DR. GLENN ASAEDA, BATTALION CHIEF DOMINICK DeRUBBIO, LIEUTENANT GARY GATES, JOHN TRAVERSO, CAPTAIN JOHN HENRICKSEN, LIEUTENANT ROY DAVID, EMT FAISEL ABED, EMT JAMES MCKINLEY, LIEUTENANT RENE DAVILA, EMS CAPTAIN MARK STONE, FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL WERNICK---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DR. GLENN ASAEDA
Just as soon as I had thought that, I heard what I thought was a jet engine plane. In retrospect, it turns out that it was the first tower coming down.
At that point, we got to the exit, made a decision to evacuate, got the patients, still not knowing which way to go because we really hadn't been able to determine what actually came down or what had happened. The decision was either to go left or right and we ended up going right, between the two buildings, in the alleyway on the north, which turned out to be the right direction because apparently there was a lot of debris and part of 7 down already.
BATTALION CHIEF DOMINICK DeRUBBIO
It was weird how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed explosion, but I guess it was just the floors starting to pancake one on top of the other.
LIEUTENANT GARY GATES
Then, again, no idea what time -- I have a watch, but I'm trying to move everything together at the same time. I looked up, and the building exploded, the building that we were very close to, which was one tower. The whole top came off like a volcano.
Q. What was that, was that the second plane hitting?
A. I realized later, which actually I realized in talking with people over a period of two weeks, that had to be the collapse, because since that was the north tower which was hit by a plane first, the other tower was hit by a plane just before we got there. So now both towers have been hit by a plane. The north tower was burning. So the explosion, what I realized later, had to be the start of the collapse. It was the way the building appeared to blowout from both sides. I'm looking at the face of it, and all we see is the two sides of the building just blowing out and coming apart like this, as I said, like the top of a volcano. With that, I believe it was about 60 of us at the command board at that time, just turned around and went down into this parking lot, which happened to be very fortunate, as I said, because the 60 of us went down there.
At the time I received the report of people trapped on the 86 floor, I turned to the back of the van, gave it to Richie, who was working, he was going to bring it over, he looked up, stated an explicative and said everybody start running. Behind the van I remember seeing Mayor Giuliani, numerous Chiefs.
CAPTAIN JOHN HENRICKSEN
Then from there we were directed to the Millennium Hotel. We were in the Millennium for a cautionary line because they were afraid of the fire extending to that building. Then at one point they chased us out of there for fear of collapse of a building; I believe it was Seven World Trade. So they got us out of there because they didn't know which way that building was going to collapse. When Seven World Trade did collapse, we were in the Woolworth building. You couldn't even see. It was unbelievable. You couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. That's how much dust and debris was flying around.
LIEUTENANT ROY DAVID
EMT FAISEL ABED
But then we are driving and now we are like, we are about a half mile out, halfway from the World Trade Center and we see this shiny object coming and me and my partner are going, what the hell, what's wrong with that plane. What is wrong with that plane. There is something not right with that plane. And he just -- the tower blew. So my partner said stop the freaking bus, stop the freaking bus. The building's going to fall. The building's going to fall on us. It was coming -- the force -- you see like the -- shit, the whole top of the building go off and just the junk that was coming out of there and the explosion was -- I thought it was Hollywood.
Next thing you know, you hear another -- they had said there were jets out there that day. They were out there. I started to hear another jet, right, it sounded like a flush of a jet. What it was was actually the building coming down. I didn't actually see the building coming down but you heard it. Why I didn't see it, I don't know. We were just so busy concentrating on what we are doing. You just heard this thrushing, thrushing noise like a rocket. I thought the building was under attack again.
We finally got out to West Street and went just go all the way up till we stayed at the -- what's the place up there.
Q. Chelsea Pier?
EMT JAMES MCKINLEY
As I was standing there watching this whole thing unfold, it was like I couldn't believe that some people were actually jumping from the building. Then as I looked up, I saw this helicopter hovering from in front of one of the buildings, it was the first one that was hit. Then all of a sudden I heard this huge explosion, I didn't know what it was cause nobody was telling me anything. I didn't know until we were called back to Chambers and something, Chambers and
As I was getting to the treatment area, everyone is leaving the treatment area. I was like where is everybody going? They said the other building is leaning, we're getting out of here. We're moving the treatment area. So we put the fireman in an ambulance and they took off. We was trying to clear out the treatment area, and as we're clearing the treatment area, I hear this huge noise. Someone told me the building is exploding, I couldn't believe it. So we started moving the treatment area back even further. After the second one fell, we started running up--where is it? I'm not sure what these buildings represent, but we ended up down by the water, the cloud pushed us all the way to the water.
Then after the first one fell we tried to get back in there. Then the second one was falling, I don't know. After the first one fell, as I went back, I was just looking at it. There were vehicles on fire, there were ambulances too close to fire trucks burning, gas tanks were popping.
Once I got too close to a vehicle that was smoking, it started to pop, I was afraid that the gas tank would explode. Everyone was like watch your back, watch your back, the firemen were trying to put out the fire.
I'm not sure if he got the order before I did, cause I was told to drop back to Chambers and West Side Highway. So, I parked the vehicle up there, and I went back, and we?re standing. He's like, he told me that the guy, the terrorist?
Q: Osama Bin Laden?
A: Yeah. He's like, he said he was gonna get the
They said over the radio that they ordered all the planes across the country to just hit the ground. Anyone up after a certain time would be shot down. As you stand at
LIEUTENANT RENE DAVILA
Then as I'm communicating I catch from my peripheral vision on the right -- I didn't even think about it hitting the building. I'm just basically like what the hell is he doing there. Before I knew it, he disappeared behind the building, and bingo, there was an explosion. I remember yelling over the frequency, however I communicated, a secondary explosion in the second building.
All of a sudden you heard the rumble and people yelling and screaming. You look and you see -- I didn't see the top of the building. I didn't see the top of tower two. The collapse started. You felt like the ground -- it was like a deep sound, rumble; like you're laying on the platform and the D train is coming. You look and you see what -- I best describe it as a wave coming.
I made it about halfway across
We were standing in the corner of
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL WERNICK
And at that point we heard a loud noise and the building shook. It was like a rag doll. At that point we said, "We got hit by another plane." The indications were really poor at that point. And then the Chief basically said, start filtering down.
Q. Do you know the status of the elevators in that building? Were they running at that point?
A. When we first pulled -- I do remember when we first came in one elevator was blown out. That was on the main floor. We couldn't use the elevators. I don't know if the other elevators were working. I know that definitely one was blown out.