EMT RICHARD ZARRILLO
Abdo and I went into No. 7, activated OEM, placed calls to EMS Citywide, RCC, to tell them we were there and we were activated. Maybe five, ten minutes, not even ten minutes later, a rep from OEM came into the main room and said we need to evacuate the building; there's a third plane inbound. That was the only thing I really heard because I said, Abdo, we've got to go, and we made it down to the lobby of the building, street level, met up with Chief Peruggia in the lobby of the building. He said that there was no third plane but we needed to re-establish OEM right there so we can coordinate what was going on. He had already been to the command post, so he told us, and he was trying to release people back to be operational. He was looking for the Fire guy to go back in. He was there with Captain Yakimovich. In OEM with Captain Nahmod and I was Chief Maggio, who is now retired, and another firefighter from the 1st Division. We were really trying to establish OEM and a treatment sector in the lobby of the building because there were people coming around us. Again, times are a little fuzzy initially for me. A few minutes later, John came to me and said you need to go find Chief Ganci and relay the following message: that the buildings have been compromised, we need to evacuate, they're going to collapse. I said okay. I went down
Q. You were by yourself?
A. I was by myself, me and my helmet and my radio. I got to the corner of Vesey and West. I found some
As that roar was happening on the second time around, I was running down
You see the plumes of smoke, the dust cloud that was coming down, but we just really wanted to find a safe place for that. Probably about ten blocks up
Q. What kind of jets?
A. Military jets.
Q. Military jets?
Q. This is --
A. This is right after the second collapse.
Q. After the second collapse?
A. Well, if I say 15 minutes from the time we got to that school building and started walking towards Chelsea, maybe ten, 15 minutes had passed by the time that --
Q. Half an hour?
A. Again, I do apologize for that.
Q. No, everybody has that problem.
A. Time wasn't --
Q. There's no perception of time.
A. It's still very surreal. There I was talking to Chief Ganci and relaying that the building is going to come down and then it came down on us. It's very bothersome.
In that process of him trying to explain to me to pull my ambulance over, I heard a loud bang. We looked up, and we just saw the building starting to collapse. I looked over and started to scream at my partner, which he was inside the vehicle.
Q. Who was your partner that day?
A. My partner was Naomi Nacional. I was screaming from the top of my lungs, and I must have been about ten feet away from her and she couldn't even hear me, because the building was so loud, the explosion, that she couldn't even hear me. I just saw everybody running; and she saw us running, and she took off behind us.
Then we were helping these people, loading them up to the ambulance, when I heard over citywide -- I had my radio on. I heard over citywide that the second tower was leaning south, to start heading people north, it was about to go.
I just knew that what happened was horrific. It was a bombing. It wasn't an accident. I didn't know what was going on. I had no idea, no clue that two airplanes had hit the building.
Everybody's heads were all popping up now. Everybody is digging out, so I ran into a couple of firefighters and I said, "Well, you know, what the hell happened?" Some kind of an explosion, he goes, and that's what I thought it was, because it was like coming at you sideways, so we looked out, and we're getting the people out, and as we are getting people out through this debris onto West Street, I'm looking at the medical treatment area, and all the fire apparatus, and all the ambulances were on fire, and nobody is around.
The radios weren't working, and we hear this noise again. This is 15, 20 minutes later. I don't know the exact time frame, and we hear this noise again, and I turned, and I could see Bobby Browne and Jason Katz. They were like about 20, 30 feet ahead of me, and they disappeared into the world -- they ran into the World Financial Center, so we start running, and we get to within, I don't know, five feet of it, and we get blown through the plate glass window with the wind velocity, so then we get trapped up in here, and we get buried again, and I'm on, I guess, like the left side of where -- I got pushed in and slipped to the left, and you got pushed into, you know -- got crashed into a wall, so when -- then that noise went on like a minute, minute and a half, and then it stopped, and we got buried again, but now there is somebody under me, and it's a fireman, there's a Scott pack, and we're wiggling around, and this turns out to be Lieutenant Stan Rybak of Haz-Mat operations, and we started buddy breathing with the Scott pack. I was able to get some air.
