FIRE MARSHAL STEVEN MOSIELLO
At that point the Mayor shows up. I was standing away from the command post, and the Mayor showed up. And one of his aides asked where the Fire Commissioner was. I remember the Mayor being with Commissioner Kerik and himself and a lot of their aides and escorts or whatever. Somebody said the Commissioner was in
Q. You left off with the statement about if it was left with just the jumpers and that one tower.
A. At that point I don't know exactly when the Commissioner and Mayor had left. It was pretty soon after they had left that Richie Zarillo, who works with EMS -- I believe he's an OEM liaison -- came running up to me. I was not on the ramp at this time. I was like almost at the sidewalk location. He said Steve, where's the Chief? I have to tell him, you know -- I said tell him what, Richie? These buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. I said how do you know that, you know? So he ran with me. I ran over and grabbed Chief Ganci and said Chief, these buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. He looked up at me -
Q. Had the second plane hit at this point?
A. Yes, yes, the second plane hit. We saw the second plane hit -- if you want me to go back to when the second plane hit. I was told by Chief Ingram, who was a terrorist and hazmat-type guy, that we've got to be careful of secondary explosions or secondary devices. Who knew that the secondary device would be another plane. People actually saw the plane. You heard it, the closer it got. It just got louder and louder. I say that he throttled up as fast as he could. That's what it sounded like, but I think he became more in earshot of us. And he just came in and put the plane into the building. As I'm looking up at this stuff that's going on up there now, I just like -- I'm saying to myself I've seen this in a movie. My whole recollection is going back to a movie or something I saw. I just saw this before. It's like before my eyes. I don't know if I ever did or didn't, you know, in a dream.
Then at that point within a few minutes, Richie Zarillo came up to me. I'll go back to that. He said that these buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. I went right up to the Chief because I was a few steps away. I said Chief, these buildings are in imminent danger of collapse. And he said to me who would tell you something like that? And he looked at me and he had that determined -- I have to say probably scared look on his face, who would tell you something like that. I said Richie, come over here and tell the Chief what you just told me. He got the words out of his mouth. I think it was maybe 25, 30 seconds later, maybe, the building came down.
Q. Did Zarillo ever say what he based that opinion on?
A. I believe the Chief said where did he get that from? He said from OEM. We were trying to determine exactly how he got it. In retrospect, how did he get it? He was walking towards us. Was he coming towards us anyway and he got it over his radio? I think he told me he got it from Peruggia. There was like a relay type of thing, which maybe we should have and didn't have our OEM radios on at the location. There was a lot of havoc going on.
And now we're running opposite of the collapse, obviously. I'm running north on
Q. This is at the time of the collapse?
A. At the time of the collapse. I heard the noise. I looked up. I saw the debris flying. And believe it or not, I never heard another thing. I did not hear another thing after that. Same thing with the first collapse. After the initial rumbling, you look up, my ears shut right down. I heard nothing. Speaking to people, they say you probably thought you were dead, you were just shutting everything out.
CHIEF ALBERT TURI
Then I further stated that we do not have the capability to put that many floors of fire out. I knew right from the start that there was no way this Fire Department could extinguish six or eight floors of fire fully involved in a high-rise building. It's just not possible because we don't have the means to do it.
Then I went over to talk to Chiefs Callan and Hayden, who were the incident commanders, Chief Callan being the incident commander, Chief Hayden being the deputy chief in the 1st Division who had responded, and I stated to them that there is no possible way that we could extinguish this fire, and they were certainly in agreement with that, and that it should strictly be an evacuation procedure and to get as many people out of the building as quickly as we can, and I remember being extremely concerned that we would have a lot of our people up in the building and a third aircraft would then strike it.
Q. Let me stop you there for a second, chief. When you were in the lobby of 1 World Trade, can you describe the interior and the condition of the lobby?
A. Yes. I was surprised that all the glass was mostly out. I wasn't sure how it got out. I didn't think we took it out. I just assumed that it was the vibration of the aircraft hitting it. And I did notice some pieces of marble that looked like it was dislodged from the core area.
