Transcripts 201-220



At that point in time we were also doing some triaging. We -- now we are down there. We heard a rumble. I heard the rumble and looked in the back of me all I seen was a monstrous - I can't even describe it. A cloud. Looked like debris, dust.

There was one point in time that we were scared shit. What scared the shit out of me was we were down there and all we heard was another aircraft coming, but it turned out to be, I don't know, an F-15.

Right. When the second tower fell I was right here in this area here. I heard the rumble. Sorry, that was the first tower that fell. I heard the rumble. We were in this area here.
Q. Right.
West Side Highway and Vesey?
A. Right. So when that collapsed, I felt a tremor and I ran towards North End, but we had a cloud following us, so I ran around the corner to try to avoid it.

When the second tower fell, that one we were right here in this area here again. That one was more, like I would say more powerful, because I was closer to it. That one I got full of debris. Also, that was when I jumped into the LSU truck. I didn't get a chance to put the key in, you know. Because the first time, I believe it was the first tower that fell, the LSU truck was here and I ran. I left the truck. I ran around the corner, but when the second tower fell, I never forget that sound. It sounded like a freight train passing by. I never forget that sound, never forget that sound. Like a freight train.



Shortly after that we realized what was flying over was the armed forces F-14s flying over, and we got a confirmation from the FAA -- over the police radio we got a confirmation from FAA that all airports had been closed and there were no planes flying within the New York City area at that specific time.

At that time I started walking back up towards Vesey Street. I heard three explosions, and then we heard like groaning and grinding, and tower two started to come down. To the firefighters and the cops that I was standing there with started running northbound on West Street and we made a left on Vesey and ran again towards North End Avenue where we were having EMS triage, and we stopped over there.



I assisted that lady to the Hatzolah ambulance and was on my way back when we felt the rumble. My partner actually came sort of like running up to me but not all the way. What should I do. I just said go get a long board from the ambulance and that was the last I saw of him. We felt the ground shake. You could see the towers sway and then it just came down and I never looked back once I started running.



Q. So you saw the second plane coming in?
A. We heard the second plane. We couldn't see it because it was blocked by the buildings. We were actually still on
Church Street. We heard the plane briefly, the earth shook, the buildings shook, a tremendous fireball overhead. I thought there was a bomb or an explosion. A tremendous fireball, flaming debris, pieces of the airplane, fuselage, landing gear, pieces of the building.

Anyway, with that I was listening, and there was an incredibly loud rumbling. I never got to look up. People started running for the entrances to the parking garages. They started running for the entrances. I started running without ever looking up. The roar became tremendous. I fell on the way to the parking garages. Debris was starting to fall all around me. I got up, I got into the parking garages, was knocked down by the percussion. I thought there had been an explosion or a bomb that they had blown up there.

The Vista International Hotel was my first impression, that they had blown it up. I never got to see the World Trade Center coming down.



As I'm looking up at the building, I hear a loud noise and I see the south side of the building collapse. I see the south upper third of the tower start to pitch in my direction. At that point I yelled to Mike Kane, Mike, it's coming down. I turned around and I ran south on West Street. I actually ran towards the building line so that I could get adjacent to the building because I figured it would protect me from any falling debris because in my mind I thought the building was actually toppling. I didn't realize that it actually tilted and then came down straight. My perception was it was toppling southward.

I hear a rumbling again. I realize that this is the other tower coming down. At this time I turn around and I make my way back down West Street.



I’ve been tossing and turning with this for a long time. I don’t believe that it was clear to me that it was an airplane at all. I certainly could see that I had a major event. I mean, it looked to me like there was fire on eight to twelve floors. I know in my own mind I thought it was some sort of an explosion, that to get something going that rapidly, you know, to cover that many floors, something dramatic had happened. But I don’t believe I understood at that point that it was a plane crash.

At some time after that, and I have no concept of time here, I remember hearing something to the effect that the tower is collapsing or coming down. I hear that and I hear a rumble. I remember a terrific rumbling, getting louder. Now I believe – and I did for two days after this – I think that my tower that I’m in, the north tower, is collapsing. This is the south tower collapsing. You had to be there to envision this. The noise became deafening. I can feel the ground shaking.

