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Full text of "FDNY1"

File No. 9110016 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER CRAIG MONAHAN 
Interview Date: October 9, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



C. MONAHAN 2 

MR. CASTORINA: Today is October 9th, 
2001. I'm Ron Castorina. I'm at Engine 24, 
Ladder 5. 

FIREFIGHTER MONAHAN: Craig Monahan, 
firefighter first grade, Ladder 5. 
MR. CASTORINA: Present is — 
MR. McCOURT: Tom McCourt. 
Q. Firefighter Monahan, can you tell us on 
September 11th the events that took place that 
day, where you were working and going through all 
the details? 

A. I was off duty. When I saw the second 
plane hit, I drove in to work from Staten Island. 
I had two other firefighters with me, Steven 
Altini and Joe Ray. Joe Ray and I both had our 
bunker gear with us because our last set of tours 
we had been detailed to other companies. We just 
so happened to have gone home with our bunker 
gear. Altini didn't have his. 

So I rushed in, and I got here pretty 
quick. I parked in front of 90 West. I came 
through the tunnel, Battery Tunnel, parked in 
front of 90 West. Joe Ray and I geared up, put 
our gear on. We started heading north towards 



C. MONAHAN 3 

the towers. Altini, we left him at the rig. He 
started heading towards -- the command center at 
first. I think he ended up going back to 10 and 
10 to get gear. 

Anyhow, as we were walking through the 
streets, the West Side Highway was littered with 
body parts. You could identify a hand, small 
pieces, but obviously body parts. It had that 
odor. I've been through this before. 

Q. What time is this now, approximately? 

A. I have no idea. 

Q. Both towers were still up? 

A. The two towers were both standing, and 
they were roaring. 

Q. Both planes had hit at this point when 
you were there? 

A. Right. I left Staten Island at -- it 
wasn't my house; it was somewhere else. But I 
was on the south shore of Staten Island. I went 
into somebody's house, because they said that a 
plane hit the tower, and they were showing me on 
their TV. 

As we turned it on and looked at it, 
the second plane hit. I knew right then that we 



C. MONAHAN 4 

were losing companies and mine was probably going 
to be one of them. So I was going in, and the 
other two guys came with me. 

We got there really fast. I drove on 
the shoulder or however it took to get here. I 
parked in front of 90 West, left the keys in my 
truck in case anybody needed to move it. The 
highway was kind of clear as far as vehicles. 
There was no traffic going through. It really 
wasn't congested with rigs at that spot. 

I saw an ambulance. Dr. Kelly was 
getting on the ambulance with I don't know who. 
They were putting someone on the ambulance. That 
was before we got to the south pedestrian bridge, 
before Liberty Street. You could see airplane 
parts just littered across the street, across the 
highway. 

Joe and I walked north. My goal was to 
find Ladder 5, my company's rig, and try to 
retrace their steps and find them and help them. 
As we were walking past the towers, it was just 
unbelievable. You had to watch where you were 
walking. You didn't want to step on a scalp or a 
knee joint or something like that. There was 



C. MONAHAN 5 

just stuff everywhere. 

We kept going north. We were just on 
the edge of the sidewalk. We got in front of One 
World Trade Center, and I looked in. It looked 
like it was dark in there. I had to find 5's 
rig. As we were going, I'm looking to see the 
rigs. I know we normally come down West Street. 
I want to find my rig, get tools, and then maybe 
I can trace my way in from there. 

It turns out we found Squad 18 under 
the north pedestrian or somewhere around there, 
and we got masks. We took masks off of there. 
We were looking for tools. All we got was a 
couple of masks. 

Just north of that pedestrian bridge 
before Vesey, we found Ladder 5. It was parked 
in the middle of the highway, right up against 
the divider. 

Q. Can you mark that on the map, where it 
was parked? 

A. 5 Truck was right here. 

Q. Just write "5 Truck." 

A. That's where it was when we got there. 
The tormenters weren't down. 



C. MONAHAN 6 

Q. Put "05" or something like that right 
next to it. 

A. It was just parked. It was running. 
But the tormenters weren't down. It wasn't close 
enough to ladder the building. 

As we're looking through the rig to try 
to get a Halligan or some tools, some 
construction workers or I dont ' know if they were 
civilians. They were employees I think somewhere 
down there, and they came running over to us 
saying there's a chief that needs to get down. 
There was a chief up on the mezzanine area right 
on the corner of Vesey and West. 

I got in the truck. I pulled the 
tiller wheel in position so that all Joe had to 
do was sit up there and hold that wheel. I was 
going to back Ladder 5 close enough to this 
mezzanine area so that we could put up the aerial 
ladder to get him down and whoever else he had up 
there . 

We did that. We backed it up. We got 
it close enough. We laddered the building. We 
put the aerial up, and that's it. Basically 
that ' s it . 



C. MONAHAN 7 

Q. Who was the chief there? 

A. I didn't get his name. 

Q. When you got there he was still there? 

A. He was still up there. I don't know if 
he came down our aerial or what. That was right 
about when the first building came down. We put 
the aerial up. 

Q. Could you put on there where you moved 
it to? Was it pretty close to where it was 
originally? 

A. We moved it this way, right there. 

Q. So basically just as you got it in 
place, that's when the building started coming 
down? 

A. We got it in place, and then we got off 
the turntable. We were looking for tools again. 
Then all of a sudden you heard something, and it 
sounded like a harrier jet was landing right over 
top of us. Sure enough that second tower was 
just coming straight down. 

It was sick. I didn't think I was 
going to survive. It was really a sick sight and 
a really sick sound. 

Q. What did you do? 



C. MONAHAN 8 

A. I said, "Let's go, Joe. We're going to 
dive under this engine there." There was an 
engine, I think it was at Vesey and West, I think 
it was right on the corner by the median, and we 
ran to it and we dove underneath it. We ran to 
it, ran around it and dove underneath it, because 
we figured we were going to get covered and 
that's our best chance. 

Although debris fell around us, the 
main structure felt as if -- we were lucky. When 
it sounded like the explosion stopped, the steel 
hitting, when it all seemed to stop, this just 
like a fire storm of wind and material, a 
sandstorm kind of, just came and wailed by, 
really flew past us quick. 

We huddled and stayed in place, and we 
threw our masks on. I knew which way was north, 
so we started walking north to try to get out of 
that storm. Eventually it cleared. It was 
probably 20 minutes. It's hard to say, because 
it seems like to me that all of the time frames, 
how many minutes it took me to get there, I 
couldn't tell you. It's just like everything is 
just one. Your mind is playing games. 



C. MONAHAN 9 

Q. Most people have the same problem. 

A. I would like to ask you guys questions, 
you know, the times of what happened, piece my 
life together. 

Together Joe and I walked north on West 
Street, and we found an engine company, hooked it 
up to a hydrant, and we fired the stag to try to 
knock down some of the smoke just so that we 
could see. We did that for a short time. 

Q. Was there a lot of burning debris 
around or anything? 

A. Not that we were able to hit. But 
there was a parking lot I think on the corner of 
Vesey. I'm not sure. I think it was the corner 
of Vesey and West. I'm pretty sure, yeah. On 
the southwest corner of Vesey and West, there was 
a parking lot that was just roaring. Every car 
was transmitting to the next car. This was 
between the two collapses, I think. 

I went over there. I took a saw off of 
some fire truck, some ladder company -- I don't 
know -- and took a metal-cutting blade. There 
were two fences between the highway and this 
parking lot. I cut the fences and, with an 



C. MONAHAN 10 

engine company, advanced the line and started 
knocking down those fires. 

Once that line was in place, that 
engine was in control, they didn't need me. So 
that's when I started making my way back down to 
try to get inside the rubble. 

Q. Did you get any direction from anybody 
at all or were you kind of like working on your 
own? Did you meet with any chiefs or 
lieutenants? 

A. I saw chiefs. Yeah, I ran into chiefs, 
and they were all telling me to get lost: "You 
ought to just go north." But I didn't really 
want to do that because I know my guys are in 
there . 

I left the saw there. I left that 
engine company. I figured they don't need me to 
put these cars out. I started walking back 
towards the towers. Then, bam, the next one 
started coming down. I just couldn't believe it. 

Q. Where were you when the next one 
started coming down? How far away were you? 

A. I think I was north of Vesey. I might 
have been closer to -- between Vesey and Barclay 



C. MONAHAN 11 

on West Street. 

Q. You were by yourself at this point? 

A. I had Joe with me. We had lost each 
other and then got back together, I think. Your 
mind plays games with you when you see this kind 
of shit. I know we were together when the second 
one fell also. After that one came down, we 
walked north again. 

We met up with an engine company. They 
were just staying by a hydrant and spraying the 
water, trying to knock the smoke down. They were 
just going to stay there. We hung out with them 
for a minute. 

Then, I don't know, that's when I lost 
Joe, after the two towers were down. I knew he 
wasn't in the collapse. Somehow in the dark we 
lost each other. I headed back down -- well, 
that's it. That's all you want to know, the two 
towers . 

Q. Well, you can go on a little bit. 

A. I came back down, and I went to five, 
and it was crushed with steel and all kinds of 
crap. I didn't see anybody in it or under it or 
around it. So I started making my way towards 



C. MONAHAN 12 

the pedestrian bridge, and I saw that the bridge 
had come down substantially. But there was about 
four feet -- there was a void underneath the 
pedestrian bridge where you could see the street. 
So I climbed under. I went under and went into 
the pile and started looking for guys and 
everything. There was just nothing to find. 
Everything was the same color. 

That's all you guys want to know; 
right? 

Q. You covered it all. Anything else you 
want to add? 

A. That's it. 

MR. CASTORINA: The time is 12:50. 

This concludes the interview. 



File No. 911001? 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MARCEL CLAES 
Interview Date: October 9, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



MR. CASTORINA: The date is October 9, 2001. 
The time is 11:47. I'm Ron Castorina. I'm at 
Engine 24, interviewing -- your name, sir? 

FIREFIGHTER CLAES : Marcel Claes, firefighter 
1st Grade, Engine 24. 

MR. CASTORINA: And your name. 
MR. MC COURT: Also present is Tom McCourt. 
Q. And on September 11, 2001, can you tell he 
what your assignment was that day? 

A. My original assignment was in Ladder 5. I 
had a mutual with Paul Keating, but the engine was 
short that day, so they -- it was common practice to go 
back into the engine, being I'm an engine man. 

So the call came in, and we got on the rig. 
We responded going south on Varick Street, and I said 
to the nozzle man when I saw the damage, "That's got to 
be an explosion," not realizing that it was hit by a 
plane . 

We pulled up to -- I believe we went down 
Canal Street and went along West Street south, and we 
ended up parked on West and Vesey Street. There was a 
sprinkler system, a Siamese for the sprinkler right 
there . 

We went to the lobby of 1 World Trade, and 



Claes 

when we got in there, we saw a lot of damage in the 
lobby around the elevator banks, and we found -- I 
found out that it was hit by a plane, thinking it was 
an accident. 

So we proceeded up with other engine 
companies and truck companies in Stairwell A. After a 
dozen floors or so, we started to take breaks every 
four floors. We didn't realize it was hit by -- we 
didn't realize 2 World Trade was hit by an airplane, so 
we kept going up. It was single file, civilians going 
down and firemen going up. 

The civilians were orderly and blessing us 
and helping the injured down. I checked the standpipe 
a few times on the way up. We made it up to the -- I 
believe the 35th story. We were taking a breather. I 
was on my knees, catching my breath, and we were 
discussing -- we were going to hook up with another 
engine company to make it up there -- easier to get up 
there. We were going to have some guys just take 
cylinders and the other guys take hoses, but we felt 
this rumble and this noise, like a train was going 
through your living room. Felt like an earthquake. 

A few minutes later, a chief -- someone told 
me he believed it was 11 battalion -- said to drop 



Claes 

everything and get out, get out. He didn't say why. 
He just said, "Drop everything and get out." Probably 
said it a couple of times. 

So basically, that's what guys did. I went 
back and got my coat, my cylinder and my standpipe kit, 
and I was the last one to go down from my company, but 
they ended up -- we got separated because I found out 
later that one of our -- Richard Billy was on the 27th 
story in the hallway with a woman in, I believe, a 
wheelchair, and the rest of the company went in to get 
him. 

I continued down, not realizing that they 
stopped at the 27th Floor. I made my way down to 
around the 10th Floor. Someone said go to Stairway B, 
so I went down. I went to B. I saw Faust with 
Battalion 8. I asked him did he see anybody from 24 
engine. He said no. I continued down. 

I made it to the lobby. I did see a woman 
walking real slow. I walked behind them. She was 
being helped. I don't remember if it was a fireman or 
EMT . I got -- I just wanted to get some fresh air, so 
I went around them. I made it to the lobby. 

I saw building employees running around. 
There was a lot of debris in the lobby. I went out the 



Claes 

same way I came in. That was on the northwest corner 
of tower -- 1 World Trade. 

Q. On the map on there? 

A. I went out a window that was taken out, 
because I knew my engine was parked on that side. I 
made it out to the -- I saw a man in the courtyard. He 
was waving me out, like come on out, get out of there. 
I didn't look up. I just went out to the street. 

When I got out to the street, I looked up, 
not believing what I was looking at. I saw three 
people jump out of the building, and it started to 
collapse, and I took off north on West Street. I made 
it behind an engine. I was only carrying my coat. I 
had time to put it over my head. I was at the back 
step with another fireman. I don't know who it was. 

Finally when the dust cleared, I started 
walking north on West Street for a couple of blocks. I 
didn't see the rest of my company. I saw some members 
from Ladder 8, and I decided to go back to the engine, 
because it was still running when I went out the first 
time, so when I went back to Engine 24, which was 
parked on the Vesey and West, it was still running, but 
the supply line was severed and there was a lot of dust 
and debris on the ground. 



Claes 

It was -- I believe Engine 239 was a couple 
of blocks north on West Street, who were originally 
supplying 24 engine. They -- 

Q. Can you mark on the map where you believe 
Engine 239 was? 

A. I'm only guessing that they were up the 
block . 

Q. Where was the chauffeur from 24? He was 
still at the rig or he -- 

A. I didn't see the chauffeur. I don't know 
what happened to anybody. That's why I went back to 
the engine, hoping that I'd find somebody from my 
company. 

I got no response on the radio. I found out 
later they went to the hospital, and I didn't -- I 
didn't know where the chauffeur was, so I went back to 
24 engine. I went back to the engine. It was still 
running, still hooked up to the Siamese. 

Firemen were taking hand lines off, so I had 
to boost the tank. They were looking for people, and 
they needed precautionary lines. Actually, it was over 
here, 24 engine. I stayed with the engine, 239. I 
believe -- yeah, it was an officer, I think, from 239, 
and his men that were -- he supplied me -- it took 



Claes 

awhile, but we found the first lengths. At one point, 
we were putting out ground fire with the first 
lengths . 

There wasn't much pressure, because when I 
did get resupplied finally, I hooked up to a tower 
ladder, I believe 12, that was parked or maybe they 
moved it, Ladder 12. They operated up Vesey Street 
because a lot of rubble over there and ground fire, you 
know, going over here. 

It was like ground fire and rubble that was 
on fire, so I just stayed right at the engine hoping 
somebody would show up from the company, at least 
they'd find me, but I just felt I had to do something, 
so I -- you know, I made sure that those hand lines 
and -- you know, I was -- I felt I was being useful 
just by manning the pumps. 

At one point, a rescue company came by, and 
they walked into the -- you know, this is after the 
collapses. I they walked in. I guess they did their 
thing. I guess they were -- actually I don't know what 
they were doing. They must have got off. You know, 
they were off that day and went back to the company to 
gear up and made it there on their own. 

Q. How was your breathing with all the dust and 



Claes 

the debris? 

A. Oh, at the -- after the collapse, I was 
gagging behind the engine, and there was -- my throat 
was caked up with this stuff. I almost threw up. 
Couldn't see the hand in front of my face. 

Eventually the dust cleared. That's -- and 
after that, I picked up my cylinder and my coat and 
went up West Street, north on West Street, but then I 
came back after my eyes were all itchy. 

Q. Smoke got cleared a little bit when you went 
back? 

A. Yeah. After the dust cleared, I went back 
and operated the engine. I wasn't in any condition to 
climb through the rubble, but I felt, you know, I was 
being useful at manning the engine. 

Q. Right. 

A. Because of the ground fire. They ended up 
taking a multiversile tower ladder and two hand lines. 
I believe the hand lines were mostly because there was 
guys operating, searching over the terrace. 

Let me see. There is like a terrace there 
and then the building. This building ended up -- there 
was a lot of rubble over here, of course. I guess 
that's between 8 World Trade and 1 World Trade that was 



Claes 

on fire. This building -- I was watching the fire, 
started in this corner. 

Q. Which building was that? 

A. 8 World Trade, U.S. Customs building, and I 
guess about six stories, and it was on the 5th Floor, 
and then it just went from south to north in the course 
of the day. All morning I was watching 7 World Trade 
burn, which we couldn't do anything about because it 
was so much chaos looking for missing members. 

Q. Did you end up going to the hospital or were 
you injured in any way or -- 

A. Yeah. When I was running, some hot stuff 
went down by back, because I didn't have time to put my 
coat back on, and I had some -- well, I guess between 
first and second degree burns on my back, ended up in 
the crack of my ass, and that's where the worst -- the 
worst ones turned out to be, because I was covering 
myself, and I couldn't -- it finally settled. 

Q. Went down to your back? 

A. Yeah, in my bunker pants. 

Q. Did you get any first-aid? 

A. I did. About four o'clock -- no, actually, I 
got some first-aid by some EMTs that were parked, I 
think on Vesey -- yeah, at the intersection of Vesey 



10 
Claes 



and West I got some first-aid. 

Q. This was how much after? 

A. A few hours afterwards. A few hours 
afterwards, because I was going to get to some water. 
I ran out of cigarettes. I was hoping to grub a 
cigarette . 

Q . I'm with you . 

A. All right. So I did get some first-aid 
earlier in the day, but finally after 3:30, quarter to 
four, I was feeling nauseous, and I wasn't sure why. 

I thought maybe the burns were affecting me 
somehow, so I ended up going to the triage at 
Stuyvesant High School, and I found -- I was looking 
for the command post, and there were a lot of firemen, 
I guess who came after the fact. 

I got to triage. They put some cream on my 
burns and flushed out my eyes for the first time, and I 

-- like my eyes -- I mean, I had great glasses to 
read, but I used to be able to read the paper with good 
light, but I couldn't even do that for a couple of 
weeks. They finally got better. 

And then I sat around. I found out the rest 
of the guys were okay. They went to the hospital. I 
saw the chauffeur there. That was at Stuyvesant High 



11 

Claes 



School. Well, actually it was on West Street right 
outside Stuyvesant High School. They thought -- they 
were relieved, because they thought I was missing. 

I did see members that came after the fact 
that were -- you know, but they weren't from the 
company. They came from home, but I guess they stayed 
looking for members that were missing and never went 
back to where the triage was by Stuyvesant High 
School . 

What else? So by six o'clock I decided let 
me go home. I called my wife finally, because the 
phones weren't working around ground zero, so I found 
someone with a phone at four o'clock. I called home, 
and she was relieved, and I sat around there to rest, 
and I walked to the firehouse, and I made it to Canal 
Street, and I saw another fireman, a messenger I 
believe he was, and he drove me to the firehouse, and I 
took a shower and talked to the guys for awhile, and I 
was hoping they would find guys from Ladder 8 -- Ladder 
5, rather, and that's that. 

The next day I came back just to see what was 
going on. I was in no condition to go back there. And 
I worked Thursday. I was -- it was 24 on, 24 off. So 
I came in Thursday morning, and we didn't even have a 



12 
Claes 



fire truck until earlier that afternoon. 

The shops did a great job fixing it up. It 
was missing gauges, the gauges on the pump, and the 
windshield was broken, and cabinet doors were bent. It 
was missing a lot of hose and tools. So we got it back 
that afternoon. We cleaned it up Thursday afternoon. 

I believe they took it to the Sanitation 
Department, and they power washed it, and we got it 
back here. We had to hose the inside out, and we 
stocked it with whatever we had in the tool shed, and 
we went back in service around six o'clock that night. 

We didn't have many runs, but I think that 
was the only operating engine covering lower Manhattan, 
except for the one that was operating within the 
collapse zone, the ground zero. 

We did go back Thursday night. Was it 
Thursday? I think yeah, we did go back. It was our 
turn to good back to ground zero, and all I did was 
fill buckets with dust and debris. It rained that 
night, so we went back to the -- after a number of 
hours, we went back to the firehouse. 

I was up all night, and Friday morning I went 
to the medical office, and they gave me a prescription 
for antibiotics, told me to keep -- it was starting to 



13 
Claes 



get infected, my burns, so they told me -- they put me 
light duty. 

So Saturday I came back to the firehouse, and 
I was due to work at my light-duty position at Rac 5 
Sunday morning. I went home -- when I got home Monday 
morning, we started with wakes and funerals all that 
week, because they did recover guys from Ladder 5, so 
we were off. 

Basically, I didn't come back to the 
firehouse until the following week. The following week 
after Greg Sausito's memorial Mass, and then we were 
on -- when I was scheduled to come back to work. They 
went back to the regular schedule. 

And that's about it. 

MR. CASTORINA: The time concludes this 
interview is 12:05. 



File No. 9110020 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER KEVIN MURRAY 
Interview Date: October 9, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



2 
K. Murray 
MR. MURAD/CUNDARI: Today is October 9, 

2001. The time is 1240 hours and my name is 

Murray Murad/George Cundari of the New York 

City Fire Department. I am conducting an 

interview with -- 

A. Firefighter, Third Grade, Kevin Murray, 
assigned to ladder 18 that day of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. 

Q. I am currently at Ladder 11 and Engine 28 
regarding the events on September 11, 2001. 
Firefighter Murray, do you want to give your account 
of the tragic day? 

A. Okay. I'll start from the beginning. I 
came to Ladder 11. I was -- I knew I was being 
detailed to 18 Truck and I thought I was riding for 
somebody on 11 Truck when the first plane hit. The 
second alarm was given, 28 Engine was turned out and 
I had somebody relieve me on 11 Truck so I could get 
over to 18 Truck in case they went on the box. I 
got over to 18 Truck. I was assigned by Lieutenant 
Borega, I was assigned the can and shortly after 
that the fifth alarm was given for the first tower 
and we went to -- 18 Truck was assigned. That's 
just about the same time that the second plane had 



3 
K. Murray 
hit, because we still saw kind of the explosion when 

we got onto the FDR, because they're pretty close. 

On the FDR, there is a lot of traffic on the 
FDR and we saw -- I don't know which tower it was, 
but I think it was Tower 2, what looked like a hole 
where the fire was. That looked like a plane had 
gone through it. 

Q. So that would probably be the south tower? 

A. Probably the south tower, right, because 
we were coming from the FDR. So the south tower is 
closer. So probably the south tower. We saw -- I 
couldn't believe what I was looking at. We got 
under the bridge that goes from the FDR into West 
Street and there was -- it was unbelievable. There 
was jumpers everywhere, there was bodies everywhere, 
pieces of plane everywhere. It didn't seem like a 
lot of firemen everywhere. There was rigs parked in 
a couple of different areas, but you didn't see a 
lot of firemen, at all. 

Q. Would you happen to know basically or to 
the best of your knowledge, where you saw those 
rigs? 

A. There was a couple of rigs parked in front 
of the north tower and a couple of rigs parked -- 



4 
K. Murray 
there was a bridge that comes across where Liberty 

Street is and there was a van fire right next to 

that. I remember seeing that when I came in. And I 

saw a couple of rigs parked on Liberty Street. 

Where we parked, our rig was on -- we parked our rig 

under the bridge, the pedestrian bridge of -- that 

comes from 1 World Trade across the street to the 

Financial Center, the pedestrian bridge. That's 

where we parked our rig under. 

Q. Were you able to identify any of the other 
apparatus or units that were there? 

A. That were there? 

Q. If you recall. 

A. The rigs that we saw? 

Q. Right. 

A. No. Not to my knowledge. There was a 
company that was pulled in right next to us. I'm 
not sure what that company was . 

Q. Okay. 

A. Now we're all just looking up. The first 
thing the Lieutenant said is "We're staying together 
on this." I said, "Lieu, I'm grabbing a search 
rope." I grabbed a search rope, we all grabbed an 
extra cylinder and we started heading across under 



5 
K. Murray 
the bridge towards the first tower, Tower 1, the 

north tower. So we had walked alongside of 6 World 

Trade. We're parked under here. 18 Truck was 

parked on this side of the street, right there. We 

walked under the bridge and then pretty much walked 

into 1 World Trade right on this corner. Tower 1, 

that's how I went into the building (indicating) . 

There was a bunch of glass broken and we didn't 
go in through a doorway. There was all glass 
broken, there was glass everywhere and there was 
bodies everywhere. Everywhere that you looked there 
was a body or mush, you know. We got into -- the 
command center was somewhere in here or there was a 
bunch of chiefs somewhere in here (indicating) . 
When we got in there, there was a lot of people not 
knowing what to do. Van Essen was there. Van Essen 
came over to 18 Truck. 

Q. This is the north tower; correct? 

A. North tower. Van Essen came over to the 
18 Truck as soon as we got into the building or 
shortly thereafter and said, "Forget about the fire. 
Just get the people out." That's what they actually 
told us and these people -- we're waiting to get a 
sign basically. 



6 
K. Murray 
So we stood over here on the northern most 

wall, the exposure 4 wall -- the exposure 2 wall and 

waited to get a sign. 21 Engine was doing the same 

thing, standing there with us and we were waiting to 

get a sign. I actually helped Father Judge into the 

building, because he went under one of those -- 

where the glass was, they had these metal bars going 

across and he had to bend over and walk under it. 

So I helped him into the building and then they 

said, we're going to be sent to the third floor and 

above. To start working our way up to start doing 

the search. 

Now my father works in the building and I'm 
looking for a directory to see where he worked and 
we went to -- the first floor we went to was the 
third floor and all these people were coming down in 
the rear of the tower back here. They have these 
escalators that were shut off and all these people 
were coming down. 

The elevators looked like they were on fire in 
the lobby. There wasn't smoke coming out of them, 
but it looked like they all bubbled up and 
everything and there was a fire in there. Basically 
we took the B stairwell, which is in between the 



7 
K. Murray 
elevators. I'm sorry. We forced an elevator door 

first and we got an lady out of an elevator. The 

elevator in the B stair, next to the B stairwell, 

closest to the B stairwell. We helped a lady out of 

there and we started walking up to the third floor. 

That third floor was clear. There was no damage, 

nothing. We got up to the fifth floor and there was 

severe damage. The ceilings had come down, the some 

walls had caved in. Major sprinkler damage, because 

there wasn't just a sprinkler. It was just like 2 

and a half inch hose hitting you in the face when 

you were walking up there. So we were walking. We 

figured this is a good place to start looking for 

people and we were in some sort of -- we didn't see 

a company name or anything. Like we were in some 

sort of corporate area with cubicles or anything. 

It was almost like we were in like a locker room or 

something. We had made our way to like where the 

janitors worked or something. We had checked all 

the locker rooms and everything else. We were 

forcing some doors. We were there for a while. 

Then we went to the sixth floor and did the 

same thing. Same sort of damage up there. When we 

were on the sixth floor, it was the sixth floor or 



K. Murray 
the fifth floor, we were helping the people get down 

the B stairwell. And what I found out later to be 

was the first tower had collapsed. 

Q. The south tower? 

A. The south tower had collapsed. Now, it 
shook us and knocked a couple of guys down. 
Everybody ran to the stairwell. All the lights went 
off, all the shit came up the stairwell. It was 
filled with dust. There was a report that a third 
plane had hit the building and then we got another 
report that the 65 floor in the north tower had 
collapsed. That's what the rumbling was. We had no 
idea that the south tower had gone. 

So at that point we -- 

Q. Did you get a report from the radio? Any 
communications? How was the communications at that 
point? 

A. Communications were all over the place. I 
had the can so I didn't have a radio, but I was with 
the irons man and I kinds of heard a lot, but a lot 
of people were trying to talk at the same time. It 
was just static, a lot. What you did hear was -- 
what I did hear at one point, which I thought was 
Ladder 11, but it wound up being Battalion 11, 



9 
K. Murray 
because I was listening for them, was on the 30th 

floor. But it wasn't Ladder 11. It was Battalion 

11. 

We basically did an evacuation at that point 
and we started trying to get the people to keep 
going down the stairs, to calm down. What happened 
was that we didn't see it, but a portion of the 
lobby had gotten knocked out when that tower came 
down, so we couldn't evacuate people down that 
stairwell anymore. So we started funneling 
everybody that was on the stairwell through the 5th 
floor, across the 5th floor through the locker room, 
to another stairwell. I think it's the C stairwell. 
I'm not sure. And we started sending people down 
that. 

Eventually someone -- and we were basically set 
up on a relay where it would be a couple of us every 
15, 20 feet with flashlights showing people where to 
walk and we sent the people down that stairwell. 
Whatever was blocking the B stairwell must have got 
freed up, because then we were able to -- we were 
able to start sending them back down that stairwell. 
Because people, it was taking forever to get these 
people through the 5th floor. 



10 
K. Murray 
Q. And were all you guys still together at 

the same time or were you separated? 

A. We were spread out on the 5th floor, but 
we were all together. We were all there. 

Q. Okay were you also on channel 1? 

A. Yes. We were always on channel 1. 

Q. At any time did they advise you to switch 
to another channel? 

A. I heard something about somebody being in 
a different tower or something, switch to channel 3. 
But I didn't have a radio, so I didn't really think 
about that. 

Q. When you were in the second collapse, of 
the north tower, do you recall the individuals or 
the companies that were with you? 

A. 28 Engine was with us when we left the 
building. They weren't with us on the floor when we 
came down. After that, after we got everybody out, 
it was all firemen in the stairwells, in the B 
stairwell and I saw a guy from 16 Engine that I knew 
on the stairwell. We kind of waved to each other. 
I saw a guy from 15 Engine in the stairwell. 

Q. Do you recall any of their names by 
chance? 



11 

K. Murray 
A. Yes. Jimmy Hynes from 15 Engine, I saw 

him in the stairwell. He's okay. Pete Fallucca 

from 16 Engine, I saw him. He's okay. And this is 

all in the stairwell coming down. We went down to 

the lobby. Because once the firemen were all 

evacuating, we decided to evacuate with them. We 

went down to the lobby, this is the first time I got 

to see the lobby. We were missing Charlie Maloney 

from 18 Truck. We didn't know where he was. I 

think he was the irons with me that day. Because he 

had gone down to the front of the stairwell to guide 

civilians out the stairwell. When we got to the 

lobby and saw so the lobby was devastated, we 

thought maybe he got killed in that. But he wound 

up being okay later on. 

What happened was we got down to the lobby and 
a guy from Rescue 1, I don't know his name, came 
over to 18 Truck and said, "You gotta help us if you 
got any steam left." He was all bloodied up. He 
goes, "My company is trapped upstairs and we got 
more companies trapped upstairs." He goes, "If you 
got anything left, come with me." 

We run up the stairs. We started going back 
up. Now all these firemen are evacuating the 



12 
K. Murray 
building, we start going back up the B stairwell. 

We made it to the 5th floor and then there was a 

report of major gas, a gas leak on the 5th floor. 

So now I'm heading back up the stairs to the 20 

something floor and there was some sort of gas leak 

on the 5th floor. I smelled it, but I couldn't tell 

if it was a gas leak or anything, but you definitely 

smelled something that wasn't there when we were 

doing the evacuation. 

Q. Was there any conversation when you guys 
were going back up and there were firefighters 
descending down? Was there any conversation between 
the two groups? 

A. More so through Lieutenants, but, you 
know, just basically. "Be safe." No one said 
anything about the tower having gone down. I don't 
think a lot of people knew that it had gone down. 
We didn't know. 

So when we got up to the 5th floor and we 
smelled that gas and we saw these guys evacuating, 
we said, "We better get out of here." So we started 
heading down again. The guy from Rescue kept going 
up. He didn't stay with us. I don't know his name. 
A short, stocky guy. 



13 
K. Murray 
Q. Was the stairwell lit? 

A. We removed an injured civilian at the 
beginning and a couple of hundred civilians through. 
You know, getting them through that stairwell. But 
other than that, we didn't carry anybody out. The 
civilians were kind of -- once the collapse 
happened, they were shot. But they weren't 
panicking, running or anything like that. They were 
kind of staying calm. 

Q. Given the current known status of the 
missing, the injured, deceased members, who did you 
see and where did you see them and what were they 
doing at the time? Was there any verbal 
interaction? Like I asked before when you guys were 
up and down the staircase. Did you last see 
someone? 

A. When we came down to the lobby, we saw 2 8 
Engine. We also saw 4 Engine. 4 Engine was in the 
lobby with us . There was another company that was 
back -- I don't know what company it was. It was 
back by the escalators, walking towards the front of 
the lobby. I think it was an Engine Company. I'm 
not sure. 

We had a guy from 28 Engine, Roy Chelsen, had 



14 
K. Murray 
said, We saw all these jumpers coming down, a lot of 

glass was coming down, said we should run. 

Lieutenant Becker and Roy, who is a senior man said, 

"Let's run." They ran out Tower 1, alongside World 

Trade 6 and we had said -- 18 Truck conferred too 

and said, "We should go too." But the thing we were 

scared about was that the jumpers were coming down 

and all the glass was coming down. There was a lot 

more jumpers coming down at that time. And there 

was a guy under the bridge screaming, "Come on. 

Come on. Come on." You know. We ran. A couple of 

jumpers just missed me and the roof man. 

We got under the bridge and we stopped, because 
my hook got caught in Harry's suspenders and his 
radio. It took me forever to get my hook out of his 
thing. We thought we were safe at that point. We 
saw a guy, I think big Port Authority Police or 
somebody had a guy locked up in handcuffs right in 
front of us and there was a guy, a rig right there. 

Q. You can use the diagram to show us. 

A. There was a rig right here. Actually, 
even closer. It was right as soon you got onto the 
street. There was a rig and a couple of guys 
sitting on the back of the rig. 



15 
K. Murray 
Q. At West and Vesey? 

A. Yeah. Right in front of World Trade, 
right under the bridge. And they were all messed up. 
You know, like exhausted and they were sitting 
there. We walked -- now we're walking. This guy, 
they were locking up this guy a little bit from 
Vesey, right here. A little bit south of Vesey 
Street on west. We started walking when the second 
tower -- 

Q. They are describing it as the north tower. 

A. The north tower came down. 

Q. Where did you exit out of? 

A. The same place -- 

Q. The same way you went in? Okay. You went 
north on West Street? 

A. We went north on West Street. We decided 
not to go to our rig, because we saw a lot of people 
up here, so we started going towards them. When the 
tower started -- there was a big explosion that I 
heard and someone screamed that it was coming down 
and I looked away and I saw all the windows 
domino -- you know, dominoeing up and then come 
down. We were right in front of 6, so we started 
running and how are you going to outrun the World 



16 
K. Murray 
Trade Center? So we threw our tools and I dove 

under a rig. The chauffeur Hughey from 18 Truck 

dove with me. The rest of 18 Truck dove under 

something else. Not the same rig as us, and then it 

came down. I don't even think we made it to Vesey 

Street. We might have been right on the corner of 

Vesey Street. 