We were looking at two large bodies of fires that neither of us in our 33-year careers had ever seen anything that enormous. So it's pretty much, you know, I thought we would lose a company or two possibly. I didn't think we would come out of this unscathed at all. It was just too enormous.
And I thought to myself that, based on other high-rise fires that had burned out of control, that we would probably have some type of localized collapse up on the upper floors, especially in the core area of the building, which I mistakenly thought was block construction. After further investigation, of course, after the fact, it wasn't block construction. The elevator cores were encased in sheetrock actually.
Q. For the record, would you tell us what block construction is?
A. Yes. Block is usually like a four-inch cement block that's laid and that's what encloses elevator shafts. In the construction of the
Then Steve Mosiello, Chief Ganci's executive assistant, came over to the command post and he said we're getting reports from OEM that the buildings are not structurally sound, and of course that got our attention really quick, and Pete said, well, who are we getting these reports from? And then Steve brought an EMT person over to the command post who was I think sent as a runner to tell us this and Chief Ganci questioned him, where are we getting these reports? And his answer was something, you know, we're not sure, OEM is just reporting this. And within ten seconds of that conversation, I was writing on my clipboard -- can I use foul language on this?
Q. Absolutely. That conversation, by the way, took place in the ramp driveway leading into the garage?
A. That is correct; right at the ramp. The ramp was still on the exterior. We were not in the garage. Maybe 20 feet from the opening of the garage. The next thing I heard was Pete say what the fuck is this? And as my eyes traveled up the building, and I was looking at the south tower, somewhere about halfway up, my initial reaction was there was a secondary explosion, and the entire floor area, a ring right around the building blew out. I later realized that the building had started to collapse already and this was the air being compressed and that is the floor that let go. And as my eyes traveled further up the building, I realized that this building was collapsing and I turned around and most everybody was ahead of me running for the garage, and I remember thinking I looked at this thing a little bit too long and I might not make this garage. But I did. And I got about 20 feet down the ramp into the garage, I'm going to estimate 15 to 20 feet, when all the dust from debris blew into the garage like it was a hurricane force wind and I ducked into some small alcove. Most of the remainder of the people were in the garage deeper than I was because I was still on the ramp. I could feel the incline. And you could hear heavy objects falling outside and I said to myself, well, if this building doesn't collapse around me, we'll probably survive this. Then the dust got so thick and it became so black at one time I thought, wow, 33 years under some terrible conditions and I'm going to smother in dust and die.
So I think I stayed out in the front for about I'm going to guess five, ten minutes tops, as the dust lifted, and Chief Ganci came around the corner. He had gotten out through a stairwell in the garage. And we regrouped a t my position where the original command post was and I said, Pete, that building just collapsed. Get everybody out of the north tower. A collapse is imminent. I f it happened there, it's going to happen here. We've got to get everybody out. I heard him give that order over the handie - talkie. But not mine. Mine had ceased to work. Maybe it had dust in it or whatever happened. My handie - talkie was no longer working. I heard him verbally issue that order more than once. I could not hear if it was received or it was acknowledged.
And I started walking south on West Street to find out where Chief Ganci went when I heard this enormous roar. It was the same roar I heard when the south tower collapsed and I knew that this was collapsing. I didn't even look at it this time. I turned around and I started running north on
LIEUTENANT MICHAEL CAHILL
All of a sudden somebody gave an alarm. I don't know who it was, that it was time to evacuate this area now as quickly as possible. Ambulances peeling out. MERV peeled out. People left their ambulances taking off on foot. People were confused. They didn't know, some of the folks who were assigned over there, knew where to report, but didn't know anything else about Manhattan, so they didn't know where they should go first, or where to report to at this point. That's when the second collapse started to come down. All kinds of noise. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, very loud. Nobody knew what it was. Everybody stopped when we heard it. Everybody took it very seriously when the firefighters started running. When they start running, it's like maybe time to catch up, before you even ask a question and we didn't know if that was -- We started hearing the first building had come down completely. Initially we heard there were like 5 or 6 stories that were still standing. Then we heard that it was gas mains or cars going off. That's what we thought the thumping was initially. But I think it turned out to be the second building coming down, because right after that there was this monumental cloud.
