Transcripts 361-380



We got downstairs. We got on the rig. Everybody had their bunker gear on and waited for our assignment. We were down there maybe five minutes before it came over that they wanted us to go to One World Trade Center, there was an explosion.

While I was underneath checking out the situation, I heard a large crash, and one of the cops who was directing traffic said another plane hit. I heard more screaming, an initial rush of people by me, and the cops were saying that there was a third plane incoming.

So I walked over underneath the overpass, and there was it seemed like ribbons of aluminum or whatever, the facade of the building, was trickling down.

I walked past it to the north overpass, and I cross back over West Street to the front of the building. At that point the windows of the building had been blown out or taken out by the explosion.

When I got to Murray Street, we heard another loud rumbling, and I looked back and saw a cloud of dust. That was I guess when one fell.



We proceeded south down West Street under the north walkway and saw to our right in front of the financial building there was a command post over there that included Chief Ganci, Chief Downey, Mayor Giuliani, Bill Feehan and Tom Von Essen, the Commissioner. They were in conference about something.

As we proceeded back down West Street now, John was a little up ahead of us. I don't exactly remember how much further. We just made our turn to go in towards the lobby of tower two. For whatever reason, I just happened to look up and saw the whole thing coming down, pancaking down, and the explosion, blowing out about halfway up. I yelled up to John -- I used a couple of expletives and said, "It's coming down, run, let's go." So we about-faced. In my mind I was saying north walkway, let's get under that, and dove under that. I probably fell short of that and kind of crawled. Anyhow, I did get under that. I believe I smashed into some sort of mask service rig. I remember looking back and noticing that big mushroom cloud just roaring at us like a freight train. I quick scrambled and threw the cylinder on and threw the mask on my face and started crawling, which I'm figuring up West Street.

We get to just about the north walkway, about to go underneath, and the second one came down. Again, a quick retreat back up. This one was, as far as I was concerned, the big one. The first one you had a chance to make a move, I felt, especially us. You may not have made the right move, but you had a chance, because it seemed like it pancaked down and that delayed the whole process, where the second one just seemed like it just opened up all over the place.


I rode over the Brooklyn Bridge. When I was roughly in the middle of the span, there was a massive explosion on the south tower. Again I didn't see a plane or anything, so I didn't know it was a plane that hit the tower. I think in my mind I just thought there was a massive explosion on one of the upper floors and now you had a real bad fire.

We started up onto the pile when we just heard a horrific rumbling coming, and we knew the north tower was coming down. I then proceeded to run under the south walkway and dove into an ambulance.


Chief Brown directed me at that time to just track what units were where, and, you know, who was who, and a lot of voluntary and private ambulances on the scene. Just try to get the number and names of the crews, and at that time I was doing that, and then we started to hear a roar, and I looked back. Everybody was running, so I just kind of started running with them, and the next thing I know, I just remember jumping on a staircase and putting my hands over my helmet, and, you know praying to God, and then it all went black.

Then we heard two planes coming overhead. We weren't sure, you know, if they were friendly or just loud jet engines, so we started making a little run to the west side. We noticed it was a F-16.



We turned onto Broadway, and we worked our way down West Side Highway. We reached luckily around John Street when the second tower was hit by the plane, another plane. At the time we didn't realize it was a plane. We just heard a massive explosion. Debris rained down on us. People panicked.

With that, all a sudden the tower went completely -- a horrendous noise, a very, very tremendous explosion, and a very heavy wind came through the tower. The wind almost knocked you down. We were on the north side of the elevator banks, and they kind of broke up that wind.

Q. Everybody tells me all these vehicles were on fire. What do you attribute all these vehicles being on fire to?
A. I believe it must have been from the debris falling and the heat just started hitting the cars and starting cars on fire. There were an awful lot of cars burning, an awful lot. It had to be radiated heat or just stuff falling on cars and setting them on fire. There were numerous cars burning, numerous.



I proceeded into the building. I had told John, which is Sergeant Sheehan, that I was going to go into the lobby area where the elevator banks were to take a quick look, because I saw that there were no firemen on the lower level. I wasn't sure -- knowing that the elevators had dropped, seeing the condition of the hallways, the bent doors, the fascias of the hallways were knocked into the hallways. I started searching the elevators, when a woman said there was another woman trapped in an elevator. I had gone over to the elevator with my tool and began to pop the door open. The elevator was cantilevered, so it was very hard. But there was an occupant inside.

As I hung up the phone and started making my way back down the hall is when the rumble started. I thought it was our tower starting to collapse, being the volume of fire I saw when I had gotten there. I ran down the hallway. As I ran down the hallway, I pass two other police officers. They were also, I believe, making searches on that floor. They must have been with the team. We passed each other in flight. The sound became horrific. I was about maybe five feet from the mask. I just dove for my mask, scooped up my mask with one arm and I grabbed the stairwell doorway. I had half my body on the floor and the other half was in the stairwell. I figured if the stairs go, I'll roll onto the floor. If the floor goes, I can maybe -- it was a grasp at nothing. This is what I thought the best way maybe out of this, because at the time with the sound of the wind blowing through the elevator banks, because it was air pressure coming in, I had believed at the time it was air pressure coming down. I thought the floors were coming down. But it was tower two falling, which once again I didn't -- it didn't register. I thought it was my building. It must have rumbled for almost what seemed like an eternity, but it must have been only five minutes or so, between the sound of it and the dying down. The entire floor was enveloped in dust, smoke, minimal heat, and a very eerie silence.