Q. And were the guys from 18 safe and 
accounted for? 

A. Well, not at that point, but eventually 
through the day we found Charlie Maloney who we 
thought was killed in the lobby. He had made it out 
himself across to the Financial Center, across the 
street, and the roof man, Ralph from 18 Truck had 
gotten hurt and he was found at 7 Engine and 1 Truck 
later on. About seven hours later. 

Q. Anything else you want to add? 

A. No. 

MR. MURAD/CUNDARI: Okay. So basically 

this concludes our interview. I would like 

to thank you, Firefighter Kevin Murray, for 

this interview which you just gave us. 

The time now is 1300 hours and at this 

time I would like to conclude this 



17 
K. Murray 
interview. Thank you very much. 



File No. 9110021 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MATTHEW LONG 
Interview Date: October 9, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



2 
M. Long 
MR. MURAD: The date is October 9, 2001. 

The time is 1425 hours and this is Murray 

Murad and -- 

MR. CUNDARI : George Cundari. 

MR. MURAD: Of the Fire Department of 

the City of New York. I am conducting an 

interview with the following firefighter: 

A. Matthew Long. Firefighter first rank, 
Ladder 43. 

MR. MURAD: Of the Fire Department of 

the City of New York. We are currently at 

Ladder 43 and this is regarding the tragic 

events on September 11, 2001. 
BY MR. MURAD: 

Q. If you would please give your accounts of 
that day, on that tragic day what happened at the 
World Trade Center regarding your ladder company and 
personally yourself. 

A. Okay. We were at a box. That's when the 
seconds plane hit and then we took in the Trade 
Center incident. We came in on West Street and to 
the best of my knowledge I could see both towers on 
fire, a lot of smoke. I witnessed people jumping as 
we were driving down the West Street highway. 



3 
M. Long 
Q. If you could draw on the diagram of where 

your resting place was. 

A. I believe we stopped somewhere on Murray 
Street, almost two blocks from the 6 World Trade and 
another block from the first tower. At that moment 
we got off the rig, we got all our equipment 
together and I started walking towards the command 
post. We took a minute. Our lieutenant, Glenn 
Rohan, took a minute, stopped us all and basically 
gave us a little pep talk. We didn't know what we 
were getting into here. It was obviously some kind 
of an attack and that we should conserve energy, get 
rid of some tools and stay together most of all. 

So we started back down West Street towards the 
Trade Center and I would say we got to between 
Barclay and Vesey when the first tower came down and 
it was chaos. It was crazy. 

Q. Were all you guys from the truck together 
at the time that collapse came? 

A. We were all together at the time with one 
extra roof man. 

Q. That was the south tower that you're 
talking about? 

A. I believe, yes. I believe it was the 



4 
M. Long 
first tower. I believe when we were coming down the 

West Side Highway the both towers were still 

standing and burning and there was no chaos going on 

at that point. 

So we retreated a little bit I guess, right to 
about Barclay and we ducked in, possibly, I don't 
remember, but we possibly ducked in 125 Barclay. We 
ducked in like an entranceway and just lay on the 
floor while most of the stuff was blowing by us. 
And when it seemed to have -- when the cloud of gray 
and black crap and things going by just seemed to 
slow down, we tied off a rope and started walking in 
to go back towards where everything used to be. 

Q. You came down West Street from there? 

A. Yes. We came down this way, like that 
(indicating) . 

Q. Just circle this here and identify this as 
125 Barclay. That's where you waited until the 
debris and everything cleared? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Was there any communications by radio or 
was there still command post communications post -- 

A. At this point it was just -- there was 
just people running past us and so much chaos. We 



5 
M. Long 
masked up and we started walking in with a rope. We 

had a search rope on and at that point I didn't know 

where we were headed. 

Q. Were any other firefighters running you 
way or did you intercept anybody? 

A. There were some cops running our way. 
There were -- there could have been firemen running, 
but there were fire trucks everywhere and when we 
got in further, there was just fire, a lot of rigs 
on fire. 

Q. Were you able to identify the rigs that 
were on fire, by any chance? 

A. No, I didn't recall which rigs were there 
at that point. But at that point we stretched in. 
We started climbing over the rubble and the boss 
said -- 

Q. What boss was that? 

A. Lieutenant Rohan, Glenn Rohan, 43. He was 
just telling us to get -- he took three guys and 
said, "Grab a line off that rig and start putting 
out some of these car fires and rig fires." As he 
tried to look to see if there was still a command 
post. So that's what we did. So he split us up 
into two teams. And that's what we did probably for 



6 
M. Long 
a while and I don't even remember the second tower 

coming down. We just kept working and climbing over 

stuff. I don't remember it coming down. I don't 

know if it came my direction or it went in the other 

direction, because it was just black. It had to 

be -- visibility was horrible for at least 45, 50, 

60 minutes. I don't remember the time at that 

point . 

So that's what we kept doing. We kept 
stretching hose lines . There was a ladder to -- 
there was a portable ladder up on 6 World Trade, so 
we were in this area right here just climbing over 
all sorts of debris. It was crush -- I think Rescue 
1 was right about here. 

Q. You are identifying the West Side Highway, 
right off Vesey; right? 

A. It was in near Vesey. It was inside of -- 
it was between 6 and 1 and that's where the foot 
bridge I believe is. 

Q. So that's the pedestrian bridge? 

A. That's the pedestrian bridge. So it was 
right in front of 6. 

Q. Okay. So that was Rescue 1. 

A. Rescue 1 was right around here. I 



7 
M. Long 
remember that. And this was down. So this is where 

we operated from the most, for the first hour, right 

here. Vesey and West Street. There were rigs 

everywhere. Rigs were all over here, they were 

burning. Between Barclay and Vesey there had to be 

a dozen rigs burning. 

Q. At any point did you remove any civilians 
or a member of the service following any of the 
collapses? If so, were there any injuries or did 
you see any firefighters that were injured? 

A. No. I didn't encounter any injured 
firefighters. I didn't leave anyone alone. If I 
saw them alone, I checked to make sure they were all 
right. If they weren't, I was looking for their 
company or looking for their boss. 

Q. Were people still running towards you or 
running away at that point? 

A. No. At this point now when we were 
putting out fires everyone was, you know, was pretty 
much just scrambling for hose line and doing stuff 
like that. Then, like I said, the boss went up a 
ladder that was to the scaffold of 6 World Trade 
here, where the U.S. Customs building is. He yelled 
down he needed two stokes, because they had a down 



M. Long 
fireman up here. 

So we went and grabbed two baskets, tied them 
up and they carried him up the land. At that point 
is when they were looking for 6 Truck. 6 Truck and 
39 Engine, they were saying were missing over the 
radios? 

Q. I don't remember. 

A. 6 Truck and 39 were together and they were 
trapped and they were calling for help on the radio. 
That's the last radio transmission I heard on 
channel 1. My boss and Jerry Suden and Todd 
Frederickson, two firefighters, and Johnny Colon, he 
was the chauffeur that day. The four of them went 
through this building and into the rubble of the 
both towers . 

Q. The both towers were down at that point? 

A. Yes. Both towers were definitely down at 
that point. So they went in there and that's the 
last I heard from them. They switched to channel 5. 
I didn't hear it given over the radio, for the 43 
truck to switch to 5, so I operated with Frank 
Macchia. He was the second roof man and we teamed 
up in 6 World Trade with the 40th battalion. And we 
searched this building top to bottom. That's the 6 



M. Long 
World Trade, U.S. Customs building. 

Q. Right. 

A. So we searched that building top to bottom 
and just constantly getting dead ends. 

Q. At what point do you think you guys hooked 
up all together as a company? Was that at any point 
or not at all? 

A. I didn't hook back up with the rest of my 
company until 5:00 or 6:00 o'clock at night. So I 
operated alone a lot. 

Q. Okay. Anything to add? 

A. The 7 came down at 4:30, I believe? 

Q. Yeah, around that time. 

A. Okay. Then I'm wrong. If 7 came down 
between 4:30 and 5:00, I hooked up with my company. 
Frank Macchia and I went under this foot bridge and 
started climbing on top of the rubble. At that 
point there was like a chain gang of guys and we 
were trying to get one of the Chiefs that was 
trapped, they were trying to get closer to him. 

Q. Let's highlight that area. 

A. Okay. We came under the foot bridge this 
way and we probably would be on top or in this 
little courtyard between 1 and 2 . 



10 
M. Long 
Q. Okay. And this is where -- 

A. 1 and 2 here. And there was a rubble 
here. There was like a big 40, 50-foot drop you had 
to walk down and then back up and we had a little 
bit of a chain gang trying to pass stuff out and 
they were supposedly in communication with one Chief 
and I was probably midway up with Frank Macchia and 
my boss and Jerry and whoever else was up on top of 
that rubble. So I waited there and that's when we 
finally got reunited. And at that point they were 
worried that 7 was coming down so they were calling 
for everyone to back out. 

So I waited for -- we waited for the boss, 
Lieutenant Rohan, in the middle of the rubble and we 
all walked out together back to the West Side 
Highway and crossed the highway and pretty much hung 
out by the marina when 7 came down. 

Q. Where were you during the first collapse? 

A. Walking down West Street. We were walking 
to the command center. 

Q. And then you heard the second collapse, 
you said; right? 

A. I don't remember the second collapse at 
all. I guess it was just stuff going through my 



11 

M. Long 
head and whatever else. I'm almost 100% positive -- 

actually I had a camera on the rig when we were 

driving on the West Side Highway, I took pictures, 

but they didn't come out and I can remember both 

towers burning and we could see people jumping. 

From then on our minds were just like you didn't 

know what was going on. Unimaginable. 

Q. A lot of talk on the radios or -- 

A. A tremendous amount of talk on the radios. 

Q. Were you able to understand? 

A. I mean there was a lot of people yelling. 
"We're trapped here." "We need tools here." "We 
need tools here." And nothing was getting answered 
because rigs were -- there were rig fires and police 
vehicle fires. They said the ESU units were on fire 
and they had explosives and weapons. So that was 
the concern. The amount of stuff that was flying in 
the air. It wasn't even like smoke. It was like 
dust or whatever it was. It was just lingering and 
it stayed there for such a long time. Which led me 
to believe that the second building collapsed and, 
you know, they just kept it going. 

I mean that's my story pretty much. I mean it 
was a long time. I was by myself a long time. I 



12 
M. Long 
didn't try to call them for a while because there 

was other stuff on the radio and I was all right. 

Q. You had nobody with you? 

A. I was with one other firefighter, Frank 
Macchia. The two of us worked. 

Q. You were together the whole time? 

A. We stayed together after we left the 48th 
battalion. We worked in that building for a while 
and the building was totally evacuated. We didn't 
see anybody and there was some pockets of fire, you 
know, big holes in it, but we were -- we eventually 
left him to try to reunite ourselves with our guys. 

Q. And you finally found them over where? 

A. We found them through this foot bridge, 
probably right in this area here of the rubble, the 
center of the rubble. We went through the foot 
bridge and came up and there were some I beams and 
there was a big wall. You kind of climbed down a 
bit and then came back up, and that is where our 
boss was operating up there, on top of that where 
they said they possibly had communications with a 
chief that was trapped. I'm assuming he was one 
that they left there. Because they were just 
adamant about 7 coming down immediately. I think we 



13 
M. Long 
probably got out of that rubble and 18 minutes later 

is when 7 came down. So I watched -- we watched. 

There was a command station right here on Vesey. We 

were here with a whole group of guys. We watched 7 

come down and then we went through, I guess this is 

the morgue now, Merrill Lynch, we went through that 

building there and there was an atrium we came 

through to go back on the other side and try to get 

back in to help. 

Q. So you came from North End street then? 

A. Yes. We came right through. This is the 

marina. We went right through -- there is an atrium 

here and we came through here and there was another 

command post on this side and we were trying to get 

back in to see what they were doing. Lieutenant 

Nigro from 58 Engine was missing and apparently they 

knew where he was . We were trying to help out 

there, but by then it was -- by darkness we were all 

just spent. We were just hanging out. 

MR. MURAD: Firefighter Matthew Long, I 

would like to thank you for sitting down with 

us for this interview. The time now is 1440 

hours and this concludes this portion of the 

interview. 



File No. 9110022 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIRST GRADE FIREFIGHTER GERARD SUDEN 
Interview Date: October 9, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



G. SUDEN 

MR. MURAD: Today is October 9, 2001. The 

time is 1445 hours. I'm Murray Murad. 
MR. CUNDARI: I'm George Cundari. 
MR. MURAD: Of the Fire Department of the 

City of New York. 

Q. I'm conducting an interview with Firefighter? 

A. I'm Gerard Suden, Ladder 43. 

Q. Rank and command? 

A. First grade Firefighter. 

Q. Your assigned command? 

A. I'm assigned to 43 Truck. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Fire Department of the City of New York. 

Q. I'm currently at Ladder 43, Engine 53 and 
this is regarding the tragic events that occurred on 
September 11, 2001. Gerard, would you like to give an 
account of that day that you were working or assigned 
to Ladder 43 on September 11? 

A. Sure. To the best of my knowledge I wasn't 
too familiar with that area before it happened, but 
from looking at this map, I will try and give you the 
best account I can. 

MR. CUNDARI: Start from like when you came 

into work that morning or where you got the call, 



G. SUDEN 

where you were. 

A. Like I was telling you guys, it was my first 
tour back to 43 Truck after a 90 day detail to 2 
truck. As you know those guys are gone. That whole 
truck was wiped out. It was good to be back. I was 
cleaning the tools on the rig and the next thing I 
know, guys are yelling from the kitchen and I went in 
and we were watching it on TV. 

It was kind of hard to believe, but what 
happened was the Engine, 53 Engine got sent down there 
pretty early on, like before the second plane hit they 
were en route and I believe from talking to them, they 
witnessed the plane hit. They were down there. I knew 
it was bad. 

We wished them well when they went down and I 
think me and the other members of the truck, just the 
nature of the job, we were chomping at the bit to get 
down there ourselves. We wanted to help out. They 
were kind of pulling most of the companies from the 
area and we were getting the feeling that we weren't 
going to get to go because they pulled the company 
north of us and the company south of us. 

We wound up getting at some point in the 
middle of -- wound up getting an EMS run on 42nd Street 



G. SUDEN 

which is way out of our district, but being that the 
city was so undermanned, they sent us all the way down 
there and as we were en route you could see the smoke 
and people watching it on the streets, executives 
smoking cigarettes and everybody was looking. We 
wanted to get there like I said. 

We went to assist -- the EMS run was for a 
guy who had his foot stuck in a revolving door. I 
remember being a little annoyed, like I want to be down 
there. We got finished with that and we were pretty 
much asking the dispatcher to send us, let us help out, 
we are closer to the area. We weren't getting a 
response and shortly after we were en route back north 
towards here, home, we did wind up getting sent. We 
made way, headed down there -- 

Q. What was the radio communication at that time 
after you finished the EMS job, what was the 
transmissions going over the air? 

A. From the back I couldn't hear too much of 
what was going on in the cab and I recall being at a 
light on the way north again and we knew, by now you 
figured out it was a terrorist attack. You see the two 
planes, and I remember scooters -- motors, one of the 
guys, a delivery messenger guy listening to a head 



G. SUDEN 

phone told us they just flew a plane into the Pentagon 
and that was kind of unbelievable. It was all real 
pretty surrealistic, but I remember confirming that 
with another driver, somebody driving a car was 
listening to his radio so then we were kind of 
-- believed it. 

The radio communication, I'm going to tell 
you when we got down there I wasn't really clued into 
the fact that the first building was down and I found 
out later that that's what the situation was. When we 
got down there the first building had been down. When 
I found out later on that there was like 20 something 
minutes between the collapses, it's a pretty long time 
not to go with that information, but there was no 
communication. Not from the air anyway. I think -- we 
were 10-8. We had less ability to find this out. 
People that were watching it on TV knew, like I said, 
at home, but we were just on the air and trying to get 
down there. 

Q. You can draw on that, by the way. 

A. That's fine. I will just tell you. 
MR. CUNDARI : Mark where you were. 

Q. You went south on West Street? 

A. We are coming down the West Side Highway and 



G. SUDEN 

some point, pretty good distance north we jumped out 
with a good view of the tower and I guess the south 
towers was down. It was buffered by the north tower, 
so we really couldn't tell. We just seen the smoke 
from behind it. We figured the building was there just 
burning, but looking at the north tower, walking down 
the block you could see the gaping hole and we were all 
pretty in awe of it. 

We commandeered a bus, kind of stopped a bus 
because we were a good distance. We were a few 
blocks. I couldn't even tell you which street, maybe 
Warren or even further north from what I remember. We 
wanted to get there even quicker so we jumped on the 
bus and they dropped us somewhere -- I remember this 
pedestrian bridge, I remember walking south of that and 
I can't tell you how close we were but we ran back past 
that because as we were walking down, the building came 
down . 

Q. That was the north building? 

A. That was the north building, which for a 
while I was arguing with the guy that I wasn't 
convinced that the other building was down. Like I 
said I thought that was the first one. I thought 
somewhere in the midst of that whole noise maybe the 



G. SUDEN 

second one came down and I couldn't pinpoint when it 
was, but that was the case. That was the second one 
coming down. 

Q. So you said you heard when you got there that 
the building came down but you weren't sure, someone 
said that the building -- 

A. No, I didn't really -- I wasn't sure at all. 
After talking about it later on, one of the guys -- a 
Lieutenant, said that they were debating it on the way 
in, saying to each other that I think that building is 
down. We were all talking to each other and talking 
about we are going to stick together. We knew it was a 
bad situation we were going into. We were going to be 
working a long time. I remember the Lieutenant telling 
us to take an extra minute also. Make sure you don't 
have any heavy clothing on under your bunker gear, we 
are going to be here a while. 

We stripped down a little bit, so between the 
guy with his foot stuck in a revolving door and the 
Lieutenant giving us a good heads up on the way in, who 
is to say what kept us being there a minute sooner, but 
we were at a distance when the building came down. We 
were fortunate. I thought we were going to be sand 
blasted off the street by the looks of it. We all ran, 



G. SUDEN 

we were trying to break into a gate. We ran back 
north, we were trying to break into a gate and get 
further off the street. 

When it passed us, the dust and debris, we 
were at a decent distance but the visibility was zero 
so we masked up. You couldn't see. We were starting 
to get back down the street. We knew people were going 
to need help. We masked up for a time. 

I remember also, we used a rope for a little 
bit. That became pretty burdensome, you couldn't get 
far and you have to run back and untie it, but that's 
how low the visibility was. It started to lighten up. 
We went down, I guess, to right outside the north 
building and as we were walking down, all the cars were 
on fire on West Street, so I remember my Lieutenant 
telling me and another guy -- well, we all started 
working on this pumper. It was a Brooklyn pumper, it 
was a Brooklyn Engine, parked somewhere a little north, 
maybe to Vesey, maybe the corner of Vesey, but we 
pulled the line off of that and I remember him telling 
me stay on this line, me and another guy I was with, 
Mike Regan, that was working with us that day, we 
stayed together on the line and he took the rest of the 
crew. I can't tell you exactly what he did in the time 



G. SUDEN 

that we were putting out the car fires, but I remember 

-- the visibility -- putting out the car fires, it 
wasn't exactly what I am normally doing, working in a 
truck company, but all bets were off. He told us to 
stay with that line. It needed to be done. 

We put out I believe it was Rescue 1. Some 
of the rigs, I mean there was rigs also. I can't even 
tell you how many car fires there was, but we are 
putting them out and you realize the visibility was 
getting somewhat better. I mean it needed to be done. 

Q. You worked your way south on West Street? 

A. Worked our way south putting out fires. We 
even went further south of tower one putting them out 
and coming back and we had a lot of help along from 
other guys, stretching the line and the debris in the 
street was just tough going over. 

Q. People still running by you at that point? 

A. Yes, stretchers are being carried out. Guys 
are on top of -- there was some scaffolding there on 
what building. I'm not sure. Maybe it was 6 World 
Trade Center. I thought it was just west of the 
tower. Maybe it was the lower portion. Like I said I 
wasn't that familiar with the area to begin with. 
There was stretchers coming out. 



10 
G. SUDEN 



After putting out the car fires I was trying 
to find the Lieutenant again. The original plan was 
stick together. They weren't all put out either but 
just there was enough Engine companies there. I wanted 
to group back up with the Lieutenant. I wound up 
finding him and he had -- I helped carry a couple of 
stretchers. I learned later that one of the stretchers 
I carried was a friend of mine actually. I didn't know 
at the time. 

Q. It was a Firefighter? 

A. It was Lieutenant Desperito from Engine 1, 
where I used to be assigned. I was telling one of the 
guys in 22 Engine and they took it hard, a company 
south of us, I was telling him about it, because he was 
there and I remembered seeing him and I was telling him 
hey, I saw you and he said oh, yes, that was 
Lieutenant. I found out later that -- 

Q. Was that after coming out of the north tower 
or was that from the south tower, where was it 
basically? 

A. He was being taken down, I believe he was in 
the north tower and they were taking him out. I just 
gave a hand. So after doing that, time was, I couldn't 
believe when everything was done later in the day. You 



11 

G. SUDEN 



lose kind of track of time with the adrenaline going 
and all. It seemed like it went faster than it did and 
then looking back on it sometimes it seems slow. But 
at the time, I don't know how much time was in 
between . 

But when I hooked up with the Lieutenant 
again, I heard later they had been helping people out 
also, helping bring out victims, but he had gotten an 
assignment. He had commandeered a Chief and said I 
need an assignment. He got us an assignment and it was 
to follow a Mayday that was coming from Chief Picciotto 
from the 11th Battalion. They were trapped inside the 
north tower, 1 World Trade Center. I didn't mention 
also when we were on the way down, like I said I was 
pretty clueless of the building being down and some of 
the things I do remember were the Maydays, one of the 
guys was saying he was in the rig, I don't know how 
much longer I am going to be able to breathe. You 
heard a lot of commotion on the radio. 

Q. I'm in the rig, he said that. He was in the 
rig? 

A. Yes, one of the guys was saying he was in the 
rig. I think he even gave the company and where he 
was. I don't remember all the information. I just 



12 
G. SUDEN 



remember, there was a lot of screaming and a lot of -- 
you knew it was bad. 

So now at this time, I hooked back up with 
the Lieutenant. It was the original crew, Matt Long, 
Frank Macchia, me and Mike Regan, who were originally 
on the line, we are crewed back up with these guys and 
there was also -- it was a little confusing because by 
now, the recall, there was guys from our company that 
weren't working that day but they were also with us. 
They somehow -- we found each other, you know. 

Now we have our guys, even more guys, and we 
have Chief Ferran from the 12th Battalion, is a Chief 
that my Lieutenant, who is Rohan, Lieutenant Rohan, 
from 43, a regular assignment Lieutenant, they were 
leading the rescue to follow the Mayday. Ferran had 
led us -- I don't know the buildings but he led us 
through a building that I believe wasn't 1 World Trade 
Center. Thinking the next day I thought maybe it was 
part of the outskirts but it couldn't have been from 
the way the pancaking and being back there. 

So we are from another building, we went down 
and they knew where the one Trade was at. I wasn't 
familiar with it but we went down an escalator and came 
to a shopping mall area, like a concourse or whatever, 



13 
G. SUDEN 



and I remember passing these stores and I remember 
walking and thinking there is a wall -- we saw some 
more escalators that went down and up after we crossed 
this long hallway, as best as I can recall. 

I remember at first thinking well, there is a 
wall running into it. But after looking at it I 
realized it was a big section of the ceiling that just 
like leaned to and collapsed. Like it only collapsed 
down and it was resting right on the bottom of the 
escalators, so there was this big slap of concrete and 
you couldn't just walk. You had to go under this slab 
from the ceiling to get into the escalator stairs and 
we were looking at each of them, looking for victims 
and also the main objective, was like I said, Ferran 
had radio contact with Picciotto, who was trapped 
somewhere in the north tower and that's what we were en 
route to. 

Some guys got separated. We found some 
injured guys. I don't remember everything that went 
on. I remember my big objective was just to stay with 
the Lieutenant at this point. So I was pretty much 
sticking with him and some guys I guess, they brought 
out some more people so we got a little separated. 
Some rescues were going on. But Ferran and Rohan and 



14 
G. SUDEN 



me, we were going out on to the rubble and who else 
followed, Picciotto had a bull horn, he had a siren, so 
not only was he making radio contact but he would say 
okay, I'm going to hit this siren now. Maybe you can 
hear abouts where I am. 

It had to be hundreds of yards away but by 
the time we got up and climbed up a little bit and knew 
which way one tower was, we did start to hear the 
siren, but it was such an open area that we weren't 
sure if it was coming -- it seemed like it was coming 
from the left or straight ahead. We weren't sure, and 
to the right of us whatever building it was, I'm not 
sure, there was a really good fire going. 

Visibility was really low. I remember we 
kept saying to each other wow, look at the (inaudible) . 
Q. Building 7? 

A. I would think so. I would think that would 
probably be it before it fell. I remember it was bad 
and I'm going to get to a point where we came back that 
way on the way up. We couldn't even go that way, 
that's how bad the fire was, but by the time I was 
coming back it was rolling, more than a couple of 
floors, just fully involved, rolling. 

Anyway, we hear this bull horn and some guys 



15 
G. SUDEN 



got separated, so by now it's Ferran and some of our 
guys are still there but ultimately what happened was 
me, Lieutenant Rohan, Jimmy Lanza, Tommy Corrigan, 
that's the 4 of our guys. Rohan, me, Tommy Corrigan 
and Jimmy Lanza, were the 4 guys that continued on. I 
remember we had radio contact so I remember I really -- 
I was chomping at the bit to get to this guy, feeling 
like you are going to do something good now. We are 
going to go. 

I remember Ferran asking us to stick tight 
and I was getting somewhat insubordinate but I didn't 
want to get cut off from going and making the push, so 
I remember walking ahead and like kind of just keep my 
back turned to him, because I knew Rohan and the guys, 
we wanted to go, but I think it probably would have 
been deemed too dangerous to do, but like I said, you 
hear your brother calling. 

So at one point, Ferran I think was going to 
cut it off, but I walked far enough ahead and got 
through one of the big pieces of steel that were still 
resembling a Trade Center. There was very little that 
resembled anything any more, but one of those big 
pieces of steel with like an hourglass shape on the 
bottom, I got through that and I guess that's at the 



16 
G. SUDEN 



point where Ferran said let some of us go and continue 
through . 

We all got together and kept going. I lost 
track of time. I don't know how long that took 
either. That had to be a good little while, maybe an 
hour of hiking and following this bull horn still. It 
was all craters and beams and what not. Not that we 
lost, but we separated from the original amount of 
guys. So now it's us 4 and we are walking towards it 
and I remember it would have at one point been an 
easier path to go towards our right, but being building 
7 -- that must have been building 7 I'm guessing with 
that fire, we decided to stay away from that because 
things were just crackling, falling and what not. 

So we decided to go straight and which kind 
of made us like go down craters and up. After climbing 
beams for a while as we got closer, he was saying he 
sees light and we are trying to figure out he where he 
is still. He says he sees light and things are 
starting to clear up a little bit. He was seeing 
daylight. He had started to mention he was seeing 
daylight. I was going ahead a little more and at one 
point we asked him do you see anything that resembles 
anything . 



17 
G. SUDEN 



We asked him -- there was another wall ahead 
that resembled I guess, like I said the hourglass, 
there was another piece of steel there and we said do 
you see that. He said yes it's right in front of me, 
so we knew he was on the other side of that looking at 
it towards us. We were there. So we said we are 
almost there. I guess it was comforting, like, he knew 
we were coming and so we had an idea, the bull horn was 
coming in clearer now. 

So I went ahead, when I got through that 
steel and up a little further, I saw through and the 
smoke was moving like clouds, so one second you would 
see a little better and I remember yelling back and 
saying I see them. The first person I saw was a 
civilian and where they were was at the highest point 
in the rubble of what was left of the stairwell they 
were in. I think he said it was the C stairwell. I'm 
not sure. That was the highest point of the rubble and 
the only thing that -- the only void above the top of 
the pile and that's where they were; Picciotto, the 
Chief, was in, like, under the ceiling, under the very 
top of that, which was just rubble on top of pancaked 
stair slabs, the landings of the stairwell. 

You could see straight through the stairs but 



G. SUDEN 

like I said, the first thing, I didn't even see them. 
The first thing I saw with the clouds and through the 
smoke was this civilian and I remember saying -- I 
thought it was a fireman. One of the guys 
(inaudible) . He was sitting on top of the pile with a 
pole or probably what was the stand pipe coming out at 
an angle. He was kind of holding on to that ready to 
slide off the top of that. 

I remember yelling from 30 yards away, hey, I 
see you. I have a personal rope in my pocket. Don't 
worry. I will give it to you. You can -- you will be 
able to slide down. Then I started to see Picciotto 
and those guys. I am like hey. Then as I get closer I 
realize, I'm talking to Charley and I realize that that 
guy is a civilian so I'm not going to be able to give 
him a rope. He is not going to be able -- he doesn't 
have a harness like we wear or whatever. I told him to 
sit tight, we will whatever, something will come, a 
ladder or a rope. 

Picciotto, in the meantime, they were shook 
up. There was him and a few other guys standing there, 
so later on we learned how many people and who was who 
and there was a couple of civilians in there too. But 
Picciotto passed me a rope. There was a big crater in 



19 
G. SUDEN 



front of them. They were on the stairwell. It became 
almost like a balcony for them because the wall was 
blown out on the front side while I was looking at 
them. There was a big hole there, so they were 
reluctant to start moving out of there by themselves 
and you couldn't see. 

Things were starting to get a little better 
when we got -- so he passes me a rope and I'm spotting 
him and they are coming out over that hole. By this 
time, my Lieutenant and the other guys come up and my 
Lieutenant told me that these guys that were able to 
walk, lead them out. Bring them back to where we 
were . 

As it turns out there was an injured 
civilian, a remember the black lady, I remember seeing 
her, and I remember Picciotto saying that I have 
contact with the Second Battalion. He's hurt bad. 
That was important to him. He was saying he had been 
speaking to the Chief, whose name was Prunty from the 
Second Battalion in floors below who later on died, he 
didn't make it out. 

I remember him saying that, but as it turns 
out, there was a Port Authority cop who I thought was 
an ESU cop at the time. Not important, but he was able 



20 
G. SUDEN 



to climb and walk, Picciotto was able to climb and 
walk. I remember them asking me how is the walk? I 
said it's rough climbing, but we can do it. We are 
going to get out of here. I know the way back out. My 
Lieutenant asked me to go back out that way. 

So I started a little bit of a conga line and 
there was a couple of guys from 6 truck I remember, so 
I start going out with Picciotto and I think the guy's 
name was Dave Lynn, the Port Authority cop. They were 
the closest to me and we are making a line and I'm 
ahead and I'm going back out, showing them the way out 
that I came in. 

So as I'm going back, that fire that was on 
my right is now on my left. I'm backtracking and that 
fire is really going and on the hike towards there, we 
put down our masks, which at this point I started to 
realize maybe it would have been a good thing if we had 
this mask on the way back, but then again, between the 
fire and about halfway when I was on the way back, I 
got a radio call from the guys that we left and it was 
Johnny Colon, the chauffeur of 43, who was effecting a 
different rescue. He was carrying somebody out. 

He had called me and said hey, Jerry, don't 
try and get back out the way you went in, which was a 



21 
G. SUDEN 



big heads up move, because he said that building was 
rolling on top of the building that we were passing. 
That building was on fire and likely to collapse more 
too . 

Between Picciotto asking me are you sure we 
can get out this way because it really didn't look good 
with that fire and my guy telling me that you better 
not because of the area where we crawled in was 
unattainable now too. I said to Picciotto finally, who 
was questioning the whole time, I said yes, I guess you 
are right. We are going to find a different way. So 
we started going back the other way. 

Q. Would that be towards West Street? 

A. That would have been back towards what I know 
is the Winter Garden, because I will tell you in a 
minute . 

Q. Here's the Winter Garden over here. On the 
other side of West Street? 

A. So instead of going back, like backtracking 
the way we came in, I kind of was trying to the best I 
think I went as the crow flies, the opposite direction, 
straight out the other way back past the stairwell 
where they originally came out, maybe not to touch it, 
but to the right of it I believe it was and out that 



22 
G. SUDEN 



way and it was a good while going back that way before 
we really knew what was even there. What we were going 
to see if we were going to get out, what was there. 

So after going past the stairwell and we 
realized that that was a better way out. We went down, 
I remember another crater. However many yards. It was 
hundreds of yards all together, but down to the 
crater. When I finally reached a certain point, I saw 
when I came back up a hill, it's all beams. I saw 
guys, I saw firefighters and it was clear enough to see 
that we are going to get out this way now. 

There was guys with hose lines but they were 
still hundreds of yards down. No one was really at 
this point. I know there was Chiefs down there, I 
learned later, that were telling the guys not to go too 
far into the rubble, trying to -- some guys eventually 
did. It was funny that the first guys I saw on the way 
out were guys from our company, from the Engine 
Company. 

Anyway, so when I yelled back to Picciotto, I 
said Chief, we are going to get out this way. Relax 
them and Dave and the guys . I remember thinking at 
that point I need a drink. I want to get back to my 
Lieutenant, who told me he is going to stay with the 



23 
G. SUDEN 



injured civilian, who was a black lady. However much 
I 'm skipping . 

The gist of it is from there Picciotto was 
good, those guys were good, we knew we were getting 
out. Picciotto said go and I went and I tried to get a 
drink. The first thing I did was as I got down more 
yards, got down a ways, they were trying to move in 
with a line and I took a drink out of the nozzle 
thinking I could get refreshed enough that way to go 
back and do some good with my Lieutenant again. I knew 
we were going to be working on the Second Battalion and 
whoever else might be in there. 

I remember trying to call him and I couldn't 
reach him. I guess because what they were doing -- 
what I found out later what they were doing was going 
down lower through confined spaces under that stairwell 
to find guys who were down there, to find the Second 
Battalion Chief. So I couldn't reach him. 

The saltwater I drank out of the nozzle did 
me worse than good, so I wound up walking out until I 
could finally get something to drink and in that Winter 
Garden, I just grabbed the spritzer, hit number 1, took 
a drink of what I guess was 7 Up and when I was walking 
on my way back in now after drinking about a gallon of 



24 
G. SUDEN 



7 Up, when I was walking on the way back in I started 
getting a radio transmission from one of the guys that 
we left who was originally on the rig, had I believe 
the irons position, Todd, from my company, Todd 
Fredericks on . 

