Transcripts 301-320



We were walking south on West Street back to the command post. Like I said, I had my head down again. All of a sudden I heard like a tremendous thunder. I looked up, and all of a sudden people were just running towards me. I looked up, and sure enough, the south tower was collapsing. It was like a big, huge wave coming at us.

We were searching around the debris field that ended up on West Street opposite the north tower. We were searching around in there. At that time Seven World Trade Center was burning and was in danger of collapsing. After a while the lieutenant said, “let’s move, let’s get out of here, let’s take a break.” Actually I think at that point just as we were leaving, guys – I don’t know who it was. I guess it was a chief was saying clear the area, because they were worried about number Seven World Trade Center coming down and burying guys who were digging. So we basically went back to the rig, because they were clearing that area out. It took about three hours for Seven World Trade Center to actually come down. So we were off to the side.



Myself, my whole company, Matt Shannon, Bobby Reeg, the covering officer, and Eddie Kennedy proceeded to walk down. Looking over, I saw 65 Engine hooked up to the hotel, I believe, or the south tower. I don't remember which one because there's a high pressure pump. The officer saw there were several small fires at the foot of the pedestrian bridge right there at Liberty and West.

We had our backs to the tower and under that pedestrian bridge walking south, myself, Eddie Kennedy and the officer, when you heard the crackling. You looked up and you saw the one floor explode on itself and the top start to slide. At that point Eddie just told me to run, and we just dropped everything and ran south towards Albany Street.

I was there for a while with him, when you heard the rumbling again. That's when the north tower came down.



In the process of treating and organizing the people getting out of there, all of a sudden we heard the rumble of the first tower, and it was just, you know, really just chaotic on the corner that we were at.

We didn't see anybody, people laying around and stuff, but as far as walking around, there really wasn't anybody. My vehicle exploded. I was heading over to my vehicle to get -- to use the radio, because I had lost my HIP radio. I went inside my vehicle to get on my vehicle radio, but by the time I went over there, the vehicle exploded.

At that time, then, in the process of doing that, we heard another loud rumble and it was the second tower coming down. We both started -- you know, we hugged, locked arms. Both started running, but we didn't make it too far.



There was no noise after 1 Trade Center fell. It was like something out of a movie. It was really loud and then it was -- maybe it was just my hearing from the blast. I wasn't hearing the minor things. In the parking lot across the street, cars were exploding.



We did see bodies that got pulled out of the elevators because all the elevators fell. Then Kenny and I just thought well, let’s just walk in the main lobby there and maybe try and pry open and see if anybody is left in the elevator itself. We did a quick walk around in that section, but there were only a couple that were closed. We could wedge it open a little and take a look. There were no other bodies. There was about three or four bodies that were pulled from the elevator and they were covered up already.

At that point, we were -- I can’t remember how long we were on that third floor pushing people through. That’s when we felt a big giant tremble, like a mini earthquake. That was the south tower collapsing.

The Chief took off. We heard like a lot of trembling and everything. So we better get out of here. This doesn’t look good. There is no more people coming. So we started walking the same way the Chief went, and he was at the other end. He said the same thing. He said we better get our asses out of here. This doesn’t look good at all. As we were walking, we heard – we thought it was another plane coming. It was like a big shhhhh. A thousand times louder than that. It sounded like a missile coming and we just started booking. We took off like bats out of hell. We made it around the corner and that’s when the shit hit the fan right then and there. We heard that loud and then ba boom. I just – it was like an earthquake or whatever. A giant, giant explosion.

At this point I didn’t even know – I thought it was like a part of the building collapsing.



We found car fires. We found buses on fire, but we happened to find a volunteer rig from the Bronx that was still in there. It was a old LaFrance. I got in the rig, backed the rig out with everybody helping, parked the rig on West Broadway, and found the rig on West Broadway between Barclay and Park, and backed the rig out and hooked up to a hydrant on West Broadway and Warren, and ended up supplying whatever lines we can get off the rig with -- using whatever fittings we could use off their rig, and I remember the water pressure being very low. We ended up putting out as many fires as we could from West Broadway and Warren all the way down to West Broadway and Vesey. Putting out all those fires, in that interim, the second building had come down. I remember hearing a lot of explosions, the street turning completely gray, gray clouds of smoke all over the place. Everybody had stopped what they were doing and ran back up the block.



We made our way up to about the 21st Floor. We met up with Engine 65 somewhere along the line there, and we were kind of listening to the officer of Engine 65's radio. We heard like a continuous roar, like a thunder, and the building shook. All in between there was all foggy. I don't remember what happened in between there. Like, all I remember was once the building started shaking, I forgot everything else that was going on. It was like you were being thrown around on the floor. We made our way into the stairway, and there were a few guys from Engine 65 in that stairway. There were no civilians in the stairs at that time. Most of them had -- must have gotten out by then from below the crash, but I remember hearing a radio transmission, "Urgent!" I don't know who gave it, but I remember hearing an "Urgent!" that all inside operations were off. Everybody out of the building, and we all started running down the stairs.



I said it sounds just like this, this is exactly what it sounds like, here’s another one, thinking it was a third plane. Meanwhile the sound to me was four distinct events. The two planes crashes and the two collapses, except the collapses lasted longer.