We had a meeting at in the morning which exceeded our end of tour time. Once we left the meeting, I was monitoring SOD and I heard a police officer yell there was an explosion in the
Chief Goldfarb says, "Come on, Mary." I said, "Where are we going?" He said, "We're going into the south tower." It's customary we set up treatment and triage in the fire building. I look up and I said, "Chief, we're not going into this building. I said, Chief, the fucking shits going to fall," never anticipating the whole building but I just thought the floors up there.
I wasn't even so much concerned for my safety. We just do what we've got to do. All of a sudden, that's it, you hear the rumbling and it's getting louder and louder. I'm like, oh, shit. He said, "Mary, run!" I'm thinking, oh, shit, the building's falling. He's saying, "Mary, run!"
So I'm running, and I'm worried about the chief, that he's there. Nobody expected those buildings to implode. They were thinking, it's going to topple. When it's falling, you think it's going to topple. Where is it going to go?
I remember the chiefs were in front of the Embassy Hotel Suites, and I'm there. I said, "Chief, I hear the rumbling noise. The other building's going to fall." He said, "I don't hear anything, Mary." I said, "Chief, the other building's going to fall." The other chiefs are looking at me like I'm going crazy. I said, "Chief Goldfarb, you know I have a keen sense of hearing. The other building is going to fall." Sure enough, another 30 seconds later, it got louder and louder. Then everybody is going to run, because we didn't see where the building toppled because we didn't know it imploded because you couldn't see anything.
Suddenly, my hero, my heroine, and I say that just out of total respect for her, says chief, the other building is coming down. I hear it. I'm like, Mary, try to stay calm. The other building is not coming down. Again, in retrospect, I mean, it's funny, you know, you just weren't processing this. Who could absolutely process the idea that a tower of the
Q. No, I don't.
A. But I have no idea. I don't know who was trapped, I don't know who was lost. I mean, we lost eight
Q. I don't believe that's known.
A. But anyway, she's like no, chief, I hear it, and she said you know I have very keen hearing. And she does. She said you know I have very keen hearing. She said that building is coming down. So we -- and we're standing with a bunch chiefs -- we say all right, you know what? Let's just move into cover. So we clear everybody off the street, we get everybody in under the sheltered area of this hotel inside, and you can't believe it. The second tower comes down. This was just a day of such mind-boggling stuff. So the second tower comes down. Huge clouds, huge -- the same thing. It's like, hey, I've been here already, you know? Just horrible. The strangest thing is I don't remember noise associated with it. You would think that would be a very noisy kind of thing, and I just remember quiet. I don't know if like your ears disconnect or something? I don't know. I don't remember ground shaking, noise, any of that stuff, and I was right there. Much too close. So this comes down and now we have a much larger area of debris outside and the cloud and stuff everywhere, and we're in the lobby and we're treating patients.
EMT IMMACULADA GATTAS
We started running and running and running and I just remember, I think Lieutenant Cahill running next to me. He was just -- it just -- we were just running as fast as we could and I remember one second or moment looking back and seeing the cloud. First listening to this sound, this thundering sound and then silence after that, like eerie silence, until the cloud caught up to us and surrounded us and you could see no more. Then it was silence and it was thousands and thousands of millions of particles hitting our skin. It felt like something was hitting my skin like glass and I couldn't see anything, nothing.
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER THOMAS McDONALD
We made it into the lobby of 1 World Trade Center. I believe we came off the courtyard and the windows were blown out nearest the
I worked my way north on West, went about a block. I sat on the front bumper of a rear mount to rest my leg. And the next thing I know is I heard that roar again. I looked up and tower one was on its way down.
Q. How far were you from tower one at this point?
A. I believe I was somewhere around Barclay and West. I ran as much as I could and I dove under a Police Department tow truck.