He is calling me, saying Jerry where are 
you. I said listen. I didn't go out the way I came 
in. I went straight out. As soon as I spoke to Todd, 
I guess he was with Ferran, who originally started the 
push to follow the Mayday for Picciotto. So Ferran 
must have took his radio right away. I guess they had 
been trying to reach me for a while, anybody of us, the 
original five, so Ferran took it and starts talking to 
me and says where are you? I said well, I didn't go 
out the way I went in. I went straight the opposite 
direction. He said well, where are you? I want to 
lead a rescue team to get in there, because I told him 
about the injured civilian, my Lieutenant staying 
there, the Second Battalion Chief probably being in 
trouble from what Picciotto said. 

I guess I was just saying a lot of things. 
What I forgot was I should have just told him was that 
as I walked out more past these people, I had told 
rescue companies, I remember seeing the Captain of 



25 
G. SUDEN 



Rescue 2 even and him grilling me when I told him, him 
grilling me even further, where, there, I said yes. 
That stairwell. You see a beam coming out on an angle, 
so you got to get your guys up there. 

There is a guy, I remember I was describing 
and I was joking, I said you got a civilian on the top 
of that pile hanging on a flag pole just being 
dramatic. Describing it, that's really what it seemed 
like. That guy, I would love to meet him some day. I 
said you got an injured civilian in the stairway. You 
got my Lieutenant's back down there. Supposedly the 
Second Battalion is in, so I told rescue guys and I 
told everybody I was trying to gather guys to go back. 
That's where you got to go. It seemed like nobody was 
really making it that far. But actually I remember 
seeing Kevin Joos and Kevin Toorey and Al Schickler, I 
think they were like the first guys, as far as towards 
that stairwell, and they are from 53 Engine, and I told 
them where to go too. 

What I could have told Ferran looking back -- 
everyone made mistakes and everyone wished we could 
have done more, but I should have told him I already 
put some guys on the trip to where to go. I could have 
said the Captain of Rescue 2, but he was being really 



26 
G. SUDEN 



demanding and I was trying to describe where I was. He 
kept asking, well, where are you, what do you see. I 
said I went straight past where I went and I'm thinking 
to myself, there is no street signs around here and I'm 
trying not to be insubordinate, but I think at the last 
transmission I made I had offered to go out past, , 
because what I did to get a drink, I followed the line 
out to what you thought would be a street eventually, 
but I dead stopped in this bar in the Winter Garden, 
grabbed a board and went back out. 

I went back out past that bar and told them I 
see a marina. If you want me to wait here, you know, I 
remember saying that. I see boats. I remember him 
saying boats, where are boats. Eventually I wound up 
telling him, I don't know where the fuck I am. I'm 
going to back to (inaudible) . 

I waited about as long as I could. I said 
guys are on it. I have been trying to gather guys up. 
I tried to describe it as best as I could. I walked 
back. I remember when I got back to where the Captain 
of Rescue 2 was and I was going to go back in, I 
remember the Captain telling me we don't need more guys 
up there that we are going to possibly have to get out, 
so don't go. 



27 
G. SUDEN 



I hesitated about a second and turned my back 
on him and I'm going to go, like I said, and stick with 
the Lieutenant. I was a little upset we got separated 
a couple of times. I went back, I made it a little 
side step, went back down. Rolled back up to them. By 
the time I got up there they had the black lady on a 
Stokes. They were rescue guys. They had the guy 
down. Some of the rescue guys that got there later had 
effected getting that guy down with a rope. 

The stairwell was filled with a couple of 
rescue guys and my Lieutenant. I went back to this 
stairwell, then you had to go around it to the other 
side to get back in it through that hole. Anyway, they 
were down. 

Q. What point are we at now? 

A. After Picciotto is out and the Port Authority 
cop and the guys from 6 Truck, the guys that were able 
to walk out at first, what I found out later was that 
my Lieutenant helped get -- there was guys from 39 
Engine and 16 Truck and I don't know all the names, and 
eventually we will all talk with each other I guess, 
but they were trapped down low and Rohan had breached a 
wall to help them get out of the confined space below 
and stairwells. 



G. SUDEN 

At this point that was done. Those guys 
walked out, they followed the conga line, whatever, 
there was enough guys there to lead everybody out. 
When I got back the only thing that was being done now 
was unfortunately, Chief Prunty of the Second Battalion 
was dead now. We hadn't had a pulse on him from what I 
learned from the guys for a while. We were trying to 
effectively get him out of a confined space. 

I found out later that Mark Carpiniello had 
went down a couple of confined spaces to find this 
guy. When we found him, my Lieutenant -- when I went 
back my Lieutenant, Mark Carpiniello, Jimmy Lanza. 
Mark Carpiniello is from 53 Engine. He is the guy that 
was there on his own time. He is also one of the first 
guys that came up. Jimmy Lanza, a guy from rescue 4, I 
think his name was Dave, real nice guy. The guy from 
Rescue 4, I guess, set up a high angle thing and was 
trying to move this guy now, so everyone that was alive 
and ambulatory -- and even that was not able to walk, 
but that was alive. They got the one lady out on a 
stretcher . 

One of the guys from 6 Truck too, when we 
first started walking out, the reason Prunty asked me 
how is the climbing is this guy from 6 Truck Prunty 



29 
G. SUDEN 



even knew, he has got a concussion. He got hit in the 
head bad, but they were able to hold him and walk him 
out and he was following behind. That was what was 
left to do. 

I went down there. I was asking, give me a 
shot. Maybe I can lift this guy up, we had the rope. 
We were trying to get him out of this confined space, 
but the thing is even after we got him out of that 
space, we knew there was two more really tight spots to 
get through down the hallway and then back up. We 
actually crawled up a slab of stairs that was actually 
on an angle. That was the slab that was down a floor 
or two from the original stairwell that Prunty walked 
out of. It was below grade what was there, the pile, 
where the stand pipe was. There was a few really tight 
areas to get this guy out that we went through. We had 
to climb high to get between two door jams and I think 
the door jams were about the only thing holding that 
place up where Prunty was . We would have had to get 
him out of that spot and then lift him high enough to 
get him between those doors and then another hole and 
we would have been happy to do all that, but we were 
being told for a while after I was back, and I think 
they were telling me even before I got back we got to 



30 
G. SUDEN 



get out of here, because it's still shifting and it's 
smoky and things are still clanging, falling around. 

Q. Did 7 collapse yet? 

A. 7 hasn't collapsed yet. We were being told 
by -- I guess everybody was being a little 
insubordinate that day. Everyone wanted to do as much 
as they could, but we were told 5 minutes, I don't know 
how many times. It was a long while before we gave up 
and we finally came to the conclusion and the rescue 
guy agreed, we all agreed, it's irretrievable. It's 
not a rescue. I regret to say we left him there 
knowing that we would get him eventually and I heard 
that they got him out a couple of days later. Thanks 
to the information, we told him where he was. 

Q. Okay, pretty much everything? 
(TAPE ENDS) 



File No. 9110031 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER RICHARD BILLY 
Interview Date: October 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



R. BILLY 

MR. CASTORINA: Today's date is October 10, 

2001. My name is Ron Castorina. I'm at Engine 

24. Accompanied with me is - 
MR. McCOURT: Tom McCourt. 

Q. We are here to interview - 

A. Firefighter Richard Billy, Engine Company 24. 

Q. Firefighter Billy, on September 1 1 , can you 
tell us about that day, where you were and what 
happened? 

A. We got a call for an explosion in the World 
Trade Center number 1, roughly about a quarter to nine, 
around there. Got there a few minutes later. I think 
we parked the rig on West and Vesey. 

MR. CASTORINA: Excuse me one second. The 

time is 1123. Sorry. Go ahead. 

A. Okay. Then we entered the north tower on the 
map there for 1 World Trade Center. We were in the 
lobby for a minute or two. We followed, our company 
followed Ladder 20. 1 believe it was Ladder 20. I 
don't remember this stairwell, but I believe we 
followed Ladder 20. We basically were going up with 
our rollups and our equipment. We took a breather on 
floor number 29 and with Ladder 20 also. 

After a while, we were there for a couple of 



R. BILLY 

minutes and then taking a breather. Lieutenant Hansson 
of my - of Engine Company 24 told me there was a 
civilian, a handicapped person with a friend of his on 
the 29th floor. He told me to stay with him because we 
were riding heavy. We had an extra guy. I had a 
radio. He told me to stay with him. They went up to a 
couple of more floors to the staging area, I believe 
they went to 35, I'm not sure. I was with them for a 
few minutes. 

What happens is a couple of other people came 
by, they wanted to look at their office, I don't know 
why, but for some reason. About that time, I don't 
know exactly what time, I don't have the times down, 
but there was a collapse. At this time, I never knew 
that number 2 World Trade Center was ever hit at this 
point. I'm thinking it's the top of our floor, our 
building, number 1. That's what I'm thinking. 

At that moment, of the collapse, there was a 
Captain from the 21 Engine named William Burke. I 
happened to know him because he used to be a fireman at 
24. He shows up at that time. I'm with this 
handicapped person alone. William Burke, Captain 
William Burke and his men show him up and I told him I 
have this handicapped. I'm with him alone. He took 



R. BILLY 

over for me at that moment. He was to go with the 
handicapped person and his friend. 

At about that moment, Lieutenant Hansson came 
down and the other men from 24 came down and said Rich, 
let's go. We started proceeding down from the 29th 
floor. 

Q. Were you getting any radio transmissions, 
because you said you had a radio? 

A. I had a radio but I really can't recall 
hearing anything. He just told me we had to leave. 
Got to about the second or third floor and there was a 
fireman from Squad 18 named Pat Kelly. He said he 
needed help. There was another person who couldn't 
walk. I think he had broken legs, I'm not sure. What 
we did was we split up. Me and Lieutenant Hansson and 
Firefighter Sterling went with Pat Kelly. The other 
two I think continued down that stairwell, wherever 
that was. 

We went through the building into - with 
Firefighter Kelly from 18, to help with this other 
handicapped. I don't think he was handicapped. I 
think he had broken legs. I'm not sure. He couldn't 
walk. 

Q. Was he a heavy set male? 



R. BILLY 

A. Yes, very heavy, and we had Port Authority 
cops with us too, so we got him down another flight of 
stairs I guess in to some kind of lobby. We dragged 
him across, got to the entrance or the exit, building 
number 1. 

Q. Do you want to mark it off. 

A. Somewhere around here. Whatever the exit is 
here. We ran across to building number 6. Us, three 
from 24 Engine, Lieutenant Hansson, me and Sterling, 
Pat Kelly, another fireman and a couple of PA cops 
ran. At that point they had enough men between the PA 
and they had enough men to take care of him. We had 
way too many men. We started to leave, 24. 

At that moment the collapse came. As I found 
out, that would be in our building. We went across, we 
ran across over here. It started collapsing. After 
that, we couldn't see anything. It was all very dark 
and brown. Couldn't see anything. We are just 
waiting. I'm thinking we are trapped. I was giving a 
Mayday, I believe. I think the only response - 

Q. Did you take cover somewhere? 

A. We went back into the building. After we 
came down, the building overhang, because the building 
had an overhang. 



R. BILLY 

Q. As it was coming down where were you? 

A. I was about here. 

Q. You had an overhang over here? 

A. There was an overhang, kind of like an 
overhang. That's it. We survived. I found Sterling 
but I couldn't find Hansson. I thought he was dead. I 
went back in here a little bit and came back out. I 
thought we were trapped, so I gave Maydays out. I 
don't think I heard - somebody responded, what ended 
up being Hansson I think. I thought he was there. I 
thought it was somebody else from 24. I don't think we 
were trapped. After a while it lifted. We saw some 
light here. 

Q. Did you get injured in any way, anybody get 
injured? 

A. No, only abrasions of the eyes. So I ran 
over here, and there is sort of like a 30 foot drop so 
I didn't want to jump. 

Q. What street is that? 

A. Vesey, like a 30 foot drop. If I had to I 
would have jumped. But I waited a little bit more. We 
found stairs over here. There were stairs here that 
led to the street around here, somewhere around here 
there is stairs, outside stairs. Went down, then I 



R. BILLY 

came out. Actually I came out with Pat Kelly and some 
other fireman. I found out later I think Sterling must 
have jumped over here. I'm not sure. Hansson I 
thought was missing. When I came out of here - 

Q. Once you came out where did you end up? 

A. I saw some kind of command post outside, 
somewhere, maybe around here. I'm not sure. 

Q. You worked your way over there? 

A. Yes. Then I'm like in a daze, so I kept 
walking around, then I found some other guys from 24 
that came in on their own. 

Q. Then you started meeting up with people? 

A. Then I was taken to the hospital. Because I 
couldn't - 

Q. Eyes - 

A. My eyes were killing me. 

Q. How was your breathing? 

A. My breathing was all right. 

Q. So you were treated and released? 

A. Yes. 

Q. What hospital did you go to? 

A. The NYU downtown, right by Pace University. 

Q. Anything else you remember or want to add? 
You have pretty much covered everything. If there is 



R. BILLY 

anything else you want to add. How was the lighting in 
the stairs and the smoke conditions initially when you 
were in the building? 

A. There was no smoke. You mean going up? 

Q. Yes, when you were going up. When you were 
on the 20th floor helping - 

A. 29th. 

Q. 29th. How was that floor? Was there any 
smoke or anything? 

A. No. 

Q. Everything looked normal? 

A. Everything looked normal. Never knew the 
other tower was hit. 

Q. When the building started collapsing you 
heard the rumble and - 

A. Which building, the other one? 

Q. Yes. 

A. I heard that, I never - 

Q. Where were you at that point? 

A. On the 29 floor. 

Q. On the 29 floor. In other words, when you 
got the signal from Lieutenant Hansson let's go, you 
were up in the 29th? 

A. Yes, with the handicapped person. That was 



R. BILLY 

taken over by Captain Burke and his men. 
Q. Okay. Anything else you want to add? 
A. No. 

MR. CASTORINA: Okay. This concludes the 
interview. The time now is 11:33 a.m. 



File No. 9110049 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER DEAN COUTSOUROS 

Interview Date: October 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



D. COUTSOUROS 

MR. FEILER: Today's date is October 11th, 
2001, the time now is 1250 hours, and this is Monty 
Feiler of the Fire Department of the City of New York. 
I'm conducting an interview with the following 
individual : 

Please state your name, rank and command. 

FIREFIGHTER COUTSOUROS: Dean Coutsouros, 
Firefighter 2nd Grade, Engine 220. 

MR. FEILER: Of the New York City Fire 
Department. We're conducting the interview at the 
Lieutenant's office of Engine 220. The interview is 
regarding the events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Go ahead. 

A. Okay. We arrived, we came over the Brooklyn 
Bridge and we wound up on the West Side Highway just 
north of building 7, World Trade Center No. 7. We 
proceeded to grab cylinders and all our gear and we 
marched down the West Side Highway to Liberty Street 
where the pedestrian walkway is. Under the pedestrian 
walkway we met up with a Chief. The Chief gave my 
Captain orders for us to go into 2 World Trade Center. 

We went to the parking lot directly across 
from the World Trade Center. There was whole bunch of 
debris coming down on Liberty Street, which prevented 



D. COUTSOUROS 

us from walking down Liberty, and we got in front of 90 
West Street, we held up there for a few minutes 
underneath the scaffolding to reassess the situation, 
how we were going to get into the building. There was 
all kinds of human debris. The landing gear of the 
aircraft was in that parking lot there. It was right 
near us. There was all kind of stuff all over the 
floor. Other companies near us, I think, were 205 and 
there was a truck company there, but I'm not really 
sure who it was. It might have been 117. 

The Captain took us, we went through 90 West 
Street, we went through the front door, we came out the 
back door. The Captain was Stephen Grabher. He was a 
covering Captain that day. Him and Owen Carlock made 
it behind the Bankers Trust building. I was directly 
in the middle of the street on Washington Street, and 
there were two guys, three guys behind me, and I was 
right in the middle of the street and that's when the 
tower started to come. I happened to be looking up at 
it, and from the fire floor down, it was just like a 
really loud crackling noise, it sounded like a million 
firecrackers, and just a wave, right from the fire 
floor down, just a wave that started to come down. 
Q. Do you know who the two firefighters were 



D. COUTSOUROS 

that were with you? 

A. Right. Mike Schroeck, George Marsh and Eddie 
Plunkett. I happened to run straight ahead and I went 
east and I got behind the Bankers Trust building, which 
has a little overhang and there's steel columns holding 
up the overhang. We tucked in behind that overhang 
there. George Marsh and Eddie Plunkett and Mike 
Schroeck actually stayed behind 90 West because by that 
time it was already coming down. They had no chance to 
cross the street, Washington Street. We tucked in 
behind this building and in seconds it was nighttime. 
The dirt was over my head. I was chewing it trying to 
get some air. We didn't know what really was going 
on. I saw the building come down, but I think I was 
the only one who actually saw it come down. 

As soon as everything collapsed, that loud 
rumble, everything collapsed, Owen Carlock handed me an 
ax. The Captain screamed we've got to get inside this 
building. I took an ax and I smashed the window, but 
it was just a dummy panel. It was wall behind it. I 
smashed the next window, no luck. I threw my helmet 
off, I put my face piece on, which was filled with 
debris, shook it out, put my face piece on. We went 
west. We went back to Washington Street, searched this 



D. COUTSOUROS 

wall left for a door, and over here there is a service 
entrance and we wound up getting in the door here. We 
all got in there. 

Q. Did you hook up back with the other 
firefighters? 

A. Not as of yet. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Me, Owen and the Captain wound up getting in 
here, plus a couple other guys, there was like a truck 
unit, guys I don't even know who they were, and we 
wound up getting in there. Then like once the dirt 
settled, there was still a lot of dust, but once the 
dirt settled, like a few minutes, we wound up hooking 
up back with the other three guys. We met them in it's 
like a little courtyard right there on the side of this 
building . 

We regrouped, we got our stuff together, and 
we went back out to the West Side Highway, right about 
here, and we were starting to walk. We wanted to get 
north of the towers. We were trying to get back up 
around here, and right about here, on Albany and 
Washington, is when the first building came down, and 
the debris cloud started coming. So we started going 
south on the West Side Highway and we got into this 



D. COUTSOUROS 

building right here, which I think is the Millenium 
Hilton or something like that. This building has 
revolving doors . 

Q. Between Albany and Carlisle? 

A. Right. That building right there. As the 
debris cloud came down, we got covered in it, but I 
knew I was facing east. 

Q. That's the one in the hotel? 

A. Right. 

Q. Okay. 

A. There was a revolving door and I saw the 
light through it and we wound up all getting in there, 
except for Mike Schroeck. He went running down this 
way. He just took off down the West Side Highway. 
There was all people in there. We got some water. 
Some guy had -- I don't know where it came from, Red 
Cross maybe or something like that. There was just a 
barrel of water on ice out of nowhere. We helped 
people get down out of this building after it all 
settled and all. The Captain went and searched for 
Mike Schroeck. He didn't know where he was. We lost 
him at that point. We were helping people come this 
way and getting them south towards the Battery Tunnel. 
After that we regrouped once again, we all 



D. COUTSOUROS 

got everybody, we got Mike Schroeck back together, we 
all stayed as a unit and we crossed the West Side 
Highway. We went around whatever that street is that 
crosses over. We crossed the West Side Highway and 
there were a couple of car fires and some paper and 
debris there, and we left George Marsh there. He's 
NPO. We left him there to pump water for I think it 
was 210 I think was the engine and he pumped water for 
them. We left him and we went around to -- let's see 
exactly. Where is this notch here? 

Q. That's the harbor. 

A. Right. This is where we wound up. 

Q. Then you had to go down East End Avenue. 

A. Right. We went around here. We came down 
East End. Actually, we put a fire out in a building 
that's right there. We went through here. There was a 
fire building. We started stretching all the lengths 
that the fireboat had through I guess it's the Merrill 
Lynch Building. The Winter Garden was -- that half 
dome was collapsed over here. We started stretching 
lines, everything the fireboat had, through this 
Merrill Lynch Building. We got like halfway, but this 
whole side of the building was collapsed. It was a 
little scary. We started stretching lines and hooking 



D. COUTSOUROS 

up hose, and then all of a sudden a company came 
walking over with a firefighter in a Stokes basket and 
his head was crushed pretty bad. So we took the Stokes 
basket and we went down -- there's a ramp here. 

Q. You loaded him on the boat? 

A. We loaded him on the fireboat and the 
fireboat took off. Now our line is dead. Over here 
there was a gas leak. The Police Department was 
telling everybody to get out of the area, blah blah 
blah. 

Q. Can you just verbalize the street corner 
there? 

A. Okay. We went over -- I guess 4 World 
Financial, Merrill Lynch, is Vesey and North End, that 
corner building. We went down this street, which isn't 
marked here, whatever it is. The Captain told Owen 
Carlock and Eddie Plunkett to go get our rig, which is 
right here at this time. We were going to bring our 
rig back here and pump water. That was the last I saw 
of them. They're alive and everything, but we didn't 
see them the rest of the day. 

We came back over here, right by Gateway 
Plaza, right on this corner of Liberty, I don't know 
the building there, but it's a residential building. 



D. COUTSOUROS 

We were sitting there taking a blow, washing our eyes 
out because our eyes were bleeding, and as we're 
sitting there with our coats off, I look up and black 
smoke starts billowing out of the 9th floor window. So 
the Captain goes, all right, get your gear on. 

So it's now just me, Captain Steve Grabher, 
Mike Schroeck and myself, the three of us, there was 
like a loaner rig, one of those rigs from the rock or 
whatever it was, a 5 something, 515 rig, we tested the 
hydrant and there was no water, this guy John Orloff, 
Buffalo, from 201, he's a Lieutenant. The Captain 
says, all right, come on, guys. We grabbed two cans 
off that rig and we walked up to the 9th floor to that 
apartment. There was someone there already forced the 
door. We went in with the cans to try to see what we 
could do. It was already vented, so it was just a lot 
of flame, not too much smoke, not too bad. We went in 
with the cans. It did nothing. 

We went back down to the 8th floor and 
Buffalo, Fireman Orloff, was pulling up. He dropped a 
Clorox bottle. He was pulling up two lengths of two 
and a half to hook to the standpipe. A guy in front of 
me grabbed a nozzle. I had a knife. I was cutting the 
rope off the nozzle. We went up to the 9th floor. We 



10 
D. COUTSOUROS 



got there and I figured I'd back this guy up and he 
just handed me the nozzle. Now I realized he didn't 
have a mask. So I masked up, I got the nozzle, I went 
in. They hooked up one length from like the standpipe 
on that floor. They broke it one length and that was 
it. It was right there. The apartment was right next 
to the standpipe. 

I went in, knocked down two rooms of fire, 
had absolutely no pressure. There was a couch next to 
me that was burning like directly by my shoulder, but 
every time I turned the nozzle, I was cutting off my 
water. I had absolutely no pressure. So I pushed the 
couch out of the way, knocked down the two rooms. I 
stood up, I got a little past it and turned around and 
hit the couch. Just as I finished hitting that area 
right there, I turned around, a little corner flared up 
again, and then I ran out of water. There was no water 
because the gravity tank must have took a hit or 
whatever or just that was it. I wound up shaking the 
hose to put the rest of the fire out. Once there was 
no more flame, we shut down, came back out. The 
Captain was searching all the apartments on that floor 
and Mike Schroeck. We came back out, we regrouped, and 
we started heading down the stairs. 



11 

D. COUTSOUROS 



Q. The firefighter that you backed up, do you 
know who that was? 

A. No, he backed me up. I have no idea who he 
was . 

Q. Was he on duty or off duty? 

A. I don't know. He had a mask so. . . It's hard 
to tell because masks were being traded. God knows. I 
didn't even know what company he was from. He might 
have been from 201 because there was a bunch of 201 
guys up there, but I really don't know who he was or 
whatever happened. We were just trying to put this 
fire out, which we did. 

Coming down the stairs, the floor, with all 
the soot and gook on our feet and stuff, it was really 
slippery. I fell like a half landing on my back. We 
got two floors down, me and the Captain, and Mike 
Schroeck, we heard him fall down a whole flight of 
stairs. We just heard bing bang. 

We got back down in front of the building. 
At that point we were pretty much spent. This is, you 
know, it's late in the afternoon now. This isn't all 
happening all at once. 

Q. I know. 

A. The time, you know. We went over to the end 



12 
D. COUTSOUROS 



of Liberty, like over here. Well, actually -- 

Q. Was this towards late afternoon or early 
evening? 

A. This has got to be like 3:00, 3:30, around 
there . 

Q. Okay. 

A. Around 3:00ish. Because I remember making a 
phone call at 2:30, before that. I'm not sure. 

Q. It's not important. 

A. We went down by the water and that was it for 
the end of us. My back was hurt, my shoulder. All of 
us were hurting and we just like actually laid there. 
I wound up meeting up with this guy, Dave Koyles from 
Ladder 122, who had just been in a collapse in the 
Marriott. He was in the Vista, in that lobby. We 
wound up getting a ride from a civilian in a suburban 
because we wanted to get triaged. We couldn't do any 
more. That's it. We gave our masks up to another 
company and me and Dave Koyles wound up getting a ride 
from a civilian down where all the boats are. We got 
triaged somewhere over here. They wanted to take us to 
Ellis Island or New Jersey, which we said we're never 
going to get home. 

From there we wound up getting up from there, 



13 
D. COUTSOUROS 



walking away, some guy with a golf cart took us down to 
like Battery Park. From there two detectives threw us 
in the back of their car and they took us to the Staten 
Island Ferry Terminal. 

Q. Back to Staten Island? 

A. They got us in an ambulance to go to 
Methodist Hospital. We both wound up in Methodist 
Hospital that day and that's the end of my story. 

Q. When you first arrived en route to the scene, 
do you know if you were given any specific locations to 
go to? 

A. I don't know about that. I know that it was 
about ten after 9:00 we were crossing the Brooklyn 
Bridge . 

Q. So the first building was hit by that time? 

A. Both buildings were hit at that time. When 
the first building was hit, I actually took a picture 
from the roof of the firehouse. Then the second plane 
went in and that's when we got called in. On the fifth 
alarm we went. 

Q. Just to put things a bit, where were you when 
the second building collapsed? 

A. When the second building collapsed, which was 
Tower 1, I was in the middle of the West Side Highway. 



14 
D. COUTSOUROS 



I was on the southbound side of the West Side Highway, 
maybe one block away, Albany Street. 

Q. Did you have a radio with you? 

A. No. Nozzle man does not have a radio. But I 
really -- I took pictures. I always keep a disposable 
camera in my pocket. I took pictures coming over the 
bridge, and just before I came over the bridge, I took 
a picture of the crowd and it happened to catch a clock 
just by the Brooklyn Bridge and it said almost -- it 
was like maybe eight, ten after 9:00. I got a picture 
of our rig going over the bridge. When we first pulled 
up, I took a picture right where we parked the rig. I 
took a picture right under this scaffolding of 90 West 
Street, and that was about it. I took pictures of the 
guys later on and stuff like that and the debris. 

Q. Initially you said that a Chief directed you? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you know what Chief that was? 

A. I do not know, no. It was really chaos and 
mayhem and we were just -- we didn't even bring 
roll-ups or anything because we figured so many 
companies were in, we were just going up and relieve a 
company on the line to put this fire out. Never 
thought it was going to come down. 



15 
D. COUTSOUROS 



Q. Right. 

A. We were trying -- what the Captain said, he 
wanted to take us around. We wanted to attack on a 
diagonal to get into the building, because this way and 
this way, everything was -- just so many jumpers and 
debris falling, all kinds of shit. So there was no way 
to go down Liberty Street. There was stuff all -- and 
we just heard that a jumper landed on somebody right 
here. So we weren't going this way. We wound up 
choosing a wider route, and we didn't even get to -- 
you know, as soon as we started out, the building came 
down . 

Q. Okay. Is there anything else that you think 
is important that you'd like to add at this time? 

A. That's about it. 

MR. FEILER: We're going to conclude the 
interview. I want to thank you on behalf of the 
Department for participating in this. The time now is 
1305 hours and we'll conclude the interview. 



File No. 9110051 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL SCHROECK 
Interview Date: October 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



M. SCHROECK 

MR. FEILER: Today's date is October 11th, 
2001. The time now is 1313 hours and this is Monty 
Feiler of the Fire Department of the City of New York. 
I'm conducting an interview with the following 
individual : 

Please state your name, rank and assigned 
command. 

FIREFIGHTER SCHROECK: Firefighter Michael 
Schroeck, Engine 220, 5th Grade. 

MR. FEILER: Of the New York City Fire 
Department. We're interviewing at the quarters of 
Engine 220 regarding the events of September 11th, 
2001. Also present is... 

MR. DUN: Richard Dun. 

MR. FEILER: And. . . 

LIEUTENANT JEZYCKI : Lieutenant Jezycki. 
Q. If you can just give me a scenario of what 
occurred that morning. 

A. Okay. I can recall sitting in house watch 
and seeing the first plane hit. That's where Truck 
Company 122 was heading out the door responding to 
their staging area by the Battery Tunnel. Moments 
later the second plane hit and we were dispatched over 
there . 



M. SCHROECK 

Taking the Brooklyn Bridge, you could see the 
smoke, flames, from that view, I would say a lot of 
chaos, people running, the bridges were packed. We're 
continuing through. We parked around I guess that's 
the West Side Highway, west of Vesey there, and I guess 
that's where we parked, grabbed our gear and headed 
towards Liberty looking for I guess the staging area 
where I guess we were supposed to get our orders. 

Q. Did you meet an officer at Liberty or did 
your Captain speak to an officer? 

A. Yes. The Captain spoke to I guess -- I 
really don't recall, to be honest, just I guess caught 
up in the whole thing, seeing what we saw, and I guess 
I was just following him. 

Q. You said you were on house watch that 
morning? 

A. Yes. I was in the house watch. I don't 
recall if I had house watch that morning, but I was in 
the house watch at that time. 

Q. When the first plane hit, you said you saw it 
or you heard it? 

A. Yes. Somebody called out to put on I guess 
Channel 5, Fox, where it was being shown, and that's 
where I was viewing it for the first time. 



M. SCHROECK 

Q. Do you recall getting any phone calls or 
radio transmissions? 

A. No, I don't. 

Q. Okay. You responded before the second plane 
struck or afterwards? 

A. I believe it was when the second plane 
struck . 

Q. That's when your unit, your engine was called 
out? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you remember who was on the engine with 
you? 

A. We had Geo Marsh, we had a covering Captain, 
Captain Grabher, we had Dean Coutsouros, we had Owen, 
who was from 122, we had Plunkett, Edward Plunkett, 
Edmund Plunkett, one more member. 

Q. Were they on-duty personnel? 

A. Well, it was in between the tour change and 
so . . . 

Q. On the way down there, did you pick up any 
other firefighters, any civilians? 

A. Yes. There was an ex-member who joined us 
while we were down there. We didn't pick anyone until 
we got there. I mean who came with us when we were on 



M. SCHROECK 

the scene. We didn't pick up anybody en route there. 
The gentleman's name, I'm not sure. I think his first 
name was Joe. 

Q. From these quarters? 

A. No. I think he used to work out of 122. 

Q. He was off duty or on duty? 

A. He was off duty. He didn't have bunker gear 
or anything like that. 

Q. Okay. How about civilians? Did you have to 
treat anybody or anybody approach the Engine Company 
for that? 

A. I think that was John Germain. 

Q. John Germain. 

A. I believe his first name, yes, John Germain, 
yes, and he did have bunker gear, but when I first saw 
him, I don't think he was wearing it on or whatever. 

Q. Okay. So you got to Liberty and West. Did 
you get instructions to go into any of the buildings? 

A. What I can recall was when we were coming 
down, I guess heading south, I guess past the staging 
area here, I believe it was located right around here. 

Q. Liberty and West. 

A. I can remember going underneath the walkway 
there . 



M. SCHROECK 

Q. That's Liberty and West Street, the 
pedestrian walkway. 

A. Continuing I guess going up Liberty here, I 
know there was like a little parking lot area there. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I don't know if it's the Marriott parking lot 
or it was a private parking lot. 

Q. That's a private parking lot over here. 

A. Oh, this is it here? 

Q. Yes. 

A. Right. So I can remember coming up this 
street here. 

Q. Chambers Street. 

A. Right. We were standing right around here 
when, obviously, jumpers were coming down and I guess 
we were concerned about that. I don't know at that 
point where we were heading or what, but I can remember 
that the Captain gave us some orders to I guess come 
around somehow and then led us toward I think 
Washington here, I believe, and I guess I was standing 
right around here, so right around Washington and maybe 
Albany, Cedar, Cedar to Albany. I don't know. I can 
remember we were backing out of this area here. We 
were around here somewhere when it started collapsing. 



M. SCHROECK 

We hear the roaring and we all just pretty much -- 

Q. Was that the collapse of Tower 1, the south 
tower? 

A. Tower 1, the first collapse. 

Q. Okay. The first, the south tower. 

A. I guess we backed up, coming down Washington, 
Albany area here. I remember guys saying to me stick 
with us, stick with us, and that was before the 
collapse starting and before we even knew there was 
going to be a collapse. 

Q. Do you know who that was? 

A. Dean. Dean actually told me to stick with 
him, make sure I stick with him and stuff like that, 
and that was prior to going en route and all that. He 
was, of course, making me be aware, if anything, stick 
around, stick with the members. But when the collapse 
came down, I don't know what happened, but I found 
myself away from everybody. 

Q. Just you or were you with anybody? 

A. Me? I was alone. 

Q. You were by yourself? 

A. Yes. I can't speak where -- talking to the 
guys afterwards, I found out where they went. I think 
it was like right in this building here, this Trust 



M. SCHROECK 

Plaza here, I believe, and I shot over here, this 
building here, I believe in this corner right in here, 
there was like a little doorway here where I was able 
to get some protection there from falling debris. 

Q. That was on the southwest corner of 
Washington and Albany? 

A. Yes, I believe. Looking at this map, it 
looks like that's where I was. I could be mistaken, 
but I think it's like in right here, if I'm not 
mistaken, right on this corner here. I was there for 
it felt forever, you know, as it was coming down, a lot 
of emotions, a lot of things going through the mind. 
As far as life goes, I didn't think there was much 
left. 

Q. What were the conditions? What did you see? 

A. You couldn't really see much, I mean, at that 
point anyway. I pretty much had my face tucked into 
the building there, my body tucked into the building, 
and I guess with the falling debris, the building 
collapse, you couldn't see much, you couldn't hear much 
but the roaring and, you know, obviously, you weren't 
going to hear anything over that. I didn't think I was 
going to make it in, if that's where we were trying to 
get to. I don't know. But I found myself just sitting 



M. SCHROECK 

there . 

