.
As of last week, 148 firefighters' bodies had been found and positively identified through DNA testing — fewer than half of the 343 who were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, said spokesman Pat Cleary.
The remains removed Tuesday were found in a six-story heap of debris where the south tower once stood, Cleary said. They will undergo DNA testing to confirm their identities, said David Billig, another fire department spokesman.
About 100 firefighters lined up to salute as the remains, carried on stretchers draped in American flags, were carried to an ambulance.
Just one day earlier, hundreds of firefighters had gathered for the funeral of Richard Allen, 31, who had only four months on the job at Ladder Co. 15, based in lower Manhattan's South Street Seaport area.
"He was very energetic," said fire Chief Butch Brandes, who knew Allen from when they were lifeguards together at Jacob Riis Park. "He called me up the Friday night before 9-11. He was complaining that it wasn't that busy. I told him all it takes is one."
Firefighters came from as far away as Chicago and Maryland for Allen's funeral, where they stood eight deep in two-block-long lines in 35-degree weather.
On Sunday, the crew dug out a battered fire engine belonging to Engine Co. 55, which lost five firefighters when the towers collapsed.
One of them has not yet been found.
"That was the rig the guys went there in," said firefighter John Olivero. "That was their last ride."
Olivero said finding the engine "starts to bring closure to it. But we've still got one of our guys down there."
Before the demolished truck was taken away, firefighters took off one of its doors and added it to a memorial near the front of Engine Co. 55's firehouse in Little Italy, not far from ground zero.
Recovery crews have been finding more human remains as they dig into the last mound of debris at the World Trade Center site. The top of the six-story heap is at ground level; the bottom is at what used to be the lowest basement level of the south tower. The recovery and cleanup effort is expected to be finished by June.