Q. You're talking about adjacent to number eight World Trade Center, just west of the building called number eight. When you went into the lower level of One World Trade Center, the sprinkler heads were going off.
A. Right, they were heads off.
Q. There was no fire; there was no heat. Their heads were off from a pressure surge like from the pressure created by the falling of building two or what do you think?
A. What I believe set those heads off is when those elevators had dropped --
Q. Why did the elevators drop?
A. They were sheered.
Q. They were sheered. We didn't cover that. People told me, yeah, I think the elevators dropped and the doors were blown out and all that.
A. Right.
Q. The elevators were sheered?
A. They were sheered.
Q. What did the elevator doors look like?
A. They were buckled, cantilevered. The one woman was -- how she was standing up, I didn't know.
Q. She was standing up? She was alive?
A. She was standing up and alive, as I popped it with my tool. I had a converted officers tool. I made my own little. It's very good as far as leverage and so on and so forth. I got the door open maybe six to eight inches. That's when the guys from – once again, I believe they were 10 Truck. He had put his officer's tool, my tool and the Halligan. We had both Halligans. But the door was so warped that we really couldn't get the strength to pop it open.

Once again, I'm doing this 23 years. You always think, yeah, if you give a location, you have a good idea where they can be. This changed all the rules. This changed all the rules. This went from a structure to a wafer in seconds, in seconds. I couldn't believe the speed of that tower coming down. I heard the rumble, I looked up, debris was already 50 feet from the ground, on its way down. You looked and you ran.



So as we walked up West Street we made a turn on Vesey Street. We went approximately one or two blocks when all of a sudden we heard this big roar. It sounded like another plane coming in or it sounded like an earthquake, but it just didn't sound right. So we all started running, my partner and I, and we had the commissioner with us also. The next thing I know we were engulfed in this black cloud of smoke and we couldn't breathe, we couldn't see anything.



We were actually looking -- we were trying to figure out exactly the position of where we had to put the rig because they wanted us down, I guess, it was really on West Street and Vesey, and it turned out we had stopped at Chambers and Liberty and we were waiting there because there were thousands of people and everybody was filming and just couldn't get across and we're trying to figure out, and then there was a gigantic explosion. I had the OB and I looked up and I just saw the top of World Trade Center go up like a lit candle. It just everything just lit up and I thought it was maybe a secondary explosion, because if you looked from where we were, they're twins, so you're going to picture the second -- I didn't see the plane go in and I thought it was just a secondary explosion in the same tower, and everything just came down on the street. It was just raining steel.

I walk down and I make a left. Now I'm about 20 to 25 feet from the windows and the building starts to shake, and I look out and I'm just seeing all the steel from the south tower coming down right in front of my face, just all the steel, I mean, everything. I thought it was our building going down. So I just ran back, and the guys thought I was Derek Jeeter because I scooped up my mask, ran into the staircase, we donned our masks and we just stood there and the building shook and we just huddled like children. It shook. We took about a minute or so, that's all I recall, a minute or two, then it stops. Everything was quiet. Then we went back out of the stairs. All the sheetrock, all the ceilings had come down in the building, guys were coming running back in.

So it took us quite a bit of time to hit the lobby and it was just destroyed. I mean, it looked like -- it wasn't the same lobby 15 minutes ago. It was just completely gone, every window was shattered, all the ceiling tile, the elevator banks had let go it seemed, the floor was all crushed down.



We start heading down the block and we get down to I guess about Church Street and the second plane hit, and I remember just being underneath. I never heard the motor of the plane, the sound of the engines. We just heard the explosion, you felt the explosion, and looking straight up and seeing that fireball that you see on the news, but we're underneath looking up now at it.

We got a report of people trapped. So we pick up everything, put the roof rope back on, extra cylinders, and I happened to see a lobby guy, like a guy that works in the lobby, and I asked him which elevators does he have running, and he said all the elevators are out except for the low-rise, which will take us to 16.

We just finished searching the floor and I was with -- it was me, the boss and Artie, and the south tower came down and our building rocked. I remember windows blowing out and the air pressure in the hallway felt like we were almost in like a wind tunnel, and I remember the boss just saying get to the staircase.

We got down to the lobby, and when we got out of the stairwell, the lobby was deserted. Nobody was down there except the people coming out of our stairwell. We were walking through and the elevator doors were blowing off. The lobby was just like a complete mess. I remember grabbing the proby that day and we were looking down the elevator bank and I said, man, this would make a hell of a picture.