The next thing I know, I’m getting buried in debris. The windows are shattering. Again, I think it’s my tower. I’m not exactly clear how it’s coming down, but it’s coming down. You can’t miss the noise. You can feel the air pressure building up. I mean literally, it blows the windows in.

What gets sort of interesting and confusing here is there’s a videotape that was taken by, I guess, a department photographer that was in the lobby with us, and I had the opportunity to see some of that recently, I guess last week, and I’m in that videotape quite a bit.



We were watching the buildings and watching the people jumping from the buildings. The next thing you know, we heard this rumble, we looked up and tower two was coming down. We were able to run maybe half a block before we got overtaken by the debris cloud.



I went, lights and sirens, over the Brooklyn Bridge. Just as I was reaching the end of the bridge, there was a loud explosion and I saw a fireball come across the sky, realizing that the south tower --
Q. Did you actually see the south tower?
A. Yes. I could see it from the bridge. I saw an explosion and fireball and thick black smoke just going across the sky. Then I realized we were being attacked. I didn't know if it was missiles coming in or another plane.

I could still hear what I think was people hitting the roof. You could hear explosions or thuds on the roof.
Q. Overhead?
A. Overhead, landing on the roof of
Six World Trade Center. I turned around, and where the glass was clear I heard another explosion and I turned around and looked at the glass and there was just chunks that were splattered with blood. There was actually chunks of I guess human flesh was just dripping down.

All of a sudden there was this groaning sound like a roar, grrrr. The ground started to shake. Father Judge started going out the revolving doors. I said don't go outside. The last time I saw him, he went out the revolving door. I turned around and I started going back towards West Street. It looked like an earthquake. The ground was shaking. I fell to the floor. My camera bag opened up. The cameras went skidding across the floor. The windows started exploding in. I just rolled into the corner to protect myself from the glass.

I went back around where I came, and I went a little north of the Three World Trade Center and went to the corner of Vesey and West Street. There was a lot of chaos. I'm looking up and saying this building's going to come down also. There had to be about a hundred people in the street looking up. I remember yelling: The microwave tower is bending over. I saw it leaning over. I said the microwave tower is leaning over. The antenna was leaning over. At that point everybody started moving north.



I’m up in approximately Tower 1 somewhere in the 30’s and this rumbling starts happening. By this time all civilians – civilians stopped coming down when I hit about the 16th floor, 20th floor. Again, that’s guesstimations. They were already mostly down. So the ones above that were just firemen, you know, cops, emergency workers, mostly firemen. We hear this noise and everyone just freezes, and it’s a rumbling, a sustained rumbling. I’ve heard many people describe it different ways. To me it was indescribable, you know, it was the first time anyone heard this noise. 50, 60 trains coming at same time. The noise of ten tornadoes.

I’m basically taking up the rear and I get down to – again, I don’t know what floor. I tell people 7, you know. I know it was no lower than 5. It was higher then 5, but I say 7. I don’t know what floor. And then that noise, that first-time-in-history-anyone-heard-that noise and I said it was a very unique noise -- It starts.
Q. You started hearing it again?
A. So I heard it again. Our tower is coming down. Our tower was shaking before.
Q. The entire building was shaking.
A. The building is shaking and, again, I was on whatever floor I was on, 7th floor.
Q. Were you in the middle of the floor or were you in the stairwell?
A. We were in the stairwell. Everyone was in the stairwell. We were in stairwell B and that’s the only stairwell that could be used because A and C were clogged, and by this time everyone is filtering. It’s just the tail end of the people that I got to. I mean, there were people above that probably never heard it, still were fighting this fire.
Q. And that rumble got louder.
A. Louder. The rumble got louder and, as you see it, you know, I don’t know, I know what I felt, I know what I saw, but I knew it was coming and I knew I was dead and I just said, please, God, please make it quick, you know, I want to die fast.
Q. Because that building collapsed with you and a lot of other people in it.
A. Yes.
Q. And miraculously, Rich, you sit here after being buried for four and a half hours.
A. Well, yes. And it was miraculous, yes.



