Transcripts 461-480



We were probably about a block away when we heard a giant rumbling sound. It sounded like jets were going overhead and then we looked up and we saw the tower start to fall and we just ran. We outran the dust cloud and got back in the rig.



The next thing I did was we saw a fire starting to show at windows in 7 World Trade Center, decided to go in and try and see if there was anybody in the building and/or put out the fires, and we did a search from floor to floor of 7 World Trade Center passing fire on floors 3, 7, 9. The standpipes had no water. We tried to extinguish a few fires with cans. When we got to 11, there was just too much smoke and we decided that, without water, if we went any higher, we'd be on fool's mission. So we left 7 World Trade Center, back down to the street, where I ran into Chief Coloe from the 1st Division, Captain Varriale, Engine 24, and Captain Varriale told Chief Coloe and myself that 7 World Trade Center was badly damaged on the south side and definitely in danger of collapse. Chief Coloe said we were going to evacuate the collapse zone around 7 World Trade Center, which we did.

At some point, 7 World Trade Center collapsed. We were down the block. We heard it starting to go.



Approximately 9:50, we heard this loud noise. I looked up and it sounded like another airplane was coming in. that’s what it sounded. It sounded like a large engine, like you're sitting on the seat of the wing of the plane. That’s the best way I can describe what it sounded like. We look up and we saw tower two coming down. We just all ran.



All of a sudden we heard a big boom and I looked up and the tower started to collapse, so I instructed the patient, I told her make a run for it. From then we all ran. I lost my partner and a big black cloud of debris started coming around the corner from, I believe it's 5 World Trade Center. Q. When you said you heard a boom, what tower -- can you describe which tower -- A. I believe it was tower one, because we were right in front of it. Right between, there is a street. There is like a path. We were against the building. 5 World Trade Center. I believe that was what it was, and 1 World Trade Center. It was directly above it and that's where the command post was. When we heard the big boom, I looked up and I just saw the building collapsing.



I started walking back towards the rig, the OV and the roof guy were helping me take care of people and I started walking towards the rig to tell the Manhattan dispatcher what was going on. When what we thought was another plane had hit another building, because we were on the side of the building that was pretty smoky and debris, cloud. The remainder was in our face most of that time. We assumed or we thought that there was another explosion, another plane had hit. We didn't know what had happened.

We stayed there for quite sometime when I don't even know who, I think it was someone, Lieutenant Lowney spoke to, asked us to leave the area, they were concerned about 7 World Trade Center collapsing.



With that, I was able to -- I'm hearing like a rumble and I'm looking up and I'm seeing the antenna start to do this type of nonsense, swaying a little bit it seemed, and sure enough the building was coming down. That was tower number 1, the north tower. As it started coming down, we saw this ferocious amount of black cloud, a brown cloud that was chasing everybody. It was chasing us also.

At that time there was a lot of fire going on. I think it was the Customs House was roaring. The 7 World Trade Center was roaring. All we could think is we were an Engine Company, we have got to get them some water. We need some water you know.

I remember being pulled off the pile like just before. It wasn't just before. It was probably an hour before 7 came down.
Q. It was about an hour before. Maybe an hour and a half.
A. I remember when 7 World Trade came down and everybody was like shell shocked. I mean this was a 47 story building. We all ran. We were like oh, my god, here we go again. It just gave us the creeps.



You could see when we were around the corner you could see the top of the south tower. You could see the top. It just starts – you hear the crumbling, like an engine roar and something started coming down like that and people just started scattering up the corner.

But the second tower, which is actually the first tower, tower one came down. We just heard a rumble and the smoke started coming around and people started running.

He gave us some water and we hung out over by a rail for I don’t know how long. Then we just started listening to the radio, Coast Guard coming up. There are jets flying overhead now. Every sound you hear, everybody is panicking and running everywhere.



During that time a couple of the members felt like we were being useless just standing around. We wanted to do something. So we started trying to walk down, trying to get into the pile. We kept on being turned around from chiefs, because they didn't want us near seven. Prior to seven coming down, this is the first chance that we -- we were starting to get hungry, so one of the members that I was with, he said we heard there was a box of fruit or bananas down the block, so we started walking down the block. As we were walking, we had to actually get a little closer to seven. So we turned and looked at seven, and that's when all the marble siding started popping off the side because it was starting to go down.

We made our way to the base of seven. That's where we set up the tower ladder. As we were coming down Greenwich – was it Greenwich? I'm not sure. It was either West or Greenwich. There was multiple cars on fire throughout the block. All the hydrants, there was no pressure in any of the hydrants that we were around. There was a pumper set up on one of the streets, so we tried to stretch a line off the pumper because there was no pressure in the hydrant.