I would say we were in the lobby I don't think it was more than five or ten minutes, and they were talking, I guess discussing where should we go, what should we do. I think the lieutenant was on his way back to us to talk to us, and we heard the loudest roar that I ever heard in my life. Everybody just ran. We ran away from the noise. So the noise was to my east as I was standing the there. We ran back basically the way we came in, I don't know how far. All of a sudden I was just picked up. I felt the wind from behind me just pick me up and throw me. So now I'm on the ground. Now I started crawling. Hopefully I think I'm crawling the way I came in. However long that lasted, ten seconds -- I don't know. It seemed like a long time. It just subsided, the noise. It was just like a crescendo sound like boom, boom, boom, and it just got louder and faster for like -- what did it last, ten seconds or something like that?

So Mike had cut, I would say, maybe two pieces of pipe or the sheet metal or whatever he was cutting. He was cutting another piece. Now we heard this noise again, like this rumbling noise. I assumed the same thing is happening that just happened however long ago it was. It didn't seem like it was a half hour. It seemed to happen pretty fast. So I just was standing right there. It was Ray, me, Mike and Scott. The other two guys from 113 actually left. Ray asked them – he goes, "I'm going to go outside and see if I can go around." He was looking for another way to access Bob Nagel. So it was just Ray, me, Mike, Scott and one guy from 113 that I remember being there now. So it was five of us. Now we hear this rumbling again. We're like, "Oh, Jesus. Now what?" We tried to run again. We were running the way I think we came in. We were running back, I would say, towards Liberty Street, in whatever's left of the hotel now. Maybe half of it is left now. I don't know.



I was just getting my bearings to see exactly where I was, and you just heard a banging, "bang, bang, bang." People yelled that it was coming through the window. The way the noise was going to me or to a lot of us, we thought it was another plane coming. It was two; why not three or four. It sounded to us like it was a plane coming through the windows. Most of us that were in that little group there ran towards the entrance where we came in. As I'm facing out towards West Street, it was kind of like left. We ran left. As we go, the ceiling started hitting us, falling down. We all just dove into a corner. There must have been 20 or 30 guys there. We just huddled, a big huddle, literally on top of each other, just like covering each other, right near it seemed like a desk or a bar, like the check-in desk or a bar top, something like that. We waited there until everything kind of calmed down for a while. It was all blacked out.



As my men went to obtain some extinguishers, I happened to be looking up and saw the explosion or the building fail with the ensuing fireball and cloud. It didn't appear to me at that moment the building was coming down. But when the noise level began to pick up, it was obvious that something wrong was going on. We all proceeded to run southwesterly towards Liberty and West.



I assume I was walking southeast, away from the Trade Center. I could be wrong on that. But I was walking away from tower number 1. With that I heard this noise like a freight train coming. The fellow who was taking pictures started to run and I started to run. Within one second this whole portico collapsed to the floor. My face was 6 inches off the floor as rocks and rubble and everything were rolling past me.

The first thing I saw in the clear blue sky was three fighter planes coming over and I said, “Geez, what happened? Are we at war? What is it?”

Transcripts 341-360



He walked back toward the tower as far as I can recall across the hallway and back towards the lobby of the tower and he no sooner disappeared into the crowd than there was a big rumbling noise. Everything started shaking and the wind started blowing. The wind was incredible. It had to be, I g don’t know, I would say like at least 50, 60 mile an hour winds coming through that hallway, through that corridor. Everybody, of course, starts running. Civilians were running, we are running, you are just trying to get away from this tremendous noise and wind.

I thought myself that the lobby – they were talking about the elevators were – looked like they were going to come down. The elevators weren’t secured. We did hear that over the radio as we were coming up on the towers from the dispatcher, I think gave that information out over the radio. So I thought that the elevators in that lobby of the north tower had come crashing down, because you just can't imagine that these buildings were going to come down.
Q. Absolutely not.
A. At that point that’s what I was going under the impression, that the lobby of the north tower had collapsed in some way. Whether it was the elevators or whatever.

What I didn’t realize was that overhang goes all the way around the building. I didn’t realize I was still under the overhang. But in my mind I said if I hear anything coming down I'm going back towards that overhang for protection. Next thing you know, we didn’t walk 25 feet and it starts rumbling. You know, again, you don’t even imagine this is what’s happening. The other building has already completely collapsed and now the building that you are standing under is completely collapsing.



We couldn't get up any faster, so we went back to the B staircase, and we were taking a break on 30, and that's when we heard a rumble, outside explosion, and I think that was the other building coming down, but we were getting reports on the radio that there was another incoming plane, so guys weren't sure. At first we thought it was the plane hitting, but we at this point -- we knew the plane was already in the building, and we heard rumbling. The building started to shake. We all ran into the stairway, into the B staircase again, and the building started to shake and lights went out. Just got this tremendous rush of air coming up through a staircase. Everybody was just holding onto each other. Then we started to make sure -- you know, we didn't know what happened. We were -- everybody was questioning each other, what the hell was that. We thought it was another plane.

We started to walk towards them, and there were all rigs and stuff outside, and that's where we were walking towards. Looked like some kind of maybe a command post or something was there. Started to walk towards it, and that's when the building came down. I heard an explosion and turned around and the building was coming down. At that point, we dropped everything we had, at least I did. We started to run north on West Street. At that point, we were overcome with the cloud and it looked like -- felt a lot of wind again, got knocked down.



