WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WWLP) – William Csontos was out training with his K-9 partner when he got the call that would change his life. He was going to Ground Zero.
“It’s something that you can’t really explain,” Csontos said. “Just the devastation. Never saw anything like it before, haven’t seen anything like it since then.”
Csontos, a member of the Connecticut State Police Emergency Services K-9 Unit at the time, was sent to Ground Zero to search for survivors. It quickly turned into a recovery mission.
“I tell most people just to give them perspective, it really looked like a movie set,” Csontos explained. “The fires were still going, the fire department was there trying to address the fires, and then all the other first responders were trying to locate victims.”
It’s a sight that will stick with him forever.
“I can honestly say, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about 9/11,” he admitted. “Whether I’m here, I’m out with my family on vacation, I really reflect on that every single day. People say ‘Never Forget.’ You really never forget.”
Csontos is now the top TSA official at Bradley International Airport, serving as the federal security director for the state of Connecticut. TSA was formed as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Csontos said his experience at Ground Zero is very reason he chose a career path with TSA. Nearly 20 years after the attacks, he has the important job of educating young TSA officers who are just joining the force.
“9/11 is in our history books now,” Csontos said. “Most of my young officers that come on board were toddlers back then. They don’t fully realize or know the true impacts of what 9/11 brought. So each officer now that comes in to TSA that didn’t live through the experience, I try and relate my experiences to them to give them some perspective about what their job entails. They are really here for our mission and to serve the public and ensure the safety of everybody in our airport.”
Csontos says he wants everyone to not only remember the lives lost in the attacks, but the lives that are continuing to be lost as a result of 9/11.