Q. Was the debris going up that far?
A. Yes, we had a lot of debris coming by us, crashing around us.
EMT MICHAEL D'ANGELO
As I watched the building burn, people jump out of the building, I can't tell you how long that was. Then I began to hear a rumble, I turned around and saw debris flying everywhere, the building came down. I ran up West Street, across Vesey and the whole street was blocked with emergency -- there was all trucks, but luckily there was a small Sedan command car, which I jumped over the hood and then ran up the block, up Vesey Street, then I got engulfed in a large cloud of --
Q. So, on Vesey you were going towards the water?
A. I ran in front of here. I ran across the street here and I ran west down
I remember hearing the F 15s flying overhead and that was scary because we thought they were flying more planes. I didn't know what was going on. I thought the guy brought 15 planes and were just going to fly them into the area, so I remember the F 15s flying overhead. I remember the big, big cloud of ash that just -- it didn't make it towards the water really. For some reason it stayed away from the water, I remember that.
I remember too, the cars started to explode inside the parking lot. I mean, the cars started cooking off, they started going off, boom, boom, boom, boom. I remember that.
EMT MICHAEL MEJIAS
As we are working up the patients and we are trying to get organized, there is rumors that there is a second plane coming. I thought nothing of it because you go on jobs, sometimes you get hysteria, people thinking there's more than what is going on. Shortly after that, the second plane came. I hear a big rush, like a low flying jet and I see a massive explosion. Now I'm getting a little nervous because now I know it's not an accident. Now I know that the first plane was deliberate and the second plane is deliberate.
The building started collapsing, the north tower started collapsing. It tipped down first and then the thing fell within itself. It was an amazing sight to see. It was really unbelievable. I thought I was watching a movie with special effects. Then from there people were rushing towards us. We ran all the way towards the water, as far to the water as we could go, on Vesey past North End towards the water where the park is. It was like a mushroom cloud of dust and debris coming towards us and everything. But it didn't really -- we were safe because we were surrounded by other buildings. If the tower would have fell towards
CAPTAIN RAY GOLDBACH
At that point, this was now late in the afternoon. I'm going to guess it was after .
Q. At that point in time had you heard anything about First Deputy Commissioner William Feehan or Chief of Department Peter Ganci?
A. No, we knew they were both missing because I had inquired six or seven times throughout the day as to their whereabouts. Everybody had said we couldn't find them, but at that point they had not been found. I was probably down at the operations post there by Stuyvesant High School for about 20 minutes when ? it might have been Steve Mosiello, it might have been somebody else, came over to me and said we think we found Bill and Pete, Commissioner Feehan and Pete Ganci. I then walked down a couple of blocks back to the site. We were north of the Winter Garden at that point. It might have been - it was
Q. It was on fire, correct, Captain?
A. Yes, it was on fire at that time. Then they said it suffered some form of structural damage. These things were going on at the same time. The fact that we thought we found Ganci and Feehan and his place at 7 World Trade Center. Made the decision to back everybody away, took all the units and moved them all the way back toward North End Avenue, which is as far I guess west as you could get on Vesey Street, to keep them out of the way.
15 minutes, 10 minutes later, absolutely no conception of what time it was, 7 World Trade Center collapsed. I remember hearing the building collapse and seeing the dust go up into the air.
EMT ALEXANDER LOUTSKY
Around that time, I didn't at the time realize it, but from where we were at, which was right in front of the
We knew we weren't necessarily in the hot zone, but we were in the wrong zone. So the risks increase. So we just wanted to, you know, rather than deliberate too much on one thing like that, but anyway, at that rate, I -- at that time, I heard a rumble, you know, and then it was, you know, really like, almost like an earthquake.
Right, right across the street from the south tower and then the south tower, we heard a rumble and we didn't even look. We ran, okay. We ran I tell you my legs were sore for three days after that, just that jog I took. We ran from here, which is on
It was a quick conversation. I didn't have time to talk to her. Then she proceeded to call her mother and her sister. While she was telling her sister that she was safe, what I perceived to be the building started rumbling, the one we were in, and it was my impression that a third plane hit the building we were in. I had no idea that the first tower was collapsing, which we couldn't see at that point. But we looked down the hall from where we came and we saw the building starting to come down, and it was actually the roof of that building, but we thought the whole building was coming down. She dropped the phone and we proceeded to run to go out through the corridor into the Winter Garden and try and run out the back way that way, out through the Winter Garden, but when we got down at the end of the hall and into the beginning of the Winter Garden, we saw the whole roof of the Winter Garden coming down and we knew that we couldn't make that an escape route. So we turned around and headed back into the corridor, and that's when it looked like a tidal wave of smoke was coming down the hall and it was just about to engulf us. So it was my impression at that point that the whole building was going down, that a third plane hit the building, and that we were probably going to be dead at that point. So I just yelled to her to dive into the corner of the hall, that possibly we could have some protection, and she dove into one area and I dove into another area. The rumbling, the building was rumbling, and we thought the whole building was coming down, people were screaming in the hall, the smoke engulfed us, we couldn't see, and there was just a loud rumble, a jet rumbling, alarms started going off and we actually thought we were going to die at that point.