EMT SEAN CUNNIFFE
We were waiting there. We really didn't know what was going on outside because we were inside. We couldn't really see from this point that far over. That's when everybody just started running. The rumbling started and a big cloud of smoke came by the windows and started breaking the windows.
Q. Now we're talking about the south tower collapsing?
A. Yeah, it collapsed. I'm sure it was some significant time in between. It seemed like ten minutes, the whole job.
Q. You lose time.
A. Yeah. I guess it's almost an hour later, . From that, the building started collapsing. I just remember looking up at it and it was like, ah, that's not supposed to collapse. It's supposed to stay up. People were just running, and someone kicked me and said, "Run, you stupid ass, run."
We were setting up, and we said, okay, let's go back. We were on our way back, and we made it again to pretty much the same corner of
EMT ROBERT COOK
A bunch of firemen came out of the firehouse, went to the corner. You could see the first tower on fire. So then we were available, they assigned us to the call, they said to switch over to Citywide. We proceeded over the bridge. Once we got over the bridge, the second plane hit. There was an explosion. We didn't know it was a second plane. We thought it was just exploding from the first plane. Then over Citywide we heard people saying it was a second plane and it was deliberate.
Q. At this point, what part were you there? Were you there for the first collision or the second collision?
A. The second collision.
Q. The second plane went into the building?
A. As we were on
Q. But the buildings were still standing?
A. Still standing, yes. They were still standing. The whole time we were in
BATTALION CHIEF BRIAN DIXON
I just pulled up to the street there, just put the car in gear, in park, and hear this horrendous boom. It shook the car. I figured somebody in the north tower exploded. Then like a Godzilla movie, everybody that had been standing in that little park there across from One Liberty Plaza and had been just looking up and watching the north tower burn just started running eastbound like they were being chased by someone. I jumped out of the car. I looked up and the south tower -- that must have been the time that the plane had just struck the south tower. Now I see the south tower also. Somebody was saying there's another plane. At that point I assumed you can't have two -- it can't be an accident to have two planes. So, I don't know if there's planes or missiles or what but something was hitting this thing. You saw debris was falling down.
Ganci was just figuring out where they were putting people. I was watching the fire, watching the people jump and hearing a noise and looking up and seeing -- it actually looked -- the lowest floor of fire in the south tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives around it because the whole bottom I could see -- I could see two sides of it and the other side -- it just looked like that floor blew out. I looked up and you could actually see everything blew out on the one floor. I thought, geez, this looks like an explosion up there, it blew out. Then I guess in some sense of time we looked at it and realized, no, actually it just collapsed. That's what blew out the windows, not that there was an explosion there but that windows blew out. The realization hit that it's going to fall down, the top's coming off. I was still thinking -- there was never a thought that this whole thing is coming down. I thought that that blew out and stuff is starting to fly down. The top is going to topple off there. Somebody yelled to run. We turned around and somebody yelled -- a guy said get back into the garage. Not that I thought that was a great idea if this thing fell on the building, but there really wasn't that much time to go back out in the street up and around again. It was one of those whoops, here it comes. So we turned and went down the ramp. Everybody that was at the command post I believe went down the ramp, Ganci included. We turned around, went down and there were probably two companies at least there, it seemed. They went down and in. There was a cop there who fell down in front of me. He fell down, so I stopped to pick him up and get him up there. I didn't get all the way back. As I just got in under the entrance there, I got just a little ways back and it was just like -- you hear the noise, a boom, and then a blast of air. It just kind of threw me against the wall. That's where I decided to stay.
So I'm out in the street and it had to be half an hour because I'm there when the second one comes down too and I'm not far north on Vesey when I hear the same noise again and look up and realize oh, this one's coming down.
Q. Where were you when that happened?
A. Probably just on
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FRANK GRIBBON
I got them, we go back through 4 World Financial Center, through the glass enclosed connection, through 3 World Financial Center. I basically traced my route back to the pedestrian bridge on
I was back there walking down, actually starting to head up Vesey Street to approach that way, the site, when tower one comes down. Tower one comes down. Then I head that way now and now it's just the whole corner is filled with rigs, all the rigs are destroyed, there are car fires all over the place. There are some injured guys coming out.