We started hearing some noise. There were tons of firefighters, by the way, outside. They had set up one of their command centers, not immediately outside but maybe like a block away on Broadway. So there were tons of firefighters there. That's where they were doing a staging area where the recall was happening and firefighters were reporting there. But it was more than just that noise. It was some noise, some rumbling or something. There were rumors that were circulating. People, you know, the doctors and nurses would go out of the triage area to take a break, even though we didn't have a lot of patients, just to sort of walk around the street in front and see what was going on. So maybe that was a source for rumors. But anyway, more to the point, a rumor started to develop that tower 7 was going to fall on us or nearby us. Having just lived through the collapse and having Dr. Kelly just live through the collapse with both of us getting buried, this was not a very pleasing feeling. It really does make me understand a lot about psychological stress that can occur in these events because I would not have had the same worry about this if I hadn't just come through one of them. We went outside to speak to the Chief, the head Chief. His name is Chief Haring. Great guy. But he said, you know, it's not going to be a problem. Tower 7 may collapse. It's not going to be anywhere near here. It's not going to be a problem. But we were really concerned about this. On the other side of Broadway maybe a block or two north is this park by City Hall. So some of the doctors got it in their mind that they would not want to be stuck in this building if there was a collapse. They didn't quite believe that there wasn't going to be a collapse and it wasn't going to fall on us. I really couldn't prevent them because I was a little worried about this myself. They decided and we sort of all decided that we would take half the supplies and move out into that park. By the time we were about done with this, we interacted with Chief Haring again. He basically was incredulous and said: "What are you crazy? You've moved into the collapse zone, and if this collapse occurs, the dust cloud is going to knock out that entire park. You're going to be useless there. You've made it worse."

About midway into setting up physically the second triage area, hanging the IV bags and everything, a tremendous noise occurs, and it's so loud that everybody rushes to the rear of the Pace University building, all the doctors, all the nurses. When the noise was over, we went to the front. The dust cloud from tower 7, just like Chief Haring said, wiped out that park. If we had had any supplies there, any doctors there, they wouldn't have been killed. I mean, it wasn't that massive the debris that fell on the park, but they would have been useless.



Some people were out front writing a sign. I guess they were putting triage or something. I heard within 3 minutes or something, this rumbling. Someone said the building is going to come down.
Q. Could you see the towers where you were? Were you able to see the towers?
A. I was right across the street from the towers. I couldn't see two, the south tower, very well. It was kind of blocked by one. Do you see like that?
Q. Uh-huh.
A. So when that one went down. I thought the plane was exploding, or another plane hit. I had no idea it was coming down.



Just as we are getting ready to get into the elevator, we heard a high pitched whine and wind and heard thundering crashes.



There was talk about not knowing the stability of the building. I heard that being mentioned and not knowing where that report came from. It's like somebody was questioning the stability of the building. In fact, that was coming from Steve Mosiello, the executive assistant for Ganci. I think somebody asked him and he mentioned to Ganci. Somebody mentioned about the stability of the building. That happened to be shortly before the building did come down. Like I said, we must have been at the command post a good half an hour at that west side of West Street, just standing at that one location doing all that. There was a time where he did – actually standing there, you heard actually what sounded like another plane flying overhead. I remember even asking one of the guys from Con Ed that was happening to stand there. I didn't know if they were blowing off any steam from the building or blowing off any residual gas or anything, but it sounded like the roar of a plane, and most likely we learned that that was like military jets that may have been flying overhead to monitor what was going on in the harbor area. But that was very noticeable and you couldn't help but look up again to see what was going on. There was -- it must have been almost like instantaneously with your eyes focused on what was going on with the two towers that all of a sudden you start to see peeling away from tower two, the facade of the building. That's what I really thought was going to be happening. I was thinking in my mind, gee, if the thing was going to collapse, how it was going to collapse. I was thinking more well, if it's going to weaken itself, most likely where it's burning at, it's most likely going to tip over and the remainder of the structure is almost going to like remain intact, so you had a good amount of like 20 or 30 floors that would maybe tip over on its side. But what looked like the facade just starting to peel away from the building and everybody shouting out at that point watch out, it's starting to go, and everybody is like duck for cover, and we all as a group of us, you couldn't help it.



