Utah Woman Remembers Cousin, A First Responder, Killed On 9/11

Sep 12, 2018, 8:54 AM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – One of our colleagues at KSL NewsRadio discovered several days after the Twin Towers fell that she had lost her cousin, a New York firefighter and a 9/11 first responder.

She said her emotions may have changed over the years, but she still feels a powerful connection to that historic day.

“I had woken up after the first plane had already had the north tower,” said Heather Kelly McShane.

The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Heather Kelly McShane was getting ready for work at a veterinary clinic. That was a few years before she became radio reporter at KSL NewsRadio.

She thought her cousin, 37-year-old firefighter Terence McShane, was working at his station in Queens that day. It was a good distance from the World Trade Center.

“It really just didn’t occur to me that he was there right at that moment,” Heather said.

A first responder

Terence wasn’t in Queens, though. He was there in the North Tower with New York Fire Department Ladder 101 as part of a transfer program.

Terence was working at a different station that day when he ran into the north tower to save lives and ended up sacrificing his own.

“So, his unit was one of the first responders into the north tower,” Heather said.

First responder Terence McShane was killed during the 9/11 terror attacks.

From what the family understands, Heather believes her cousin was helping people find their way out of the building. He may have even been a first responder among a group of firefighters that were spotted by witnesses in the building.

“They just saw dozens of firefighters taking a break on the 19th floor,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s where Terence was. We don’t know. The family just doesn’t know where he was. But, they did recover his remains four weeks after.”

Heather didn’t get the news until four days after her cousin was killed.

“It’s almost like reliving the first day,” she said. “I became obsessed with watching all of the images.”

She found herself trying to spot her cousin in video clips of firefighters from that day. Although, she knows few media cameras were there when her cousin went into the tower.

Finding Terence

“He was funny, and he loved to laugh, and he was kind,” Heather said of her cousin.

Terence was a father of three young boys.

“He loved his kids,” she said.

McShane visited the 9/11 Memorial three years ago, trying to find her cousin’s name.

“It was an amazing afternoon,” she said.

Heather Kelly McShane's cousin, first responder Terence McShane, died on 9/11

KSL NewsRadio’s Heather Kelly McShane remembers her cousin Terence, a firefighter and first responder who died during the terror attacks of 9/11

It was very crowded when she arrived at the memorial. The crowd was stacked three or four people deep around the memorial where the names of the victims were etched in the walls. She said they had no idea how they were going to find her cousin’s name.

“As we approached one of the walls, 300 people… it was almost like a sea parting,” she said. “Right in the middle was a white rose.”

They moved closer as the crowd moved away.

“The rose was sitting on my cousin’s name,” she said. “To say that somebody had guided me there is an understatement. We hadn’t even started looking at names.”

She said it was as though she was supposed to be there.

“This shining light and corridor opened up for us to go and find his name,” she said.

It was a powerful and spiritual moment for her.

“It was very raw and emotional.”

17 years later

Each year around 9/11, Heather said she watches TV specials on the attacks and looks for video of her cousin, even though she knows it’s unlikely she will spot him.

“I scour all of the images, and I look for firefighters to see if I can see him,” she said

Heather said this 9/11 has been more emotional than others. She’s not sure why, but said it’s easier to revisit some of those raw emotions now that 17 years have passed.

“I’ve never quite delved into my emotions as much as I have this year,” she said. “So, it’s been extra special.”

Related: Utahns Remember Lives Lost on 9/11

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO: The Chickadee lift is pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct...
Michael Houck

Avalanche triggered at Snowbird resort, no injuries reported

Rescue crews responded to the Snowbird Ski Resort after an avalanche was triggered on a trail. 
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Lehi Police Department/Facebook)...
Michael Houck

Lehi building placed on ‘lock down’ after reports of man with a gun

A misunderstanding caused a building to be placed in "lock down" after reports of a man with a gun Tuesday.
1 day ago
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Price man arrested in woman’s 2019 death now being called a murder

A Price man has been arrested for investigation of murder in connection with the shooting death of a woman in 2019 in Carbon County that was once considered an accidental shooting.
1 day ago
A Ute Football mini helmet at the U of U official store. (KSL-TV)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It was a dream come true;’ Utah football fans hyped up for another Rose Bowl

Utah football fans are making plans for the Rose Bowl after winning the PAC-12 championship game Friday night.
1 day ago
The former Utah man and pilot, Dan Ragan....

Utah resident remembers pilot killed in Dallas Air Show crash

The former Utah man who tragically passed away in a deadly air show crash in Texas is being remembered by neighbors and friends. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Utah Woman Remembers Cousin, A First Responder, Killed On 9/11