I was standing outside the quarters about to go home when the first plane hit. I heard a loud noise and then all of a sudden an explosion, looked up. I couldn't even tell really which tower was hit. There was debris flying. There was a lot of smoke and fire. I ran back inside, let everybody know we knew there was an explosion, grabbed my gear.

We went around the corner on West Street and the Ladder pulled right up in front of tower – the north tower. The engine took the hydrant on the middle of West Street. As I got off the back -- the back step, there were a few individuals that were civilians that were outside that were burnt. There was a -- he wasn't a regular security guard. He had a weapon on him. I don't know if he was FBI or Secret Service and he was trying to put the pants out on one individual that was conscious. His pants were still smoldering. I took the can, fire extinguisher off the truck and then sprayed down the pants on the person that was still conscious. At that time, I had asked him where did this individual come from. He told me when the plane had hit, a fire ball had shot down the elevator shaft and had blown people out of the lobby.

As I was coming outside, I see a lot of people running towards the Marriott Hotel, I see people running -- everyone was just running. And I hear shh. It sounded like someone was turning on a hydrant and I look up and the first tower was coming down.

I proceeded to run up north and I run towards the overpass that connects World Financial Center where they have -- where the high rise rig is at and also -- I think it was Rescue 1 or Rescue 5's vehicles underneath it. As I run towards it, I know that I'm not going to escape the -- escape it, so I dive under – I don't know even know which rig it was. I dive under a rig. At the same time it felt like an explosion.



Shortly after they came out and got their gear on, we were ready to go straight ahead, you heard a roar, some sort of vibration, like a vrr vrr vrr, getting louder and louder. My first thought to myself, I live down in Rockaway so I have heard planes coming overhead for years. It sounded like a plane getting closer and louder and louder and next thing you know, you felt the building shook. At that moment, it was I think every man for themselves. I think I might have heard somebody say it's coming down or something.

Shortly after as I'm walking, you hear another loud boom. I hear guys behind me, I guess I hear some commotion behind me and I turn around and I see guys running towards me. Again I think I hear somebody say it's coming down. I remember turning, looking and looking up and seeing the dust cloud opening up overhead.

I remember sitting there talking and when I said to somebody that I was in the hotel when a plane hit, he said what do you mean the plane hit. He goes both buildings had been hit already. I said what do you mean. I said that noise we were hearing. What we heard was the noise of that south tower coming down.



So we went around and passed the bridge and were heading towards the tunnel when the fellow sitting on the other side of the rig saw the south tower explode. He saw an explosion. He told us the building just exploded. We looked over and we saw the south tower, a lot of orange and a lot of smoke. So we continued towards the Battery Tunnel. There was a lot of traffic. Took us awhile to get there.

So we were just watching people. People were jumping. The fire was -- a tremendous volume of fire. Our captain said he didn't think we'd be able to put out the fire because of the volume of fire versus the volume of water. He said the sprinklers were going to be out, the standpipes were going to be out. So we were there.

My captain actually was standing -- he had taken his bunker pants down to his knees, and we were standing there, and then we just heard this real loud roar. We looked up and we could see the south tower. Looked like the middle of it was just exploding out, and at that point, one of the officers just said, "Run," and we were just turned and started running into the garage, so I just turned and ran in. I was just -- I didn't think it was a great move to be running into the building like that, but there was nowhere else to go, and I was just thinking, like, holy shit, we're going to be buried in here, thinking the tower would probably fall over towards us.

We were still right by maybe 4 World Financial Center, because we were in the grassy area there, and then the north tower, we heard the rattling, and we saw the north tower collapse.



We were on the 23rd Floor, set up communications, when we heard a rumble. I would say we were on the 23rd for about five to ten minutes. The building shook. Lights went out. Asked my officer if -- you know, what happened, and he thought maybe the top of the building got blown off. I turned to him and I said, "What do we do?" And some chief appeared. Don't know who the chief was. Chief from the department appeared, said, "Start making your way out of the building. The south tower just collapsed. A third plane is coming towards the north tower."



They told me that another plane was in the area, and we thought that -- the chauffeurs -- some of the guys that were out in the street thought it was a third plane. At that particular time, I walked to the corner of Church, because I heard the plane, but I couldn't see anything. Afraid it was going to hit the same part of the twin tower and make it topple and start a domino effect. As I got to the corner of Church and Vesey, that's when the building, the south tower, came down right on the corner, and from that point on, it was like mayhem for me.



Then I look and I see Mayor Giuliani and Von Essen and Nigro and a whole entourage walking south. I don't know exactly where they were going, but I saw them.

We were just standing there looking at all this chaos going on, the two towers just burning, and before you know it, I'm just hearing this loud roar and I look up and I just see this big cloud coming down. That was when 2 World Trade started to come down.



Anyway, it's then that I was looking at the north tower that I saw what I thought looked like a seagull in the distance almost and it went into the south tower and the south tower exploded in a huge fire ball. I just told my chauffeur, "Stop for a minute. Stop the rig." And he just slammed the brakes and we just looked and it didn't strike me as to what happened. I still thought -- I said to him, at that point, "The gas tanks exploded from the plane." That's what I thought it was at that point. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized it was a whole second plane at that time. And I didn't realize that until a couple of days later. It just didn't make sense to me.

