Transcripts 341-360



He walked back toward the tower as far as I can recall across the hallway and back towards the lobby of the tower and he no sooner disappeared into the crowd than there was a big rumbling noise. Everything started shaking and the wind started blowing. The wind was incredible. It had to be, I g don’t know, I would say like at least 50, 60 mile an hour winds coming through that hallway, through that corridor. Everybody, of course, starts running. Civilians were running, we are running, you are just trying to get away from this tremendous noise and wind.

I thought myself that the lobby – they were talking about the elevators were – looked like they were going to come down. The elevators weren’t secured. We did hear that over the radio as we were coming up on the towers from the dispatcher, I think gave that information out over the radio. So I thought that the elevators in that lobby of the north tower had come crashing down, because you just can't imagine that these buildings were going to come down.
Q. Absolutely not.
A. At that point that’s what I was going under the impression, that the lobby of the north tower had collapsed in some way. Whether it was the elevators or whatever.

What I didn’t realize was that overhang goes all the way around the building. I didn’t realize I was still under the overhang. But in my mind I said if I hear anything coming down I'm going back towards that overhang for protection. Next thing you know, we didn’t walk 25 feet and it starts rumbling. You know, again, you don’t even imagine this is what’s happening. The other building has already completely collapsed and now the building that you are standing under is completely collapsing.



We couldn't get up any faster, so we went back to the B staircase, and we were taking a break on 30, and that's when we heard a rumble, outside explosion, and I think that was the other building coming down, but we were getting reports on the radio that there was another incoming plane, so guys weren't sure. At first we thought it was the plane hitting, but we at this point -- we knew the plane was already in the building, and we heard rumbling. The building started to shake. We all ran into the stairway, into the B staircase again, and the building started to shake and lights went out. Just got this tremendous rush of air coming up through a staircase. Everybody was just holding onto each other. Then we started to make sure -- you know, we didn't know what happened. We were -- everybody was questioning each other, what the hell was that. We thought it was another plane.

We started to walk towards them, and there were all rigs and stuff outside, and that's where we were walking towards. Looked like some kind of maybe a command post or something was there. Started to walk towards it, and that's when the building came down. I heard an explosion and turned around and the building was coming down. At that point, we dropped everything we had, at least I did. We started to run north on West Street. At that point, we were overcome with the cloud and it looked like -- felt a lot of wind again, got knocked down.



I was standing outside the quarters about to go home when the first plane hit. I heard a loud noise and then all of a sudden an explosion, looked up. I couldn't even tell really which tower was hit. There was debris flying. There was a lot of smoke and fire. I ran back inside, let everybody know we knew there was an explosion, grabbed my gear.

We went around the corner on West Street and the Ladder pulled right up in front of tower – the north tower. The engine took the hydrant on the middle of West Street. As I got off the back -- the back step, there were a few individuals that were civilians that were outside that were burnt. There was a -- he wasn't a regular security guard. He had a weapon on him. I don't know if he was FBI or Secret Service and he was trying to put the pants out on one individual that was conscious. His pants were still smoldering. I took the can, fire extinguisher off the truck and then sprayed down the pants on the person that was still conscious. At that time, I had asked him where did this individual come from. He told me when the plane had hit, a fire ball had shot down the elevator shaft and had blown people out of the lobby.

As I was coming outside, I see a lot of people running towards the Marriott Hotel, I see people running -- everyone was just running. And I hear shh. It sounded like someone was turning on a hydrant and I look up and the first tower was coming down.

I proceeded to run up north and I run towards the overpass that connects World Financial Center where they have -- where the high rise rig is at and also -- I think it was Rescue 1 or Rescue 5's vehicles underneath it. As I run towards it, I know that I'm not going to escape the -- escape it, so I dive under – I don't know even know which rig it was. I dive under a rig. At the same time it felt like an explosion.



Shortly after they came out and got their gear on, we were ready to go straight ahead, you heard a roar, some sort of vibration, like a vrr vrr vrr, getting louder and louder. My first thought to myself, I live down in Rockaway so I have heard planes coming overhead for years. It sounded like a plane getting closer and louder and louder and next thing you know, you felt the building shook. At that moment, it was I think every man for themselves. I think I might have heard somebody say it's coming down or something.

Shortly after as I'm walking, you hear another loud boom. I hear guys behind me, I guess I hear some commotion behind me and I turn around and I see guys running towards me. Again I think I hear somebody say it's coming down. I remember turning, looking and looking up and seeing the dust cloud opening up overhead.

