35W ceremony takes survivors, responders back to tragic day

Mpls. first responders will train next to a piece of the bridge

A moment of silence marked the 10-year anniversary of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse Tuesday – and so did speeches, thanks, a displayed piece of bent steel, and lots of memories.

One of the ways Minneapolis marked the occasion was by unveiling a piece of the bridge that collapsed in 2007. It'll be on display permanently at the city's Emergency Operations Training Center. 

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said in a statement that having the piece of the bridge at the center where first responders train will be "a constant reminder of the significance of our tireless preparation.”

Mayor Betsy Hodges said on the anniversary "we get to commit to remembering, and to the responsibility of learning from what happened so that, God willing, it never happens again."

Victims remembered, responders thanked

Thirteen people died when the bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River that evening. Speakers at Tuesday's event included two daughters of one of those victims, Sherry Engebretsen.

Ann Burke told the crowd: “I laid down that night in a pile of tissues knowing that regardless of the results, there was no way my life would ever play out as I imagined,” WCCO reports

KARE 11 spoke with 10 survivors of the bridge collapse about how the fateful day changed them. 

The Mississippi turned black with the dust and debris of the collapse and it took more than a week to recover the last of the victims from the river.

KSTP asked emergency responders to reflect on the 10 year anniversary. 

Congress went to work immediately to approve money for a replacement bridge, which was built in less than a year. 

The new 35W bridge is known locally for the multi-colored lights that illuminate it. But the bridge will stay dark Tuesday night to commemorate the date.

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