I went back to the commands post after talking to guys, kept them together. Went back up and there is a crowd of people and everything, still waiting to see what we were going to do. Then all of a sudden there was like a loud -- almost like a rushing sound, a roar, and we looked up and we could see it looked like an implosion and the building kind of went in and out and kind of like shook and I remember like 20 or 30 guys, whatever it was, all there at the command post. A lot of them in front of me pulled towards West Street. We were looking up and then this thing started coming down and nobody ran. I could just remember that. Even myself, I remember being hypnotized by this thing and just looking up at it and then finally, thank God, somebody yelled, "Run."

Somewhere heading back towards those guys, that's when the north tower collapsed. And it was the same thing, the same noise. So as soon as I heard it this time, I knew it. I just saw those two guys and I just yelled "run" and we just started running up towards Vesey Street.



So moments after, maybe five minutes or so, I hear a rumble, and I just look towards the east side of the street. I'm in the middle of the block on Vesey between West and North End, so now I turn, and I look east towards the corner of West and Vesey, and I see people in blue uniforms, cops, whoever they were. They were running towards my way, so I didn't know what to do, so I looked the opposite direction, and I see other people running the same direction. So I just started running. So I started running by myself because my partner was taking care of something else, so I just ran, left the vehicle there, and just kept running north. Running, running north, and still at this time I didn't know that the second plane was hit, and when we heard that rumble, that noise, I didn't know that that was when the first tower fell until I met up with another coworker.



Then we started to proceed up, and I don't know what the stairwell number was, stairwell letter, to the 27th Floor. At that point, there were different companies up there, different people up there. At that point, as soon as we got up there, we all hit the ground, because the building started shaking. We didn't know what that was. We assumed it was some floors above that had collapsed. We weren't really told what it was. We found out, obviously, that it was Tower 2 that collapsed. At that point, I believe it was a chief – I wasn't sure where he was from. He came down from somewhere. He came from one of the areas on the 7th Floor, and he told us to just get off this floor. So we were told to get off the floor.

We started getting ready to get this guy into the ambulance, and with that, you heard this -- it was almost like a roar, and it was like a rumbling, and I turned back. I kind of froze, because when I turned back, I started seeing the building starting to come down, and when I turned back around, there was nobody -- there was nobody there, so I kind of just dove up against a fence. It was like a parking garage, an open parking space.



Then we were instructed to search through two or three buildings to make sure they were stable, and then they pulled everybody out because of the pink building. Was it 7 World Trade, that was going?
Q. Right.
A. Then they pulled everybody out.



Then I proceeded into the lobby of the building. When I walked through the lobby, there was broken glass everywhere. There were also two people in the lobby, a gentleman who was already burned and was dead, and a female. She was nude. Her clothes had burnt away. She was trying to communicate. Her eyes were sealed shut. Her throat apparently was sealed. She couldn’t really communicate. Within the next two minutes, she had perished right there. We never actually got her any assistance. We couldn’t get her an ambulance, and we didn’t get her out of there.

I noticed in the courtyard that there were valises, suitcases, strewn about the courtyard. There were wallets everywhere, broken glass, and then I noticed that there were airplane tickets.

I saw the chiefs. Chief Pfeifer from Battalion 1 come in. Along with him was the battalion aide, and the French filmmaker, who happened to be standing in the lobby at the time, and he was videotaping everything that was occurring.

After a couple of minutes, we heard – I heard over the department radio, “Prepare for impact. A second plane is approaching the building.”

I noticed that some of the elevators had been blown out of their shafts. They came down and crashed out of their shafts. They were buckled, and I had noticed that there were people still in the elevators. I believe that they were at that point deceased.

Then I saw the lights in both buildings went out, and I heard the rumble. At that point, I didn’t know what was happening, but 2 World Trade Center was collapsing.

I tried to look around briefly for somebody. I couldn’t find anyone. I saw a couple of flashlights in the distance. I walked straight ahead. I ran into the elevators. The elevators were completely out of the shafts at this point. All the elevators – I could see members were crushed in between them. I could see civilians were crushed in between elevators.



After I hooked up, I went into the lobby of the north tower and I saw the command post being set up there. I noticed some people on the floor that were badly burned. One man was deceased, and there was a woman there that was very badly burned. I went out to get EMS to come in to help her. They were very busy, and I just asked them for some blankets. I went back into the lobby of the north tower, and I covered the civilians up. I stayed with the woman until EMS came in, and I helped them take her away.



We had came down Broadway and as we got to Liberty Street, I believe -- yes, we got to Liberty Street and made the right off of Broadway on to Liberty and we were on Liberty between Broadway and I believe Church and we had gotten off the rig with Battalion 31. We were speaking to them on where we should go because we were assigned to the north tower. I remember just hearing an explosion that basically I can't describe the sound of. It was actually the second plane crashing in. We were on the side, we were on the south side of the south tower when it came down -- I mean when the plane crashed in.