Q. Okay. So once the debris settled, then what 
did you do? 

A. Pretty much I backed out looking for the rest 
of the members because you could hear all pass alarms 
going off, people screaming, companies calling. The 
first thing I heard was 220, 220, and I continued -- I 
backed out, climbing over a couple of little -- you 
know, debris was in the way and stuff like that. 

Q. Did you hook up with your unit at that 
point? 

A. Yes. I winded up hooking up with my guys 
shortly after that, a couple minutes after that, and 
then I think at that point we were started to retreat, 
I don't know, trying to find out -- trying to figure 
out where exactly were we. I think by the time we 
gathered, I don't know if we kind of shot down more 
Washington or maybe we went back towards Liberty here 
when the second collapsed. It took a couple of minutes 
by the time everybody gathered up and got together and 
all the members were together and stuff. 

Q. Okay. Now the second building came down. 

A. Yes. I think we were more so on -- I guess 
we shot back up this way here because I can remember 



10 
M. SCHROECK 



being on the west side. Exactly where on the west side 
I don't know, but when the second one collapsed, I was 
a little bit further away than the first one. I must 
have been around -- I don't know if I was this far 
here. I must have been around -- this is where I was 
for the first one. Maybe about here somewhere. I can 
remember being in a building there where -- 

Q. The hotel? 

A. I don't know if it was the hotel or what. 

Q. There was a revolving door? 

A. It might have been the hotel. 

Q. Okay. That was the hotel? 

A. There were people in here. We were trying to 
get people out, telling them to run down this way here, 
further south. There was some water there, which we 
all needed. 

Q. Okay. That was in the hotel. 

A. Yes. 

Q. So the second building collapsed. You 
recovered. Then what did you do after that? Did you 
regroup? Did you go anywhere else? 

A. Once again I lost my guys and I guess, again, 
when the dust started to settle, we started making our 
way back. I can remember there was a girl, I believe 



11 

M. SCHROECK 



an EMS girl, she was like all dazed up there, and I 
kind of assisted her south. I think I walked her maybe 
a block or so. 

Q. Did you get her name? 

A. No, I did not get her name. I did not get 
her name. She was a little dazed up, I can remember 
that, and obviously hysterical crying, confused. 
Whether she was hurt or whatever, I couldn't tell at 
that point. I assisted her a little further down to 
where I guess I led her, you know, walk south here. 

Q. Now, at that point did you go back up? 

A. Yes. At that point I went back up this way, 
where I met my guys again. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Then we pretty much scattered. I can 
remember putting out -- I remember the debris crushing 
through windows and I guess it was apartment fires 
everywhere here. I think it might have even been one 
of these two buildings. 

Q. Did you go stretch the hose -- 

A. Oh, yes . 

Q. -- from the marine? 

A. Yes. I think at that point, yes, actually, 
at that point we did come down here. Yes. They had 



12 
M. SCHROECK 



the boat here and we were trying to -- 

Q . ( Inaudible) . 

A. Is that here? 

Q. Yes. 

A. Right around here the boat was, right. It 
was right against the Winter Garden. We tried to 
stretch -- get a line in place into the Winter Garden 
there. But I think they were talking about I guess an 
odor, a gas odor, a possible collapse and stuff like 
that, and we were using caution and stuff like that. 
But I think we got it in place and they brought an 
injured member here, head trauma, and he winded up 
going on the boat. They escorted him where they needed 
to. 

Q. That's when you lost the line. 

A. Yes, that line was pretty much done with. I 
can remember going back this way, or at least I think 
the chauffeur and another member went around somewhere, 
I guess to find a rig and get the rig in place 
somewhere else. We were bouncing back here for a 
couple of minutes, and then I guess we went back over 
here somewhere where -- oh, yes. Gateway Plaza. 
Here. We found ourselves in front here for a little 
while where there were a couple other members from 



13 
M. SCHROECK 



different companies. I don't recall what companies. I 
don't recall what members. 

Q. What did you do at that location? 

A. I can remember regrouping. There was more 
fluid there for us. Until I think on the 10th floor 
there was fire. We wound up going up. There was no 
hydrant pressure. We went up with a couple of cans 
here, the Captain, Dean, and I don't know who else was 
there. I don't think initially there was anyone with 
us. We went up. Whether there were a couple other 
units who went up prior, I don't remember, but I know 
when we got there, there were more members there when 
we went up to put it out. I remember seeing Buffalo. 
He used to work at this house here. He was pulling up 
hose. We hooked up to the standpipe, we went up and. . . 

Q. Then after you got the fire out, what did you 
do? 

A. We came back down. I was pretty much shot 
then, a little left. I can remember falling. I can 
remember falling. We came back down here, and I think 
we regrouped again. A couple of members were injured 
and somebody transported us to another place where I 
think they went to a hospital. 

Q. How did you get home that evening? 



14 
M. SCHROECK 



A. After that point, I went with the Captain. A 
couple of the guys, like I said, left, I guess, to get 
medical attention. 

Q . ( Inaudible) . 

A. Yes. They jumped in a Blazer or something 
like that, which took them to I guess the boat or 
wherever, and I found myself with the Captain here and 
we went back. 

Q. To the truck? 

A. We went back I believe to this point here 
where -- 

Q. Vesey and West? 

A. Yes. I believe it was this point here, where 
it was tons and tons of vehicles and members. That was 
pretty much it. I know we sat here for a little 
while. I remember doing what we needed to do. Then I 
can remember, I would say late evening, I don't really 
recall the time, maybe around 6:00, I don't know, 
that's when we were transported, the Captain and 
myself, over to I believe Bellvue. 

Q. Oh, okay. So you did go to the hospital? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Is there anything else that you want to add 
that you think is important? 



15 
M. SCHROECK 



A. No, not that I recall at this time. 

MR. FEILER: We want to thank you for 
cooperating and participating in this. It's very 
important that we get this information. With that in 
mind, we'll conclude the interview. This concludes the 
interview at 1328 hours. 



File No. 9110052 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER ARTHUR MYERS 
Interview Date: October 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



A. MYERS 2 

MR. CUNDARI: Today is October 11th, 

2001. The time is 12:10 hours. This is 

George Cundari with Murray Murad, Fire 

Department of the City of New York. I'm 

conducting an interview with the following 

individual . 

Please state your name, rank, title and 

assigned command. 

FIREFIGHTER MYERS: My name is Alfred 

Myers, Sr. , a first grade fireman. I'm in 

Engine 39. 

MR. CUNDARI: Of the Fire Department of 

the City of New York. We're at Engine 39. 

This interview is in regards to the events 

of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Arthur, can you tell us what happened 
that day from your perspective? 

A. That morning I was at the watch and I 
got someone to relieve me. I went upstairs to 
take a shave and change my shirt. While I was 
going to shave, Jimmy Long came running past me. 
I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "A plane 
just hit the World Trade Center. It's on Channel 
5. " 



A. MYERS 3 

Him and I both went and turned the TV 
on. We saw where the plane hit. At that time we 
said we're a high-rise unit, I know we're getting 
ready to go. So I changed my shirt. Sure enough 
it came in as a second alarm, and we were 
responding. 39 responded at that time. 

Being that I'm the chauffeur, I went to 
the rig, started the rig up, hit the bells, got 
the guys ready, and we took off to go down there. 
En route down there, it went straight to a fifth 
alarm. It didn't go -- normally they say, "In 
the borough of Manhattan, a third alarm has been 
transmitted or fourth alarm." They didn't do 
that. It went from a second straight to the 
fifth alarm. 

I took Second Avenue down to Houston 
Street, went across Houston over to West Street, 
with which we turned. By the time I got to 
Houston, it went to a second fifth alarm. That's 
when the second plane hit. 

We proceeded down there -- 
Q. Did you hear the second plane hit? 
A. We heard the second plane hit from the 
radio transmit. I didn't see, but we heard it. 



A. MYERS 4 

Q. You heard it, the bang? 

A. The bang. Then it went straight to a 
second faith alarm. It didn't go second, third, 
fourth, fifth. They just skipped all that and 
went straight to a fifth. I said, a second fifth 
alarm? Both towers are hit now. 

I got over to West Street. I was at 
Houston and West Street. When I turned onto West 
Street, I said, "Oh, shit, look at this." Both 
buildings were fully involved. A big blast of 
fire was just blowing out windows. 

We proceeded down West Street down to 
the towers. High-rise is following rig. Like I 
said, we're a high-rise unit. They follow us in, 
driven by Jeff Coniglio. When I got there, they 
told us pull up right behind 3 Engine, which is 
what I did. High-rise pulled up right beside me 
but right across from me. 

At that time the guys got out. They 
started donning masks and everything. I was 
telling them, "Be careful. Put your gloves on, 
put your hood on, turn your oxygen on and just be 
careful . " 

Q. What was that location you parked? 



A. MYERS 5 

A. We parked right on West Street, right 
up from the north tower. I was further away from 
the north tower, a block from it. 

Q. So you were past Vesey. 

A. Past Vesey. 

Q. Past the pedestrian overpass. 

A. Past Vesey but right in this section 
here because this is the north tower here, I can 
see the front entrance to the north tower. So I 
must be somewhere down in here. 

Now the guys are gone. I'm looking. I 
see what I just couldn't believe. I thought it 
was a big doll baby, but these were burnt people 
falling. Right after that then you see live 
people jumping. This is the first time I've ever 
seen people jump like this in my whole career. 

Q . 20 years . 

A. In 20 years, this is the first time 
I've ever witnessed this, and it was just blowing 
my mind. 

The chauffeur from 3 Engine, he was 
telling me, listen, don't look, just don't -- I 
said, "How can I not look? I've never seen this 
before." Just any time you thought that would be 



A. MYERS 6 

it, then you'd see more waves of people coming. 
It was like raining people. You could hear when 
they hit the ground, bang, bang, and the body 
parts just dismantling all over the place. 

At that time it just got to me. I 
turned around to look away from it, and I'm 
saying to myself these are people. Man, there 
are people dying here. I couldn't believe what I 
was seeing. 

When I turned around, someone -- they 
said the chief ordered them to move 39 Engine, my 
rig wasn't there. I said, "Where the hell is 
39?" It's like somebody stealing your car. What 
they did was they took our rig and put it right 
in front of the north tower. 

I said, "Wait a minute. They're full 
of shit. They're not going to leave the rig 
there." Now you see the bodies just falling 
down . 

So at that time a proby came over to 
me. He said, "Look, I'm a proby. I'm off duty. 
I want to help." I said, "Whatever you do, don't 
go in that building. You're off duty. If 
something happens to you, they won't pay your 



A. MYERS 7 

family nothing. You just stay with me. Whatever 
you do, don't go in the building," because at 
that point debris was coming down plus the 
bodies . 

Rigs are coming in. Guys are on top of 
the rigs just going full blast into this. Now, 
him and I ran over. I get the rig. The chief 
orders me to hook up to the Siamese. I said, 
"Bullshit. I'm not hooking up here." Some of 
the guys get in the rig, which he did. I got in 
the rig. The chief was telling me, "Hook up to 
the Siamese. Leave this rig here." I said, 
"Bullshit. Get out of the way." 

Q. Where was this Siamese? 

A. The Siamese right -- this is the front 
of the north tower? Right by the entrance, right 
to the right of the entrance before you go in. 
The Siamese was right there. 

Q. That's where your truck is right now, 
right in front of the tower? 

A. Yeah, somebody had brought the truck 
over there. Originally we were over this way. 

Q. You were more north? 

A. More north, away from it. 



A. MYERS 8 

Q. By the pedestrian bridge? 
A. Away from it, yes. 
Q. The pedestrian bridge? 
A. Exactly. 

But me they brought our rig right in 
front of the building. I said, "Bullshit." 
We're not going to" -- 

(Interruption. ) 
A. So the chief was telling me, "Leave 
this rig here and supply this." 
(Interruption. ) 
A. I was in the rig. The chief was 
ordering me to hook up to the Siamese. I said, 
"Bullshit. I'm getting out of here." He kept 
ordering me. I pulled out and put our rig right 
back where it was originally. 

At that time getting out of the rig -- 
I told the proby, "You stay here. Don't go over 
there." Now there's more people jumping, more 
chaos. But you start hearing this cracking noise 
and thundering noise. 

At that time I witnessed Mayor Giuliani 
and his entourage coming down. 
Q. From the south end? 



A. MYERS 9 

A. No, from this end over here, coming 
down . 

Q. They were coming down West Side 
Highway? 

A. West Side Highway. 

Q. South? 

A. He gets out of his car. There's about 
ten of them. They're right where my rig is. 

At that time you hear all this 
crackling and thundering noise. We look up, and 
you see the first building, the south tower, 
coming down. I said, "Oh, shit. It's falling." 

At that time, Giuliani, his crew and 
myself, we were running. We were running neck 
and neck out of there. I just ran as far north 
as I could, looking back, seeing a massive cloud 
of smoke and debris just coming my way. I went 
to one or another street, ran up to that street. 
Went to another street, ran up that -- I just 
kept running. 

At this time I ran over to where the 
water was . 

Q. Was proby with you, the one that was in 
the truck? 



A. MYERS 10 

A. No, he wasn't with me. I don't know 
what happened to him. At that point I just ran. 
He may have started with me and we got lost in 
the run. I don't know what happened to him. But 
I just ran. We all just ran. I just started 
running until I got over to where the water was . 
I said, well, if push comes to shove, I'll just 
go into the water. 

Q. So you ran north and then you ran west? 

A. Right, because you're running back this 
way and zigzagging to where -- this must be the 
water here. All the way over here. 

Q. You went to Vesey and North End Street? 

A. Right, right. I remember Vesey. 

And there was a school here right by 
the water, and they were saying that they had a 
report of a gas leak, some sort of gas leak and 
to get out of there, evacuate. So I had to run 
again back over this way. 

Now I'm saying to myself, my guys are 
in there. So I'm on the radio, "39 chauffeur to 
39, 39," calling the officer. 

Q. Channel 1 you were on? 

A. Channel 1. I get no response, no 



A. MYERS 11 

response at all. But I'm hearing radio contacts. 
I'm hearing maydays . But he's not responding to 
me. I said, "Oh, shit. The good guys in that 
building, they're dead." That's the only thing I 
could say, these guys are dead. 

I said let me get closer. Now I'm 
working my way back to where my rig is, and I'm 
on the radio calling, "39 chauffeur to 39. 39 
chauffeur to 39 control." Then it got to the 
point I said, "39 chauffeur to 39 anybody. 
Anybody 39 respond, respond. Let me hear from 
you." No one is saying anything. 

I'm walking back to the rig. Say my 
rig is right here, in this area here. When I get 
about within a block range of it, now you hear 
this cracking again, this thunder again. You 
know from the first one, hey, this thing is 
coming down. 

You look up, and now it's coming and 
coming at a rapid -- it's just falling. Now I 
start running again, but this time, being that 
I'm closer to the north tower, it's coming down 
with such a force. Debris and everything is 
coming . 



A. MYERS 12 

There's another fireman to the right of 
me. Him and I are running. I'm right by PS 89. 
I remember the school, PS 89. There was a cop 
waving us in, "Come on in here. Come on in 
here." I'm saying to myself I'm not going to 
make it because I have on my full gear. I have 
full gear on. I seen this wave coming, I'm 
heading this way, and it's coming like a tidal 
wave just coming. I said, shit, I'm not going to 
make this . 

There are a couple police cars and a 
police emergency van, and I just said, "Please, 
God, let this door be open." When I pulled the 
door, it opened. I looked like George jumping in 
the air and closing the door behind me. When I 
closed this door, it gets covered. It just 
covers it. 

Q. The dust cloud? 

A. The dust cloud. It got so black -- 

Q. You're still on the West Side Highway; 
right? 

A. Still on the West Side Highway. 

Q. North of the pedestrian bridge, by 
Murray, you think? 



A. MYERS 13 

A. Wherever PS 89 is. I was right 
alongside PS 89, that street. That may be 
somewhere in this vicinity right here. 

Q. Vesey? 

A. Vesey. Wherever the school is. The 
school was PS 89. The police vehicles were lined 
up along there. 

It got so black, I'm saying, either two 
things, either I'm dead or it's the end of the 
world. I've never seen it that black in my 
whole -- I'm 51 years old. I've never seen it 
that black in my whole life. I'm saying, well, I 
don't think I'm dead. 

Now I'm worried about being able to 
breathe. I was okay inside. I was able to 
breathe. There was no debris coming in or 
anything . 

Q. You heard all that stuff hitting the 
truck? 

A. It was just like a [sound] and it just 
covered. 

At that time maybe about 15, 2 minutes 
or so, I hear the police, "Hey, is anybody in 
there?" "I'm in here. I'm in here." They 



A. MYERS 14 

started working the doors and pushed and got the 
door open, and I got out. They said, "Are you 
all right?" 

Q. You were trapped inside the ESU truck? 

A. The ESU truck. 

Q. You couldn't get out? 

A. I'm not going to say I couldn't get 
out, but they helped me get out. At the time I 
didn't really try to get out. I was just waiting 
to see if everything clears up. 

They came and said, "Is there anybody 
else you have in here?" They got the door open 
and got me out. At that time they said, "Are you 
all right? Do you want to go to the hospital or 
something? Do you want to get checked out?" I 
said, "No, I'm all right." 

I said, "But there was another fireman 
with me. How did he do?" They said, "Well, we 
don't know about the other guy. We don't think 
he made it." I got his helmet. He was from 1 
Engine, and his helmet was 845. 

Now I'm calling the guys. I'm frantic, 
panicking. I'm calling the guys, "39 chauffeur 
to 39, anybody." Now I know these guys are dead 



A. MYERS 15 

now, because the second one came down, the north 
tower. No one was responding. As usual the 
maydays were going all over the place. It was 
just major chaos. 

This goes on for about a couple hours. 
I'm walking around, just trying to find my guys, 
calling, calling, no one responding. I saw other 
guys looking for their guys. You hear major, 
major chaos, major maydays, everything. It's 
just a ball of confusion. 

About two hours go by. I ran into John 
Drumm, who was in the engine that day. I said, 
"Drumm, where 's" -- I'm hugging him. I said, 
"Where are the guys? What happened? Where are 
the guys? Where are the guys?" He said, "Man, 
they were behind me." I said, "There's nobody 
here but you." He said, "Well, those guys were 
behind me. I don't think they made it." I said, 
"Oh, man." 

He wanted to go back in. I said, "No, 
you stay out here. You stay out here with me." 
So him and I walked, and we ran into a member of 
16. 

Q. What was that person's name? 



A. MYERS 16 

A. Then I ran into Rattazzi from Ladder 
16, from 16 Truck. I said, "Rattazzi, where are 
the guys at?" He said, "I don't know where the 
guys are at." He got separated from his guys. 

So the three of us together -- he was 
suffering with eye injuries. So we made it away 
from -- we walked up from it, and some EMS guys 
came over and washed his eyes out and they washed 
mine out, the same with Drumm. 

Drumm kept insisting on going back 
over. "Can I look for the guys?" I said, "No, 
you're not going to look for the guys. Let's go 
over here and get ourselves together." He was 
all dirty, the debris and everything on him. 

We called on the radio. Now Drumm has 
a radio also. He mentioned that some guys were 
on Channel 7. I said, "All right. I'll keep it 
on 1. You turn to 7. Let's call, see if we can 
hear something." To no avail. 

Then they said some guys were on 
Channel 3. So we switched it from 7 to 3 . I 
stayed on 1, and he switched from 3 to 7 or vice 
versa. Anyhow, now it's like five hours go by, 
and I just accepted the fact that these guys are 



A. MYERS 17 

gone. That's just my account on it. 

I ran into Joe Graziano from 13 Truck. 
He's looking for his guys. I run into Lieutenant 
Jones from 7 Truck, and he's looking for his 
guys. I said, well, let me just walk back down 
there . 

I'm where the chief ordered 6 Truck to 
go after 39, looking for 39, go after them. I 
said, good, let me stay with 6 Truck and see if I 
find them maybe I'll hear something. I made it 
back down there. "6 Truck," I'm calling, "6 
Truck." They're not responding back to me. 

Finally one of the officers from 6 
Truck responds back to me, "Did you see anybody 
from 39? Negative. I haven't seen anyone yet." 
About maybe a half an hour this is going on. Now 
his unit is told to come out of there. 

So I'm calling him. He doesn't 
respond. But the officer from 16 Truck, 
Lieutenant Williams -- he said, "Arthur" -- I 
said, "Lou, anybody from 39? Did anybody see 
anybody from 39?" No one knew. As soon as we 
hear something, we'll get back to you. 

Now I see Chief Schildhorn from the 



A. MYERS 18 

10th Battalion. I go over there. "Chief, any 
word on 39?" He said, "No, Arthur, no word." 
"Did you hear from anybody? Did any of the guys 
call?" He said, "No, we haven't heard anything." 
All right. Now I'm just saying these guys are 
dead. We all came down together. I'm crying. 

The sweetest voice that ever came in my 
life I heard, Jeff Coniglio and Jimmy 
Ef thimiades . I hear, "Arthur. Arthur." I'm 
looking at these guys in amazement. They're all 
covered up and everything. I said, "Get over 
here, you mother fuckers." I was running over, 
and the three of us were standing right by the 
command post hugging and crying. I was just so 
glad to see these guys. 

Right behind them was Jimmy Bacon. He 
was right behind. I said, "Get over here, man. 
How are you feeling? Didn't you fucking hear me 
calling you?" It was like seeing my own kids 
being lost and then I found them. 

We were just standing there crying. I 
said, "Where is McGlynn, man? Where is McGlynn, 
the officer? Where is Lieutenant McGlynn?" They 
said, "He's inside helping with the evacuation." 



A. MYERS 19 

I said, "What the fuck are you doing in there, 
man? " 

So I called him on the radio. He 
didn't respond right away. I said, "I thought 
you said he was all right?" "No, Arthur, he's 
all right." I said, "You guys all right?" They 
were complaining about eye injuries. 

So we made it over where EMS was . They 
were telling everybody to go over that way, get 
away from the main body of debris. EMS guys took 
the post and everything. Jeffrey and Jimmy 
Efthimiades, they both went to the hospital. 

I said, "Look, I'm going to call and 
let the families know you guys are all right." 
What I did was I made it back to PS 89 and I 
called back here to the firehouse. I said, 
"Listen, there should be a captain there, 
Savarese. The lieutenant made captain, 
Savarese." I said, "Captain, listen, just let 
the guys' families know everybody from 39 is all 
right. " 

I knew Lieutenant Williams from 16 
Truck was all right. I heard Oscar, who was the 
chauffeur from 16 Truck named Steve Wright, who 



A. MYERS 2 

was the roof man, if I'm not mistaken, and 
Rattazzi. Those guys I knew were all right. 

The other guys, Bobby Dana and Kenny 
Rogers, I didn't know if those guys were all 
right. So I didn't want to say, well, everybody 
from 16; I said everybody from 39 is all right. 
Let the family members know. 

At that point we made it back over 
to -- I left Jeffrey and Jimmy, and I came back 
over to some staging area they had by either 
Stuyvesant school -- one of the schools, and saw 
some of the other guys. 

They said, "Listen, go over there and 
tell them where you were at and give account of 
what happened," which is what I did. They were 
seeing who was accounted for. They said, "You 
have to write down your engine company and your 
name." They were trying to get who was still 
here. That's what I did. 

Then I saw the rest of my guys from 39, 
Lieutenant (inaudible) . I said, "Where are the 
guys?" He said, "Over here." I said, "Where is 
Lieutenant McGlynn?" They said, "McGlynn is over 
there. " 



A. MYERS 21 

So I just made it over there, got him, 
hugged him and everything. 

It was a hell of an experience. I 
never want to go through that again, never. 
Nothing I ever saw before in my life. Just 
seeing the people jumping was just in itself -- 
the tower coming down was one thing. Seeing 
these people jump to their death was so all by 
itself . 

That was it for me. We all came back. 
I came back with 16 Truck. 

Q. You were there until late that night? 
A. Late that night. We didn't leave out 
of there until around 8:00. We got there around 
9:30, 25 to 10. We left after the first plane 
hit. No later than 20 to 10, we were down there. 
As soon as I got up, we went down and over to 
Second Avenue and just shot straight down there. 
When I got over to Houston, I was on the ongoing 
side traffic. I said I've got to get over to the 
west side quick and down to the site. 

Q. I would like to thank you for 
participating in this interview, Arthur. 

MR. CUNDARI : This concludes the tape, 



A. MYERS 22 



and the time is 12:35. 



File No. 9110063 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER VINCENT FIORENTINO 
Interview Date: October 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



V. FIORENTINO 

MR. CUNDARI: Today's date is October 12, 
2001. The time is 10 o'clock. This is George 
Cundari and Murray Murad with the Fire Department 
of the City of New York. I'm conducting an 
interview with the following individual. 
Q. Please state your name, rank, title and 
assigned command. 

A. Vincent Fiorentino, Firefighter first grade. 
42 Battalion. 

Q. We are at 8653 18 Avenue, Battalion 42. Can 
you please tell us the events that happened regarding 
the September 11 tragedy? 

A. We were in the kitchen in the morning 
watching Channel 5 news. They were giving a report 
about the primary election and the camera swung over 
and showed the first building, the fire and they said 
plane, we thought small plane, something like that. 
The Chief and I came up to the office, figuring that we 
were going to go pretty quick. We took extra lights, 
put them on the rig and we didn't immediately go. Took 
the 40 and 48 first from our end of Brooklyn. 
Q. What Chief was that? 
A. What Chiefs went? 
Q. Who was the Chief? 



V. FIORENTINO 

A. Chief Coyne. 

Q. Then we got our ticket at 910 to relocate to 
the 32. En route with that, we got changed to a third 
alarm assignment for the Battery Tunnel, Brooklyn 
side. When we got to there, we were told by Brooklyn 
that the 42 and the 41 were going to -- we were pulled 
back to Brooklyn and we had our complete third alarm 
assignment at the tunnel. With that, at some point 
Brooklyn took units off of our ticket and they were 
getting another box, another Manhattan box, an Albany 
Street box I believe it was. A few of them, I know 201 
was one of those numbers on that that was taken off. 
They went through the tunnel ahead of us. That was 
right before the first collapse. 201 was caught in 
that collapse. I believe 113 was also in that group 
that was taken out of our group and they back filled 
the assignment and when the first collapse came, the 
reports at the tunnel were that the tunnel collapsed or 
that there was a collapse at the other end of the 
tunnel and we were trying to get confirmation from the 
tunnel people as to what was happening. They were kind 
of vague with that. 

The Chief assigned a couple of units to 
assist in the evacuation of the tunnel and prior to 



V. FIORENTINO 

that we were -- I was on the radio with Brooklyn and we 
were right at the toll plaza where there was still 
traffic coming out of Manhattan and our guys were 
grouped together standing and I didn't see the building 
come down, but by looking at them I realized what was 
happening with the first tower. Then we were ordered 
by orders of Chief Cruthers, to take the entire 
assignment and go to the Brooklyn Bridge. That's what 
we proceeded to do. We left those other units there, I 
know 102 was one of them. They went into the tunnel to 
assist the people coming out of the tunnel. 

Then we went to the Brooklyn Bridge and then 
we were stopped at the Brooklyn Bridge and they had a 
report that the other side was possibly untenable and 
the 42 Battalion went alone, left the rest of the 
assignment behind as a scout unit to check. We saw 
that Chambers Street was clear. We reported back to 
Brooklyn and the rest of the third alarm assignment 
came over with us. From there we reported in to the 
command post that was at Park Row and Broadway. 

Q. Around City Hall? 

A. At the point of City Hall park. We met Chief 
Haring there. We were assigned to work with the 15th 
Division, I think it was, and we went and operated in 



V. FIORENTINO 

number 5 World Trade Center. We assisted in the 
removal of 3 people from the concourse area. One guy 
who had an I beam on him in the bottom of this number 5 
building. We finished that operation, then that 
building was on fire. 

Q. Where was your Battalion car parked? 

A. We parked right along City Hall park. 

Q. Then you walked over to -- 

A. We walked to the command post, then we walked 
up Vesey Street. 

Q. At this time was the tower still standing one 
of them or both were down? 

A. I think they both were down. I mean it was 
like a wind storm of paper and dust, which I understand 
they said it was generated by that. It wasn't a windy 
day. We operated there and then we operated on the 
fire in number 5 and then later we swung around and we 
were at a sub cellar fire at the Bankers Trust 
building; 130 Liberty. We operated in 130 Liberty. 

Q. Do you recall who was in that building? 

A. What companies? 

Q. Yes, Chief or anyone in there? 

A. There were other Chiefs there that that -- 
21, 43 and 42 and we were gathering up guys that had 



V. FIORENTINO 

cylinders that were able to go down because it was 
pushing from this sub cellar. So there was a lot of 
guys at that point that was later on, but a lot of guys 
didn't have masks. The Chief stopped guys from 
assisting us further down the stairs without the 
masks. We made one push, we expended our masks, 
everybody came out and then they went hunting down more 
cylinders. They found more cylinders and we went down 
with a second push and put those fires out down there. 
After that we were on the pile of number 2. 

Q. Doing a search? 

A. Right, that's how we operated, to the best of 
my knowledge. Time frames and all, I don't know. To 
me it seemed like all one big -- it was nighttime and 
when we started out it was morning. It went by very 
quickly in that vein of things. 

Q. Which channel were you operating on, Channel 
1? 

A. When we got over to Manhattan we were told to 
switch to Manhattan. We switched to Manhattan and the 
Chief stayed on 1 and I switched mine, I think it was 
to 5 and both radios had a lot of Maydays. When we 
first came over there were a lot of Mayday calls, but 
you couldn't really know where they were all coming 



V. FIORENTINO 

from. Then the radio quieted down after that, at least 
the channels we were on. 

Q. Initially it came in as a third alarm? 

A. We went to a third alarm staging. They do 
that when they have a large fire somewhere. They bring 
units from other boroughs to be ready to go in for the 
next wave. That's basically the best I can remember. 

Q. You had a lot of people passing you on the 
streets, a lot of civilians going, trying to get out of 
there when you got there? 

A. When we hit the corner of Church and 
Chambers, we ran into two firemen that were totally 
disoriented and had lost their company, lost contact 
with their company. They were -- best description 
shell shocked. We took their names and we told them to 
continue heading more towards midtown to get out of the 
storm. 

Like I said, the paperwork that we had 
anything written on disappeared. We came back to our 
car later in the night. It was filled with about 25 
pairs of shoes, jackets. A lot of things were taken 
from the car, but there were no -- we had our masks 
with us. The guys wanted to take our masks when we 
were responding. We had to to like -- that's about it. 



V. FIORENTINO 

MR. CUNDARI: Thank you for giving this 
interview. The time is 1010. This is the 
conclusion of the tape. 



File No. 9110067 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER VINCENT BUONOCORE 

Interview Date: October 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



V. BUONOCORE 2 

MR. CASTORINA: This is Ron Castorina 
conducting an interview with Vincent 
Buonocore, firefighter two, assigned to 
Engine 278. The time now is 1325 hours. 
Conducting the interview with me is -- 
MR. McCOURT: Tom McCourt. 
MR. CASTORINA: And your name, sir? 
FIREFIGHTER BUONOCORE: Firefighter 
Vincent Buonocore, grade two. I had the 
nozzle that day, assigned to 278. 

MR. CASTORINA: The day of September 
11th? 

FIREFIGHTER BUONOCORE: Yes. 
Q. Can you tell me what your assignment 
was for that day and whatever you can remember? 
A. Yeah. I was assigned the nozzle that 
day. I remember walking into the kitchen and 
seeing one of the twin towers, smoke bellowing 
out of the upper floors. They said there was an 
airplane crash. I said to myself, it was such a 
beautiful day, I said, how the hell could someone 
not see that and avoid the twin towers. 

A few minutes later I was watching the 
TV, and I saw the airplane coming from the right 



V. BUONOCORE 3 

side of the television screen, and one second 
later I saw the big explosion. All the guys were 
in the kitchen, and everybody was going, "Oh." 
Everybody was screaming. 

There were two guys outside, 
Firefighter Jackson and Firefighter Zechewytz. 
They were outside looking at the sky. 
Firefighter Jackson said, "Wow, look at this 
airplane. It's flying so low." Maybe a minute 
after that they heard us screaming in the 
kitchen. They ran back, and sure enough, that 
was probably the plane that crashed into the twin 
towers . 

Once that second plane hit, pretty much 
I knew we were going. I remember calling my 
wife, just letting her know that I was going to 
the twin towers, because I knew at that point it 
was terrorism. I didn't know the outcome of the 
day for anybody, so I just wanted to call my wife 
anyway just to let her know. 

We responded. I remember going down 
Fourth Avenue, heading towards the Brooklyn 
Battery Tunnel, and I remember seeing papers 
flying in the air. Pretty much we went onto 



V. BUONOCORE 4 

Third Avenue. We were lining up on the Brooklyn 
side of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, waiting for 
orders from I guess the dispatcher or whatever. 

We were hanging out there for about 15 
minutes. I was talking to Firefighter Zechewytz. 
The next thing you know, I saw what I imagine the 
south tower coming down. Right then and there I 
pretty much knew it was going to be devastating 
to the department and to a lot of people. 

At that point pretty much we started 
gathering up -- we lined up then. We took the 
rig from there, and we were going over the 
Brooklyn Bridge. We stopped on the bridge for 
about five or ten minutes, and we were watching 
all the people coming off from the Manhattan 
side, thousands of people, walking calmly. 
Pretty much a few minutes after that we went into 
Manhattan. 

I was pretty happy we didn't go through 
the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel because the only 
thing that was running through my mind is they're 
going to hit the tunnel. I didn't want to get 
caught in there. I was just happy we took the 
bridge, not knowing that, who knows, if another 



V. BUONOCORE 5 

airplane was going to be coming crashing into the 
bridge or what . 

We ended up going into Manhattan. It 
was just ash all over the place. I don't 
remember which street exactly we were on. Pretty 
much we parked our rig, and we went to the 
command center. We stood there for a little 
while waiting for orders. 

Q. Where were you when the second building 
collapsed? 

A. We were, I believe, on -- 

Q. You were in Manhattan at that time? 

A. Yeah, we were in Manhattan. Again, we 
were by the command center, waiting for 
instructions . 

Q. So you were in the staging area? 

A. We were in the staging area. Then I 
remember just seeing a whole bunch of dust going 
up again in smoke, not realizing that that was 
the second tower coming down. 

That's the recollections that I have. 

Q. Anything you want to add? 

A. Basically it was a tragic day for our 
nation and our department, and hopefully 



V. BUONOCORE 

something like this never goes on again. 
Q. Okay. Thank you. 