There was a large group of people with us and we started going north again on River Avenue until we came up to the school, and after the school is the West Side Highway to turn and go north again. But what happened at the school was there was a major gas leak coming out of there and PD came to us and said that this building was going to blow up and we had to get everybody out of here, and at that point the school itself started filing out. So you had the large crowd from the North Terrace and then you had all the school emptying out.
CHIEF OF THE DEPARTMENT DANIEL NIGRO
At some point after our arrival and after we had moved to the west side of West Street, I heard a loud roar of a jet, looked up and saw the second plane impact the south tower. At that point it was clear to me it was a terrorist attack. Earlier I didn't know what it was. I assumed it was an accident. I turned around and saw the Mayor, with his large group, including the Commissioner and I went back to speak with him for a moment, regarding the fact that I believe this to be a terrorist attack. When I got back to business at the command post, I noticed the Mayor had left that area and that was the last I saw of him until that night I suppose.
After I spoke to him we proceeded south, heard a loud noise, knew it to be the building coming down, looked up, saw the building coming down on us. I grabbed my aide as he was going to go south and I took him east on Dey Street, and we got as far as we could until materials started crashing down and took refuge in a doorway of a building just east of the Millennium Hotel and survived in the doorway. When all the noise stopped and all the dust stopped, and we were able to get out of our position, we started talking east. We couldn't see if anything was left standing because of the dusk and the darkness that was created. You couldn't see at all from that vantage point anything maybe above the second story level, or more than 50 or 100 feet ahead of you.
So I decided to go east and then south and come back around on to West Street to get to the command post that way, which proved to be a good decision because at some point, east and south of -- I don't know what street we were on, we heard the noise again and knew that it was now the north tower coming down.
The most important operational decision to be made that afternoon was the collapse had damaged 7 World Trade Center, which is about a 50 story building, at Vesey between West Broadway and
Q. Stepping back for a moment to when you were coming over the
A. It looked to me like it was involving about 10 floors of the building, and the way it was burning, I stated to Chief Ganci on the way there that I didn't believe we could extinguish the fire.
Q. That was based on what?
A. The number of floors I think. The volume of fire on the number of floors. To my recollection, we had never put out a fire that involved that many floors in a high rise building in this city before. I think more or less the direction of - in both towers ended up, evacuation was the main, the initial concern. Get as many people out of the building as we could.
Q. Did you ever hear any communications over the radio before the first collapse that OEM thought the buildings could collapse and to get out of the area?
A. No, I heard later from an individual that somebody came over from OEM to the command post after I left and told Chief Ganci the building was unstable and that was moments before it came down. The only thing I do remember and I didn't hear it over the radio, I don't think, was that a third plane was heading in the direction, I assumed was heading in the direction of the Trade Center, that there was a third plane, then a little later on somebody told me about the plane that hit the Pentagon.
Timewise, I'm not real good with the time frame, but I might have been there maybe ten minutes, and I don't know if I heard it over the radio, or if I heard it over somebody else's radio, or if somebody else just yelled, and they said, "Watch out! The building's coming down." And with that, I can remember turning around, and I was standing right on the corner of West and Liberty, on the east corner of West and Liberty, and I can remember turning around and looking up at the building and seeing a very, very large section of the building just coming -- coming straight down at us with a sound like I have never heard before in my entire life, that it -- I had thought for a moment that another plane had come, that had hit the building. That's how loud the sound was.
I didn't know where anybody else was, and then I don't know how much time actually transpired between the time that we took care of some of our members that were injured, and the next thing I know, the north tower collapsed, and again, that horrible sound, and we all just ran. We all ran again.