I was by I guess the outer part of the building and I just remember feeling the building starting to shake and this tremendous tremendous like roar and I just -- I kind of didn't even notice it, but like out of the corner of my eye, I saw out of the building, I saw a shadow coming down. At that point I thought it was the upper part of the north tower that had just basically like toppled over, fell off. I didn't actually see the building part go by me, because I think I was on the opposite side. But I just remember feeling this tremendous tremendous shake and hearing this, like, noise. Again I can't describe.



At that time, there was a bomb threat in Stuyvesant High School, and we evacuated that area and went further up West Street until we were a good distance away, probably – I'm not sure of the street it was on, but it was quite a distance away.

Transcripts 321-340



As we got in there, like I said, the lieutenant walked away for a second to find a stairwell, told us to wait. At that point, not even a few seconds later, the lights went out and you heard -- it sounded like a waterfall almost. You just saw people running. The lights went out, and it got dark. You just saw parts of buildings coming down.

I guess when the first building came down I actually thought it was another plane hit at that time. I didn't know the building came down.

At that point -- again, not even – I would say about 40 seconds, we get to the middle of the street with this individual, and you heard like a loud "rrrrr." Everything started shaking. We thought it was another plane.



Then we saw the second one come up. It looked like it was coming up the East River from here. I guess it was coming from the south. I thought it banked over the East River, which is what it looked like. I thought it made a left over the East River and went right into it going from east to west. But as it turns out, it came from the south. Then we saw it just go right into the building and explode. I remember talking to Eric. I remember Eric saying something, "Oh, my God, there's another plane." I was saying to him, "That plane is closer to us. It's really not a big plane going towards the building." Two seconds later it rammed into the building. You don't expect it. We just freaked.

We waited there right on the corner of the mall, right on the corner where the two sections met, the two mall sections. We were on the north corner of that. That's when 30 seconds after the lieutenant left you could hear the noise. I was looking down towards West Street, because that's where it seemed that it was coming from. You just heard -- I thought it was a third plane that hit, because when we were going in there was a couple of cops. When we made the right onto Liberty, they said, "Be careful, guys, there's a third plane heading in." So that's what I thought it was. It just seemed like a long time that it was -- it didn't seem like an explosion. It was like boom, boom, and then just got louder and louder. It got louder and louder, and then all of a sudden I was looking out onto West Street and the whole area turned from gray to black in a hurry.

We couldn't have walked more than like 15 steps when the second tower came down. Everybody just ran for their lives. Really that's exactly what happened. All of a sudden there was blue out and then it just got a shade darker and the noise and then it got darker and darker and darker. The noise was getting louder, and there was stuff falling.

I remember just walking up that block. That first block, all the cars were on fire. They weren't totally engulfed in flames, but there was fire on them and their tires were exploding. I just remember how quiet it was walking up that block. Everything was quiet except for the explosions of tires and stuff like that.



So we turned down Liberty off of Broadway and we're almost at Church and all of a sudden a massive explosion. Unbelievable. The sound was incredible. It turns out it was the second plane that hit the south tower, and it hit on the Liberty Street side, so it was a block and a half, two blocks from us. The sound was incredible. We didn't know what it was at the time. We thought it might have been a bomb.

I was in the back room, it must be the northeast corner, and some guys must have been on the southeast corner, when all of a sudden the building shook. I've never been in an earthquake, but it couldn't have been any worse than that, any major earthquake. It just shook the building like I just couldn't believe. I mean, it was really bad. We stopped a second, looked at each other, what's going on here? We come out. Another guy comes from another room, let's go, let's go in the stairwell. We start going to the stairwell.

When the building shook, to go back, we didn't realize what happened. We didn't realize it was the south tower. I know myself and I've talked to the guys that were with me that day, we all thought the same thing, it was the upper floors of our building. That's what we thought. We thought the upper floors of our building had collapsed and we didn't know what was going on. So on the way down, I remember, I know myself, I kept thinking that the rest of it was going to be coming down. But it ended up being the south tower.

We got down to the lobby and it opened up where you could walk at a normal pace. Nobody was running out, but you were walking at a pretty good clip at that point. You could see a couple of the elevators had crashed to the bottom and there were doors blown open and stuff. It was very strange because there was debris everywhere, not the big, heavy, steel debris, but there was dust, coated with dust everywhere.

My back was towards the building. The guys sat down on the rig, you can open up your coats, take your mask off your shoulder, breathe a sigh of relief, okay, let's catch our breath, see what's going on before we do anything. Paul Hyland looks up and goes here it comes. Run. My back was towards the building. I didn't check back and look. A lot of the other guys were already looking that way, so they saw everything break apart.

We're in front of Stuyvesant catching our breath, and I'm not sure how much later, it wasn't that much longer, a cop comes running up and tells everybody from the high school to go down the block, that they got a bomb scare or a gas leak, the high school is ready to blow up. So now we're trying to catch our breath here, so we ended up running up another five or six blocks not knowing what's going on. We're going up West Street and I'm looking over to the right and I saw all these buildings, the rig was to the left, and I'm thinking are these secondary devices? Are they planted to explode every 20 minutes now? Are they going to chase us all the way up the west side?