MR. CASTORINA: The time now is 1330 
hours. That concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110068 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
Firefighter Richard VETLAND 
Interview Date: October 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



VETLAND 



A 

Q 

A 

Q 

2001? 

A 

Q 

A 

Q 

A 

Q 



MR. CASTORINA: I am here with 
Firefighter Richard VETLAND. I am at Engine 
278. The time now is 1310 hours. Conducting 
the interview with me is? 

MR. MC COURT: Tom McCourt. 

MR. CASTORINA: And your name, sir? 

Richard VETLAND, Engine 278. 

What is your rank? 

Firefighter first grade. 

What was your assignment on September 11, 



I was the chauffeur. 

Of? 

The night tour and the day tour. 

Of 278? 

Engine 278. 

Can you recall what happened that day, in 



detail? 

A. Yes. I actually watched it on TV. The 
Chief went first. 

Q. Which Chief was that? 

A. Ed Henry. Actually, Roger Jackson was 
driving him, but John Picarello came in early and 



VETLAND 
took the run in. They went before nine. Then the 

rest of the us in the Engine we just had a feeling 

we were going. We watched it on TV and then watched 

the second plane hit and knew we were going. We I 

fueled the rig up, then we went. 

We went down Fourth Avenue, to Third 

Avenue, over the bridge, then they stopped us at the 

tunnel and there was a staging area at the tunnel. 

Then when the first building came down we had a 

clear looking right at us. 

Q. You were at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel? 

A. We were at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. 

Q. You didn't get into Manhattan through the 
tunnel? 

A. They stopped us there because 228 had said 
they thought a bomb went off in the tunnel actually. 

Q. And they were in the tunnel? 

A. They were in the tunnel. That was during 
the first collapse, because we seen it. They 
stopped us before that just to slow everybody down, 
I think. And then once that came down, that's when 
228 said they thought there was a bomb. It was just 
smoke. But we were stopped before that. 

Then we went to -- 



VETLAND 
Q. What route did you take to get into 

Manhattan? You went over the bridge? 

A. Then we went over to the Brooklyn bridge. 
We took the Brooklyn Bridge. We were the first ones 
over the Brooklyn Bridge from that staging area at 
the tunnel. Then we went over and parked on West 
Street, on the wrong side of West Street, facing 
towards everything. Facing south on the east side, 
facing the wrong way. 

Q. Just put an X on the map where you were 
parked on that day, Engine 278. 

A. We were parked right here (indicating). 

Q. Had the second building collapsed yet at 
this point? 

A. I don't know when it collapsed. There was 
a lot of dust, a lot of dust. I don't know where we 
were. 

Q. Do you remember, were you directed 
anywhere or -- 

A. From there they just put us in a staging 
area. 

Q. Do you know who put you in the staging 
area? 

A. No, that I don't know. We were there 



VETLAND 
maybe -- we were there maybe about 15, 20 minutes 

and Father John came up and I talked to Father John. 

I talked to another guy. I know John Leanza from 

122 truck. He was -- I know him from when we were 

kids and all he told me was "I hugged the columns 

like they told us in PS 30 and he was hugging the 

columns there and he said they lost I think two or 

three guys that he were standing with. He ran over 

and hugged the column and he came out -- he came 

walking out, Father John came walking out and just 

everybody started to come out. It was maybe 15, 20 

minutes when people started walking, walking towards 

us. 

So eventually -- actually we parked in and we 
started to go in and then they grabbed us and pulled 
us back. We left our rig a lot closer than where 
they made us go. So I pulled in and I drove right 
in up over here somewhere close and then they walked 
us back to the staging area. We basically unloaded 
food and oranges and stuff all day and then we went 
to Millennium later on. That was later on in the 
day. 

Q. Anything else you want to add? 

A. I can't think of anything. 



VETLAND 
Q. Okay. Fine. 

MR. CASTORINA: That concludes this 

interview. The time is 1315 hours. 



File No. 9110080 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL WERNICK 
Interview Date: October 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Wernick 
MR. FEILER: Today's date is October 12, 
2001. The time now is 1027 hours and this is 
Monte Feiler of the Fire Department of the 
City of New York. I am conducting an 
interview with the following individual. 
Please state your name, rank and area of 
command . 

A. My name is Michael Wernick. I am from 
Ladder 9, I am a chauffeur. I was a chauffeur that 
day. 

Q. Firefighter? 
A. Firefighter. 

MR. FEILER: Of the New York City Fire 
Department. We're conducting the interview 
at the Lieutenant's office located at the 
quarters of Ladder 9, Engine 33, regarding 
the events of September 11, 2001. Also 
present is? 

MS. QUEVEDO: Fabiola Quevedo of the 
Fire Department of the City of New York. 
Q. What I basically need from you, sir, is 
just a scenario of what happened when you got the 
first alarm until the events surrounding the 
collapse of the second tower. Go ahead. 



Wernick 

A. That morning we pulled up and I was the 
chauffeur and positioned the rig -- looking at this 
map --on Church Street, right behind Saint Paul's 
Cemetery. From there we got all the guys and then 
we went into the north 1 World Trade Center. 
Enroute there, lots of debris along Vesey Street and 
we entered 1 World Trade Center. We gathered in the 
lobby and we proceeded to go up the stairs as a 
group and as we were going up the steps -- over 
time, we got separated in the stairwell and some of 
us stopped at different floors. 

Mike Maguire and I stopped at the 12th floor 
and we stopped at the 27th floor. It was really the 
27th floor was the highest level we attained on that 
day. We took a rest on that floor. We saw various 
companies. Some of the members, after thinking 
about it after a while, I did see 6 Truck on that 
floor . 

Q. Were you able to recognize any of the 
firefighters? 

A. None of the firefighters. But I do 
remember Captain Burke, Billy Burke, he's still 
missing. And then I do remember the 6 Truck, a 
couple of the guys recognized me. I saw them last 



Wernick 
week. They said, oh, you were the guy lying on the 
floor. And his mask was next to mine, this guy sal, 
form Ladder 6. 

We were there resting five, ten minutes. We 
heard reports that possibly more planes were coming 
in our direction and that was from the FBI. And 
there was Battalion Chief on the floor. 

Q. Do you know who that was? 

A. I'm trying to think who it was. I think 
it was from Battalion 2. 

Q. You don't know his name? 

A. No. 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. So we decided to go down rather 
than up. We went down one stairwell, I think it was 
C, and we caught up with my boss, Lieutenant Smith 
at that point and then around the 11th floor, it was 
clogged up at around the 11th floor in that 
stairwell, and someone on the 11th floor grabbed us 
and said go down another stairwell. 



Wernick 

Q. What was it clogged up with? Civilians? 

A. Both firemen and civilians. And at that 
point it was actually quite lucky that we went to 
another stairwell that was empty and then we made it 
down to about the 5th or 6th floor and I remember 
seeing Lieutenant Desperito because he used to be in 
9 truck. I ran into him on that floor. That was a 
very vivid moment in the stairwell, because he was 
helping somebody out . 

Q. A civilian? 

A. A civilian. And I think we passed 6 
Truck. They were in the stairwell with civilians as 
well. Mostly firemen at that point. There really 
was very few civilians. I remember seeing Engine 5 
somewhere along the way. We made our way down to 
the lobby which was blown out at the time from the 
debris of the first tower that came down, the south 
tower that went down. 

At that time we still didn't know that the 
building collapsed. We were still unaware. We 
thought we either got hit with a plane or that 
thought it might have been a partial collapse from 
the upper floors in our building. We got into the 
lobby and the lobby was completely blown out. I 



Wernick 
guess from the debris, and we had to climb out 
there. And as we left the building we still didn't 
know the first tower collapsed. No clue that that 
first tower collapsed. 

We made our way to the street and about 45 
seconds out of the building the north tower 
collapsed. So we just made it out. We got blown up 
the West Side Highway, most of us, and -- 

Q. Who was in that group with you when you 
left the building? 

A. I think I was with B.J. Casey, a fireman 
from Ladder 9. I don't remember if Casey -- I think 
Casey was from Ladder 9 and Mike Maguire. 

Q. B.J. and Casey, those are nicknames or -- 

A. Firefighter Springstead and firefighter 
Casey and Firefighter Maguire. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I think in the lobby I remember seeing 
Firefighter Walz and Baptiste. 

Q. All from your company or 

A. Neither of them made it out. 

Q. And that was 1 World Trade Center you were 
in? 

A. The north tower. And then we sort of made 



Wernick 
it up the West Side Highway. Well, we walked out to 
the West Side Highway. The minute we did that the 
building came down and that blew us a few feet. 

From there on, you know, we had a lot of debris 
in our eyes and face and we couldn't breathe. 
Eventually I got up, walked around in a dust field 
and eventually I was taken to Beth Israel Hospital. 

Q. I just want to know, when you first got 
the run, you said you were the chauffeur. Did you 
receive any specific instructions on where to stage 
or where to go? 

A. No. 

Q. The alarm just came in of what, as far as 
you are aware? 

A. Well, actually when it came in Engine 33 
went first. They were like 9, 10 minutes ahead of 
us and then what typically happens in the city is 
when something comes in they wait for 9:00 o'clock. 
You know, the dispatchers, because it all has to do 
with money and overtime. So at 9:00 o'clock the 
alarm went in for us. So then we proceeded down, I 
guess it was on the fifth alarm at that point, with 
no indication of where we were gonna go. I knew we 
were going to the World Trade Center. You could see 



8 
Wernick 

the hole in the building right out here on Lafayette 

Street. 

Q. So the first plane had struck, the second 
plane hadn't struck when you were responding? 

A. Right. 

Q. Okay. 

A. And then as we were going down there it 
struck. 

Q. Did you see it hit? 

A. No, We saw the aftermath. 

Q. When you got down there, where did you 
park? Where did you stop the apparatus? 

A. I was going down south on Church Street, 
against traffic on Church Street and I pulled up 
right behind St. Paul's Cemetery. 

Q. Could you mark that. 

A. (Complied with request.) 

Instead of going -- normally when we -- 
Like when we went to the one, we went down the West 
Side Highway, we pulled up over here. As we pulled 
out here, there was so much debris, the Lieutenant 
said, "Just park it over here." So, you know, this 
cemetery, there was papers flying all over the 
place, there were engines all over, plane parts, 



Wernick 
building parts, and then we proceeded to walk down 
Vesey Street into the north tower. 

Q. Okay. Did your Lieutenant receive any 
instructions from a Captain or a chief on where to 
go or -- 

A. We just walked into the lobby and at that 
point they probably got instructions to go as high 
as we could climb. 

Q. When you entered the lobby, did you treat 
anybody? Was there any civilians that you needed to 
treat or any patients that you made contact with? 

A. Not at that point, but at that point there 
were a lot of bodies all around outside. We were 
Dodging bodies to get in. 

Q. Were you asked to assist a particular 
unit, either verbally or by radio? 

A. No. 

Q. When you exited 1 World Trade Center, do 
you remember where you exited from? 

A. Where we came in, in the northwest corner. 



Can you mark that. 

(Complied with request.) 

That's where you entered. And you exited? 

The same way. 



10 

Wernick 

Q. You said you made it up to the 27th floor? 

A. Yes. 

Q. How long do you think it took you to walk 
up? 

A. About a half hour. Twenty minutes, a half 
hour . 

Q. Were there lights, any lights on? 

A. Yes. 

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. 

Q. How about the stand pipes? Were they 
working? 

A. No. 

Q. You said you weren't aware of the first 
building collapse. 

A. That's correct. Most of the guys weren't. 

Q. Did you have a handy-talkie with you? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you know, was it on the private 



11 
Wernick 

channel? Was it on a Manhattan frequency? 

A. Just on the regular channel. 

Q. How was communications? 

A. It was pretty bad. 

Q. At any time were you asked to change to a 
different frequency? 

A. No. 

Q. Were you staying on the Manhattan 
frequency? 

A. I stayed on the Manhattan frequency. 

Q. Is there anything else that you think is 
important? Any other people that you may have seen 
that you recognized? 

A. I remember Andy Desperito, Lieutenant 
Burke, I saw Mannie somewhere, Mannie Devalle in the 
stairwell at one point while I was coming down. It 
was the 6th or 7th floor. He's from Engine 5. 

Q. That was the last you saw of him there? 

A. Yes. 

Q. What did it look like he was doing at that 
point? 

A. I think they went on the floor. They 
weren't in the stairwell. I remember the door 
opening on the floor and they were just like in the 



12 
Wernick 

lobby of the floor. 

Q. That was the C stairway you say? 

A. At that point we changed over to B. 

Q. That was the one that was less crowded? 

A. Yes. But around the 4, 5 or 6 floor it 
started to get crowded. 

Q. Civilians and firefighters? 

A. Mostly firefighters. But we were still 
able to move. But I know that there was no urgency 
at that point trying to get out of the building. It 
wasn't like "Let's get the fuck outta here." You 
know? This thing is coming down. It was like 
filter down guys and start to get out. 

Q. Do you think anyone around you was aware 
that the other building collapsed? 

A. No. 

Q. Is there anything else that you think is 
important that you would like to add? 

A. No. That's pretty much it. 

MR. FEILER: I want to thank you for 

spending time with us. It's very important 

that we get this accomplished. The 

department is appreciative. 

That concludes the interview at 1040 



13 
Wernick 

hours and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 911084 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER PETE GUIDETTI 

Interview Date: October 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



P. GUIDETTI 2 

MR. MCALLISTER: I'm Kevin McAllister 
from the office of administration. It's 
October 12th, 2001. We're on the eighth 
floor at Fire Department headquarters. It 
is 9:41 hours, and I'm here with Firefighter 
Pete Guidetti, who is going to recount his 
experiences from September 11th. 
A. We'll start out I was in Ray Goldbach's 
office, the executive officer to the fire 
commission, discussing the things that had to be 
done that day around the office. Ray got a 
Nextel message that a plane went into the World 
Trade Center, and we both more or less thought it 
might have been a Piper Cub, a Cessna or 
something like that. We had no idea it was a 
commercial plane. 

With that I look out the window, and I 
see the World Trade Center, I see the hole, I see 
the black smoke, and I just yelled for my boss, 
Commissioner Feehan. He came over. He saw it. 
He said, "Oh, my God. Let's go." 

With that Ray says, "Do you want to 
come with me?" to Commissioner Feehan. 
Commissioner Feehan said, "No, I'm going to go 



P. GUIDETTI 3 

with Pete, my driver. He has all my gear and 
stuff in the car." Then Ray says, "All right, 
then I'll come with you." With that Tom 
Fitzpatrick and Tom McDonald were nearby. They 
asked Commissioner Feehan if they could come 
along also. He said absolutely. 

I went down into the garage first to 
get into the car and get it ready for them, and a 
couple minutes later they came down and they got 
in the car with me. 

Q. All four of them? 

A. Four of them, Feehan in the front, 
McDonald, Ray Goldbach and Fitzpatrick in the 
back . 

We exit the garage. We go over the 
Brooklyn Bridge. One lane was open and cleared 
for us. The other two lanes to the right of me 
were just bumper to bumper cars. I had this one 
clear shot over the Brooklyn Bridge with no 
interference of traffic. 

Q. Could you see the Trade Center as you 
were driving over the bridge? 

A. I didn't look to see it because, 
driving kind of fast, my eyes were glued to the 



P. GUIDETTI 4 

road. If they got glimpses of it -- we saw 
enough of it initially in Ray's office to know 
what we were heading into. 

My plan of action was to take Chambers 
Street over to West Street and down West Street 
to the World Trade Center. Exiting off the 
Brooklyn Bridge, heading towards Chambers Street, 
Ray Goldbach said, "Pete, don't take Chambers 
Street. Make a U turn right here." With that I 
made the U turn, and now I'm heading past City 
Hall. With that a police ESU vehicle pulls from 
Park Row South in front of me. Commissioner 
Feehan says to follow him. So I got right on his 
tail and went right down to Broadway. 

We got as far as Broadway and Dey 
Street, at which point I pulled the car half on 
the sidewalk, half in the street, because of all 
the people, the emergency apparatus coming in, 
rigs as well as ambulances and cop cars . So 
there wasn't an easy way to position the car 
other than to position it that way. 

I popped the trunk. The four of them 
get out. Commissioner Feehan grabs his helmet 
and puts his fire coat on. There was a fire coat 



P. GUIDETTI 5 

in there that I believe Tom McDonald put on, or 
Fitzpatrick, I'm not sure. 

I slammed the trunk down. I turn 
around and tell the people, "Get out of here. 
The building's coming down." Why I said that, I 
don't know. I just really felt strongly about 
it. Talking to the upper echelon in this job, 
nobody thought the building was coming down. 

Q. So you said you told the people. 

A. People. There were people all over the 
place. People were in a position they just 
wanted to watch. I said to them, "This building 
is coming down. Get out of here." A few woman 
scattered, "Let's get out of here, let's get out 
of here." People just stayed there. Boom, the 
second plane hits. 

Q. So you're right on Broadway when the 
second plane hit. 

A. Right on Broadway when the second plane 
hit. Shit and debris flying all over the place, 
people screaming, running for their lives, myself 
included. Where I ran, I ran five feet under an 
awning in front of a store. 

When all hell calmed down from that, I 



P. GUIDETTI 6 

got into the car to reposition the car and get it 
out of the way. More ambulances were coming in. 
I went down Broadway to Liberty and made a left 
on Liberty. I parked the car about 20 or 30 feet 
off the corner. 

Q. You're by yourself? 

A. I'm by myself. These four guys -- 
Feehan, Fitzpatrick, McDonald and Ray Goldbach -- 
once I slammed that trunk and I turned to tell 
the people this building is coming down, they 
were already in motion. They were running down 
Dey Street. 

Q. So you were by yourself when the second 
plane hit? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Okay. 

A. My understanding with them was Feehan 
went one way, the other three went another way. 
When you have a mass exodus of people coming at 
you, it is very easy to see how four people could 
not stay together and would be separated. 

So anyway, after repositioning the car 
and locking it up, I start heading down Liberty 
towards 10 and 10, not knowing where the command 



P. GUIDETTI 7 

post was. I figured let me go and hook up with 
Feehan -- he's my boss -- in case he needs 
anything . 

I have no gear. I'm LSS. I was never 
issued bunker gear, helmets or any of that stuff 
because there's no need for me to have that. 

Commissioner Feehan, First Deputy, went 
to major incidences. Most of the time I never 
had to take him to third or fourth alarms and 
things like that. He would let his chief of 
department run it, his chief of operations. In 
this particular case he wanted to go to this one, 
so we took him. 

I was just going to go and hook up, try 
to find him, stay by his side: "Boss, do you 
want me to go get your phone? A glass of water?" 
In my capacity as an aide to him. 
Q. At the command post? 

A. At the command post. Wherever he is. 
Sometimes he's remote from the command post. If 
he happens to say, "Yeah, let's take a ride to 
this third, Pete," we would take a ride. 
Sometimes he stays in the background and sees how 
it ' s going . 



P. GUIDETTI £ 

My theory was let me go find my boss 
and see if he needs anything. I was glad to get 
the car out of the way. I didn't want it to be 
buried. I didn't want it to be inaccessible or 
in a position where we couldn't get it out of 
there should Commissioner Feehan five hours from 
now from that point want to go back to 
headquarters, get a change of clothes, whatever. 
That's what made me get that car out of there 
also . 

So I get that car out of there. I'm 
heading down Liberty towards Church. 

Q. On foot? 

A. On foot. 

I stop before Church, look up -- this 
is the second tower that got hit -- and I said, 
"Pete, don't go any further. This fucking 
building is coming down." I'm sorry I cursed. 

Q. That's okay. This is your 
recollection, your words and your observation. 

A. With that, within two seconds I hear a 
rumble. I'm still looking up. I didn't do 
anything. I'm still more or less -- not frozen 
but I'm standing there in awe how this building 



P. GUIDETTI £ 

is still staying up. 

Q. You're on Liberty. Are you west of 
Church or east? 

A. I'm before Church. I never made it to 
Church . 

Q. You never got -- 

A. Never made it to Church. 

Q. In between Broadway and Church? 

A. Between Broadway and Church, looking 
up. 

I stopped. Not that I froze, but I 
stopped. I said, "This fucking thing is coming 
down." With that I heard the rumble within a 
couple of seconds, and then I saw the brown, 
thick, malted milk dust cloud and smoke and 
whatever else coming down. It was rolling down 
with a roar like you couldn't believe. 

I turned around and I start fucking 
running. Everybody's running for their fucking 
lives. Somebody runs by me, knocks into me, I 
fall down. The last thing I needed running away 
from a falling fucking building is to fall down. 
But I manage to get up, start running 
again. By then the building had pancaked down. 



P. GUIDETTI 10 

The force of it just hit me in the back and blew 
me like ten feet into a police van. 

Q. Was it just the air, the force of the 
air? The debris? 

A. Air, dust, dirt, debris. Not heavy 
debris. It felt like I was shot in the back with 
a shotgun, pellets. All these pellets were 
hitting me, the force. The dust engulfed me, 
pushed me, literally -- I guess I was off my feet 
for ten feet. Then I banged into the police van, 
dropped down to the floor, scrambled to get 
around the building that was on the corner for 
protection . 

Q. Now you're on Broadway and Liberty, do 
you think? 

A. Yes. 

Now I can't see anything. I'm huddling 
on my knees. I'm trying to feel if I'm bleeding, 
because I am on blood thinners. 

Q. Did you hear anything at that point? 

A. A lot of screaming, a lot of screaming. 
I was a little disoriented. I couldn't see 
anything. I was in the thick of it as far as the 
dust cloud was concerned. Day turned into night, 



P. GUIDETTI 11 

literally. 

I started wandering, not knowing where 
I was heading, because I couldn't see street 
signs, I couldn't zero in on what fucking street 
I was on. But anyway I was heading east towards 
the seaport. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Midway in that trip from the west side 
to the east side, I hear more planes coming. I 
did not know it was our jet fighters. That was 
told to me later on by Dr. Hittman. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I just huddled up against the side of 
the building. There's no place to hide. You 
couldn't see anything. There is a building 
there; that I can determine. I just stayed up 
against it while I thought there was another 
plane coming in. But it wasn't. It was our jet 
fighters. That went overhead. I continued to 
walk . 

I get to the seaport. That must be 
Water Street there. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. I see the blue sky for the first time. 



P. GUIDETTI 



12 



So I start walking north. Somebody gave me a 
bottle of water. All I can remember saying to 
myself is, "I can't find Feehan. I can't find 
Feehan. They're all dead. They're all dead," 
meaning the four I took. 

Q. Yeah, sure. 

A. I look up at the Brooklyn Bridge, 
loaded with people, mass exodus coming out of 
fucking Manhattan. 

Q. On foot? 

A. On foot. 



I keep walking, keep walking. I walked 
to the Manhattan Bridge, which had less people on 
it. Naturally people are going to go for the 
nearest thing that they can get out of the 
borough . 

Q. Sure. 

A. So the Manhattan Bridge wasn't bad to 
walk over. I got to the Manhattan Bridge, walked 



Did the second building come down while 



P. GUIDETTI 13 

you were there? 

A. The second building had come down when 
I was midway -- I wouldn't even say midway. I 
would say after I started -- after I regained 
some composure, got off my knees from this 
huddled position, I started walking. Then the 
second building came down. 

Q. This is before you got to the Manhattan 
Bridge? 

A. Oh, way before. Way before I saw the 
blue sky. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Then as I'm walking up to the Manhattan 
Bridge, there was a car bomb. A car bomb went 
off in some car, because the cops were saying, 
"Come on, people, shit is happening. Let's go. 
Keep moving, keep moving." 

You could see another plume of smoke. 
Somebody yelled, "It's a car bomb, a car bomb." 
I kept fucking walking towards the Manhattan 
Bridge. I got over the Manhattan Bridge. Some 
heavyset black lady just put her arm around me 
and walked with me and just talked to me and said 
everything's going to be all right and you'll be 



P. GUIDETTI 14 

okay. 

I don't think I looked too good from -- 

Q. I saw you when you returned. I was at 
headquarters when you returned, and you were 
covered in dust and you were clearly disoriented 
and we got an EMT to look after you. 

A. That I remember, yeah. They were very 
nice. I was sitting up front at Corey's desk. I 
know I had been crying a lot. I really thought 
all four of them were dead. 

Basically they calmed me down. They 
told me I had to go and decontaminate in the 
shower, get rid of all the clothes. I got some 
spare clothes from Roy Katz, and I went and took 
the shower. Then they said, "You should go in 
for debriefing." That was on the seventh floor, 
believeB 



So I go. I get off and go on the 
seventh floor. I come in an office like this, a 
room like this. I sit at the head. There's six 
people: a marshal, a couple of EMTs, Ken Cox, a 
couple other people. I sit down. This one EMT 



P. GUIDETTI 



15 



says, "If you want to talk, you can talk. If you 
don't want to, you don't have to. Whenever you 
feel like it, you can talk if you like or 
whatever . " 

I'm just sitting there. Then there was 
quiet. There was silence. They're all staring 
at me, six people staring at me. 



So the EMT girl says, "Okay. 
That's perfectly okay if you just want to sit a 
while. " 



| "Okay, 
you want to come back later, you're more than 
welcome to. We're here to help you. We're 
here." I understood all that, but maybe had they 
asked me questions I would have been responsive 
to each question rather than six people staring 
at me, waiting for me to start talking. 

Q. Right. 

A. I didn't want to relive what I just 
did, what I just experienced, at that time. I'm 
doing it now, and I've done it quite a few times 
in telling friends and loved ones what I 



P. GUIDETTI 16 

experienced. At that time with six people 
staring at me, I said, "You know what, I want to 
go upstairs." And they let me go upstairs. 

I just went back to my office. I sat 
down. One of the light duty guys got me a glass 
of water. Basically that was it. I stood around 
until around 4:00, I believe it was, 3:30. Then 
when I had the moment, I just left without saying 
anything to anybody, and I got in my old pickup 
truck and I headed home. That's all I wanted to 
do was go home. 
Q. Sure. 

The next day I didn't come to work. Ray called 
me at home. A couple of people called me at 
homeB 



Q. Sure. 

A. I said, "I've got to go back to work. 
I can't do this. I can never not go back." So 
the very next day I came in. 

Basically I would say that's the whole 
thing in a nutshell. Was I as close to the 



P. GUIDETTI 



17 



building as a lot of people were? Absolutely 
not. I was out of harm's way. The most that 
happened to me was the force of air, dust and 
pieces, tiny pieces, of concrete, plaster that 
just engulfed me, knocked me to the ground. I 
got a little scrape on the arm. 



Q. Yeah. You were disoriented, but it was 
understandable after what you'd experienced. I 
saw you that afternoon. 

A. Yeah. I felt I had all my faculties 
but yet something was missing. I couldn't 
pinpoint it. I wasn't hurting. I wasn't like, 
"Oh, my shoulder is killing me. My arms are 
bleeding. I'm cut." No physical pain. I just 
felt I wasn't right. I knew I wasn't right. Did 
I think I was in shock? No, again, because, as I 
said, I made it back here on my own. 

What else could I add to it? Other 
than the fact that I saw one distinguished 



P. GUIDETTI 18 

jumper; several others, but the position I was in 
when several others were jumping, I didn't really 
get a good look at them, but the one I did. 

I don't know what more to say other 
than I don't know what companies were where. I 
couldn't tell you if Engine 33, which was my 
company, was on Church and Vesey Street. I 
couldn't tell you that. It all happened so fast. 
We got there, the second plane hit within a 
couple of minutes. That just totally confused 
all these people even more, as well as myself and 
I'm sure firefighters and Feehan and the rest of 
them. 

Basically that's it. I didn't see any 
firefighters get injured. I didn't see any rigs 
in position that I can say, yeah, Kevin, I 
remember 33 engine being on the corner of Church 
and Vesey. As I started to run, there was an 
empty rig. I didn't see any of that. 
Q. Okay. 
A. I didn't get close enough. 

As far as getting Feehan closer, maybe 
if I would have went Chambers Street to West, 
maybe I would have gotten him closer rather than 



P. GUIDETTI 19 

him have to walk from Broadway and Dey to the 
command center. 

Q. Right. 

A. I might have come in the other way and 
might have gotten him there -- I don't know. 
These are things I question myself, why did I go 
so fast. 

Q. He made it there on foot. He made it 
to West Street, and he was on the west side of 
West Street. So either way -- he didn't get hurt 
before he got there. He was hurt after he got to 
the west side of West Street. 

A. All right. 

Again, I said I think I drove too fast. 
I got him there too fast. I didn't have some 
needle, life-saving syringe here that I had to go 
so fast that we had to get it there. I was 
taking a 72-year-old man to probably one of the 
most horrendous things that he would ever see -- 
had seen in his career or would ever see, had he 
been still alive. I question myself about that. 
Maybe if you would have just take it easier a 
little bit you wouldn't have gotten him there so 
fast. Ray chimed in with, "Did you ever stop to 



P. GUIDETTI 20 

think by getting him there that fast he saved 200 
lives by giving an order here or giving an order 
there?" 

Q. Right. 

A. That kind of made me feel a little bit 
better. But I do question why wasn't I with him. 
I normally am in the few times we do go to 
scenes. Unless it's something like, "Pete, just 
sit in the car. I'll be back. I'm just going to 
go check in." Then I would just stay with the 
car . 

But I had this sense of -- I don't 
know, is it guilt or is it -- 

Q. Some people describe it as a survivor's 
guilt . 

A. That's what I've been experiencing 
lately. A couple of times it entered my mind 
that I was pissed off that I wasn't one of them, 
which is -- I don't like to even say that. But 
kind of like -- I don't know. I think the 
survivors suffer more than the instant impact of 
death, you know. 

I'm assuming and hoping and praying 
that as Feehan was running as well as all the 



P. GUIDETTI 21 

other guys that there was a bang on the head, 
knocked them unconscious and then whatever 
happened afterwards he didn't feel. That's 
quick. Okay? That's kind of a quick way of 
going . 

The people who survived that now, that 
walk away from that, is that survivor's guilt? 
Is that, "Why wasn't I there too and why wasn't 
I -- should it be a lot easier if I was fucking 
dead than to go through life day in and day out 
like this, questioning?" 

Q. Why by an act of fate did I survive and 
another guy is dead. 

A. Right. Oh, yeah. 

Q. People are so racked by that. 

A. Little things too to make a person not 
be caught up in that collapse, like Chief Ganci 
giving Nigro an order, "Go check the side of the 
building. Tell me what we've got, Dan. Tell 
Steve Mosiello, 'Steve, get me two good trucks 
over here. '" So those two guys had a direct 
order. They leave Ganci. They survive. Ganci 
is dead. 

My boss, with three of his close 



P. GUIDETTI 22 

people, all four going down the block at the same 
time, same rate of speed, because people coming 
out and you can only run so fast or walk so fast, 
they went one way, Feehan went by himself another 
way. Feehan eventually got to the command post. 
Where these guys went I'm not too familiar with. 
I think Ray tried to hook up with the 
commissioner, rightfully so. Fitzpatrick and 
McDonald, I don't know where they were headed. 
To make a long story short with that 
particular statement, why Feehan goes this way, 
these three go that way, these three live, Feehan 
dies. Feehan goes this way, his aide moves the 
car this way, starts heading towards hooking up 
with him, he lives, Feehan dies. 

Q. There's no explanation for it. 
Everybody experienced the same thing, and why one 
person got hit with something that ended up 
killing him and another person didn't, I don't 
know what the explanation is. 

A. When you get in that thought process of 
thinking about all that, you probably just 
ransack your brain for answers when you can't 
come up with them. Even discussing it with other 



P. GUIDETTI 23 

people, nobody is going to say, "Well, this is 
why" and give you a direct answer. There's 
probably just a lot of things involved with it. 

I don't understand why nobody -- when I 
say "nobody, " the people I spoke to, the upper 
echelon, your Fitzpatrick, your Ray Goldbach. 
These are knowledgeable guys. They're fire 
officers. They told me, "We did not think the 
building was coming down." 

The first words out of my mouth when I 
slammed that trunk lid was to tell these people, 
"Get out of here. This building's coming down." 
I always felt those World Trade towers were a 
firefighter's nightmare. I always told my wife I 
do not want to be working when we have a fire in 
there . 

About 20 years ago when I was full 
duty -- I was full duty for 16 years before I got 
hurt and became high duty LSS. So about 20 years 
ago I'm in front of the firehouse. It was a 
Friday night. I'll never forget this. 
Q. In Manhattan? 

A. Manhattan, 33 Engine, which is buried 
under the rubble. I'm standing in front of 



P. GUIDETTI 24 

quarters. It's the 12 to 3 watch, summer night, 
beautiful night. A civilian is walking by, stop, 
he's looking in, the apparatus doors are up. I 
start talking to him. He turns out to be an 
architectural engineer. He builds high-rise 
buildings, skyscrapers. 

I said, "Let me ask you a question. 
Can I ask you a question?" He said, "Yeah, 
sure." I said, "The World Trade Center — " He 
says, "Yes." These are my words, Kevin, on my 
father's grave and my mother's grave. I said, 
"Let me ask you a question. If a 747 out of 
Newark topped off with jet fuel crashes into the 
80th story of one of the stories, will it topple 
the top 30 stories?" "Oh, no, it's not designed 
to do that. It's not designed to do that the way 
we constructed this. We took things like that 
into consideration in the building of it. That 
would not happen." 

It didn't topple. 
Q. Right, well, that's true. 
A. At that time when I ask this guy this 
question, I'm picturing a plane going in, blowing 
out loads of floors, fully loaded, 747 I quoted, 



P. GUIDETTI 25 

topped off with jet fuel, would it topple the 30 
stories. He said no. 

Did I think when I said that day these 
buildings are coming down, I didn't think they 
were going to pancake all the way down. I'm 
looking up at that second building saying how are 
those stories above it staying up. The hole was 
huge. It looked like toothpicks, four toothpicks 
in the corner were holding the rest of the 
stories above it up. 

In me saying that these buildings are 
coming down, I thought it was going to collapse, 
it was going to topple. 
Q. From above? 

A. From above, like 30 stories, 20. 
Whatever was left above the plane crash in either 
tower would just give way and go this way and 
come down into the street. I did not think the 
whole building would pancake down. They were 
designed, from what I understand, to do that. 20 
years ago the guy didn't tell me that. He didn't 
turn around and say, "Oh, no, you don't have to 
worry about the building toppling. However, you 
have a strong possibility of it pancaking down on 



P. GUIDETTI 26 

itself because it's primarily steel construction. 
Steel expands one inch for every thousand degrees 
rise in temperature. So you're popping rivets, 
you're twisting beams." 

But again, he didn't say that. He just 
said it's not coming down. 

Q. And they spoke a lot about impact. 
Apparently the building was designed to withstand 
an impact from a 707, which was the plane of the 
day. But it doesn't appear anybody considered 
the impact of a fire with all that combustible 
material added to it. 

