That’s when the alarm came: a disaster at the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Instead of calling it a day, Kopyko and the other members of Engine 4, Ladder 15 responded to the call and were among the first on the scene after American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north tower.
Emergency personnel rushed into the tower to try and rescue people trapped inside. Kopyko was on the 79th floor talking to his captain over the radio at 10:28 a.m. when the north tower collapsed. All that was ever found of him was a few fragments of bone.
While many northern Nevadans never knew the people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, two of Kopyko’s relatives came to the corner of Pyramid Way and C Street on Sunday to honor the bravery that cost him his life a decade ago.
Donna Hawkins, who moved to Reno 30 years ago from the East Coast, carried a poster board memorializing Kopyko, her second cousin. With her was her father, Eugene Dugan, who was in town visiting from Florida.
“Scott was a fine young man who had a great future in this world,” Dugan said. “But God saw it differently.”
Hawkins and Dugan were just two of several dozen residents who came to Sparks Memorial Park on Sunday morning to see local firefighters lay a wreath and lower flags to honor the police, firefighters and civilians who died in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania in the 9/11 attacks.
Hawkins said she has seen TV specials about the incident in which she catches a last glimpse of her 32-year-old cousin heading to his death.
“It’s kind of eerie,” she said. “On the Discovery Channel you can see him going up the stairs.”
Dugan said he has very vivid memories of the twin towers, having worked across the street at the power plant for the complex’s phone system. He said he saw the World Trade Center when it was a hole in the ground being built and when it was a hole in the ground after being destroyed.