EMT JOHN FELIDI
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.
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.
PARAMEDIC KEVIN DARNOWSKI
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
EMT LONNIE PENN
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.
CAPTAIN MICHAEL DONOVAN
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
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
SUPERVISING FIRE MARSHAL ROBERT BYRNES
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
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
CHIEF STEPHEN KING
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.
EMT-P KATHY ZARR
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.
LIEUTENANT RICHARD SMIOUSKAS
I went, lights and sirens, over the
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.
A. Overhead, landing on the roof of
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
I went back around where I came, and I went a little north of the
BATTALION CHIEF RICHARD PICCIOTTO
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.
Q. And miraculously, Rich, you sit here after being buried for four and a half hours.
A. Well, yes. And it was miraculous, yes.
DEPUTY CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DAVID PREZANT
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.
EMT LINDA MCCARTHY
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?
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.
LIEUTENANT JOSEPH CHIAFARI
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
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
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.
CHIEF FRANK FELLINI
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
LIEUTENANT GARY WOOD
One of my guys facing me said, "Look." I didn't get a chance to turn around, but apparently all the firemen out on
FIREFIGHTER MARK RUPPERT
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.
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
Q. It was like a train --
A. A freight train.
Q. -- going over my head. When
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
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.