Horace Man Explains Why He Built a 9/11 Fire Pit

Brent Hansen wanted to use his form of therapy to honor victims of the national tragedy

HORACE, ND — A Horace man told us why he built a 9/11 fire pit.

Pictures of the hand-made sculpture hitched to the back of his pick-up continue to stir controversy online.

But he said welding these custom fire pits is how he finds peace after a work accident changed his life.

Brent Hansen’s trucks are parked outside to make room for his welding work shop.

“I like doing metal work,” Hansen said. “It’s kind of like my therapy if you want to call it that.”

This is how he heals after the accident rendered him unable to go back to work.

“January 26th, 1999 at 8:57 p.m. I’ll remember that forever,” he said.

While working at a CASE tractor plant, Brent said about 600 pounds of steel crushed him.

“Messed up my back, my leg my hip,” said Hansen. “Had multiple surgeries on my foot. Have a hard time getting around. In constant pain and stuff like that.”

He made a few cartoon character fire pits for the kids with flames shooting out of the eyes.

But now he’s showing off a personal project.

“September 11th hit,” he explained. “Most of my friends are either military, law enforcement, fire and rescue.
My dad was a cop. Thought about a lot of my friends that actually went there to help out with security and different things like that. I don’t know… I just wanted to do something that commemorated them. ‘Always remember, never forget’ type of thing.”

Sinking lots of his spare time into the piece, he made sure to pay attention to detail.

“Started out doing the round pit, the globe itself,” he said. “Each one of the airplanes that sit inside of the towers go in at pretty much the exact angle they went into the towers in real life. On the front of each one of the airplanes, there’s actually a little box on the front where I can put used motor oil inside that and then if I light it on a very calm day, black smoke will rise from the airplanes.”

His work is getting noticed.

Multiple pictures of the 9/11 fire pit hitched to his pickup are getting shared online.

Many continue to say the fire pit is insensitive, but Hansen told us it’s his way to never forget.

“I did have one fireman that talked to me. He’s a friend of mine. He said, ‘it might be a little bit insensitive if you have it burning and stuff.’ You don’t have to have it burning. It is what it is. It’s for remembrance of the people that died. It’s just something to remember what happened in history. If we start forgetting what happened in history, history’s going to repeat itself.”

Living with his disability, Hansen gives this advice to anyone in a similar situation.

“Sitting in the house on a chair, you kind of wither away to nothing and you feel worthless,” he said. “Find anything that makes you happy, whether it’s doing a hobby, helping people, volunteering, go out, just do something.”

Hansen said he doesn’t profit from his work, but the reward of doing it is worthwhile.

He claims to have spent more than 60 hours welding his 9/11 fire pit.

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