A. Right, that fireball, that massive 
amount of jet fuel burning instantly. It all 
goes instantly. 

That's it. I was amazed at why I 
thought they were coming down, and I was amazed 
at that question the way I worded it 20 years 
ago, was the truth. The reason why I used the 
747 in asking this guy that question back then 
was because 747 was the biggest plane we had. 
Topped off with jet fuel, it's going to have the 
maximum amount of fuel. Right out of Newark, 
you're not going to burn much to hit the World 



P. GUIDETTI 27 

Trade Center. 

Q. A flight to Europe or somewhere else. 

A. I didn't think of terrorism back then 
either. I'm just saying an accident, the fog, 
something, a plane is going to go into the World 
Trade Center. I'm going to give you a scenario, 
what do you think, you're an architectural 
engineer . 

So I found that kind of strange as well 
as that day looking up at them saying they're 
coming down, saying it to people, saying it to 
myself with the second one, and then actually 
seeing it come down, looking up at it as it's 
starting to come down. 

500 feet to the base of the building, 
maybe, 600 feet, I would say I was, going by the 
map and the schedule in the map, one inch equals 
600 feet, on one of the maps I have. I was 
trying to find out where I was. I used that. I 
would say about 600 feet from the base of the 
building . 

Q. Sure. 

A. Which to me 110 stories up, it's coming 
down, is a little too close for me. 



P. GUIDETTI 28 

Q. Right. 

A. If somebody told me, "you want to stand 
600 feet away from the base of the World Trade 
Center when it starts to collapse?" I would say, 
"Absolutely not. Get me ten fucking blocks 
away. " 

But anyway, again, I was out of harm's 
way, because I wouldn't be here now. It's just, 
all of it, the hearing of the second plane 
exploding, people jumping, losing my boss, losing 
friends, my company's buried, just putting 
everything all together, I have no words to 
describe what I feel. I'm sure a lot of people 
feel most of what I feel. Some feel worse 
because of being closer, seeing a lot more worse 
things than I did, like body parts. I really 
didn't see any body parts. Some people saw that, 
who witnessed that, who were closer. That 
company that was in the stairwell, what was it, 6 
Truck, 9 Engine. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. I mean, talk about questioning fate and 
everything; right? 

Basically I guess that's my whole day 



P. GUIDETTI 29 

that day. 

Q. I appreciate that. 

A. I don't know if I was of help. I hope 
I was of help. 

Q. Yeah, absolutely. Everybody's 
recollections are unique, and we appreciate the 
fact that you shared yours with us . 

A. Do you have any specific questions you 
want to ask like -- I never made it to 10 and 10. 
The command center wasn't there anyway. 

Q. Sure. 

A. That's number one, had I gotten there. 
Had I been a little faster, I probably would have 
been by 10 and 10 and God knows would I be here 
now. I don't know. 

All these questions you run through 
your mind. I'm thankful to be alive. I do think 
my career with the Fire Department is over, after 
31 years and losing a boss of 11 years and my 
company being buried, again, and me coming close 
to either being killed or seriously injured. I 
think I want to spend some time with the wife and 
the family and the grandchildren. 

Q. Sure. 



P. GUIDETTI 



30 



A. You've got to remember something, I'm 
light duty LSS. Okay? For a light duty LSS guy 
to come close to buying it at the scene of a 
fire, I mean, that's a little scary. I have no 
equipment. Most aides to like the chief of 
department, chief of operations, they're 
full-duty guys. They get out of their car, 
they're throwing helmets on, coats, boots, 
they're going with their boss, they're staying by 
their side. 



P. GUIDETTI 



31 



|So I guess that helps me in the fact 
that I wasn't by Feehan's side, because in a 
situation like that I don't think anybody who's 
(with no equipment and a 



short-sleeve shirt should be at the base of a 
building that parts of planes are coming down, 
debris is coming down, bodies are coming down, 
eventually the whole building is coming down. 

So maybe I helped my own guilt of not 
being next to my boss's side with that. I feel 
it's a pretty legitimate excuse, if that's the 
word I want to use, "excuse." I don't even know 
anymore . 

But basically that's it. What else? I 
couldn't find Feehan's car. Dismay held the 
marshals for days. Then eventually they did find 
it. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. That's it, I guess, Kevin. I don't 
know what else. 



P. GUIDETTI 32 

Q. Okay. That was great. 

A. My whole story. 

Q. That was very detailed, and that was a 
good account. I appreciate that. 

A. Okay. Thank you. If there's anything 
else you need, you think of, one single question 
or something. 

Q. Let me wind it up? 

MR. MCALLISTER: It's 1013 hours on 

October 12th, 2001, and we're going to 

conclude the interview now. Thank you. 



File No. 9110110 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MAUREEN MC ARDLE-SCHULMAN 
Interview Date: October 17, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



2 
McArdle-Schulman 
MR. CASTORINA: The time now is 1205. 

We are conducting an interview. We are at 

Engine 35. My name is Ron Castorina. Your 

name? 

MR. MC COURT: Tom McCourt. 

MR. CASTORINA: And your name, ma'am? 

A. Maureen McArdle-Schulman. 

Q. Could you tell me what your assignment is, 
and your rank? 

A. Assigned to Engine 35. I'm a firefighter 
first grade. 

Q. On September 11, 2001, can you tell me on 
that particular day what the events were, what you 
can remember? 

A. I came in to work for a roster staff tour. 
Usually on roster staffing you're detailed out if 
your company doesn't need you. 

I was assigned to 91 Engine. I was in our 
quarters when the first plane hit. We weren't sure 
if it was a small plane, a big plane. 

So I was in the firehouse when the first plane 
hit. I had the detail out of the house to 91 Engine 
and I had just got into my car and left. I got into 
my car and went over to 91 Engine. I parked on the 



McArdle-Schulman 
side street on 111th Street, walked into the 

quarters. I had all my gear in my arms and the 

announcement came over that it was a fifth alarm and 

91 Engine was responding. It's unusual. It usually 

comes over the computer. It came over the 

loudspeaker . 

I happened to have my cell phone in my hand, 
that God. I stuck it in my turnout coat pocket. I 
got on the rig and responded to the World Trade 
Center. We ended up going through 112th Street, 
down to Central Park South. We came out of the park 
and we ran into all the other rigs. They were all 
responding. Police cars, unmarked cars. It was 
like a big caravan down there. 

We parked on West Street. You know, basically 
we were all in line. Whoever was in front of us 
parked in front of us, we parked behind them. We 
were on the wrong side of West Street facing the 
towers. So the windshield was that way so we were 
on the wrong side of the street. We got out of the 
rig, got our stuff, carried cylinders, roll-ups, 
standpipe kit, all our gear, started huffing down 
West Street. I was a little slower than the rest of 
them. 



4 
McArdle-Schulman 
Q. Where were you going? Heading on what 

street? 

A. Heading -- West Street, towards the 
towers. 

Q. At this point did the first collapse 
occur? 

A. No, no collapses. The second plane had 
hit. 

Q. So you just saw the two towers burning? 

A. Burning. We went to the command center, 
the lieutenant reported in. There was already 75 to 
100 firefighters standing in this parking garage, at 
the entrance, waiting for assignments. 

Companies were coming out, companies were going 
in for relief. Somebody yelled something was 
falling. We didn't know if it was part of an 
airplane coming out, if it was desks coming out. It 
turned out it was people and they started coming out 
one after another. 

Q. You saw the jumpers? 

A. We saw the jumpers coming. We didn't know 
what it was at first, but then the first body hit 
and then after that we knew what it was. And they 
were just like constant -- 



5 
McArdle-Schulman 
We were lucky most of them hit the set back, 

they weren't landing on the ground. 

Q. How far were you from where they were 
jumping at this point? 

A. I didn't see anyone landing on the ground 
in front of us. Most of them were hitting the set 
back. I'm still across the street in the parking 
lot. Me and another guy from 91 just -- I was 
getting sick. I felt like I was intruding on a 
sacrament. They were choosing to die and I was 
watching them and shouldn't have been so me and 
another guy turned away and looked at the wall and 
we could still hear them hit. 

The Lieutenant came up to us and said, "We're 
going in." So we all got our gloves and Scotts back 
on and went up to the part by the command center, 
and they said, "We need forcible entry tools." In 
an engine we don't carry anything but our hose, we 
have standpipe kits. We had things that we thought 
we would need. They were sending us to Tower 2, 
sub-basement 6. 

So I called my husband on my cell phone. I 
said, "I'm going in. This is where I'm going." I 
left a message on his machine. He wasn't at his 



6 
McArdle-Schulman 
desk at the time. I was standing there and my 

Captain, who was at the medical office who just had 

surgery on his shoulder happened to be there. 

"What are you doing here? You're on medical?" 

He said, "Nobody's on medical anymore. 
Everybody's at the scene." 

Okay. So my Captain and the 
chauffeur from 91 volunteered to go back to 91 to 
get us some tools we needed, because there was 
nobody to let us into sub-basement 6 or anyplace 
else. 

So they went to the left. We're standing at 
the command center, listening to everybody give 
their positions. You know, what stairway they were 
using. You know, escape stairway, rescue stairway. 
Things like that or what floor they're on. We're 
hearing the whole thing where everybody is. 

Someone comes running over to the table and 
said, "A firefighter was hit by a jumper. He needs 
last rites." So a couple of guys went to the right 
to give this guy last rites with Father Judge, I 
guess. I don't know who else ran over. My Captain 
and the chauffeur from 91 went to the left. We're 
standing there and we're looking up and we're trying 



7 
McArdle-Schulman 
not to look at people jumping. We really felt like 

we were intruding on them. And the building had red 

fire, a ring of fire. They started pumping and 

bouncing and I'm standing there staring. Finally 

somebody yelled "run." It took everybody out of 

that trance we were in. We ran back into the 

garage. Anybody that went to the right was killed. 

People that went to the left were okay. 

Q. Do you remember seeing anybody in 
particular that ran that way? 

A. No. 

Q. You don't remember? 

A. No. I was just mesmerized, absolutely 
mesmerized by this building. I couldn't -- we 
just -- it was like watching people jump. You just 
can't believe what you're seeing and you're just 
standing there like idiots staring. 

And ran back into the garage -- I mean I didn't 
run, because I was ahead of the pack. By the time I 
turned around, it was asses and elbows and I have a 
really bad sense of direction. That's why I stay in 
the Engine. 

So I moved all the way over to the right and 
there was a curb and I ran my foot along the curb. 



8 
McArdle-Schulman 
I still had my roll-up on my shoulder, ran my foot 

along the curb cause if I get turned around, I don't 

want to keep walking in the same direction. So I 

just was walking along with this stuff on my 

shoulder trying to stay away from the pack because I 

didn't want to get killed by anybody running and the 

thing -- I didn't actually watch it come down. It 

just came down behind me. I was stuck inside the 

garage and -- 

Q. That's while you were on the move? 

A. Yeah. I was just kind of walking and 
feeling close with my foot. I didn't want to get 
lost. And all I kept thinking was this is the 
garage they blew up last time. You know, you always 
hear about secondary problems. 

So we got in there and pretty much everybody 
started "Are you okay? Are you okay?" I was 
feeling around the ground to see if anybody had 
fallen and then some guy said, "I know how to get 
out of here." So by now I put my face piece on and 
it was full of crap. So I sucked in what I now find 
is asbestos. It was all in my eyes. My eyes were 
on fire. 

This guy says, "I know how to get out of here." 



9 
McArdle-Schulman 
So we're all like holding on to eachother's shirt 

sleeves and he leads us outside and the guy next to 

us starts having an asthma attack. So he says, "I 

need your mask." So I gave him my face piece and me 

and someone else pulled in a police van with air 

conditioning on. 

And we were outside and except for a piece of a 
tree that I was standing next to 15 minutes before 
that, I didn't know where outside was. It was 
complete black. Everybody had 2 inches of soot on 
them. It was just you couldn't breathe. You know, 
we really couldn't breathe. 

So afterwards everybody seemed to calm down. I 
went back into the garage and I started calling for 
my company that I was with. The Lieutenant found me 
and one of the guys from 91 found me. We were still 
missing one member. The Lieutenant said, "Come on. 
Let's get out of here." They actually took me into 
the parking garage and through the building and came 
out like half a block away. They said, "Go to the 
rig and stay there." 

So I went back to the rig with the other guy, 
the other firefighter. I said, I got a find our 
other guy. So I went back to the rig, checked the 



10 

McArdle-Schulman 
rig. The rig was still running. Because that's 

what they would do, is keep the rig running all the 

time. The lights were still on. So I said to him, 

kidding, I said, "Let's move the rig a little 

further." So he backed up a block and we're 

standing there waiting for everybody to come. 

Nobody is coming back and there were people 

wandering all over. 

It was, you know, we all kind of started going 
back towards grounds zero because we were missing 
people. We felt like you weren't doing anything 
standing there. And right now the sun was out and 
all of a sudden you're hearing, there is a guy 
dressed in army fatigues with automatic weapons 
shooting people, that there is four more planes 
missing . 

Q. You're hearing all these rumors? 

A. Yes, rumors. There was a guy with a 
little TV, like a civilian, hooked it up to a 
building with an outlet. He said, there is eight 
planes all together and they only found four and, 
you know, we're getting bomb scares on this building 
and we're running for our lives. 

I said, "Where are we supposed to go?" He 



11 
McArdle-Schulman 
said, "Go by the water." 

Q. And there is supposed to be a guy shooting 
at you? 

A. Yes. "Go by the water at least there is 
no building there." I said, "But these buildings 
are so big. If they come down, it doesn't matter." 
So we went running, not knowing where to go. So 
finally I get back to the rig and I said, "I got a 
call my husband." I just called him and told him I 
was going in the tower. The tower just imploded. 
So finally I couldn't get a signal on my cell phone. 
I found a pay phone. 

A guy gave me his calling card. The pay phone, 
he had used it two seconds before. It didn't work 
for me. So finally I get a hold of my husband. I 
said, "I'm okay." I must have been hysterical. He 
said, "Calm down. Calm down." I said, "I'm okay. 
I made it. I'm all right." Then I called my 
father, I have two brothers on the job. So I called 
my father to find out where my brothers were. Both 
of them already called. I'm one of the few families 
that lucked out. 

Then I went back to the rig again and we were 
standing there, I'm standing there with this one 



12 
McArdle-Schulman 
firefighter. We still don't have the Lieutenant 

back. We're still missing one member. We're 

standing there and I look up. The second tower 

starts with the ring of fire. Some puffing and 

bouncing. 

Q. Just like the first one? 

A. So he said, "It's going, just like the 
first one." So I ran to the back of the rig and got 
on the back step. I still have my gear on, I'm in a 
fetal position. I was afraid that if I got in the 
rig that if anything came flying down the street it 
would go through the windshield and kill me. So I 
figure I've got the whole rig in front of me. The 
hose bed is there. Hopefully if I stay down low 
enough -- he went and ran under a rig, got under a 
rig and the second building came down. The second 
building came down. 

So the second building came down, I didn't see 
him for a while. Kind of like I saw him for two 
seconds and he said, "I gotta find the rest of the 
guys." And I said, "You know, I'm gonna move the 
rig again. I'm a little too close." So we actually 
moved it with him. 

Q. So when the second building came down did 



13 
McArdle-Schulman 
all the rubble and the dirt -- 

A. Yes. Came right down West Street. 

Q. Right up to your rig? 

A. Just the way -- just the way it shows in 
the news. That picture of this cloud coming down 
the street. That's exactly what happened. So I 
moved the rig another two blocks away and I turned 
it around to not face the towers and the other guy 
kind of saw some people he knew. We still didn't 
have a Lieutenant. We were still missing one of the 
guys from 91. The chauffeur from 91 I heard they 
had taken to the hospital. He had chest pains. I 
saw my Captain after that. I knew he was okay. So 
I was walking back and forth. "How close should I 
get." 

All of a sudden building number seven now has 
twelve stories of fire and I ran into one of my 
guys, from my company, and from there he told me 
where the rest of my company was. So I found the 
rest of my company. And they were in the parking 
garage, which I didn't know when I saw it if it was 
the parking garage I had been in earlier. 

He said he needed search rope. So I found a 
rig and I found a search rope and I told them to 



14 
McArdle-Schulman 
search -- how far the rope went. 

So I, you know, I really didn't know what the 
situation was and 35 Engine had lines on Tower 2. On 
Tower 1 they were doing some searching and then they 
pulled everybody out to get away from the scene. So 
we basically -- I found my Lieutenant, we finally 
found the missing guy. Everybody in my group was 
okay. Everybody was accounted for. I told the 
other Lieutenant, "I'm staying with my own company. 
You guys are too all over the place for me. I want 
a company that stays together. My company stays 
together . " 

So basically we went back to the rig and by now 
the recalls were coming down. The bus was stopping 
right by the rig. Everybody company that got off 
the bus was taking whatever they could off our rig. 
You know, tools, whatever. So basically we're 
standing there. We didn't even have a Scott mask at 
this point. Everything is gone. 

Q. How was your breathing? Were you okay? 

A. It was horrible. I had my eyes cleaned 
out about 12 times. 

Q. Did you go to the hospital? 

A. No. Somebody left a baseball cap in the 



15 
McArdle-Schulman 
rig, so I grabbed that, because the sun was killing 

my eyes. I mean it took about a week and a half 

before the -- 

Q. From the dirt. 

A. Plus it didn't help. I put the face piece 
on and I sucked the air in and the whole thing was 
full with whatever that was and all the crap went 
into my eyes too. Pretty much that's it. You know, 
we stayed at the rig the rest of the day, hung out, 
got water when we could, found a bathroom I could 
use, which was real important to me, and stayed down 
and at 9:00 o'clock I finally we all started 
wandering around and I went down to where the first 
overpass is and I saw a Captain sitting at the 
table. And what happened was I heard one of the 
other female firefighters on the radio and I wanted 
to find her to find out -- some girlfriend of the 
Captain of Engine 6 and I knew her company was the 
first or second through there. So I wanted to see 
if anybody knew if she was working. So I didn't 
find -- 

Q. So you knew your brothers were okay. 

A. I knew my two brothers were okay. My 
brother Kevin, he's in Squad 41. He wasn't working 



16 
McArdle-Schulman 
so he was in on the recalls. So anybody that came 

in afterwards was pretty much all right. It was 

just the initial sign-ins. And I passed his rig. 

Q. Where does your other brother work? 

A. In Queens. I knew he wouldn't be there 
unless he was on detail, from 84. Again, I saw the 
guy, the Captain I knew, he used to be a firefighter 
on 42 Truck, Charlie, and he said to me, "Oh, my God 
you're alive. We have you as missing." So I said, 
"okay." 

What happened was there was a big communication 
problem. They kept calling my house from the 
battalion to see if anybody heard from us. Because 
they didn't know who went down. Because with the 
recall, anybody who was here jumped on the rig. 

Q. Right. 

A. So everybody went. So, you know, that's 
why rescue companies lost 10, 12 guys. At a quarter 
to 9 they grabbed everybody they could and got on 
the rigs. Pretty much that's it. 

MR. CASTORINA: Okay. The time now is 

1220. This concludes the interview. Thank 

you. 



File No. 9110111 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER THOMAS HANSARD 
Interview Date: October 18, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



T. HANSARD 2 

MR. TAMBASCO: Today is October 18th. 
I'm Mike Tambasco with the World Trade 
Center Task Force. We're conducting an 
interview with Firefighter THOMAS HANSARD of 
Engine 209 at the quarters of Engine 209. 
The interview is beginning at 1438 hours. 
Q. Tom, I just ask you to tell us your 
story. 

A. I was here at work, changing tours. 
They said that an airplane hit the World Trade 
Center. We went up on the roof, because from the 
roof you can see the World Trade. 
Q. That's right. 

A. We got up on the roof and saw the 
explosion, not knowing that it was a second plane 
hitting the World Trade Center. As the explosion 
came in, the box came in and we responded to the 
World Trade Center. I had the backup position on 
the engine, and we went. 

We went over -- there was a little bit 
of traffic on Park Avenue. We got down to the 
Brooklyn Bridge where we took it quickly, and 
they had the Brooklyn Bridge wide open for us. 
No cars, just us and police. 



T. HANSARD 3 

We pulled over and we came across 
Chambers Street. We came straight down Trinity 
and we stopped at the corner of Trinity and 
Liberty, which 217 was parked right on this 
corner and 230 was on this corner, and we stopped 
on this corner. 

We got out and picked up our equipment, 
our Scotts and extra air bottles and hose, and we 
started to walk down Liberty Street towards -- 

Q. The World Trade Center? 

A. -- the tower. 

Q. So you were walking west. Okay. 

A. As we walked down to the tower, we went 
to 10 and 10, thinking that that was the command 
center . 

Q. Okay. Right. 

A. It wasn't the command center. They 
told us to go down onto West Street, Liberty and 
West, which was the command center. So now we 
walked down the block, and walking on this block 
there were people waving at us and jumping. We 
walked through like body parts and all of this 
stuff on the street, littered on the street. We 
passed a guy, Suhr, from 216, his helmet and his 



T. HANSARD 4 

stuff was down, and guys took him away. 

From there we came down to Washington. 
Something was in the street there. We cut up 
Washington, and we went down Cedar, and then we 
came back up West Street. 

Q. You came back around up West. Okay. 

A. We were standing right here on this 
corner, and the lieutenant from 219 was looking 
for the command post. We stopped right there 
while he went to check in at the command post 
when we were standing there. 

As we stood there, another member said, 
"Let's move a little bit," because a lot of stuff 
was falling on us. We moved about 20 feet. Once 
we moved that 20 feet, the first tower came down. 

Q. You were like right on West Street and 
Liberty, right there? 

A. We were like right here, West Street 
and Liberty, and we ran across here to in front 
of the building here, which was like One Federal 
plaza. 

Q. That's the one that the walkway goes 
across to. 

A. Yeah. 



T. HANSARD 5 

Q. Right. 

A. The walkway, we were under it and like 
over here. I don't know where it is. We just 
ran across the highway or street or whatever it 
is, and two guys ran into the revolving door but 
it was locked. I just stood up against the side 
of the building, and I found a little corner in 
front of the building, and the building came 
down . 

It started coming down. We ran just 
there. The building just came down. I stood 
there. We didn't know what to do or whatever. 
Then the next thing, the asbestos or whatever was 
coming and you couldn't breathe, couldn't see. 

It just took forever before you could 
do anything. I don't know in time how long it 
took or whatever. But when it finally cleared, I 
got up out of my little corner, and I heard a 
cop's radio, which was right near me, and I dug 
about a foot or 18 inches of cement, looking for 
some cop underneath this. I didn't find him; I 
just found the radio. 

Q. Just the radio. 

A. I found two other guys, two guys that 



T. HANSARD 6 

were with me, Frank Dileo and Mike Minogue. They 
went into that revolving door, and the cop came 
in and Frank took his night stick and busted the 
window in order to get into the -- 

Q. Revolving door? 

A. Yeah. So they were good. Then Todd 
made it around the corner of that building. I 
didn't know he could run that fast. It was 
coming out so quickly. It was just get as far as 
you could. 

Now the four of us met up, and Frankie 
was blind from -- 

Q. Dust and other stuff in his eyes? 

A. I was half blind, and my eyes were all 
blurry. Todd, I don't know that he was okay. 

We regrouped, and we were going to the 
tower now to look for survivors. We didn't know 
where our officer was or whatever that we were 
looking for. No sooner than we started, the 
tower -- we regrouped like on this corner. 

Q. Down by Albany Street. 

A. Yeah. We ended up going this way to 
look for something. I don't know why we ended up 
over -- 



T. HANSARD 7 

Q. Towards the water, westbound. 

A. I think over here there was a bar over 
there and there were people running all over the 
place. 

We regrouped there. Then it's like, 
okay, we're going back to the building to look 
for survivors. As we were going back towards the 
building, the second tower came down. I just 
stood there in shock. We were further away from 
the second tower. 

I sat there, and I couldn't believe 
that I was watching this antenna come down. Then 
finally somebody just grabbed me, and I went back 
into the building. There's a bar over there. 

Q. Right. 

A. After that cleared up, however long 
that took, then we went back, trying to get into 
tower -- 

Q. The south tower? 

A. Right. And I ran into -- who was it? 
Was it Cruthers? Mike Cruthers? I knew him from 
like -- he didn't know who I was. I was just 
asking him what we could do, because being backup 
I had no radio, I had no communication. I didn't 



T. HANSARD 8 

know what was going on. 

We were going back towards there, and 
all of the rigs now and the EMS and everything 
was on fire. People were running. It was -- 

Q. Pandemonium? 

A. Yeah. We were trying to figure out 
what to do. Now I think where the hotel was -- 

Q. Right, where Three World Trade Center 
was. 

A. That was all down. We were climbing 
over the rubble. We were trying to get -- from 
there we were trying to get into the lobby and 
climb over all this rubble and get into this 
lobby, because there were reports that there were 
firemen . 

Q. Trapped. 

A. -- trapped by some elevator bank. When 
we were going up there, there was fire burning. 
I don't know if it was Liberty Street or what, 
but you could see down maybe four floors to the 
street. You're climbing over the rubble, and 
you're trying to get in place. 

We had no water pressure. We had some 
hose lines run. There was no water pressure, and 



T. HANSARD 9 

we were just trying to put the fire out and make 
a push. 

From there some squad guys and some 
rescue guys came in, and they were taking over 
after this report. From there it was like just 
trying to search for hours. Finally I walked 
away like hours later. Time didn't really mean a 
whole lot. 

Q. Right. 

A. I went and I was looking for my rig on 
Trinity. I ran into another guy that was on 
light duty at Metrotech. He came, and we walked, 
looking -- we walked back up Cedar back to 
Trinity, looking for our rig, and I didn't find 
it. And I was looking for the chauffeur. 

He left. He was hurting. I came back 
to this section I think where Rescue 4 was. 

Q. The north tower. 

A. Yeah, in the middle somewhere. 

Q. The middle. 

A. I found our rig over there, like 
right -- maybe it was back here. 

Q. I've got you, right here, away from the 
buildings on the other side of West. 



T. HANSARD 10 

A. I don't know how it got here and then 
over to there. But it was there, and it was 
pumping to tower ladders and to hand lines from 
the marine unit, which was over here somewhere. 

So since I'm the chauffeur, I just took 
it over. 

Q. Right. 

A. You know, the guys -- you know we have 
a new rig. I pumped until like 1:30 that night. 
The new rig has a computer throttle, and every 
time we lost water it overcompensated for itself 
and it started overheating. Then everything was 
clogged from -- 

Q. The soot and debris? 

A. Yeah, the debris. It started smoking 
real bad. The chief said take it out of there. 
I took it out, and another rig took my spot. I 
just parked it over here. There's like a walkway 
back here. 

I drove the rig down like here and left 
it here for a while. 

Q. Like by that Merrill Lynch building, 
around the back, closer to the water? 

A. Yeah, because there were boats and a 



T. HANSARD 11 

walkway. I left it there for a couple more 
hours. 

I grouped up with all the guys from the 
company, and we all were here just for a while, 
because guys came in. Everyone regroups and 
(inaudible). They were going in and out and 
doing whatever. 

I had enough. It was like 1:30. I was 
there from like 9:15 or 9:20 before the tower. I 
had enough. They took the chauffeur away to the 
hospital. They took Frankie to the hospital. 
They took Todd to the hospital. So it was just 
me and Mike left. 

So me and Mike got on the rig around 
1:00, 1:30, and we brought it back to the 
firehouse. We had nothing. All our hose was 
taken off the rig, all the equipment. You know, 
guys just took whatever they could use. When we 
came here, we restocked the rig. 

From there, I called 230 and there were 
guys that came in and were just hanging here. 
They came over and -- 

Q. They got on your rig? 

A. Yeah. They helped me, because I was 



T. HANSARD 12 

worried about the overheating. We washed out all 
of the filters and whatever we could do when we 
got it here to get it running better. They were 
going to help us ride, and we got the rig back in 
service. 

The lieutenant from 230, he came in. I 
figured I'd let him be the boss. We went back to 
the dispatcher, and the dispatcher sent us back 
out at about 5. Then we went back at 5:00. When 
we went back again, it was just trying to search 
and looking for people. 

I was pumping water -- at that time I 
was the chauffeur, and we parked back like 
Broadway. There were rigs there. We just parked 
our rig. I didn't even want to pump from ours. 
I used the other rigs. Actually I was pumping 
three rigs. I'm trying to think of the numbers. 
There were three rigs relaying water. 

Q. All the way up from Broadway? 

A. Yeah. Even further than Broadway, 
because one was down Broadway and Vesey? 

Q. Yeah, Vesey, right around in here. 

A. That relayed to here, and then that was 
relaying to another one, which was like right on 



T. HANSARD 13 

this corner. 

Q. By the cemetery? 

A. They were supplying two towers and a 
hand line. 

I had to make sure, because this one 
was running out of fuel. Then the one I was in 
was running out of fuel. I was just one 
chauffeur with three -- actually I had four rigs. 

Q. Running, running, running. 

A. Right. The guys went -- they did 
whatever they could. But I was pretty much from 
there on the street. 

By then somebody came, sanitation or 
transit, to fuel me up. So we got them all 
fueled, and we just hung out there, because I'm 
sitting there ready to go. I'm sitting there 
saying that things must be organized. These guys 
must know that I'm -- I'm thinking I'm here doing 
regular fire and I'd be out of there by 9 or 
10:00. I ended up being there until like 4 
o 'clock. 

We went back here and just back to 
regular. We went back again. 

Q. When did you eventually get home? 



T. HANSARD 14 

A. That night on the 12th I got home maybe 
around 5:00. I got home at 5 because it was my 
girlfriend's daughter's birthday. I picked her 
up later, and we went to eat. We passed like 105 
and 219. They had their street closed off. I 
stopped in there, because I know all the guys 
there. We went to eat, and by then it was like 
the next day. 

Basically that's what happened. 

Q. Well, Tom, unless you've got anything 
else you want to add to it, any feelings like 
that -- like I said, it's going down as a 
history, so it's up to you if you want to say 
anything else; if not -- 

A. It was just very unorganized. All of 
the bosses were killed, so no one knew what to 
do. 

Q. Right. 

A. Just the way the manpower was and all 
of the reports that you heard, they said we were 
under attack. It was like, look, you've got to 
do this, you've got to get ready for the next 
one. We heard all kinds of stories. 

Q. Sure. 



T. HANSARD 15 

A. The truck was told to go through the 
Battery Tunnel, which saved their lives, and they 
had to walk through the Battery Tunnel. So by 
the time they walked through, everything fell. 

Q. It was down already. 

A. Then we're here reports that they blew 
up the Brooklyn Bridge. We're like, wow, we just 
came across the bridge. You know what I'm 
saying? I expected worse. I just think that the 
organization was -- like guys coming in off duty 
or whatever, manpower, everything has to run even 
in the chaos. 

Q. Right, right. 

A. When we got back to Bed Stuy, there was 
no one here. If there was a small fire or 
whatever it would spread -- the rest of the city 
was left defenseless. The building was way too 
big. We had the one years ago. I felt that they 
should have torn it down or do whatever then and 
spread out. The rest of the city, like around 
here, is vacant, vacant warehouses and property. 

Q. They could use a few buildings around 
here. 

A. Yeah. And it's close to the Wall 



T. HANSARD 16 

Street area. Now that Metrotech is being built 
up, people are looking on this side of the river. 

Q. Right. 

A. That's basically all I have to say. 

Q. All right, Tom. Listen, thanks a lot 
for your interview? 

MR. TAMBASCO: The interview concludes 

at 1459 hours. 



File No. 9110113 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER FRANK SWEENEY 

Interview Date: October 18, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



F. SWEENEY 2 

MR. CUNDARI: Today's date is October 
18th, 2001. The time is 9:35. I'm George 
Cundari with Richard Dun of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting the interview with the following 
individual. 

Please state your name, rank, title and 
assigned command. 

FIREFIGHTER SWEENEY: My name is Frank 
Sweeney, firefighter second grade, assigned 
to Engine 3. 

Q. Frank, can you just tell us the events 
of September 11th, 2001? 

A. I was assigned to Engine 3 
approximately two weeks before this happened, so 
I was kind of unfamiliar with the way the 
high-rise unit operated. But that morning I came 
in. I got here about 8:00 in the morning, 
reporting to work. I was upstairs. 

I think I was brushing my teeth or 
something with Angel and Michael. I can remember 
Angel making fun of Michael, the way he was doing 
his hair. Angel said, "Frank, go downstairs and 
make sure they've got your name in the house 



F. SWEENEY 3 

watch ready to work. 

So I came downstairs, and I walked into 
the house watch. Battalion 7 was to go down to 
the World Trade Center for a fire. Somebody pops 
on the news, and we can see the World Trade 
Center. There was a lot of black smoke coming 
from the north tower. 

Q. Who was working Battalion 7? Who was 
the chief? 

A. Orio Palmer. 

Q. Orio Palmer. 

A. So they go down. Very shortly after 
another set of tones go out. I don't know who is 
being dispatched. I think it might have been 
Engine 3. Somebody got on the air and said, "Do 
you want us to bring the high-rise unit?" The 
dispatcher came back on and said, "Bring 
everything you've got." 

Now the truck guys are getting ready to 
go. I'm like, "Holy shit, Scott, what do we do? 
Where do we go?" Because I don't know who goes 
in the high-rise unit. So Scott said, "Yeah, 
come with me. I'll drive the high-rise and you 
sit next to me." I was like, all right cool. 



F. SWEENEY 4 

3 Engine got right out. We were right 
behind them. We were flying down Seventh Avenue. 
You can already see people are out on the streets 
looking. People are already watching. The 
citizens are already watching what's going on. 

Q. When you got there did you see a lot of 
debris on the ground already? 

A. When we got to the scene? 

Q. Yeah. 

A. When we were coming down -- well, we 
crossed over West Side Highway and were coming 
down still just -- you could see a lot of things 
falling from the tower. But no, I can't see a 
lot of debris on the street, no, because the 
World Trade Center is actually up on like a 
parapet wall of some sort. There's like some 
kind of wall there you can't see. 

We got in front of the World Trade 
Center, and we could see things were falling. 
Scott and I just looked at each other like this 
is not a good place to park. Scott turned the 
high-rise unit around and parked it under the 
pedestrian walkway. 

At that time I remember looking at 



F. SWEENEY 5 

Engine 3. Engine 3 went really far south, and 
the lieutenant had them turn the rig around and 
come back north. So we were actually facing the 
other way and were near a couple hydrants just 
north of the high-rise unit and just north of 
that bridge. 

Then another unit comes in around us. 
It was another engine. I can't remember what 
engine it was. We're standing there for a short 
period of time. I remember the lieutenant turned 
to Scott and I and said, "You know, this could be 
a terrorist thing. Maybe it was a bomb or 
something." I can't remember his exact words. 