As the third sound takes place, it's in fact the collapse of tower two, but I didn’t know that at that time, the dust comes rolling down the hallway, up the stairs through the bunk rooms and I realized the windows are gone.

There is a cop. There is Captain Kelty now, we are going to package him up and pick him up over the knee wall of coffee shop, when tower one collapses. That was the fourth event in the sound department. The sound was the same thing again. Sounded like a plane to me. Sounded like another plane, but it was the collapse of tower one, which geographically is further away from us, so we said well, we couldn’t run anywhere, because there was debris all over the street.



At that time, other firefighters started showing up, Deputy Battalion Chief Paul Ferran of the 41 Battalion, and James Savastano of the First Division assigned to the Second Battalion showed up and we attempted to search and extinguish, at the time which was small pockets of fire in 7 World Trade Center. We were unaware of the damage in the front of 7, because we were entering from the northeast entrance. We weren't aware of the magnitude of the damage in the front of the building. We made searches. We attempted to put some of the fire out, but we had a pressure problem. I forget the name of the Deputy. Some Deputy arrived at the scene and thought that the building was too dangerous to continue with operations, so we evacuated number 7 World Trade Center.



Q. That's okay. When the north tower came down, just prior to it, was there anything you saw with the north tower that would indicate it was coming down? Did you see anything or it was just coming down?
A. No, it just started coming down. Just the noise -- we were heading south on
West Street, and Chief Ferran and myself were saying to each other that thing isn't going to come down, not knowing that the south tower had already come down. It seemed like it was in slow motion until it got about a block away, and then it was fast.



At that point we were supplying the standpipe Siamese. All was going well with that. The operation was growing in intensity. At that point the preliminary sounds of the collapse started, the loud crackling sounds. We all started running, because I think the energy coming down through the cylinders of the building because of the pancake, the energy came out first and then the actual debris started coming.

At that point that sound came back, and the second tower started to go, which happened to be tower number one. We did everything we could to make it back to Washington and turn northbound on Washington. As we turned the corner, the rubble started coming down, but the energy caught us first. I think it was a lucky thing because the energy actually picked us up and threw us about 40 feet.



On the morning of September 11th I was on house watch, and it was about 8:00. A little bit after 8, because I was watching the news, I saw the first airplane or it would seem, an explosion on one of the towers; I believe it was the north tower.

We went across the lobby of the hotel, going north, and we exited and made a right going towards the second tower, the south tower. We must have walked about 100-200 feet to revolving doors, which led into a hallway to where the mall was. I could see maybe 20, 25 civilians and I believe Ladder 25, which was about another 100 to 150 feet ahead of us. As we came in through the revolving doors, the lights went out. A second or two later everything started to shake. You could hear explosions. We didn't know what it was. We thought it was just a small collapse. The firefighters that were ahead of us and the civilians that were ahead of us totally disappeared. We turned around. We were all pretty much within ten feet of each other: lieutenant, chauffeur, roof, OV, can. As we turned around, I ran probably maybe ten feet and that's when the body of the building or body of the collapse hit, and we were flying through the air basically. I must have flown 30, 40 feet through the air.

As we approached the rig again, I was being tended by EMS for head wounds. Five minutes after that the north tower started to lean.
Q. You saw it leaning?
A. Yeah. What happened was that as I was standing there and getting bandaged, somebody said the tower is leaning. So me and Gorman -- he had the irons. We turned around and looked, and we could see the tower leaning. As it started to lean, it just came straight down. Now we're running again.
Q. Which way was it leaning? Towards
West Street?
A. The tower was leaning not towards – it leaned somewhat northwest but not -- it came down pretty straight after it leaned. It didn't really continue to lean. It just leaned a little bit and then came straight down.



So we were going in not knowing where this third plane, whether this plane was coming or not. I remember hearing I think it was Ganci asking if we could get confirmation on whether the military can down the plane or not. I didn't hear whether it was or wasn't. All I know is we were going in regardless.

As we walked through those revolving doors, that's when we felt the rumble. I felt the rumbling, and then I felt the force coming at me. I was like, what the hell is that? In my mind it was a bomb going off. The pressure got so great, I stepped back behind the columns separating the revolving doors. Then the force just blew past me. It blew past me it seemed for a long time. In my mind I was saying what the hell is this and when is it going to stop? Then it finally stopped, that pressure which I thought was a concussion of an explosion. It turns out it was the down pressure wind of the floors collapsing on top of each other. At that point everything went black, and then the collapse came. It just rained on top of us. Everything came. It rained debris forever. I was semiburied. I thought I might be the only one alive at that point, because it was just an incredible amount of debris falling around us.

There were secondary explosions, I don't know, aerosol cans or whatever. But we're in the darkness. We see basically the glow of a flashlight and still things coming down. The noise, the explosions, whatever it was. I don't know, we just realized we had to get the heck out of there.

I just remember pretty much at that point hearing on the police radio that the building looked like -- the north tower was going to come down. At that point I didn't know the building came down. I thought I was still in the explosion. I didn't know the whole building had come down. So while I was on the corner of Vesey and West, the police, everybody, started herding everybody north of there, saying that the building was coming down, the building was coming down. So I got to about Barclay and west, and I looked up and I started to see the building crumbling down. That's when I turned around and just started running. I believe I dove in the bushes around Murray Street and was engulfed again in the cloud.