By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Next Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board will releases its report on the fatal Amtrak derailment at Frankford Junction.READ MORE: Philadelphia Commerce Director Michael Rashid Resigns After He Reportedly Made Anti-Semitic Remarks, Verbally Abused His Staff
On Thursday, survivors remembered how their lives were changed, one year ago, as they gathered at City Hall for a remembrance service.
“Every breath I take, I think about it.”
Fifty-eight-year-old Robert Hewitt was gravely injured in the derailment of Amtrak 188. He recalls the first responders who rushed him to Hahnemann.
“I remember him saying, ‘This guy’s got to go now. The whole back of his head is coming off.'”
Hewitt, of Nutley in North Jersey, suffered a shattered rib cage, spinal fractures, and damaged kidneys — injuries that put him in a medically induced coma for seven weeks.
Those injuries have left him with problems breathing, post traumatic stress disorder, and $1.4 million in medical bills.READ MORE: Water Main Break Flooding Multiple Buildings In Society Hill Section, Officials Say
He’s among the dozens of passengers suing Amtrak. Hewitt’s wife Judy says their lives have been upended.
“It’s been traumatic for the past year. It’s not a one-night thing.”
While they are in Philadelphia, the Hewitts says they hope to find, and thank the first responders who saved his life.
Those attending included the crews of Engine Co. 7 and Ladder Co.10, first on the scene one year ago. They listened as the Webster School choir sang “over the rainbow,” a ceremonial fire bell rung 8 times, once for each victim.
“We tried to get as many people as we could off the track bed because it was a hazardous situation with the wires down,” explained Philadelphia Police Sergeant Greg Masi.
“I don’t care if you save 500 people, you always think about the one that you didn’t get to, or the one that you couldn’t save,” reflected Philadelphia’s Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, praising the heroic, heartbreaking efforts of rescuers that night.
Walt Hunter contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Union Miss Out On Eastern Conference Championship Amid COVID Crisis