Shortly thereafter Scott said, "What's 
wrong with the flight patterns around here?" I 
said, "What are you talking about?" And the 
south tower blew up. Scott said, "That was a 
plane." I said, "Scott, it was not a plane. It 
was probably another bomb." He said, "No, I saw 
it . It was a plane. " 

Then a chief came up to him and started 
yelling at Scott saying, "Are you sure you saw a 
plane?" He was like getting angry. He wanted to 
make sure that it was a plane that Scott saw. 



F. SWEENEY 6 

Scott said, "Yes, I saw it." That's when things 
really started changing. You could see the fear 
in a lot of people's faces. 

Q. The plane never came over your head, 
then? 

A. No. That was south of us. That was 
south of us. 

All the meantime, we were seeing people 
jump. That's what really started getting to me. 
At first it didn't start getting to me. I was 
like, all right, people are going to be jumping 
here. We had to keep our heads up to make sure 
we don't get hit by any of these. 

Then I think we were there an hour and 
it really started getting to be too much. I saw 
one woman come down and beheaded. It was just 
too much. 

Q. Are you still looking up at the north 
tower? 

A. Yeah, I'm looking at the north tower. 
The south tower is going. Somewhere in this 
time -- it's really hard to tell time frames, but 
I saw Giuliani with Von Essen, and they were 
going to what I believe was the command post. 



F. SWEENEY 7 

It was set up like maybe in front of 
the Marriott Hotel, somewhere around there, maybe 
on the West Side Highway, yeah, in front of Two 
World Financial Center. They were walking over 
towards there somewhere. 

I can remember a lot of the officers 
yelling to the guys, "Do not put down your 
equipment. If you put down your equipment, stand 
next to it, because you don't know who's putting 
what down next to us." 

We were clearing all of the civilians 
out of the area. I can remember getting upset 
with one civilian who was being very theatrical 
about the jumpers, and I asked him to leave. He 
didn't need to be there. 

I can remember about seven people 
walking from like at the Marriott over to where 
we were. I said, "Where are you people coming 
from?" They said the south tower. But it was 
only like seven people. Other than that there 
were no civilians walking in the front there. 
There was nobody coming out from the towers. I 
was very surprised about that. 

Q. Did you have a lot of chaos or mayhem 



F. SWEENEY 8 

around you? 

A. Not at this point, no. Initially when 
we parked the rigs there was a lot of civilians 
still in the area. At this point now it ' s a lot 
of security guards from the World Financial 
Center and a lot of Fire Department and police. 

So we're standing by in front of the 
Winter Garden. The lieutenant has us up one 
level from the rest of the fireman because he 
thought if something else were to happen we would 
be able to run through the Winter Garden, where 
all these guys would be stuck down there in the 
basement . 

We were actually under the pedestrian 
bridge at the entrance to the Winter Garden. 
Scott said, "If something happens, we'll all run 
into the Winter Garden and go to the right." I 
said, "Scott, look at this huge concrete pillar 
here. Nothing's going to go through this thing." 
Later on the north tower did. 

So anyway, we were standing there. One 
of the chiefs calls for three engines and three 
trucks to the south tower. I can remember we 
went back outside, because we walked inside for a 



F. SWEENEY 



short period, just walked through the doors to 
see where we could run to in case we needed to. 

Q. You heard that over your radio? 

A. Then we walked back out. Yeah. 

Q. That came over your radio? 

A. Came over the radio. 

Q. Were there a lot of maydays on the 
radio at that time? 

A. No, no. I don't remember maydays at 
that time, no. 

The lieutenant said, "Let's go, 3 
Engine." I bent over to pick up the hose, and I 
hear what sounded like firecrackers and a low 
rumble. I look up, and the south tower -- I 
could see the top part of the siding overlapping 
the bottom side of the siding. The siding 
actually was like this. Then I saw the dirt 
above that. 

I ran. I was right behind Scott. 
Scott ran into the Winter Garden and got against 
a concrete pillar, and I just hugged the pillar 
with Scott. Aguilera was right behind me. I 
thought we were dead. I thought the tower was 
coming down on top of us. I thought we were 



F. SWEENEY 10 

gone. 

It was a loud rumble. The Winter 
Garden filled up with the dirt, the dust and that 
was it. Then it was quiet. Then you heard the 
maydays on the radio. I can remember hearing, 
"Mayday, mayday, mayday. Mayday, mayday, 
mayday." I think I can remember like Ladder 4 or 
something like that, if that makes any sense. 

Q. Right now you're just with Scott in the 
Winter Garden? Anybody else with you? 
A. Scott and Aguilera. 

The rumbling stops, and we start 
looking for people. I can't even see Scott, and 
I'm right on his back. That's how thick it was. 

We start back towards the entrance to 
go back out of the building, and we hear people 
in this little room. So Rob and I go towards the 
little room. I don't know where Scott went at 
that time. We grabbed the people out of this 
little cubbyhole and bring them to the back of 
the building. 

Then we go back to the front of the 
Winter Garden and we found another person just 
wandering around. He said he's Commissioner of 



F. SWEENEY 11 

the Fire Department and he needed to make a phone 
call. He tried making a phone call on one of 
those little security phones. We're trying to 
tell him he can't call out on that phone. He 
says he has to call headquarters. We just 
grabbed him, pulled him and dragged him out back. 

Q. Do you know which commissioner this 
was? 

A. It was not Von Essen. It was somebody 
I don't recognize. He identified himself as a 
commissioner. He was trying to make a phone call 
on that little white security phone. So we just 
told him, "Come on, let's go. You're in shock or 
something." We just dragged him out back of the 
Winter Garden. 

Then we came back out front looking for 
the lieutenant, who then shortly appears. Now 
we're worried about Kevin Cronick and our 
chauffeur. We didn't know where our chauffeur 
was. The interesting thing there is the 
pedestrian walkway bridge is still up. It's 
still intact at that time. The south tower is 
gone. Rob Aguilera says to me, "The Marriott's 
gone." I said, "Never mind that. The tower is 



F. SWEENEY 12 

gone." I didn't think that the tower would come 
down, not like that. I thought maybe a quarter 
of the top came off, because it didn't seem like 
that long of a rumble. 

Q. How dark was it for how long a period? 
Was it a long period or short time? 

A. I thought it was kind of short, 
thinking of what came down. What was interesting 
is when we went back out towards the walkway, it 
was actually getting clearer. The closer we 
walked to the tower, the clearer it was getting. 
Inside the building it was very dense. 

Q. Were there a lot of people there other 
than you and your partner in the Winter Garden? 

A. Just the commissioner and maybe three 
other guys that we took out back. 

Q. There were no civilians? 

A. No, no. I don't know where they all 
escaped to. 

So the pedestrian walkway was still up 
at that time after the south tower came down. 

So we just got together with our 
company, and we walked through the garden out to 
the back. 



F. SWEENEY 13 

Q. The second building hasn't come down 
yet? 

A. No. The north tower is still standing. 
We come out on Vesey Street and we walk 
towards the Hudson River. The lieutenant -- I 
said, "Where are we going? We've got to do 
something here." He said, "Well, this other one 
may come down." I said, "This ain't coming down. 
That was just a fluke that that first one came 
down." All the time I wanted to go up in there. 
He said, "Yeah, the second one -- that one may 
come down too." Not even five, ten minutes later 
the thing came down. 

Q. So you were around North End Street and 
Vesey at the time the second one came down? 

A. Yeah, North End and Vesey. Everybody 
started running north, up to where you see North 
Park on there. We started running north. That 
whole area became cloudy. 

Q. Were there boats parked over there, 
going to New Jersey, taking people over? 

A. There were boats taking people over, 
but I don't know if it was before the second 
tower came or after. I know afterwards when we 



F. SWEENEY 14 

found Engine 5 and the fireman having a heart 
attack, yeah, there were boats there and we put 
him on the boats and sent him over. 

Then the rest of the day we just spent 
running from bomb scares and gas leaks. 
Stuyvesant school had a gas leak. The World 
Financial had a gas leak or bomb or something. 

Q. Then you were putting out fires on the 
rigs, ambulances, police cars at that time? 

A. No, no. By that time we were up by 
Chambers Street. We're north of Chambers now. 
Now the Fire Department is trying to gather the 
people and make some kind of organization out of 
it and getting companies together at that time. 

Once they got us back together and 
organized somewhat, they sent us back down to 
Vesey, where we stood and waited for Seven World 
Trade Center to come down. 

Q. Were you able to drive your apparatus 
back or you came back with Engine 3? 

A. Well, no, that's the interesting thing. 
After the north tower came down, that pedestrian 
walkway bridge was gone, and the high-rise unit 
was underneath there. 



F. SWEENEY 15 

Q. How did you get back to quarters? 
Jumped on the back of a volley rescue. 

A. Oh, right, right, that's how we got 
back. That's right. 

But that was a long day. 

Q. After the towers collapsed, you never 
really saw any injuries after that? No civilians 
were coming up to you? 

A. No, it was surprising; right? Not many 
injuries at all. I think you either got hit with 
that building and died or -- 

Q. It was unbelievable the lack of 
injuries. 

A. Yeah. 

Q. Anything else? 

A. No, you know, I can remember -- we were 
standing on Vesey Street, and it was just -- 
everybody is looking around in disbelief. We 
were wondering where 12 Truck is, when Angel 
Rivera? 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Angel Rivera was walking around in a 
daze and we found him. We said, "Where is the 
rest of the truck?" He started to explain where 



F. SWEENEY 16 

the rest of the truck was and what happened. 

Q. And they came up after that? 

A. Heinz came up, and then we found 
McGimpsey . 

Q. He told us that Mazy and Matt Tansey 
were shipped to New Jersey. 

A. Yeah, I didn't hear that part. I 
remember they were trying to rinse McGimpsey 's 
eyes out. His eyes were killing him. They were 
bright red, and they were hurting him really bad. 
So we sat him down and tried to wash them. 

Q. Anything else to add? 

A. I wish I could help you with the 
placement of rigs or something, but I can't. 

Q. There was a lot going on that day. 

A. The only other thing as far as citizens 
was in the north tower I can remember seeing 
citizens walking through the glass out an exit 
way. It looked like they were exiting out the 
north, but they could have been circling around 
to the back. 

There's nothing really else I think I 
could help you with. 

Q. I would like to thank you, Frank, for 



F. SWEENEY 17 

taking the time and doing this interview. 
MR. CUNDARI: This concludes the 
interview. It's 9:50. 



File No. 9110114 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER SCOTT HOLOWACH 

Interview Date: October 18, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



S. HOLOWACH 

MR. CUNDARI: Today's date is October 18, 
2001. The time is 9:15. I'm George Cundari with 
Richard Dunn of the Fire Department of the City of 
New York. I'm conducting an individual with the 
following individual. 

Q. Please state your name, rank, title and 
assigned command? 

A. SCOTT HOLOWACH, Firefighter third grade, 
assigned to Engine 3. 

Q. Can you please tell us the events of 
September 11, 2001. 

A. I just got on that morning. We were in the 
house -- I was in the house watch with Angel Juarbe, 
one of the guys who was missing from Ladder 12. We 
noticed on the news that one of the planes hit the 
Trade Center. Shortly after that the Chief was sent 
and I guess like 30 seconds later we were sent. We 
were sent by ourselves at first and we called up 
dispatch and asked if they want the high rise and they 
said to roll everything, so we took the high rise down 
with us. 

As we were going, we went down to Canal 
Street and made a right and went to the West Side 
Highway and came down towards the Trade Center on the 



S. HOLOWACH 

West Side Highway. As we were responding, all you 
could see is a lot of smoke pouring out of the north 
tower. I had Firefighter Sweeney with me in the high 
rise rig. 

When we first pulled up, we drove just south 
of the pedestrian bridge, the north pedestrian bridge, 
which came out of the tower to the Winter Garden. I 
noticed a lot of debris coming down from the building, 
so we had to jump back into the high rise rig and made 
a L) turn and parked underneath the pedestrian bridge 
facing north. 

At that time, I started walking towards 
Engine 3. Engine 3 drove south to the south pedestrian 
bridge to make a L) turn to come back and as I'm walking 
towards the Engine to find out what Lieutenant Walsh 
wanted us to do, I heard the sound of a jet plane. I 
looked up and saw it pretty close and I was like holy 
shit. What's going on with the with the flight 
patterns. All of a sudden, the wings turned and it 
dove right into the building and it was screwed up. 

At that time Chief Ganci was behind me and he 
thought there was another explosion in the north tower 
and that's when I turned around and said Chief, listen, 
there is a second plane that hit the other tower. He 



S. HOLOWACH 

was like no no no no, we have another explosion. I 
said no, Chief, I witnessed it. I watched the plane 
hit the other tower. He is like are you sure. I said 
Chief, I'm 100 hundred percent positive I watched the 
second plane hit the other tower. 

That's when Ganci got on the radio and called 
for the military. Walsh walked up to him and said 
Chief, 3 engines here with the high rise. Do you want 
us to go into the tower and report to the command 
center. He said, no we are going to set up another 
command center outside. Just stand fast. They set up 
the command center in the mouth of the garage of the 
World Financial building. We were standing there and 
Lieutenant Walsh said listen, why don't you go stand on 
top underneath the pedestrian bridge, because if 
anything happens there is too many guys, here at least 
you guys can run some other way. This way you are not 
tripping over 100 other guys. 

We were standing underneath the pedestrian 
bridge. We were watching people jump out of the 
building. I guess we were there for a little while, 
20, 25 minutes. In the meantime we were sitting there 
and something gave me a gut feeling that something was 
going to happen, so I turned to the guys and I said 



S. HOLOWACH 

listen, if anything happens, I said let's dive into 
this building because the Winter Garden, the staircase 
is pretty solid and there is two hallways. We will run 
to the right. 

Shortly after that, sure enough, I heard -- I 
don't know even -- I guess a rumbling sound. I looked 
up and I see the whole 70th floor basically like buckle 
out and start crumbling down the outside of the 
building. At the time I grabbed two other guys and 
said let's get the hell out of here. We dove into the 
building and after the rumbling stopped -- 

Q. Would have been south tower collapsing? 

A. The south tower. 

Q. You could see it from your position? 

A. Yes. I visually watched the 70 floor. It 
looked like almost it was buckling outwards and then it 
just went down the outside of the building, just like 
scaled the outside of the building and it just started 
pancaking and that's when I grabbed the two guys and 
the third guy followed us in. We dove into the hallway 
to the right of the staircase and huddled the wall. I 
guess the fourth guy, Cronick, ran out the back of the 
building. 

But after the rumbling stopped, it was so 



S. HOLOWACH 

thick in there you couldn't even see each other next to 
us, so my first thought was to make sure the guys were 
all right. So I asked Sweeney and Aguilera, who was a 
proby, a 14 weeker here, if they were okay. I screamed 
for Cronick and they said they think he ran out the 
back. I said all right, I said we got a lot of people 
with us, we got to start searching the area. 

So we started searching the area to make sure 
that everybody is getting out, take them out the back. 
I got split up from these guys. I ended up with 
another proby from another company and we went and 
started searching the lobby of the Winter Garden and 
the first floor of the World Financial Center. 

Q. Scott, did you have a radio at that time? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Were you able to contact anybody on the 
radio? 

A. I didn't try to, actually I didn't think 
about it. I don't remember if anybody was -- 

Q. Was it working? 

A. Yes, it was working. I don't remember 
hearing -- 

Q. What channel were you on? 

A. I think I switched to 7. I'm not sure. I 



S. HOLOWACH 

don't remember now. I'm pretty sure I did. Like I 
said, after I ran to the proby, we searched the ground 
level of the World Financial Center. We ended up 
outside on the southbound side of the mouth of the 
garage. We searched out front and we ended up 
directing a bunch of people, Chiefs and civilians, 
towards the water. When we walked back to the entrance 
to the Winter Gardens is when we ran into -- found you 
guys again and we came outside and found Lieutenant 
Walsh. He was worried about our chauffeur. Now we 
started looking for our chauffeur. We found our 
chauffeur. We were standing on Vesey and West and I 
guess the Chiefs and the other officers made the 
decision to move everybody down towards the Pier, 
towards the water, to reorganize and figure out what's 
going on. 

Q. That was by where the fire boat was? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Bank Street? 

A. No, actually down by the river terrace. We 
were actually on the water, right where Marine One 
ended up being docked. I guess we were there 10 
minutes, 15 minutes. It's hard to tell time. 
Everything went so quick. We were there a short period 



S. HOLOWACH 

of time and that's when we heard the north tower coming 
down and noticed the big dust cloud and we started 
running north towards the water. 

Before the north tower came down, we helped a 
lot of firemen get on the ferries and shipped them over 
to Jersey. 

Q. Were they injured? 

A. Yes, they were injured. We had the one 
Lieutenant on it. I don't remember what company he was 
from. He looked like he might be having a heart 
attack, so we put him out. Guys from 21 Truck were 
there with injuries, so we put them on the ferries. A 
few other guys from other companies, I'm not even sure 
where they were from. 

Like I said, after the second collapse, and 
the dust started settling, we went back and grabbed 
whatever gear we could and headed north to the end of 
the Pier and then went back to the West Side Highway is 
where they were mustering everybody and they kept on 
pushing us north because they thought there was a gas 
leak and a bomb in the American Express building. They 
kept on moving us north of the high school there. 

Q. Stuyvesant High School? 

A. Yes, Stuyvesant High School, until they 



S. HOLOWACH 

figured out, I guess, there was no gas leak or no 
secondary bomb. Or no bomb. I guess they put the PD 
in there to search it. They moved us back south. We 
ended up back up on Vesey Street and West Street and 
just hanging out until tower 7 came down. 

After tower 7 came down, we went right to 
work over at tower 7 to put the fires out. That's 
where we stayed until we were relieved. 

Q. Did you see a lot of civilians coming out 
towards you away by the water on West Street? 

A. There wasn't much civilians at the water, no, 
no. 

Q. There wasn't too many -- 

A. More Fire Department personnel, PD and EMS on 
the water. There was a few civilians, but not an 
overwhelming amount. As I said, more of the emergency 
personnel went towards the water. I think most of the 
civilians went north. 

Q. After the collapse, did you -- was there many 
injuries after that or you saw a lot of injuries after 
the collapse? 

A. I saw a few. I expected a lot more. If we 
saw 20 or 30 injuries, that was a lot. Most of the 
injuries were from taking in all that dust it seemed 



10 

S. HOLOWACH 



like. More people just coughing and difficulty 

breathing afterwards. 

MR. CUNDARI: Scott, I would like to thank 
you for taking part in this interview. Time is 
9:25. This concludes this interview. 



File No. 9110140 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER THOMAS GABY 

Interview Date: October 23, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



T. GABY 

MR. TAMBASCO: Today is October 23rd. The 
time is 10:16. I'm Mike Tambasco assigned to the World 
Trade Center Task Force. We're doing an interview into 
the events of September 11th at the World Trade Center 
and our interview today is with. . . 

FIREFIGHTER GABY: Tom Gaby, aide to Chief 
Cassano, Firefighter First Grade. 

Q. Would you be good enough, Tom? 
A. Okay. Prior to the date of 9/11, on 9/10, I 
worked as an aide to Chief Burns on an overtime tour. 
The morning of 9/11, I was having coffee right outside 
Chief Ganci's office, speaking to the secretary, Lisa 
DeFazio. Chief Ganci came out of his office and yelled 
out that a plane had struck the World Trade towers and 
that Chief Nigro should look out his window. With that 
Chief Burns, standing by the commissary kitchen, said 
come on, Tom, let's go, and we were off. 

We went down the elevator with most of the 
staff Chiefs, Chief Barbara, myself, Chief Ganci, Chief 
Ingram, Chief Burns, and we went down to the CI level. 
We got in our cars and proceeded to the Brooklyn Bridge 
heading towards the World Trade Center. I believe and 
I'm pretty sure I was the first staff car in line. 
Chief Ganci was driving with Chief Nigro. Steve 



T. GABY 

Mosiello was driving both of them. 

As we were going over the bridge, Chief Burns 
said to me, it doesn't look like the sprinkler system 
is working too well and kind of jokingly said that to 
me. I said, yes, I guess maybe it's too much fire, and 
we kind of laughed about it and proceeded to go over 
the bridge. As we approached the World Trade Center, 
we got there pretty fast. I don't think there were 
that many companies there at that time. 

I pulled up as far as I could under the north 
bridge in front of 1 World Trade Center. I believe 
that was the north tower. With that I opened the trunk 
for Chief Burns. He proceeded to get his gear out and 
I -- well, basically he said to me, his last words to 
me were, Tommy, I don't want to get stuck here. Park 
the car far away. With that I took the car and made a 
U-turn and headed north on West Street. I parked the 
car on Chambers, on the corner of Chambers and West. 

Looking back towards the scene as I was 
leaving, I wanted to see if I could find Chief 
Cassano's car because my turnout gear was in his car 
because I normally drive Chief Cassano. I proceeded 
heading towards Chief Cassano's car, walking back 
towards Chief Cassano's car, and Chief Ingram grabbed 



T. GABY 

me and told me he wanted me to alert Field Com with 
setup in front of I think the Financial Building, on 
the West Street side, World Financial Center. 

Q. The Merrill Lynch Building? 

A. Right. The Merrill Lynch Building. That's 
where our command center was for the outside. 
Basically, that's what I did for a few minutes, even 
before I went and got my gear. I proceeded to look for 
the car again and then, spotting it, I came upon Chief 
Callan ' s aide. 

Q. Who was that? 

A. James Migalia. He came up to me and said he 
had no gear in his car; could he use my gear. I told 
him, here, take my gear, the key for the car was in the 
gas cap, there was a spare key, and I would get 
something else. With that Chief Ganci was yelling at 
me to get the rigs out of West Street, on the West 
Street promenade. In other words, he wanted all the 
rigs cleared out of the area. I ran back and forth a 
few times doing that and then left to get my gear. 

Actually, what I did was I went up back to 
Chief Burns' car and took Kevin Glock's gear, which is 
Chief Burns' normal driver. His helmet doesn't fit me, 
but I had it. So I got his turnout coat and just his 



T. GABY 

helmet. I took the -- which I had the radio on, I also 
took the cell phone with me, headed back towards the 
command center outside, and believe it or not, 
somewhere in between there the plane had hit, the 
second plane. 

Q. The second plane? 

A. I saw it coming in, I heard it, and bang, it 
hit. I proceeded to try to call my wife to tell her to 
stay home on the cell phone. It didn't work. I went 
into I believe the American Express Building and called 
her from there. I left a message at work for her to go 
home if she could, and then I went back towards the 
command board. I didn't know exactly where Chief Burns 
was, but watching all the outside activities going on, 
I was trying to get a feel for where he would be. I 
looked at the board and it was kind of like in disarray 
at this time. So, basically, I was just trying to help 
out and see if I could listen. 

At some point I was able to ascertain that I 
think Chief Burns said that he was in 2 World Trade 
Center, the south tower, and I said, well, let me see 
if I can make my way down there. So I walked along the 
buildings on West Street, on the west side of West 
Street, because people were jumping and the stuff was 



T. GABY 

falling out of all the buildings. 

At that point I saw the bridge. I went under 
the pedestrian bridge to cover myself and I made kind 
of a dash for the Vista International Hotel. I 
couldn't tell what time it was. Like I said, this 
thing here, it seemed like it was just minutes, but I 
guess it was longer than that. 

When I got into the Vista, I was looking to 
see if I could find somebody who knew exactly where 
Chief Burns was. So I went up to the Chief that was in 
the lobby of the Vista, which is, I guess, the 
Marriott, and I asked Chief Galvin if he had seen Chief 
Burns, and he said he did not see him, but he said that 
he might be in the south tower. So I said okay. 

Having gone in through the side of the Vista, 
I noticed that there was a restaurant there and I felt 
this would be a good time for me to take a leak, and I 
just happened to go into that restaurant because I knew 
it was going to be a long time before I got a shot at 
it, and I was up since 7:00 o'clock. So I figured let 
me go now, I'll have a shot, and then I can go see 
Chief Burns, figuring that once I got inside, I was 
safe, to be honest with you. That was my primary thing 
was to get inside. Having spotted the restaurant, like 



T. GABY 

I said, I knew if I ' d walk into the restaurant there 
would be a rest room there. 

I walked into the rest room, went to the 
bathroom and was just about ready to come out and I 
heard a rumbling sound. Now, having heard on the radio 
previously that there was a possibility that the 
elevators were letting go, I was hoping that that was 
what it was. As it proceeded, which seemed like a long 
time, but I'm sure it wasn't -- when I look at it on 
television, it doesn't seem to be -- I could tell that 
it was much worse. In my mind, I thought it was the 
north tower, part of it was coming down, and I felt 
like let me sit down, get low. I might be okay here. 
As it turned out, after the roar, I had absolutely no 
damage in that bathroom. There was no damage, there 
was no smoke, it just was black as night. 

I initially tried to get out and the door was 
jammed. I couldn't tell how it was jammed or why it 
was jammed. I had no flashlight. I didn't have my 
turnout coat, so there was no flashlight in there. I 
proceeded to give Maydays on every channel. I had the 
mobile radio, so I had every channel. I heard 
absolutely nothing. It was completely dead. I started 
to think that maybe I'd be okay there for a while 



T. GABY 

because I could breathe, there was no fire, and I 
didn't seem to be hurt in any way. So I felt, well, at 
least I'm okay at this point. But the silence, the 
eeriness of having no mobile communication with 
anything made me feel a little uneasy. So I felt, 
well, maybe what I should do is try to get out of 
here. I eventually forced the door open. Just by 
banging it and pulling hard, it opened in, and not 
being able to see, I kind of just walked into what was 
like a wall. 

Q. That wasn't there when you came in? 

A. That wasn't there when I came in. So then I 
started to get a little nervous and I said let me sit 
down and calm down. I gave Maydays again on all the 
radio channels and I heard nothing. At this point I 
tried to use the cell phone that I had and there was no 
cell phone. That was probably the only light I could 
see. I really couldn't see much. I was a little bit 
nervous but basically still not aware of really the 
gravity of the situation. So what I thought was, well, 
you know what? Let me sit down and calm myself down, 
and then I thought, well, you know, I ' d be better off 
if I could get out of here. 

So I opened the door again and felt for a way 



T. GABY 

I could get out and somehow, through whatever divine 
force there was, there was a void low in the left-hand 
corner. I wasn't able to get out with my helmet on or 
my turnout coat, but I could fit through that crack. 
So what I did was I took the helmet and I pushed it 
ahead of me. There was all sorts of debris and stuff 
there, but it seemed to be moving. So I said, well, 
I'll go as far as I can. Maybe I can just see a light 
or whatever or yell to someone, and luckily I just was 
able to push it far enough that I could see that there 
was an opening all the way down. 

I got maybe six feet and I could see to my 
left the entrance to the restaurant was still in good 
shape. Although covered with everything, I still could 
see. So I said I know I'm getting out of here now 
because I could see daylight, and I said, okay, and I 
just kept pushing ahead. It didn't take that long, 
maybe five or six minutes, and I was able to get to the 
point where I could stand up in that area of the 
restaurant . 

I put my turnout gear back on and I proceeded 
to run outside, and I couldn't make heads or tails of 
what was going on because it was still smoky, kind of 
like a dense little fog kind of thing. There was a guy 



10 

T. GABY 



from rescue out in the street yelling to people to keep 
running, and it was all rubble all over the ground, a 
couple bodies and stuff like that. So I immediately 
just tried to run. I tripped a little bit, he held me, 
and then I ran across the street. Believe it or not, I 
ran across the street and I was looking for everybody 
and it didn't seem like I could find anybody. It was 
kind of eerie. It was almost like I was the only 
person around. 

My immediate thought was let me call my wife, 
and I tried to call her to see if she went home, but I 
couldn't get her, but I left another message telling 
her -- and I listened to it later on at some point. I 
forgot I called her back up. But she saved the 
messages. I said I was a little dusty but I was okay. 

So with that I heard on the radio for the 
first time a voice and it was Chief Ganci talking to 
Steve asking for truck companies. So I felt, oh, okay, 
I'm back in the game here. There's somebody around. 
But I still couldn't find anybody. I looked for Chief 
Ganci and I don't know -- some people say that I was on 
the south. I thought I headed north, but maybe I got 
turned around. Anyhow, I wound up talking to Chief 
Galvin again in the middle of the street, on West 



11 

T. GABY 



Street, someplace on West Street, and with that I said 
to Chief Galvin, I don't know if anybody else is 
around, but I'll stay with you because, you know, this 
way I'll know I'm helping somebody. 

So he yelled to me to get the guys from 
across the street. There were car fires all over the 
place. He said get those guys and bring them over 
here. So I started getting guys who were trying to put 
out car fires to come across the street. Apparently 
Chief Galvin must have known about the other building. 
I had no idea that the first building was down to be 
honest with you. Because I couldn't tell. You still 
couldn't see it. 

So basically I just told the guys come across 
the street, and guys were like stretching lines, I was 
trying to help a couple of guys that were hooking up 
the hydrants, I was yelling to them, come on, the Chief 
wants us over here, and what seemed like maybe ten 
minutes or whatever of trying to get the guys across 
the street, which we got most of them across the 
street, I heard a tremendous roar like I've never heard 
before and it sounded like a jet engine was like right 
over my head, like I was on a runway with a jet engine 
just taking off over my head. 



12 
T. GABY 



At that point I kind of looked up in the air 
because that's where -- and I was looking for a plane. 
I couldn't see anything, but I saw people running. So 
I said, well, this may be a good time to start 
running. I wasn't sure which way to run, but I watched 
them run and I kind of went to my right and I started 
running, and then there was a complete --a blanket 
over me and I banged and fell down three or four times, 
and each time I got up, I got up with more stuff in my 
mouth and it was becoming more increasingly difficult 
to breathe. I was trying to breathe through like the 
jacket part of my coat and just try to filter some of 
the crap that was coming in my mouth. I heard somebody 
yell breathe through your nose and I was trying that, 
but I wasn't getting enough air it didn't seem like. 
Now I wasn't running anymore. I fell down three or 
four times. I said, well, I can't even see. This is 
ridiculous to run. But I felt, well, you know what? 
Maybe I'll just kind of walk and try to head in the 
direction of the sounds of people that I heard. 

There was an ESU cop and he had some kind of 
water bottle on his back with a bite ball, and he came 
up to me and said bite into this, flush around your 
mouth and spit it out, and that's what I did, and I was 



13 
T. GABY 



able to at that point clear out some of the crap in my 
mouth and I felt a little bit better. He had a towel 
or something and he said we'll share the towel and 
we'll start breathing, and at that point that's what I 
did. I started breathing through the towel with this 
guy. There was like three of us on this towel. 

We got up to -- I don't know what street 
even. Somebody told me it was down on the west side by 
Albany Street and there was a hydrant open with very 
little water pressure and we kind of cleaned off 
there. Chief Lakiotes was there, a couple other 
firefighters and a couple other ESU cops and stuff. 
But we just kind of cleaned up, and at that point I 
started heading back to where I thought maybe people 
would be. 

Guys were coming in from -- I guess from all 
over at this point now. I saw regiments of guys coming 
down the highway, and even training, they were coming 
from training, because I noticed a couple Chiefs, 
Santangelo and Chief Idiart from training that I've 
known and I saw them and they all started heading down 
towards the buildings, and at that point I somehow ran 
into Steve Mosiello again and he was looking for Chief 
Ganci. So I said, well, I'll help you look for Chief 



14 
T. GABY 



Ganci because I knew that, you know, that was his boss 
and, if I could find him, maybe we could find out 
what's going on, still not really knowing. 

I felt kind of like, I don't know, but I 
wasn't being really aware of what was going on, but I 
was very lucky. It's bizarre, but through no really 
desire of my own, I was able to survive this thing, and 
it really -- it was just a matter of where you were. 
Q. Basic dumb luck. 

A. Dumb luck. Really basic dumb luck. Because 
the odds would be, even after the first building came 
down, I wasn't aware of it, and when the second one 
come down, I wasn't even thinking about that one coming 
down. So, I mean, it sounds crazy, but at this point I 
was just trying to hook up with somebody during this 
whole thing to help, you know, to get back into some 
kind of order of where we could find guys and do 
things, and it just never seemed to come about. 

I went with Steve. We looked for Chief 
Ganci. He was very upset. Then we heard the command 
center was all the way up on Vesey Street. Then we 
went up that way and then it was like further north 
towards the park and we started heading up there, and 
we got a ride with the Commissioner's driver and we 



15 
T. GABY 



wound up with the Mayor up in 23rd Street by -- I guess 
that was where they made the command center for OEM. 

Q. Right. 

A. Steve wanted to tell the Mayor that Chief 
Ganci was missing and that we lost a lot of guys, and 
that was basically what we did. Then we went back, we 
hitched a ride back to Police Plaza to tell the Police 
Commissioner exactly what was going on, and we wound up 
getting some clean clothes there. They gave us police 
uniforms. So we wound up there and then they took us 
back towards the scene and we looked for Chief Ganci. 

As we were going back down the West Side 
Highway, Chief Cruthers, we wound up seeing Chief 
Cruthers and Chief Butler, he was at the command board 
at Vesey and West, at Chambers and West rather, and 
then they said they found Ganci and Steve started 
running towards where -- Steve knew basically where 
Ganci was, and what I failed to say is, when we found 
Steve, when I found Steve, we actually went back to 
look for Ganci before we went up to the command center. 

Q. Okay. From where he had last figured he 
probably was? 

A. Yes. Because Steve had an idea because when 
he had talked to Steve on the radio, he had said that 



16 
T. GABY 



he was going to be -- I didn't know what he had told 
Steve, but I heard him ask for truck companies, and he 
must have told Steve that he was going to be south of 
where the command center was, and when I came out of 
the building, that was my first thing was to look for 
the command center, I remember that, and basically, 
when I saw where I thought the command center was 
outside, where the command board was, there was an 
airplane tire. My immediate thing was that another 
plane had hit. So that's what I said. 

Then I went into what was, I guess, the World 
Trade Center -- the World Financial Center and Merrill 
Lynch and I made a phone call to my wife again. That's 
where I had left the message. So that's basically 
where I was at that point, and then I did hook up with 
Steve and we did go back to look at right around in 
that building there. He knew where Ganci was, but he 
was covered with rubble, I believe. 

Army was there at that point, too. I don't 
know how much after, but there was Army there. That 
was after the second building I remember. The Army was 
there because Steve told a general that this is what 
happened, this is where our Chief of Department was, 
and they had a couple of bulldozers going there 



17 
T. GABY 



already. 

Q. Already? 

A. Yes. There were a couple of bulldozers going 
there. So, basically, I guess, wherever they got them 
from, they started picking up some of the rubble. 
Basically, that was all I can remember. It's kind of 
strange, but I saw the second plane coming in. I 
remember that vividly. I remember hearing it and 
thinking why is that plane coming so close to that 
building after it got hit, but thinking maybe it was an 
Army plane or just a plane coming in to observe what 
was going on, and then when it hit the building, to be 
honest with you, from where I was standing on the west 
side of West Street, it looked like it kind of glanced 
off the back of the building. You couldn't tell the 
damage it had done. 