We were just rummaging around and soon we heard this noise. It sounded like a train. I thought it was another jet coming overhead. I thought it was a fighter jet now patrolling or another plane coming.



We went over the Brooklyn Bridge, came down I believe it was Broadway and stopped the rig on Broadway and Liberty. At the same time, the second plane hit. So when we were stepping off the rig, we heard the explosion and we looked up and we what everybody else saw, a big ball of fire, smoke, flame debris, building debris.

But when it start coming down, you knew exactly what it was. A couple of guys thought it was another plane because we heard reports of another plane coming in, and then you heard this noise and a few guys said it's another plane. But for whatever reason, I knew exactly what it was. It sounded like a freight train going right over your head. It was an unbelievable experience. Then, when the second one went, obviously, you heard the same noise, so you knew what that was.



At that time, getting of the rig, we were informed, we believe by the department radio that the elevators were falling in the shafts and not use high bank or mid bank of elevators. To use only low bank of elevators only.

At this time, I caught the explosion, coming from my left side. I seen the ceiling coming down and we all got low and backed down a dead end hallway.

We were blown down the hallway. My left eye was blinded by debris from the explosion and at this time, when I was getting blown down, I thought this was the third plane ESU was talking about. I had that in my mind, that now the third plane had hit the building and that’s what the event was. At first we were waiting for the heat to come and then we realised it was breathable and we crawled out and you couldn’t even talk. You had so much debris in your mouth.
Q. This building was still okay. What happened was 2 collapsed and caused all of this debris and dust everything else. Is that it?
A. Actually, the explosion came in through those doors and came up behind the way I had come in. and I realized that, that the explosion came from the way I just left.
Q. Did you know what the explosion was?
A. No. We never heard, through this whole event, through the collapse of other than – well, 1 World Trade Center I happened to be there. I seen that collapse. We never knew 2 World Trade Center collapsed on channel 3. My men didn’t know it, I didn’t know it. In fact, I didn’t know for a week later the sequence of events until I talked to a chief in the 8th battalion and he told me I was wrong. I thought the hotel collapsed first.

At this point, my eyes are now I can see. I squint and I notice that the hotel is in a V-shaped collapse with only the two ends of the hotel – the whole center of the hotel has disappeared into a V-shaped collapse down to almost street level. I realized there was ten to fifteen companies that I had only passed three to five minutes prior to this explosion. That’s about the time I was in 1, was no more than three to five minutes when this occurred, which we found out later was the collapse of 2, but we did not know at this time.

But there were electrical fires starting on my way out. I could see – I could actually see the electrical arc and it was like the white lights above us. So I was actually using that for reference. Ceiling, floor. That’s how I got reference back on my feet. I was just watching the ceiling and it was arcing.

Q. In the lobby of tower 1, did you notice any elevators, anything unusual about the elevators or the elevator doors? Was there fire in the elevator shaft? Were they blown in, the doors? Anything like that?
A. No. they had asked me that, where the explosion came from that I encountered. The explosion came right from the way I had entered. It came right from in back of me.



All of a sudden, I turned away, and I heard a tremendous explosion, and I turned around. That was the second plane hitting the trade center, so that’s when they told us to respond.

I was walking back up to the front of the tunnel, and I heard like a – to me, it sounded like thunder, and I just saw stuff coming down, and I heard someone. He said, “Run for your life. The tower is falling.” I looked up, and I just saw this thing coming, and we all just ran, ran into the tunnel.

So Z went back to the rig. He got his stuff and went on to get a flashlight. He was walking from the rig, and he seen – he heard the rumble. He seen guys running. He looked up, and the building was coming down.



After we met up again, we went back to another command post. Then they said there was a secondary explosion or they weren't sure if it was a bomb or a gas main. But we all started running again. We went north. After that we regrouped and set up another triage station farther from the site.



The next thing you know, you hear a loud thundering noise. It sounded like a jet, a big rumble. I start looking around and I'm like, what is that? The next thing I know, I see the cop just take off. I'm like, where's he going? Then I see the things on the floor, like Liberty -- you know, just like the movies, bouncing up and jumping and shaking. I mean, not like an earthquake, like a 6 point something or something like that. But you see stuff on the floor shaking from side to side. I'm like, oh, my God. I look up and I was saying, oh, no, the building's going to fall down.

By now the sound is just getting louder and louder and louder. I said, oh, man, this building is going to fall on me right now. What do I do? I got up, and I just -- this is like a split second. I said I can't keep running straight up, because you have this building right here on Washington. What is it? Bankers Trust Plaza, 130 Liberty Street? It takes up the entire block. So I can't run like in a diagonal. What I wanted to do is I didn't want to run straight up; I wanted to go diagonally to get out of the -- because I figured this building was falling, it was tumbling over. I didn't think it was falling down on top of itself.
Q. So you had a feeling the building was coming down right away?
A. Yeah.
Q. Is that what you first thought?
A. Yeah. The sound, it's just loud. At first it's (sound) and then you feel everything around you -- not around you but the floor. You feel the floor trembling and shaking. You look at the floor, the dirt, the sand and everything on the floor shifting from side to side. I'm like, oh, man. Then the cop takes off. He runs. Then I hit the corner, I turn the corner, a few feet I fall. By this time the sound is so, so, so loud, I think oh, my God. I never looked back, because I figured if I looked back that was going to be it, I'd freeze or be hit with something. I said, look, I don't want to waste any time. Whatever it is I'm going to do, I've got to do it quickly.