I remember sitting there talking and when I said to somebody that I was in the hotel when a plane hit, he said what do you mean the plane hit. He goes both buildings had been hit already. I said what do you mean. I said that noise we were hearing. What we heard was the noise of that south tower coming down.



So we went around and passed the bridge and were heading towards the tunnel when the fellow sitting on the other side of the rig saw the south tower explode. He saw an explosion. He told us the building just exploded. We looked over and we saw the south tower, a lot of orange and a lot of smoke. So we continued towards the Battery Tunnel. There was a lot of traffic. Took us awhile to get there.

So we were just watching people. People were jumping. The fire was -- a tremendous volume of fire. Our captain said he didn't think we'd be able to put out the fire because of the volume of fire versus the volume of water. He said the sprinklers were going to be out, the standpipes were going to be out. So we were there.

My captain actually was standing -- he had taken his bunker pants down to his knees, and we were standing there, and then we just heard this real loud roar. We looked up and we could see the south tower. Looked like the middle of it was just exploding out, and at that point, one of the officers just said, "Run," and we were just turned and started running into the garage, so I just turned and ran in. I was just -- I didn't think it was a great move to be running into the building like that, but there was nowhere else to go, and I was just thinking, like, holy shit, we're going to be buried in here, thinking the tower would probably fall over towards us.

We were still right by maybe 4 World Financial Center, because we were in the grassy area there, and then the north tower, we heard the rattling, and we saw the north tower collapse.



We were on the 23rd Floor, set up communications, when we heard a rumble. I would say we were on the 23rd for about five to ten minutes. The building shook. Lights went out. Asked my officer if -- you know, what happened, and he thought maybe the top of the building got blown off. I turned to him and I said, "What do we do?" And some chief appeared. Don't know who the chief was. Chief from the department appeared, said, "Start making your way out of the building. The south tower just collapsed. A third plane is coming towards the north tower."



They told me that another plane was in the area, and we thought that -- the chauffeurs -- some of the guys that were out in the street thought it was a third plane. At that particular time, I walked to the corner of Church, because I heard the plane, but I couldn't see anything. Afraid it was going to hit the same part of the twin tower and make it topple and start a domino effect. As I got to the corner of Church and Vesey, that's when the building, the south tower, came down right on the corner, and from that point on, it was like mayhem for me.



Then I look and I see Mayor Giuliani and Von Essen and Nigro and a whole entourage walking south. I don't know exactly where they were going, but I saw them.

We were just standing there looking at all this chaos going on, the two towers just burning, and before you know it, I'm just hearing this loud roar and I look up and I just see this big cloud coming down. That was when 2 World Trade started to come down.



Anyway, it's then that I was looking at the north tower that I saw what I thought looked like a seagull in the distance almost and it went into the south tower and the south tower exploded in a huge fire ball. I just told my chauffeur, "Stop for a minute. Stop the rig." And he just slammed the brakes and we just looked and it didn't strike me as to what happened. I still thought -- I said to him, at that point, "The gas tanks exploded from the plane." That's what I thought it was at that point. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized it was a whole second plane at that time. And I didn't realize that until a couple of days later. It just didn't make sense to me.

I went back to the commands post after talking to guys, kept them together. Went back up and there is a crowd of people and everything, still waiting to see what we were going to do. Then all of a sudden there was like a loud -- almost like a rushing sound, a roar, and we looked up and we could see it looked like an implosion and the building kind of went in and out and kind of like shook and I remember like 20 or 30 guys, whatever it was, all there at the command post. A lot of them in front of me pulled towards West Street. We were looking up and then this thing started coming down and nobody ran. I could just remember that. Even myself, I remember being hypnotized by this thing and just looking up at it and then finally, thank God, somebody yelled, "Run."

Somewhere heading back towards those guys, that's when the north tower collapsed. And it was the same thing, the same noise. So as soon as I heard it this time, I knew it. I just saw those two guys and I just yelled "run" and we just started running up towards Vesey Street.



So moments after, maybe five minutes or so, I hear a rumble, and I just look towards the east side of the street. I'm in the middle of the block on Vesey between West and North End, so now I turn, and I look east towards the corner of West and Vesey, and I see people in blue uniforms, cops, whoever they were. They were running towards my way, so I didn't know what to do, so I looked the opposite direction, and I see other people running the same direction. So I just started running. So I started running by myself because my partner was taking care of something else, so I just ran, left the vehicle there, and just kept running north. Running, running north, and still at this time I didn't know that the second plane was hit, and when we heard that rumble, that noise, I didn't know that that was when the first tower fell until I met up with another coworker.