When I got out onto south end avenue, there was an ambulance sitting right there, perfect shape, no problem. It was running. I said, oh, troops. Somebody else is here. That's so good, and I went running up to the truck, and naturally it was locked, just running, sitting there, but I was -- I was pretty stunned at that point, and I think that's the first time when I heard what appeared to be or what I thought in my mind was that we were going to be bombed, because I heard a fighter jet overhead, and when I heard the fighter jet overhead, Jason had come out of a store across the street on South End Avenue, and we looked at each other, and I said, "You all right?" He said, "Yeah, I'm okay. I can keep going." I said, "Okay, good. Come on, we got to get away from here." I said, "I don't know what's going on yet." I said, "We got to get away from here. I have no communication with anybody." I said, "Let's just move away from here." So I gathered anybody that was on the street there at that point, because people were starting to straggle out of the stores and stuff, and I told them, "Come on. You got to keep moving, keep moving." And I made it to the -- again, I heard that jet and I thought we were going to be bombed, and I started to run, and there was a cop that appeared on the corner, and he says, "Don't run. It's one every ours." He says, "It's one of ours. Don't worry."
I got probably about two blocks away, and I encountered a paramedic from Battalion 57 -- I don't know the kid's name -- running in the opposite direction that we were going, towards us, and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was in a panic, and he was yelling, "There's a gas leak! There's a gas leak! There's going to be an explosion. You have to get out of here. You have to get out of here."
EMT DAVID TIMOTHY
Well, I guess at approximately when everything started my partner and I were sitting on I believe that was Madison and
The next thing I heard was a loud like an engine roar. I looked up, and the next thing I knew I just saw -- I don't know if it was the tail end of the plane or what, but I saw something. When I looked up, I heard "boom." I'm sorry, the north tower was the first one. The south tower then got hit when we were right there.
So my partner now -- I think he's just getting one person on board and just started hearing I guess like -- to me it sounded like the 8:45 from Jamaica station going to Atlantic -- to Flatbush Avenue, the Long Island Railroad, just some big train just right over your head, like a whole bunch of locomotives just running right over your head. I looked up, and the building just tilted and started coming down. All I could say was run. That's the only thing I could remember from them is just saying run. I could have sworn my partner was behind me, and I'm running.
So I just told her, "Listen, get as far away from the area right now." The next thing I knew, you started hearing more explosions. I guess this is when the second tower started coming down. This time I was like, you know what, what else? What else? I almost thought I had died the first time. I thought, what else is there? I walked back in the building and said, "Jay, the second tower is coming down." He said, "What?" He said, "Everybody just get down on the floor and just get behind something." The same thing happened to the second tower. I'm looking from the window, just coming down.
EMT RICHARD BRODERICK
When we pulled in, we pulled in to
EMT JONATHAN MORITZ
I remember there were many units on the scene. I don't remember who exactly was there. I remember we were treating several patients immediately. There was a burn patient, a jumper patient, a lot of trauma. I had gone back to my unit to get, I believe, the second oxygen tank or another piece of my personal protective equipment when we heard a second explosion, and when we looked up, the second
EMT PETER HAYDEN
Q. Does anything anything stand out in your mind as just an odd event or something like that that sticks in your head from that day or any comments or opinions you'd like to add about it?
A. No. I mean, I didn't even actually get to look at the towers collapsing because I pretty much heard them, looked up, saw it and turned around and ran, and it was just get people water and get them on the bus and get them out of there.
I reached 7 World Trade Center. We walked into the lobby and we were going up the escalators to the main level. I checked in at the security desk. As we reached the top of the escalators, there were lots of people running down the escalator on the promenade. I spoke to one of the Deputy Directors and as I was speaking with him, I believe it was Deputy Director Rotanz, who is a Fire Department Captain on detail over there, Captain Nahmod and EMT Zarrillo approached as well. They had indicated that the building was being evacuated. I questioned as to what the nature of the evacuation was. I was told that it was not because of what was occurring across the street. No one feared that the building was in any danger as a result of two airplane attacks and subsequent fires, but that there were reports of a third plane that had been hijacked. It was unidentified, the location, and they thought it may be coming in for an additional strike. Therefore, they were evacuating the building.