After briefing them I guess for about ten minutes or so, I turned to Jerry's aide, whose name escapes me right now, that he would tell Jerry that companies were coming into the staging area and to be in contact with us via handy talky for any resources he might need. Before I could finish that sentence, we heard just a loud noise and looked up and tower two was starting to collapse. With that everybody just started running. I ran down West Street, made a right on Albany before it caught up to me. It knocked me down, blew me over. Obviously it was a pretty scary situation.

Tower one now comes down. Same thing but this time some of us take off straight down West Street, because we realized later on, subconsciously we wanted to be near buildings. We all thought it was secondary explosives or more planes or whatever.



The major concern at that time at that particular location was number Seven, building number seven, which had taken a big hit from the north tower. When it fell, it ripped steel out from between the third and sixth floors across the facade on Vesey Street. We were concerned that the fires on several floors and the missing steel would result in the building collapsing. So for the next five or six hours we kept firefighters from working anywhere near that building, which included the whole north side of the World Trade Center complex. Eventually around 5:00 or a little after, building number seven came down.



One of my guys facing me said, "Look." I didn't get a chance to turn around, but apparently all the firemen out on West Street on the other side, following the same path that we had taken, had now started to run because the building was collapsing. There was no place to hide. We just hit the deck wherever we were. The windows on the West Street side all blew out. The sound was just like freight trains coming right over your head. Dust, smoke, debris falling from the ceiling. It lasted maybe 25, 30 seconds. It seemed like forever, though.



Basically just at that time I had my -- I got my coat back on. I had my mask in my hand. I was about to put it on my back and –
Q. You started hearing a noise?
A. No, no. Looking out the window – I was facing the window, and I saw everybody running.
Gary said the same thing. You knew something was going on.
A. I yelled. I said, "Everybody run. Something is going on." We were basically looking out and you saw everybody running. Then you look up. You hear rumbling. You hear something. So you look up and we saw the reflection of the building across the street. We knew something was coming down. Then we just said hit the deck. Everybody was running towards the back of the lobby. We ran into an area where we were – we were running kind of towards the bar area where we came in. So I guess instinct tells you to go the way you came in, so instinct. You felt it all coming. You felt the rumbling. You heard it hitting the floor. Then it was just that hit and the wind came and was blowing us. Back into the bar area is where it blew us. Somewhere along the line a rolldown gate came down between the lobby and the bar, and we realized that was the only way out after a few minutes of being in there. We didn't know what was in there. We lifted the gate up to get out. What were you going to say? You were going to say something?
Q. I was running down
Liberty. I was one of the guys you saw running, because we could see it actually happening. We looked up -- see, I'm surprised -- what was in my mind and I could never forget it is the noise it made.
A. Yeah.
Q. It was like a train --
A. A freight train.
Q. -- going over my head. When
Gary said that you thought you heard something, it really was incredible. He didn't hear what we heard. We knew he was right under it, but we heard from the outside.
A. Did you hear the snapping on that? Did you hear the floor snapping? After the first one came, we wound up going across the street. We wound up -- we were going where the windows were. We were going out that way. We didn't realize we were out of the building until we were in the middle of
West Street, basically.

Then as we said what are we going to do now, what are we going to do with this guy, what's our next move, that's when the second building -- I guess 10 minutes later? 15 minutes later? I don't know. It seemed like that much. But then we saw the other one coming down. Part of you wanted to keep looking because it was like holy cow. You could hear it going "kachoo, kachoo, kachoo." Now outside it's total hysteria, and you had time because it's this big building. You had -- I don't know, how long did it take? Looking at it we said we better get in.