Then we started to proceed up, and I don't know what the stairwell number was, stairwell letter, to the 27th Floor. At that point, there were different companies up there, different people up there. At that point, as soon as we got up there, we all hit the ground, because the building started shaking. We didn't know what that was. We assumed it was some floors above that had collapsed. We weren't really told what it was. We found out, obviously, that it was Tower 2 that collapsed. At that point, I believe it was a chief – I wasn't sure where he was from. He came down from somewhere. He came from one of the areas on the 7th Floor, and he told us to just get off this floor. So we were told to get off the floor.

We started getting ready to get this guy into the ambulance, and with that, you heard this -- it was almost like a roar, and it was like a rumbling, and I turned back. I kind of froze, because when I turned back, I started seeing the building starting to come down, and when I turned back around, there was nobody -- there was nobody there, so I kind of just dove up against a fence. It was like a parking garage, an open parking space.



Then we were instructed to search through two or three buildings to make sure they were stable, and then they pulled everybody out because of the pink building. Was it 7 World Trade, that was going?
Q. Right.
A. Then they pulled everybody out.



Then I proceeded into the lobby of the building. When I walked through the lobby, there was broken glass everywhere. There were also two people in the lobby, a gentleman who was already burned and was dead, and a female. She was nude. Her clothes had burnt away. She was trying to communicate. Her eyes were sealed shut. Her throat apparently was sealed. She couldn’t really communicate. Within the next two minutes, she had perished right there. We never actually got her any assistance. We couldn’t get her an ambulance, and we didn’t get her out of there.

I noticed in the courtyard that there were valises, suitcases, strewn about the courtyard. There were wallets everywhere, broken glass, and then I noticed that there were airplane tickets.

I saw the chiefs. Chief Pfeifer from Battalion 1 come in. Along with him was the battalion aide, and the French filmmaker, who happened to be standing in the lobby at the time, and he was videotaping everything that was occurring.

After a couple of minutes, we heard – I heard over the department radio, “Prepare for impact. A second plane is approaching the building.”

I noticed that some of the elevators had been blown out of their shafts. They came down and crashed out of their shafts. They were buckled, and I had noticed that there were people still in the elevators. I believe that they were at that point deceased.

Then I saw the lights in both buildings went out, and I heard the rumble. At that point, I didn’t know what was happening, but 2 World Trade Center was collapsing.

I tried to look around briefly for somebody. I couldn’t find anyone. I saw a couple of flashlights in the distance. I walked straight ahead. I ran into the elevators. The elevators were completely out of the shafts at this point. All the elevators – I could see members were crushed in between them. I could see civilians were crushed in between elevators.



After I hooked up, I went into the lobby of the north tower and I saw the command post being set up there. I noticed some people on the floor that were badly burned. One man was deceased, and there was a woman there that was very badly burned. I went out to get EMS to come in to help her. They were very busy, and I just asked them for some blankets. I went back into the lobby of the north tower, and I covered the civilians up. I stayed with the woman until EMS came in, and I helped them take her away.



We had came down Broadway and as we got to Liberty Street, I believe -- yes, we got to Liberty Street and made the right off of Broadway on to Liberty and we were on Liberty between Broadway and I believe Church and we had gotten off the rig with Battalion 31. We were speaking to them on where we should go because we were assigned to the north tower. I remember just hearing an explosion that basically I can't describe the sound of. It was actually the second plane crashing in. We were on the side, we were on the south side of the south tower when it came down -- I mean when the plane crashed in.

I was by I guess the outer part of the building and I just remember feeling the building starting to shake and this tremendous tremendous like roar and I just -- I kind of didn't even notice it, but like out of the corner of my eye, I saw out of the building, I saw a shadow coming down. At that point I thought it was the upper part of the north tower that had just basically like toppled over, fell off. I didn't actually see the building part go by me, because I think I was on the opposite side. But I just remember feeling this tremendous tremendous shake and hearing this, like, noise. Again I can't describe.



At that time, there was a bomb threat in Stuyvesant High School, and we evacuated that area and went further up West Street until we were a good distance away, probably – I'm not sure of the street it was on, but it was quite a distance away.