Transcripts 381-400



Q. When you reported into the command post, you reported to Chief Nigro; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Did he give you any specific assignment?
A. Yes, he did. Chief Nigro directed me to continue monitoring conditions at the site. Specifically to monitor number 7
World Trade Center. We were very concerned with the collapse potential there, and to do whatever I could do to ensure site safety in that no additional people became injured.



About maybe three, four minutes after we originally spoke to him, we felt a rumble. Me and Paul Beck grabbed Tom, and we ran down Trinity, and I believe we made it probably right around the corner. I don't know what street that is. What street would that be right there?
Q. Thames Street.
A. Thames that goes all the way through. We made it around the bend, and the three of us made it right around the corner as everything came down. We got hit with all the debris. It knocked us down.



Because I was riding backwards, I was a little disorientated. Finally, we made it to Broadway and Liberty, and the second plane hit, so that was probably about nine o’clock, and it was the loudest explosion I ever heard.

At that point, I remember they were getting a report that a second – another plane – the Pentagon got hit, and we got a report another plane was coming in, and I believe it was a FBI agent, or whoever, or police, and he was saying it's not another plane yet. It is a plane, but it's a fighter jet, and in hindsight it turns out probably that was the fighter jet that was going to maybe shoot down that plane, but we thought another plane was coming in, and we were in a bad spot.
Q. Paranoia was bound to set in.
A. But upon this – we heard it fly over, and then we felt safe. It wasn’t a kamikaze plane, you know.

We came out from 90 West, made a left, headed east, and right when we got to the corner of Washington and Albany, that’s when I heard the building collapse. First I thought it was an explosion. I thought maybe there was a bomb on the plane, but delayed type of thing you know, secondary device.
Q. I was convinced for a week it was a secondary devices.
A. You know, and I just heard like an explosion and then a cracking type of noise, and then It sounded like a freight train, rumbling and picking up speed, and I remember I looked up, and I saw it coming down, and I was able to make it across
Washington to the very corner of Washington and Albany. I think it's the south side of Bankers Trust building. I made it right to the corner, and there's a column right there, and I was with my guys. We all made it like to the column, and I remember it was plate glass behind me, and I'm thinking I'm going to get hit by this glass and like a porcupine. I'm going to get it, you know, but nonetheless, it rumbled. It was the loudest rumbling I ever heard. The ground shook, and I got thrown down, and I remember it just got black, and I got knocked down.



Approximately four minutes later, myself and the other -- the company that was there and the chief, we started running north, and at that point I headed back down to -- toward where the Trade Center parking lot -- but adjoining the Battery Park City. So I joined up with a couple of other guys, and there was a pumper there, and I started the pumper and stretched lines, and we cut a hole -- exposed, and they were -- one would light the other one up, and then the gas tanks were blowing, so we started putting out those car fires, and then we got some foam after that.



We just were getting ready to pull up, getting ready to get out, and the second plane hit, and we started getting hit with debris on the top of the rig. We were huddled down in the bottom of the rig, because -- I mean, we were getting pelted with some heavy stuff, and at that time I didn't know that it was a second plane. I just thought it was a secondary explosion from the first building, because I was on the opposite side. I was sitting behind the officer, and I couldn't see really the top of the towers, but the guys that were on that side of the rig, they were able to see, and I heard, "Holy, shit!" You know, he screamed, because he saw this big fireball, and then all the debris. You heard the explosion and everything, but I saw the big fire ball. The stuff was coming down across the street. It looked like a meteor came flying across the street. They said it was the engine. I don't know what it was. It was a big fireball or something from the plane I guess, came from across the street in front of our rig, and as we get out of the rig, there's a cop, city police officer, in the street. He's telling us, "I'm getting out of here. I just saw a rocket." He said he saw it come off the Woolworth Building and hit the tower. Now I see the two towers are hit. He says, "I just saw a rocket hit that building. I'm getting the F out of here. I'm getting out of here." And we were like, holy -- I'm saying to myself, I didn't even go in yet. They're shooting rockets. I don't know what we're doing over here, but after I watched it on the news a couple of times, I could see it was a piece of the plane or something flew off the building and made like a -- it looked -- if you didn't see it actually come off the plane, you saw like the stream of smoke coming from one building to the other, but actually came from the tower, and they didn't go the other way, so he swore he saw a rocket, but at the time we thought it was a rocket. We thought -- I thought we were under attack, and we were under attack, naturally, but I thought we were under attack in the city.