All you hear is all this rumbling. The rumbling, the rumbling, the rumbling, that's all you heard. The rumbling and the smoke.

Like things weren't bad enough already, the car that's parked right on that corner catches on fire. I don't mean a little fire, the entire thing. Don't ask me how. The entire car caught on fire. You would think maybe just a motor part or just the engine part. But this entire car just goes up in fire. I'm like, oh, my God, what's happening? I didn't get squashed and I'm going to suffocate here and now I'm going to burn. The smoke was real hot. The smoke was real, real hot. I thought about, oh, man, if I keep breathing the smoke in, my larynx is going to swell and I'm going to suffocate like that, and all attached to crazy things I'm thinking. Forget about it. Now it was the car. Then I can't stand it anymore because it's getting real, real, real hot. I'm like, oh, man, I've got to get out of here. This thing is cooking me. Now thanks to the car fire -- because it was so big, I could see now.

Even before we found that, we found the people. As soon as we found the people, we hear it again, the rumbling. Right, I forgot all about that. We hear the rumbling. I was like, oh, my God, Joe, the rest of the building is falling down. We all run, and we all try to get as much as we can inside this building where we are now. We hide in a closet or something. The walls are all full of glass. So we're thinking that this glass is going to break. All you see is the thing moving. Later on we found out that was the second building that was falling down. We thought and I thought that the first one is still -- the rest of it is falling down.



We pulled our equipment out and started to stage in front of the building. We started to distribute equipment for triage. We had one or two patients who had a piece of the building that fell on his shoulder. We started to bring him to ambulance when all of a sudden we heard a large explosion. That explosion turned out to be subsequently the second plane hitting.



I figure about a half hour later after we arrived we had a good 20 to 30 people on that corner we were trying to treat. We were just trying to treat them. We then hear this explosion. We hear this explosion, and our first reaction is the plane was lodged in the building and it exploded or parts of it were still in the building and that exploded. Then people were screaming that another plane hit. I'm like, no way, there's no way. From where I was, I couldn't see the other tower. I saw the one tower. I couldn't see the other tower. They said another plane hit. So I'm like, there's no way. More people were starting to say it. Then it came over the radio. That's when I knew it was deliberate. I knew it was deliberate. At first I was thinking maybe it was an accident, human error of the worst kind. But the second plane, I knew it was deliberate. I knew this was an attack.

I'm not sure how much time passed after that. I lost track of time. You start to hear this rumble. You hear this rumble. Everything is shaking. Now I'm like, what the hell could that be. I'm thinking we're going to get bombed. This is an air raid. You hear this thunder, this rumbling. Then you see the building start to come down. Everybody's like, "Run for your lives! The building is coming down!"

That's when over the radio you hear, "Stand fast. The north tower is leaning." I'm like, how is the north tower leaning? See, once I heard the second plane hit, I was thinking the second plane hit one building, both planes hit that one building, and that building had kind of come straight down. So all I saw was smoke coming at me and everything else, and I just ran. I still got bombarded with all of that stuff. When I came back this time, not only was it snowing but I could see the tower, and the tower was starting to break off. It was kind of looking like it was going to tip, and there was a piece of the building coming down right on top of me and Mike. We were holding each other's hands and we were like, "Whoa, look at that." We sat there like for a split second and we just watched it in amazement that this building was coming down, the second building was coming down. The building was hitting other buildings. It was hitting buildings over here. It was crazy. Then we made another U turn, and everything started rumbling again. Another tidal wave blacked out the whole scene. This time it was worse. We were just running. This time we ran all the way back as far as we could to the railing. I was damn near ready to jump in the river.

Oh, wait, another major thing. When that second building came down, as we were running, you hear this thunder in the air. This was a scary part. We hear thunder. That's when I'm like, oh, no, now they're going to bomb us. You hear this thunder. You know it's in the air, but you don't see anything. You just hear this loud sound. It's just getting bigger and bigger. Then you see our fighters in the air, F-14s, whatever they were, F-18s. Everybody just got a new sense of hope. We were all just cheering, like "USA" and "shoot those mother fuckers down." We knew we were at war. We knew we were at war.



At that point between actually – probably before the third engine company came is when the second plane hit, and I was in the middle of the street at the time, and it came -- the plane came from the south, so I saw very little of the plane. I only saw a flash going on the side of the building where the opening is, and then the explosion. That's when I took cover inside the rig, because everything was -- all the metal and stuff was coming down on the rig and in the streets, you know, stuff from the plane, and metal and whatever, and glass, and et cetera.



Then approximately I guess maybe two hours before number 7 came down, we went into Ground Zero and helped dig around and was there when they located Chief Feehan and one of the Chiefs pulled us all out because they said 7 was going to come down.