So I really don't have -- one thing I left out, for the record I guess. The one thing, I talked to Ray Goldbach and Tom Fitzpatrick when I got there and I looked up at them and I said do we have a collapse potential here. I remember them saying no, they are made to withstand a hit from planes. But I guess none of us really thought. I don't know what that originated from.
Q. I don't think they figured on jet fuel.
A. Terrorism, yeah. A plane hit the tower, which is, I guess what everybody thought when they heard a plane hit the tower. It was not what they had in mind when they talk about a plane. It was built to withstand being hit by a plane, not by a plane being driven into the towers loaded with jet fuel. But that was the one conversation I had with anybody really at the command post. It occurred to me. I thought at least we had chance of a partial collapse, after some amount of burning time you know.
Q. You mean the top falling off?
A. Something like that.
We remember saying over the radio make sure everybody was their helmets on, this is a hard hat op, because we were starting to get hit with stuff. We didn't know what it was. It was mostly just soot and paper, but, you know, it wasn't really clear what was happening. About this time we heard like a little bit of an explosion. I guess it was secondary to the crash that had occurred, and we immediately told everybody let's retreat.
We remained at that location for a little while. Chief Basile came in, and he was there. They began to discuss strategies and what was going to occur. A couple of times really we were frightened by what we thought were additional explosions. We kept hearing these large boom, boom, and actually what it turned out to be -- what it said in the Times, it actually was people jumping and hitting on the glass awning that was outside the lobby there.
Anyway, we began to establish our situation now, and we heard a little -- all of a sudden we hear a huge explosion, you know, and in looking up, you could see the second tower being hit by this second plane, you know, and it was at that -- it was at that very moment that everybody there realized that we were -- you know, that this was clearly a planned act that this is ?
Q. No accident?
A. This was no accident, you know, and it was a terrible feeling to say, oh, my God, you know, this is something that's really bad that's happening.
While we were discussing this, I remember hearing Chief Ganci say, "Oh, shit," you know, so we all looked up, and you could hear this rumble coming. We looked up at the south tower, which is the No. 2 tower, and all of a sudden we began to see like a pancake. I mean, it's as simple as that. If you could imagine you had two cards in your hand, and you just clapped your hands, and they just closed on each other. That's what it looked like, like a toy, and we began to see the pancake, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, one floor after another, as quick as you can imagine it.
We stopped our meeting, and we went out again where we were treating patients, and we were out on the street when we heard the rumble of the second tower collapsing. I remember specifically myself going up
A. Yes, heading eastbound up
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LYNN TIERNEY
So we went this way and we were right here, right at this corner of Washington and Vesey, when that building fell.
Q. That's number two, building number two?
A. Building number two. We started to hear this rumble and luckily there was a loading dock. We just dove into the loading dock. The whole thing came -- you know, the whole thing came down.
EMT CURTIS JACKSON
Q. At this point what had happened; the first plane had hit?
A. I'm sorry. The first plane had hit already.
Q. That was the start; when you got there, the first plane had hit?
A. The first plane hit.
Q. The tower was on fire?
A. Right. The tower was on fire. At that time, as we were there, we were told to set up triage right in the area where we pulled up at. During that time I saw numerous people just coming out of -- dropping out of the sky, I mean, actually jumping to their death, landing all over the place, crashing through glass, crashing right on vehicles, on the street. We were just told to set up triage and wait for patients to be brought to us, but nobody brought us patients because there was nobody to bring out. I tried to use my cell phone, but I couldn't get any transmission. So myself, Decosta Wright and EMT Felton started to head over to the building across the street from where the towers were on fire. As we were heading over there, that's when I heard a big explosion. I didn't know what it was. We turned around and saw the second tower on fire and we started running inside the building and we just ran. It was like a maze.
MR. DUN: Was this still before the second plane hit?