People were handing us bottles of water going up, civilians, words of encouragement and all that stuff, good luck, guys. We had a few people – women crying. There was a light haze inside the stairwell. Before we got in, all the elevators were crashed down in the lobby, and we were going to the stairwell. See all the elevators were crashed down, big slabs of marble on the floor, all the ceiling tiles of the dropped ceiling was falling down, wires hanging. You see wires and stuff hanging inside the elevator shafts, because the doors were blown right off the elevators. There was one body inside the lobby. Looked like his legs were chopped off. I don't know where he came from, but he had already had a triage tag on him. It was a civilian. I don't know where he came from, how he died. Looked like his clothes were a little burnt up on him, but his legs were chopped off. I don't know where he came from, but he had a triage tag, so somebody must have tagged him before we got there.

So I can remember we started making our way up. We got up about ten floors, and we'd take a break and go up another ten floors. We got up to about the 23rd Floor. We were inside the hallway taking a break, and the whole building shakes. I mean violently, like earthquake shake. Two seconds later the lights go out, and I hear guys going, oh, shit. I see guys taking off -- firemen, cops. Guys are saying, this building is not supposed to shake like this, and I see guys running down the stairs, running out of the building, and I told my boss.
Q. Is there anything else that you can think of that might be pertinent?
A. When I came out, all the people that I saw in the lobby, I remember seeing a guy filming in the lobby. There was a guy with a video camera in the lobby filming.
Q. Fireman? Civilian?
A. He look like -- you know, might have been a light-duty guy. He looked like he had a firemen uniform, but he didn't have bunker gear on. He just had the coat on and blue pants. It looked like a fireman, but it didn't look like -- he wasn't wearing -- he didn't have bunker gear on, and he wasn't wearing a helmet. Just he had a camera, and I remember him filming with a camera, and it wasn't like the amateur ones. It looked like a professional looking camera that he had.



It's hard to deal with the time frame, but it seems as if suddenly there was a -- our attention was drawn to the south tower. There was some kind of explosion, you might say, up in the area where the fire was. Actually, in hindsight, that was the start of the collapse. Now, we were very close at that time. We were up on West Street toward Liberty, very close to the hotel but on the west side of the street. So immediately, from my point of view, I knew that we were much, much too close, and we just started running. There was a group of us there, all Marshals. We just started running south on West Street to the corner, and there were a lot of people running and a lot of people bumping into each other at that corner and it was like a pileup of whoever was passing by, which slowed us all up. As soon as I made the turn, I jumped in behind some van. It was like the second car off West Street going toward the river. I dove in behind the van, and it was on us already, you know, the noise and like a pressure wave, like a wind, and the dust cloud. Immediately I recognized that I couldn't breathe.



We continued on about the 20th Floor. We took another quick break, went in on the floor to catch our breath. As we were picking up our gear again, getting ready to go up again, the building began to shake and sway, and I believe at this time the lights went out, you know, with all that going on. We didn't know it at the time, but this was, in fact, the south tower collapsing. We just kind of stayed there for a minute to see what was going on. Within a minute or two, I heard a transmission on the radio that the 66th Floor had collapsed. It had collapsed into 65, but the building felt sound at this time. We continued on.
Q. When you were in the lobby, did you notice the elevators, what the condition of the elevators was? Was there any fire in the elevator shafts? Did you notice the elevator to any extent?
A. I didn't see fire in the elevator shafts. There was a good deal of soot, like a white soot all through the lobby. A couple of the doors of the elevators were buckled, so there was some kind of explosion or fire in there. There were -- in the vestibule between the outer doors and the inner doors, there were two civilian bodies burned. There was nothing we could do for them at that point, you know. I assumed something came down and just burned them. They might have been in the elevator or near the elevator and stumbled as far as they got. I heard reports that there was one elevator working that some guys used. There were no elevators by the time we got there. All the elevators were out. It was one of the first things that was established. Elevators were not working.



While we were on the 23rd floor, at one point I took off Don Casey's coat. I saw that he was having a hard time breathing. Derek's coat we took off, his turnout, because he was having the chest pains. I figured just to get the heat off him. It was pretty hot carrying all the stuff up. We found some water. Then within a minute or two, it sounded like a missile was about to come through the windows, I guess maybe on every floor, but it sounded like it was going to come right through the 23rd floor. Everyone automatically just hit the deck, like you do in a war movie. We heard a crash and the ground shaking, and everybody kind of like -- when we realized we were okay, everybody kind of got up and were wondering what was going on.