At that point I went back into the building. I was in a discussion with Mr. Rotanz and I believe it was a representative from the Department of Buildings, but I'm not sure. Some engineer type person, and several of us were huddled talking in the lobby and it was brought to my attention, it was believed that the structural damage that was suffered to the towers was quite significant and they were very confident that the building's stability was compromised and they felt that the north tower was in danger of a near imminent collapse. I grabbed EMT Zarrillo, I advised him of that information. I told him he was to proceed immediately to the command post where Chief Ganci was located. Told him where it was across the street from number 1
Q. They felt that just the one building or both of them?
A. The information we got at that time was that they felt both buildings were significantly damaged, but they felt that the north tower, which was the first one to be struck, was going to be in imminent danger of collapse. Looking up at it, you could see that, you could see through the smoke or whatever, that there was significant structural damage to the exterior of the building. Very noticeable. Now you know, again, this is not a scene where the thought of both buildings collapsing ever entered into my mind. I was there in 1993, 14 minutes after the bomb went off. I operated some 16 hours at the building and with all the post-incident critiques and debriefings with various agencies. We were always told by everyone, the experts, that these buildings could withstand direct hits from airplanes. That's the way they were designed. They went through all of this architectural stuff, way beyond the scope of my knowledge. It was hit by an airplane. That's okay. It's made to be hit by an airplane. I mean I think everyone may have believed that. We were all told years ago it was made to be hit by an airplane. Some amount of time passed by, probably not long, again, I wasn't checking my watch. Actually we were just really disgusted, maybe we were going to move what we were going to do and how we were going to try to coordinate. Things were hectic. We didn't have the tools that we normally have to communicate with our agency, you know, cellular phones were not working properly, radio was very difficult to get through. I work for the Chief of the Department, I don't have a fire ground radio, so I had no direct communications with my boss at that time, which is one of the reasons I needed to send EMT Zarrillo with that message, which I felt was very significant, to the command post. Just moments before the south tower collapsed and, you know, when it happened we didn't know it was the south tower. We thought it was the north tower. There was a reporter of some sort, female with blond hair and her cameraman, an oriental fellow. They were setting up outside 7 World Trade Center, just east of the pedestrian bridge. I told them it would probably be better off to be set up under the bridge. At least it was protected. I was just about to enter a dialogue with her when I heard a sound I never heard before. I looked up and saw this huge cloud. I told him run. I grabbed the female, I threw her through the revolving doors of number 7. We were proceeding inside. She fell to the ground. I helped her out, I pushed her towards the direction of where we were all in the south corner and there was a little doorway behind that desk which led into the loading bays. Everybody started to run through that. Never made it to that door. The next thing that I remember was that I was covered in some glass and some debris. Everything came crashing through the front of number 7. It was totally pitch black.
I thought that part of the building or the facade of the building had collapsed. You know, it was too dusty to see outside, so we didn't know what happened, but I knew something real bad happened. I knew that everyone that we had in the lobby, or we thought everyone was accounted for. Again, there was a lot of rubble in the lobby, probably a few feet. The facade was all broken. Me and Phil grabbed some hand lights and the people who were still there at ground level, we directed them to the door where there were guys who were going to lead them out. Some Port Authority and some secret service, you know, they were housed at number 7. Captain Nahmod and Battalion Chief Maggio, they were going to lead that group of people. Probably in excess of 30 or 40 people out of the building.
I was about to make my way towards the command post. I noticed that the north bridge, I believe the north bridge, was still intact at that point. Again, you know, at this point things get a little cloudy. I was on Vesey and West. I looked up, I saw the north tower fully involved. I saw number 6
Q. Where were you standing exactly?
A. West and Vesey, just south of
Then I saw him dive to make his way underneath the rear of the ladder, at which point everything went black. The thunderous roar continued, for what seemed like five minutes, but it was probably just seconds. I was unable to breathe. I was unable to see. The dust was in my eyes, I had them shut. I couldn't breathe, I took my helmet, pulled it over my face to give me some confined breathing space.