HGTV Host Emotionally Shares Horrific 9/11 Experience: ‘This Doesn’t Heal’

9/11 Twin Towers

Getty Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked airliners in a terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City.

September 11th is a particularly hard day for HGTV host Joe Mazza, who says even 21 years after the tragedy, the pain is still raw and “hurts even more.” In a new Instagram video, the host of “Home Inspector Joe” emotionally shared details of his harrowing experience on that day and in the year after.

Mazza Says the Pain Doesn’t Go Away

On the morning of September 11, 2022, Mazza posted a video on Instagram while visiting the Kensico Dam Memorial, called The Rising, an 80-foot steel structure that features the names of all the Westchester residents who died in the attack. He captioned the post by writing, “21 years later and the pain hurts even more!!”

Mazza started his video by saying, “21 years later. You know, time will heal pain and stuff like that? This doesn’t heal.”

Clearly shaken by the memories of his experience, he explained that he “does this every year” to help him get it off his chest, but acknowledged he’s gained new followers since the debut of his HGTV show, which first aired in January 2022, who may not know his story.

“I was starting my career in construction in New York City and we saw the tower get hit,” he said. “Thought it was an accident, right? No one knew at that time. And everyone knew what you were doing that day. The weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky. Either way, the tower gets hit and a while later, another plane is coming, it was sideways and just barrels through the building. At that point we knew it ain’t no accident.”

At that point in the video, he was unnerved by a plane flying low as he was filming and the video stopped. He then continued his story in a second video on his Instagram post, describing his intense desire to use his construction skills to help at the site following the attack, but the video started mid-story.

Mazza said, “I need to go down to the pit, and the pit is where everything was. And he goes, ‘Really?’ Yep, I need to go down and help out. He goes, ‘Alright. I’ll see what I can do.’ A day later, ‘Joe, go!’ I’m down in the pit the first week and you know, they had the bucket brigades cleaning everything out and you know, looking for people.”

Mazza Continued His Work at the 9/11 Site For Nearly a Year

9/11 rubble

GettyRescue workers sift through the wreckage of the World Trade Center on September 13, 2001

“I ended up staying down there for 11 months,” Mazza continued in his video. “11 months. Till the last piece of steel was removed from that site. Let me tell you something. This stuff that I’ve seen and witnessed and all the families? Not good. At all.”

Getting emotional, Mazza continued, “It don’t get better. You think it’s gonna get better but it doesn’t. The people who did this? You think you went to Heaven?”

In 2019, Mazza shared a tattoo sleeve he commissioned to honor his experience and the nearly 3,000 people who died in the attacks. The detailed tattoo art features the cover of the New York Times as it appeared the day after the attacks, along with other headlines and images of the Statue of Liberty, the American flag, and the Twin Towers.

To commemorate the 21st anniversary of the deadliest attack on U.S soil, a tolling bell and a moment of silence began a ceremony at ground zero in New York, according to NPR. Victims’ relatives and dignitaries also convened at the two other attack sites, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.


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