We were returning from an EMS run, and we pulled up to the intersection of Rose Streer and Avenue of the finest. That’s right next to One Police Plaza. That’s when we heard a loud explosion. We were looking around. We didn’t know where it came from. It was loud. A police officer pointed to the north tower of the World Trade Center. We looked up there, and we saw a hole, maybe about three stories wide, a jagged hole, somewhere in the eighties in the north wall of One World Tower. We thought it was a bomb.

We entered in through the front doors of the lobby. The lobby was screwed. All the windows were already broken. Marble walls that surrounded the elevator shaft, the were cracked and broken.

We headed for the B staircase. It was pretty much in the center of the core. We had to go through these turnstiles. I remember there was a lot of rubble on the floor there. There was elevator doors ajar. There were elevator doors missing. I could see an elevator car twisted in the shaft. I remember I looked up at the ceiling because I thought maybe the ceiling got charred because there was a bunch of rubble on the floor. It was about three feet high in the middle. The ceiling wasn’t charred. So I thought the floor blew up. I was telling guys afterwards the floor must have blown up. Maybe there was a bomb downstairs or something. But I came to learn that that was bodies. We had to climb over and around the pile.
Q. A pile of bodies, in the lobby?
A. I didn’t recognise it as bodies. I don’t know if my mind didn’t see it.
Q. Burned?
A. Burned.
Q. Near the elevators?
A. It looked like rubble to me.
Q. Right.
A. Right outside the elevators, in the core. We had to climb up and around it – it was like three feet high in the middle – to enter the B staircase.

Approximately when we got to the 14th floor I heard a handy talky transmission, “Another plane! Another plane!” A little rumble. “Another plane just hit the south tower.”

I entered the staircase. I started going up. I got to approximately the 37th floor. I had the backup position. I had a handy talky. The building violently shook like an earthquake, tossing us around. I donned my mask. I didn’t know what. Then someone opened the door from the 36th floor and said Two World Trade Center just fell down. I'm thinking it's one of these, it fell like on an angle, fell across many blocks. I didn’t know it pancaked. The way the building shook, I didn’t doubt him that it had fallen completely.
Q. When you went in the lobby and you talked about the elevator doors that all, some were blown? What did they look like?
A. There were elevator doors that were missing.
Q. Missing.
A. There were elevator doors that were ajar.
Q. Right.
A. I could see an elevator car twisted in the shaft.
Q. Was there fire in the elevator shaft? Was there smoke? Any evidence of fire dropping down to that level?
A. That rubble was burnt rubble. I’ve come to learn from guys behind me they said it was burnt bodies.



Upon going back to the corner of West and Vesey, I don't know how long I was on the scene, it must have been like about maybe 20 minutes, 30 minutes, before the first tower collapsed. I just heard a rumbling noise and looked up and I saw parts of the building coming down and I just started running uptown on West Street.



At that point, I just heard a thunderous sound, and I looked up, and I saw the building start to topple, start to sway, and it was swaying our way, and we just yelled, “Run” and I tried to run as fast as I could, and I saw an SUV parked, and I figured that that would take some, you know, some of the hit, because I knew I couldn’t out run the building, and by the time it took me to break the back window of the SUV, my safety coat was already on fire.



I was standing next to a guy who had just called his wife – girlfriend, “I'm okay, I just want to let you know everything is fine,” and I asked him – I said, “Do you mind if I borrow your phone and call my wife?” And he gave me his phone, and as soon as I called my wife, the phone was ringing, and I heard what was a third plane coming in. I heard the propulsion of an engine and then an explosion.

I remember being over there, and did I hear yet another – what I thought was a propulsion of a plane, and then an explosion, and then we all dove to the floor.

After awhile, we heard a report that there was a gas leak or possible gas explosion in Stuyvesant High School because of ruptured gas lines. There was a chaotic evacuation of Stuyvesant High School, which just made things worse, because even though there might have been a leak, it just seemed as if it might have been connected somehow with what we found out was terrorist attacks.



They sent us over, and then the rigs came over. We parked by the federal building over there, and it was already dust clouds, so I guess the first building already collapsed, and we started walking in, and not that long after that we heard, like, the rumble of the second building collapsing.



At this point, 7, which is right there on Vesey, the whole corner of the building was missing. I was thinking to myself we are in a bad place, because it was the corner facing us. But you do what you got to do as usual. We operated till they finally started pulling people back.