UNION SQUARE — When firefighters at Union Square's Ladder 3 Company want to get extra practice scaling buildings, they don't have to look any farther than their firehouse's roof.
Ladder 3 recently used a $5,685 grant from two insurance companies to build a wooden rescue simulation structure on top of the East 13th Street station. During training exercises, firefighters use safety ropes to climb a 12-foot wall and reach a carved-out window, where they practice performing rescues.
“We’re constantly training in this job,” said Lt. Kevin Molloy, an officer of Ladder 3. “It’s a very physical job, so we have to maintain a certain level of physical fitness.”
Ladder 3's firefighters bought lumber and built the rooftop simulation structure themselves at the firehouse at 108 E. 13th St.
The grant also covered new fitness equipment for the firehouse's basement gym, including machines used to stretch and strengthen the lower back.
“Some of us are getting old, so I thought it was a good idea to get something to stretch out the back,” said Molloy, 38.
The Gramercy Park Block Association initially nominated Ladder 3 to receive the award, which was formally presented at a ceremony at the firehouse last week.
“The Ladder 3 Company lost 12 men in the World Trade Center [on 9/11],” said Arlene Harrison, president of the Gramercy Park Block Association. “We promised their families that we would never forget them. It wasn’t just about the equipment — it is a way to pay tribute and memory to the 12 men.”