Gov. Patrick says holding Massport fire training exercise on Sept. 11 anniversary was ‘just dumb’

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said today that it was “just dumb” to hold a fire training exercise that released smoke on the airfield at Logan International Airport this morning, on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“I didn’t know it was going to happen, and it’s just dumb,” Patrick said. “The timing could not be worse.”

Within hours, the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport, issued a statement apologizing for the timing of the exercise.

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Patrick said he still had a “tremendous amount of confidence” in the Massport leadership.

“I have to believe they just didn’t catch this,” he said.

“The people who experienced 9/11 — many of whom work at Massport — I just feel so sorry,” he said.

At about 9:30 a.m., the airport’s Facebook page announced that their fire department was holding the exercise, warning people that the training would produce smoke in the area.

Twitter and Facebook erupted with comments from people upset that airport officials chose today for the exercise.

“Massport apologizes for conducting the fire training exercise and understands that it may have offended many of those touched by the events of Sept. 11,” Massport said in a statement.

Twelve years ago this morning, two of the planes used in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took off from Logan. The attacks claimed the lives of 206 people with ties to Massachusetts.

“Safety and security is our top priority and constant vigilance and readiness is critical, but the exercise should not have taken place on the anniversary of 9/11,” the Massport statement said.

“The airport community recognizes the day with moments of silence, a service in the chapel, and a wreath at the 9/11 memorial,” the statement said.

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