EMT BRIAN GORDON
We had come into the station, did a few things, dropped off our equipment, and Brian ? we were leaving and we were walking up the ramp out here. We got into the parking lot and Brian said did you hear that boom? We had heard just a boom and we looked over and we saw a big ball of fire coming out of the tower.
He said we're going to go break into the snack trucks and take their Snapples and waters and stuff, and he went back out, and then like maybe a minute after he left, I heard the tower fall. The tower started to fall. It was like real loud, like the No. 4 train going over your head. They came running in and everybody was screaming the towers are falling, the towers are falling, run.
CAPTAIN JAY SWITHERS
At that point I looked back and most of the people who were triaged in that area with the triage tags on them got up and ran. I took a quick glance at the building and while I didn't see it falling, I saw a large section of it blasting out, which led me to believe it was just an explosion. I thought it was a secondary device, but I knew that we had to go. When I looked down at my patient, she was no longer there. She had already ran and I started to run. I ran eastbound on
Within a few moments, I regrouped with Bruce Medjuck and I asked him to tell them on the radio to send us MTA buses to get people out. That didn't happen. But one thing that did happen was an ambulance pulled up which was very clean. So I assumed that the vehicle had not been in the - what I thought was an explosion at the time, but was the first collapse.
When they started to get out of that vehicle, which I didn't see, but they told me later on, that that's where the second building, building number 2, the north tower, started to collapse. I immediately just started to run, first north and then east on to
I picked up my cell phone and I managed to get through. My wife picked up the phone. She was hysterical crying. I told her I was okay. At that point I asked her what had happened. She told me that they are gone. They are not there. I couldn't imagine that both the buildings were gone. I said what are you talking about. Are the children gone? What you are you talking about. She told me the buildings are gone. I said what buildings are gone. She said the
So I decided I didn't want to put myself right in the middle of it, so I backed my ambulance up to the opposite corner. Just then a rumble was heard, and then after it goes black and pieces of metal and so forth and so forth started falling on the ambulance. It goes completely black.
My partner goes one way. I go back to the ambulance to pick up some more O2 tanks and just prior to getting to the bus, I hear the rumble and I drop everything and I run out. As I'm running, I take a look back, see the cloud of dust coming at me and I go into one of the buildings with a little walkway type of deal and ducked in there and see everything come by, it goes completely black.
SUPERVISOR FIRE MARSHAL BRIAN GROGAN
So I was in the office when that call came in. I went back out to the TV. As I was getting the guys together, I looked up at the television and I saw the explosion of the second tower.
Q. The second plane coming in?
A. I didn't see the second plane, because the picture that we had I think was from the north view of the south tower. You could see that big explosion, that gas that exploded out I guess it would be the north side of the tower.
CHIEF FRANK CRUTHERS
And while I was still in that immediate area, the south tower, 2 World Trade Center, there was what appeared to be at first an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of the collapse.
While I was doing that, I heard more rumbling. I took refuge on the west side of the escalator corner. Once again there was a tremendous cloud. It was pitch black. I waited again until the cloud began to lift. I made my way back around to the same entrance that I had come in, and then -- from that point, I don't remember what route I went by, but I made my way north up to Vesey Street.
Q. This is after --
A. After the second tower came down.
Early on, there was concern that 7 World Trade Center might have been both impacted by the collapsing tower and had several fires in it and there was a concern that it might collapse. So we instructed that a collapse area ?
Q. A collapse zone?
A. Yeah -- be set up and maintained so that when the expected collapse of 7 happened, we wouldn't have people working in it. There was considerable discussion with Con Ed regarding the substation in that building and the feeders and the oil coolants and so on. And their concern was of the type of fire we might have when it collapsed. They shut down the power, and when it did collapse, the things that they were concerned with would have been.
EMT FAROOQ MUHAMMAD
Anyway, we ended up in front of the tower and we were triaging people. We were giving them oxygen, giving them nebulizers. We had made a plan. There were ambulances out in front. We decided we were going to start transporting people, this is what we were going to do, and before you knew it, we heard a loud noise, you looked up, and the tower was collapsing.
But right before we were going to go outside, the next big, loud noise comes and here comes another big, thick cloud of debris.