As the day went on they started worrying about 7 World Trade Center collapsing and they ordered an evacuation from that area so at that time, we left the area with the other companies, went back to the command post on Broadway, where we were instructed, they were looking for companies to go to the west side to operate on the bridges, to cut members out that they had confirmed were pinned and trapped under the bridges on the west side.

Greenwich and Park was covered with debris, there were burning autos and all debris. It was starting to extend into the buildings on both sides of the block. We went to hydrants in that area. We had off duty guys in our cells, but the hydrants had no water. We did whatever we could. The rigs actually were starting to become in danger of lighting up themselves.

I walked down to the position with the Chief where we were going to assess what we need and how close we wanted to get with the apparatus. They were worried about 7 at the time. The decision was made not to do it, not to get anybody else hurt. That's when we backed up and they said let's wait for this other building before we continue any work, because where the bridge was was in the direct path of 7.

Then the other part was unfortunately we couldn't do anything at the pedestrian bridge but the concern of 7, which they had no idea which way it was going to collapse and they just knew it was going to collapse and they positioned us outside of it.

They made us evacuate due to the fear of 7 coming down. That's when we went back to the command post, got the other instruction to work with this Chief, where we went to the west side, got as far down as we could. The Chief and myself went down to that area where we they wanted us to work. Seeing what we would need; torches, air bags, anything else like that to operate at that bridge. The concern there again, it was later in the afternoon, 2, 2:30, like I said. The fear then was 7. 7 was free burning. Search had been made of 7 already from what they said so they had us back up to that point where we were waiting for 7 to come down to operate from the north back down.



We made it up -- every five or six or seven floors we just took a little break because there were a lot of people on the stairway, a lot of people coming down, just to catch our breath and whatever, take a little breather. We finally made it up to probably around the -- I would say the 18th floor when we took a little break. At the time the building was shaking. It was hit with something. At that time we thought it was another missile attack, so we all just ran into the stairway and just helped cover us and other civilians and firemen until it stopped shaking. We didn't know what it was at the time.



The alarm came in. We heard the explosion. My initial thought that the explosion was something out of the kitchen. It was approximately 8:47, 8:48. We ran out to the front. We were getting on the rig. We knew it was an explosion, and then we heard a 1060, an emergency. A 1060 came over and said a plane just hit the north tower, commuter plane.

I did it again, and then the north tower started coming down. I heard the same -- same pancaking, like a machine gun coming and glass flying, so I closed -- shut the door, got out of the rig, and ran -- started running across the street.



We were actually sitting in the kitchen, the lieutenant and I, and we actually heard the first explosion. We both looked at each other, and we were like, "Oh, what was that?" It seemed like right after that the alarm came in and we were on our way downtown. We took the FDR Drive down, and you could actually see the building pretty much the whole way down. The whole three-quarters of the way up was engulfed in fire.

We made our way up to 29 or 30. We were again resting again. All of a sudden just -- I don't know if the sequence is right, but everything went black, and all the power went out. There was just this rumbling. I felt like it went on forever.

I believe 4 Engine was with us, there was 28, and I believe 8 Truck was with us. We all just huddled into the staircase. We were holding on thinking -- I'm a big person. I'm thinking the floor's going to collapse or the ceiling's coming down, but I thought that was it. When the rumbling finally stopped, all of a sudden we felt this gush of air coming from everywhere. Just from every direction there was like wind blowing. What I heard later on, that was just the concussion of the air coming back up from tower two.

We got out and we got under the bridge. A couple bodies came down, flying down, just in front of our guys. We just got under the bridge and like, okay, it's safe, it's good. All of a sudden we heard this huge explosion, and that's when the tower started coming down. We all started running.



Then shortly thereafter is when I heard this loud rumbling noise and we looked up and saw that the building, or the south tower of the Trade Center was collapsing. Then we just turned around and took refuge inside the building we were standing in front of. The building collapsed.



Q. Were you aware that the south tower had collapsed?
A. We didn’t know actually what was going on. We weren’t sure if those noises – sounded like another plane, bomb, something like that, but – it just was a big, we didn’t really know what was going on because we were inside the building and then walking around we knew it was bad, just from looking out.

From that point everything just turned black. I thought we were buried at first, so I masked up at first, because I don’t know if it would be – it was just everything just turned black so I thought I was buried. The second collapse was really bad because the whole building really shook and the noise – it was – it sounded like it was another plane. I was waiting for the fuselage to come in. it was so loud.



When we finished with the fireman, we were around Barclay or Murray. They might have made us move back. There was a gas scare. I don’t remember the time frame, but everybody started saying keep your ambulances away from manhole covers and sewers. Somebody yelled, “Everybody run for lives. There's a gas main leak. There might be an explosion.”