So, I mean, that was my recollection of that 
and, you're right, I mean, some of the things seemed 
like they took a couple of minutes, but other things 
seemed like they took a long time. Basically, that was 
it. I mean, I guess being very lucky was in it for me 
that day. One more minute and I'm probably in 2 World 
Trade Center. The weird thing was, like I said, it 
wasn't like I had a pressing need to go to the 



18 
T. GABY 



bathroom, but I just thought that eventually I was 
going to have to go. 

Q. So it would be smart to do it now. 

A. To do it now. Chief Cassano had told me he 
had done the same thing. He had gone to the bathroom 
just previous to that. So it was weird because we both 
picked the same bathroom to go to and just a series of 
events that happened that I just happened to be in 
there and that was -- believe me. I go back there, a 
couple times that I've been back there, I look at it, 
and it's amazing to me how nothing happened in that 
bathroom. That bathroom was perfectly intact. So when 
people say things were meant to happen, I just think -- 

Q. It's your day or it's not your day? 

A. Yes. It's absolutely true, I mean, and never 
more vividly than that day. I wish I could say I 
was -- I guess the only good thing I did out of this 
whole thing was being able to extricate myself because 
I felt that, you know what? I could be here for a 
couple of days and that was an uneasy feeling. So I 
figured let me try to get out of here. But like I 
said, I was completely okay. There was no heat, no 
fire, no smoke, my body was okay. It was just that I 
felt uncomfortable being in this kind of like this 



19 
T. GABY 



six-by-six-foot room. 

That's it. I don't know what else I could 
say. If I could answer any questions, I'll definitely 
do it. 

Q. No, there's nothing else that I need to ask 
you. That's it. If there's anything else you just 
want to put after this, feel free. 

A. Actually, basically, I think that most of the 
things that I said were just off the top of my head 
because that's all I can remember, but if I could 
remember any more, I would definitely give it to you. 
Except I'm very lucky. Thank you very much. 

MR. TAMBASCO: That being the case, this 
interview will conclude at 10:40 a.m. 



File No. 9110182 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM QUICK 

Interview Date: November 1, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



W. QUICK 

MR. McCOURT: The date is November 1, 2001. 
My name is Tom McCourt, Investigator, New York 
City Fire Department. I'm conducting an interview 
along with Murray Murad, Investigator, New York 
City Fire Department. We are interviewing 
Firefighter William Quick. 

Q. Mr. Quick, just identify yourself please. 
A. Firefighter Quick, Ladder 134, badge number 
12123. 

Q. Can you describe the events that happened on 
September 11, 2001. 

A. September 11, 2001 started with for me 
putting my children on a school bus at 8:30 in the 
morning. After that, I walked into my house. I was 
getting a box of tank top Fire Department shirts to 
bring to the fire house from my volleyball tournament. 
I was driving in my car towards Queens. I heard that a 
plane hit the World Trade Center. With that, me being 
a firefighter through and through, I just started 
heading towards the World Trade Center. I'm one of 
these guys that always carries his gear in his car and 
a fire extinguisher, just in case of an emergency. 

As I got on the Van Wyck and as I got up to 
about the Grand Central Parkway, I met the NYPD and I 



W. QUICK 

followed NYPD all the way into Manhattan on their tail, 
as fast as I could. I drove with NYPD and met up with 
another madman ESL) truck and he got me down to Church 
and Vesey Street, where I parked right on Church and 
Vesey. Right behind I think was Engine 21. I'm not 
even sure. I'm not too sure. They were parked right 
on the corner there. 

Q. What was the scene when you got there? 

A. When I got there the buildings were still on 
fire. As soon as I parked my car and got out it was 
mass hysteria. There were people running every 
direction imaginable, screaming and yelling. People 
were running past me with blackened smoke faces and 
people just running with terror in their eyes. No 
coordination or anything going on down there, anything 
like that. I started donning my fire fighting gear 
that I had in the car. 

With that Lieutenant Eddie Datri, from squad 
one, came running up the street and he was getting 
dressed while I'm getting dressed. He looked at me -- 

Q. He was off duty? 

A. I think he was off duty too. I think he must 
have just came from the fire house because he was still 
in uniform. He looked at me and he said Billy, can I 



W. QUICK 

put my sneakers in your car. I said yes. He said all 
right. I will meet you up on the fire floor. I said I 
will be there. That's the last I saw of Eddie D'Atri. 
He ran from Vesey to Church right between, I think, 
building four and five, right there. That would be 
this building here. This is the fire building, right, 
yes, this is the fire building. I was parked here on 
Church and Vesey and he ran down this way and of course 
the building is right here so I'm sure he ran right 
between these two buildings. 

Q. Which buildings? 

A. Between four. 

MR. McCOURT: Between four and two. 

A. And five, but he ran between four and five. 
I'm sure he ran to the closest building, knowing him. 
He was a great firefighter. With that he left me and I 
donned all my gear. I started going across Church 
Street and when I went across Church Street, I saw the 
door open on building 5 and a police officer yelled to 
me. He said I need help, I have people trapped down in 
the subway. They won't move. Like that. So I was 
like all right, I'm here to help. You know. 

I think this man saved my life really. 

Q. You went down there? 



W. QUICK 

A. I didn't go down into the subway. I went in, 
and as soon as you go in this entrance, there is like 
either four or five escalators, I can't recollect, 
right there. What it was was all these people were 
bunched on the escalator. They all had darkened faces, 
smoke, bleeding, injuries, but they were in mass 
hysteria. They were like -- 

Q. Where were they coming from, do you have any 
idea? 

A. What I think this policeman did is, I think, 
he took them from the north tower, maybe the north 
tower or the south tower or what have you because of 
falling debris and I think he huddled them into this 
building and walked them through the subway. Because 
they all had blackened faces and that's why I feel they 
were from the building. So what I did is when I got to 
the top of the escalator, you know, I have been in a 
rescue company. I'm pretty quick to adapt to 
situations like this. I just yelled out really loud 
Fire Department. All of a sudden they all stopped and 
looked up at me. 

Q. Took command of the situation? 

A. Right, and I just said there are ambulances 
outside to take care of you. Just walk out these doors 



W. QUICK 

and go to your left and go towards Vesey Street. When 
I ran in, I saw like, you know, two or three ambulances 
as I was running in. So I just -- but the cop, he 
said to me I can't get these people to move. I said 
all right. With that they all started moving. 

I said look, you lead them out. So the cop 
led them out and they kept on going. There was like 
around 50, 60 people easy. I looked at every one of 
their faces as they went by. They were all blackened, 
bleeding, with different injuries, and so they all got 
out and all of a sudden I looked down at the bottom of 
the escalator and there was a guy there, an older 
gentleman. I said pal, come on, let's go, you got to 
get going. All of a sudden the guy looked up at me, 
and he was really bleeding profusely from the head. So 
I ran down the escalator stairs, I grabbed the back of 
his belt and I ran him up the stairs. Now I got back 
outside. He was the last one. 

There were ambulances there. These people 
just I think, scurried, I don't even think that they 
went to the ambulance. I carried the guy to the 
ambulances and said here you go, to the Fire Department 
EMT. I said you will be all right. I turned around 
and when I started running along -- 



W. QUICK 

Q. Where were the ambulances parked, do you 
know? 

A. The ambulances were parked like on -- 

Q. By your car? 

A. Yes, by Church and Vesey. Yes, there were 
police cars and an emergency service truck right there, 
a couple of police cars. The ambulances were right 
there. When I started to run back, all of a sudden I 
heard the rumble. Now all of a sudden I see people 
running towards me. I said all right, maybe part of 
the plane fell off in the building or a section. I had 
no idea that the whole building was coming down. So 
what happened was there was by Fifth Street, there was 
like a doorway. It wasn't really a doorway. It was 
just like an I beam. These I beams -- this is four and 
this is five building. These I beams are right here. 
This is where I stood for the first blast and the 
entranceway was a little further up from the subway. 

I stood here and with that, gray smoke came 
and all of a sudden, black smoke came. When the black 
smoke came it was such high heat that I had to get down 
on one knee. The heat was so intense that I laid on my 
stomach. I laid on my stomach. At this time I was 
laying on my stomach, my head was hiding inside my coat 



W. QUICK 

and I was saying to myself, you have been on the job 20 
years. You have been through every tough fire in every 
situation. You have survived. You know what to do. 
Just hang in there. You know, I'm breathing inside my 
coat, breathing inside my shirt and my T-shirt. I'm 
just, you are out in the middle of the street, just 
stay alive. 

With that, someone steps on me and the guy 
said "Who's that." I said Fire Department. The guy 
said: "I think I'm burnt." I said pal, I can't even 
see you. I said just stay next to me until the smoke 
rises. I will see if I can take care of you. It took 
a good ten minutes. It was a beautiful clear day. I 
explained this to other firemen, like I was in a 
bedroom with a mattress fire. That's how intense the 
smoke was. And for me to hide inside my coat and not 
be able to breathe is pretty intense. The high heat. 
This guy thought he was burned. 

Q. Did he stay with you? 

A. Yes, he did, yes yes. He was a Fire 
Department EMT. Then after a good ten minutes, the 
smoke lifted where you could see each other. It was 
just snowing out from the dust and the soot and 
everything like that. This guy had 3 inches of hot 



W. QUICK 

soot on top of him. So did I. I stood up and brushed 
my eyes off and got all the stuff out of my mouth. He 
started shaking. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt. 

Q. He didn't have a - - he probably didn't have 
his jacket on? 

A. He didn't have a jacket on. The EMTs -- you 
know, it was a crystal clear day. I brushed off his 
arms and everything and he kept looking at his arms and 
he said: "Oh, man, my arms are so warm." From what I 
could see it doesn't look like any burns. Maybe you 
have like a sunburn or something like that. I said 
"Are you all right." He said "Yeah". I said are you 
okay to walk and everything. He said "Yes". He just 
left. I never saw him again. He went on his way. 

After that I stood there. I looked around 
and it was like the night of the living dead. It was 
like it was snowing out still. Everyone had the 
thousand mile stare on their eyes, like coming out from 
where they hid, walking across Church Street and just 
looking. I had full fire fighting gear and I stepped 
out and I just looked around. Then I walked across 
Church Street from the fire building and looked up at 
the building and saw that it was still burning. So I 
was like, all right, I don't think I have to go into 



10 

W. QUICK 



the building because I got a feeling there are more 
people in the street hurt from the collapse. 

So I started my search down Church Street, 
checking all the vehicles. They were all wrecked with 
debris on top of them, everything like that. 

MR. McCOURT: Continuing the interview with 

firefighter Quick. 

A. At this time I walked across Church Street. 
I saw that the building was still burning and I felt it 
was my need to stay in the street and look for victims 
from the first collapse. As I went down the street, I 
checked out every vehicle. 

Q. Describe the terrain -- 

A. The condition of the street, everything was 
covered with 3 to 5 inches of soot. Debris in the 
street, it was everywhere. Papers, things from the 
office building. Further down towards Liberty, you 
could see parts of the building and everything like 
that, but I didn't get down there yet, by the 
Millennium Hotel. I wanted to make a diligent search 
of the area. 

Q. Did you find a lot of people? 

A. I kept zigzagging back and forth and checked 
out all emergency vehicles on the street. I kept 



11 

W. QUICK 



looking on the Church Street side of the -- between 
four and five building and kept walking down and looked 
between four and five and I didn't see any people. 
People started coming out and looking like what has 
happened just now. Everything like that. They were 
all emergency workers and some were workers from 
buildings and everything like that. In fact, there 
were two guys that came out, and there was an engine 
parked probably on Dey Street or something like that, 
and there was an ambulance on fire. 

So these two civilians started -- you know, 
to grab a hose to put it out. I walked off and 
searched the ambulance that was on fire and looked 
around. I looked up at the building and I was like, 
you know, the first one collapsed, maybe the second one 
could collapse. 

I said listen guys, forget this ambulance. 
It's in the middle of the street. It's not a 
priority. I know you mean well. I said just look for 
victims laying in the street. They put down the hose. 
I said just look around for people. Everyone had this 
look of disbelief on their faces. 

Q. Did you see the second building? 

A. I could see the second building still 



12 
W. QUICK 



burning. 

Q. The other one, it was totally gone? 

A. Totally gone. The smoke cleared up, just 
smoke laying over the rubble, over the ruins. I kept 
walking down. I kept zigzagging on the street, kept 
going back and forth. That way I wouldn't miss anybody 
across the street or on the other side. I was like, I 
would say I met those two guys on Church Street and I 
met maybe another three or four people on Church Street 
as I was walking down. 

Q. That was it? 

A. That was it. People coming out of the 
woodwork, just looking, you know. I kept walking back 
and forth, like I said, making searches. I made it all 
the way down to the Millennium Hotel where I just got 
in front of the Millennium Hotel. When I got in front 
of the Millennium Hotel, all of a sudden I had my back 
to the towers. All of a sudden I heard the rumble 
again. This time, I figured, I just started running up 
the steps of the Millennium Hotel. And all the windows 
were taken out on the bottom. 

Q. They were already out, right? 

A. They were already out. What it was was a 
men's clothing store in there. I remembered the old 



13 
W. QUICK 



football thing. You know, if you are getting chased by 
a guy, don't look back because it wastes time. So I 
was just like I'm not looking back, I'm just running. 
I had surgery on my left knee, so I'm still a little 
injured. I'm still not hundred percent running. So I 
just kept running, running, running, and dove into a 
building. I looked at the building and there was two 
gigantic pillars in the building. I went right behind 
a pillar and as soon as I went behind the pillar, 
darkness set in again. 

Q. Same scenario? 

A. Same scenario. This time I'm in the building 
all by myself. I am in there and pulled my coat up and 
get behind the pillar. Covered, same thing. Having a 
talk with myself. Come on, you can survive. You know, 
hang in there. Breathe, breathe in your coat, breathe 
here. I'm coughing a little bit. This time -- 

Q. Did you feel that intense heat this time too? 

A. I didn't feel the intense heat, but this time 
the smoke lasted longer. Maybe because I was inside 
the building or what have you, but the smoke lasted 
more than ten minutes and I was down on the floor. I 
would say at least 15 minutes. Like that. I kept 
looking at my watch, like how long can I breathe and 



14 
W. QUICK 



everything else like that. I kept going for breaths in 
the armpit of my arm and breathing in there and 
breathing through my hood. 

The smoke finally cleared. When the smoke 
finally cleared where I could see stuff around me, I 
walked out to the steps and it was still charged, still 
smoke. All of a sudden a guy came up to me, I think he 
was a fire patrol, because he had a red helmet on. He 
said "Who are you? " I said Billy Quick. He said "I 
have heard of you. I will stay with you. I have a 
good chance of staying alive with you." So I was like 
all right. Stay with me. I stood on the steps of the 
Millennium Hotel for 25 minutes because the smoke was 
so heavy and it took so long to get out, for it to get 
out of the street and everything. 

From the steps of the Millennium Hotel, the 
wreckage that I saw was right across. These are the 
steps, that's the handrail and this is the wreckage 
that I saw. Famous wreckage there. 

Q. That's all that was left? 

A. That's all that was left. 

Q. Pile of rubble on top. 

A. There was heavy smoke all through this area. 
I just stood there. I then, like, I was like oh, if I 



15 
W. QUICK 



go in the pile and start searching for people and they 
send another plane I can't move out there, I'm a 
sitting duck. That's why I waited on the steps for 25 
minutes. In that 25 minutes I overlooked everything. 
Same thing, you know, people just coming out of the 
woodwork very slowly, very cautiously. You know, 
looking around, looking for people. 

Finally after that, I remember looking at my 
watch. It was like 12 o'clock. So I guess I stood on 
the steps a little longer than what it really was. It 
was 11 o'clock. It was like the top of the hour. I 
set off and walked across the street. I walked on all 
these ruins, all the way to Liberty Street and I came 
back to Church. In the middle of Church, all of a 
sudden a black fireman from 10 engine came walking up. 
This guy had the thousand mile stare. He was just like 
-- I said, how you doing. He just, he couldn't say 
anything. I said all right, listen, stop, open up your 
coat, okay, open up your bunker pants, okay, do you 
know where your company is? He just shook his head. I 
go all right. I was like, all right. I said from 
here, do you know where your fire house is? He said 
"Yes". I said I want you to go to your fire house and 
just stay there. That's all I want you to do. He was 



16 
W. QUICK 



a young guy. He was black and I could tell from his 
helmet that he was pretty new but he wasn't a proby. 
That was the last I saw of him. 

So then I just went from -- I stayed on the 
Church side and I went from building four and I 
searched in building four and was going into offices 
looking for people. The building started -- was on 
fire, and the building just started getting engulfed in 
flames. I was making searches just as the fires were 
starting. 

Q. Where were you in the building? 

A. First, second, third floor. I made it up 
through the rubbish into the building. I started 
looking for people in there too. The place was so 
vast. I figured I would just stay on Church and just 
work that area. Go back from four to five. 

Q. Did you find anybody? 

A. Didn't find anybody. Not in the buildings. 
Not in the middle of these two buildings. I got to 
five building and I went inside and yelled for people. 
No people at all. I kept walking back. I finally left 
about 6, 6:30 that night. Just like totally 
exhausted. My car was parked here, Church and Vesey. 
My car got totaled. It got wrecked. Windows were 



17 
W. QUICK 



smashed out of it, the front grille was all smashed. 
My insurance company totaled it. They were like that's 
it. So I lost my vehicle. 

Q. Did you come across anybody after that time 
while you were, you know, for those couple of hours -- 

A. I didn't come across any civilians, any 
victims, any body parts. 

Q. -- any supervisors or anybody else? 

A. No -- 

Q. Independent pretty much? 

A. Independently just going around searching. I 
was the first one on this pile looking for victims. I 
know that for a fact, because I was the only one 
walking out there. Then all of a sudden ESU cops came 
and they started towards the outskirts like that. Then 
after that when I left them, I just walked out and I 
said I bet nobody searched these buildings. That's 
when I went in the building and I started searching 
four and five. 

I had been through a lot and it was pretty 
late. After hours of being there I just sat down. I 
had been through the mill here. I said I'm on 
vacation. So I guess I will head home now. I called 
my wife from inside. There were other people inside 



18 
W. QUICK 



the clothing store with me at the Liberty hotel there, 
Liberty plaza. Millennium Hotel. The security guard, 
he was like do you guys want to call home, tell them 
you are all right. I says yes, please. I got in touch 
with my wife and I said I'm okay. 

From there I just worked nine days straight 
down there. That's -- 

Q. Did you touch base with your officer at 134 
at all? 

A. I came back and I told him I was down there 
for the collapse. In fact on my cell phone I called my 
wife saying listen, I'm going in, there was a plane 
hit. I have to go in. She goes you are on vacation. 
I says yes, well, that's the way it is. That policeman 
saved my life. The one that came out and said I need 
help here. I said I'm here to help. I don't care who 
it is. That was a big factor right there. I would 
have been around the corner in this area too, going 
towards the building, just like every other man. 
That's the way it is gentlemen. I hope your news is 
good news. I hope that helps you a little. 

MR. McCOURT: Time is 8:45. Concluding this 

interview. For the record the interview started 

at 8:20. Thank you very much. 



File No. 9110185 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER DANIEL LYNCH 

Interview Date: October 31, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



D. LYNCH 

MR. TAMBASCO: I'm Mike Tambasco with the 

World Trade Center Task Force. We are in the main 

conference room on the fourth floor at Metrotech 

in BITS. The time is 1632 hours. 

Q. The subject of the interview today is? 

A. Firefighter Daniel Lynch, assigned to Ladder 
company 7. I'm presently detailed to the Fire 
Commissioner's office as an aide to the Fire 
Commissioner . 

Q. Would you be good enough to just tell us your 
story right from the beginning. 

A. On the morning of September 11, I was on my 
way to the medical office. I was not on duty that 
day. I live on Staten Island. I was just about at the 
Verrazano Bridge when I heard a radio report that there 
was a fire at the World Trade Center. I changed radio 
stations to a news station, at which point I heard that 
there was a plane crash and they were interviewing 
civilians that had witnessed it. There were several 
different accounts; small plane, large plane, so on and 
so forth. 

It became apparent that it was a large 
plane. By the time I got on to the Verrazano Bridge, I 
certainly could see that there was a large fire going 



D. LYNCH 

on at the World Trade Center. There was a large amount 
of smoke coming from that area. I was continuing on to 
go to the medical office, which is at Fire Department 
headquarters. 

At some point in the radio broadcast they had 
mentioned that another plane had hit the other tower. 
I could visualize that from where I was on the 
Gowanus. Traffic was starting to build up. I got off 
the Gowanus and was taking the side streets. Along the 
side streets I remember not only traffic being heavy, 
but large amounts of people coming out of the subway 
stations. Everything seemed to be kind of quiet. Kind 
of an amazing thing. I guess I imagined that it must 
have been like it might have been years ago during war 
time, you know. 

Obviously after the second plane hit it was 
obvious to me and apparent to the news outlets that I 
was listening to that this was some type of a 
purposeful terrorist attack. Sometime in that trip I 
had heard over the radio that there was a total recall 
of all Fire Department personnel. I was on my way to 
headquarters anyhow, so there wasn't anything different 
that I would have done. I can recall just getting to 
the back of Metrotech. There is a -- on Flatbush 



D. LYNCH 

Avenue. A van in front of me stopped, a fire officer 
got out of the van because I believe it was Engine 
Company 236 was en route down Flatbush Avenue, towards 
the Manhattan Bridge. A fire officer waved the Engine 
Company down and asked if they could wait for him to 
get on while he parked his van. They said they would 
wait. He parked his van behind Fire Department 
headquarters, grabbed his gear and got on. 

I checked into it in the next day or two and 
it was Lieutenant Edward D'Atri assigned to Squad one, 
who was lost in the World Trade Center. When I finally 
got into the building I went upstairs to the 8th floor, 
asked what to do, what we should be doing. Basically 
the only people that were left on the 8th floor were 
some of the secretarial staff with the exception of 
Mike Vecchi. Mike was not aware of anything in 
specific that we should be doing right now other than 
let's sit and wait and find some direction as to what 
might happen. 

A short while later, somebody had said that 
the first building had collapsed and certainly was very 
much a surprise to myself and anybody else that was 
present. When that building collapsed we had not heard 
from any of the staff on the scene, anybody from Ray 



D. LYNCH 

Goldbach, the Commissioner's executive assistant, to 
the Commissioner, to the First Deputy Commissioner. 
Commissioner Fitzpatrick, Chief Ganci, Chief Nigro, 
anybody that I could think of that we would have heard 
from on the 8th floor they hadn't heard from yet. 

I had made a determination that we needed to 
try to contact them in some fashion and I was in the 
process of getting a list of Nextel phone numbers so we 
could start to call them on the Nextel phone number. 
We didn't have the Nextel available to us to just beep 
them on the walkie talkie portion of the Nextel so I 
wanted the phone numbers. 

In the process of procuring them, I ran into 
a Firefighter Patrick Cleary, who works in the press 
office. He was going to go over to the scene. Bear in 
mind that both myself and Pat Cleary were dressed in 
sneakers, shorts and T shirts. He said -- he asked me 
if we had any gloves around. I found a couple of pairs 
of work gloves in the Commissioner's office. I asked 
one of the secretaries up on the 8th floor if she could 
try to call as many people on the Nextel list as 
possible and has she got in contact or has anybody 
contacted her to start to develop a list of those 
people. At least we would start with some type of 



D. LYNCH 

tracking point for senior staff, I guess was the 
thought in my head. Pat Cleary had in mind that he had 
to track down Commissioner Gribbon, who was his direct 
supervisor in the office of public information, who he 
had also not heard from. 

We took the Commissioner's spare Suburban and 
headed over towards the towards the site. As we 
crossed the Manhattan Bridge, there were numerous 
people walking across the bridge, obviously had been 
involved in the collapse of the first building. Some 
people with no shoes. Some people with -- certainly 
everybody was in disarray. 

We drove down along Bowery to Park Row South 
and as we got closer to City Hall, it started to be the 
development of the dust that was still floating 
around. We got to the end of City Hall Park. There 
was certainly some traffic problems, some increased 
dust condition. There was some firefighters in 
different areas starting to muster up in the area and 
head down towards the World Trade Center plaza. 

Traffic caused us to go north on Broadway to 
Murray Street. We attempted to get masks from several 
different ambulance services and finally on the corner 
of Murray Street and Broadway there was an ambulance 



D. LYNCH 

there that had a couple of extra masks for us. 

Just as we got the masks and were trying to 
figure out what we were going to do next as far as head 
in what direction, we started to hear a rumble that was 
about a thousand times more intense than the sound of 
the subway that runs underneath the ground, but 
something similar to that. Like I said, a thousand 
times more intense. With that, somebody came running 
around the corner and I always make the comment that I 
don't think his feet were touching the ground. To me I 
would assume it was a police officer. He had a badge 
around his neck. He was holding a handkerchief over 
his mouth and he was saying run run run, the building 
is coming down. There were some other people behind 
him. The dust cloud was right behind them. We dove 
back into the Suburban. By the time we got the windows 
rolled up and the doors closed there was already a dust 
condition inside the vehicle and then it just was like 
several minutes of I say black snow, because the debris 
and the dust just kept coming down on us. 

We really had no idea what we were going to 
do. Even if I had decided to drive the vehicle, if I 
knew that I was going straight up Broadway, then maybe 
we could get further away from the building, but there 



D. LYNCH 

was a vehicle blocking me and I couldn't do that, so it 
was just a matter of let's wait and see what happens. 
Afterwards, several days later I asked Pat Cleary what 
we did. For the most part we were just like oh, shit 
what are we going to do. 

When the dust settled, we got -- proceeded to 
go down Murray Street across Church Street, across West 
Street, sorry that's West Broadway. 
Q. West Broadway? 

A. I think at one of the intersections of West 
Broadway possibly or possibly Greenwich Street, there 
was a fire truck there and we came up with the idea 
that maybe we could use some tools from the fire 
truck. It was Ladder 124's rig. 

We got off. There wasn't much left on 124's 
rig because they had obviously taken a good portion of 
their own tools with them. But we did take one or two 
axes, there was a flashlight. We took a Herst tool. 
We took an oxygen bag and thermal imaging camera. 

At that point I also ran into a Firefighter 
that I know from 4 Engine, who I believe was the MPO of 
4 Engine that day. His name was Bob Humphrey. Bob was 
rattled to say the least. He mentioned that he thinks 
his rig was crushed. He thinks his guys were crushed. 



D. LYNCH 

He is not sure. He didn't know where he was going. I 
just mentioned to him make sure that somebody knows 
where you are, wherever you go make sure somebody knows 
that that's where you are. 

We continued down in the Suburban down to 
West Street. When we got to West Street it was like a 
movie type of scene. There was about a foot half deep 
of paper and dust and any movement created more of a 
dust cloud. The first people we came across were 
several firefighters and Chiefs. The one Chief was 
Chief McNally, who I believe is a Deputy Chief. He was 
in the process of trying to set up a command post. We 
walked down further towards the site, which would be 
Barclay or Vesey Street. I think on the intersection 
of Vesey Street and West Street I saw Chief Hayden, a 
Deputy Chief from the First Division. Chief Hayden was 
aware of who I was because I know him, but certainly 
was also obviously rattled. Both of these two Chiefs 
were covered with dust, so they were certainly part of 
whatever happened. 

We decided to continue down to look for 
anybody, the main mission being the senior staff, 
although anybody that was found. I had had the thermal 
imaging camera. I had looked around, there were fire 



10 

D. LYNCH 



trucks crushed, fire trucks on fire, cars, trucks, not 
all on fire, but several on fire, large pieces of 
steel. I guess some of the sheathing from the 
building, I don't know if it's aluminum or what, but 
other types of metal. The foot bridge was down, which 
I think was considered the north foot bridge. 

We had turned on the thermal imaging camera, 
made a pass underneath some rigs, underneath the 
walkway that was crushed down. I can remember looking 
under the walkway and seeing a crushed fire truck. I 
don't know what company it was, but the lights still 
being on even though it was crushed down. 

At one point I ran into a firefighter -- a 
Fire Lieutenant I think from Rescue 1. Name I'm not 
sure of. At that point he had started to climb over 
some rigs and go into another area underneath that foot 
bridge and being that I didn't have any equipment at 
that time, I thought it best that I hand off the 
thermal imaging camera to him and go and try to procure 
equipment if I was going to stick around the scene any 
longer . 

I do recall somebody being, I think what it 
might have been the top floor of 6 World Trade Center, 
which was also looked like it was from a movie set the 



11 

D. LYNCH 



way it was devastated. From the top floor window, 
which would be the northwest corner and I do believe 
there was somebody with an apparatus making an attempt 
to possibly get a ladder up to that person. I don't 
know what the end result of that was. 

When I walked back towards the corner of West 
Street and Vesey Street, I saw Commissioner Gribbon and 
Lieutenant McLaughlin, who also works in the Fire 
Commissioner's office. I proceeded to go inside what I 
guess is 3 World Financial Center, the American Express 
building, make a phone call on a pay phone to Fire 
Department headquarters where I told them that I had 
accounted for Commissioner Gribbon and Lieutenant 
McLaughlin and I was also informed by them that 
Commissioner Von Essen and Captain Goldbach were at the 
quarters of 24 Engine. I told the girl who answered 
the phone, who was Sandy, to make sure that she reached 
out to their wives and let them know that we had 
accounted for them. 

I had also questioned them if they saw anyone 
else, such as Commissioner Feehan, Chief Ganci, Chief 
Nigro or Commissioner Fitzpatrick or Commissioner 
Tierney. They had said that they had seen them but 
they weren't quite sure whether they saw them after 



12 
D. LYNCH 



both buildings had come down or not. I didn't make the 
assumption that they were accounted for at that point. 

I was heading back up to Murray Street where 
the Suburban was parked and at that time I think told 
Lieutenant McLaughlin that I was going to go to 24 
Engine and see what the boss was doing and see what he 
needed. At which point I walked back up to Murray 
Street. There were some more firefighters starting to 
gather at that point. Chief McNally was still there, I 
think a Chief, Mark Ferran was there, several people, 
Louis Garcia was there, Chief Garcia. At that point I 
said I'm going to go up to 24 Engine. I got in the 
vehicle and made my way up West Street to 24 Engine's 
quarters. 

When I got to 24 Engine's quarters, the 
Mayor's people were there. The Fire Commissioner was 
there and his executive assistant, Ray Goldbach. They 
were having a little bit of a meeting behind one of the 
offices. I acknowledged them through the glass 
window. When he came out, he asked me what was going 
on. I told him what I had known, what I had just been 
previously said and that I had a vehicle here for him, 
what did he want to do. He said well, just stick 
around, let's see what we are going to do. There was a 



13 
D. LYNCH 



brief press conference. 

We went from 24 Engine's quarters to the 
Police Academy, where we started to set up a temporary 
command post or a command center I should say. Also 
with us at that time were 2 fire Marshals, Fire Marshal 
Mike Owney, who is now promoted to Lieutenant, and Rich 
-- I'm not sure what Rich's last name is. Somewhere 
along the lines they had come across Commissioner Von 
Essen and they had said to him if nobody is with you we 
will stick with you and be secured and he agreed to 
that and they did that. 

At the command center on the 6th floor of the 
Police Academy, we had gotten some phones that we could 
utilize and we were starting to do whatever we possibly 
could as far as get information from the scene, get 
information from headquarters, kind of regroup in a 
way. 

There was many meetings that the Commissioner 
and the Mayor had in and out of offices. I guess at 
one point the Governor showed up and some additional 
press conferences. I guess at one one point, some 
additional staff came, such as some of the other 
Commissioners' drivers and at one point when we first 
got there, being that I was in the shorts and T-shirt 



14 
D. LYNCH 



when I first dropped the boss off and found out where 
we were and what we were doing, I told him that I was 
going to go get a uniform, so I stopped by my own fire 
house, which is Ladder company 7, a few blocks away 
from the Police Academy and I got my bunker gear and 
some work duty clothing. 

Then I also went to Engine 39 where we parked 
the Commissioner's vehicle and I got my uniform and 
proceeded back down to the Police Academy. One thing 
that I noticed when I was going to 39 Engine, which is 
on 67 Street between Third and Lex, the New York City 
blood bank is on 67 Street between First and Second and 
there was a line all the way around the corner of 
people to donate blood. I felt that this thing had 
just happened minutes ago and I was kind of amazed at 
that, you know. 

We went back down to the command center. 
Probably spent the next several hours going back and 
forth from the site to the command center for several 
different reasons. The possibility of some recoveries, 
to get information, to get some communication set up, 
whether it was by cellphone or by 800 megahertz 
radios. Communications I know it was a difficult 
situation in the beginning. 



15 
D. LYNCH 



I believe it was about 10 o'clock at night, 
we were back down at the scene along with -- I can 
remember Chief Fellini being there and the 
Commissioner. It seemed like they were trying to gear 
up for whatever the tasks were going to be for the 
overnight. Lighting was an issue, we were getting some 
lighting, heavy equipment was an issue. That was 
coming in. I remember earlier in the day there was a 
meeting and I don't recall exactly who was there or 
where it was at, but we talked about how it was going 
to get dark fast and we needed equipment. 

There were many issues about the amount of 
people that were there and how we could control them 
and the amount of apparatus that was there and how we 
could control that and certainly seemed to be a 
monumental task in the late hours of that day, but the 
early stages of the whole operation. 

That's pretty much a good synopsis of the 
first day. I think by the time we finished up that 
first day it was probably around 2 or 3 a.m. By the 
time we dropped the Commissioner off and tried to get 
some semblance of what we needed to do from our 
standpoint of view as the Commissioner's aides. Picked 
them up the following morning at 6 a.m. and that became 



16 
D. LYNCH 



a routine for about seven days. I think that's pretty 
much it as far as that first day. 

Q. Anything else you would like to add to it, 
just -- 

A. The only thing it's something that I'm sure 
many people have said and I just recall that those 
first -- those first minutes from the time that sound 
started, the rumbling started to occur and the dust 
started to fall and then stopped to get gear and 
equipment from the fire truck and then continue down to 
West Street and getting there and seeing the crushed 
fire trucks, crushed cars, vehicles on fire. It was 
like a movie set. 

It was amazing and the people that I did see 
and I didn't see anybody that was hurt physically at 
least serious. But all the people I saw certainly were 
rattled, understandably rattled, but because might not 
have been able to get the answer that you wanted out of 
them, you know, but understandably. 

As time went on we had heard of some of the 
fatalities and we were hopeful in many cases about 
certain people that unfortunately didn't pan out. I 
guess Father Judge and Commissioner Feehan and Chief 
Ganci were the first three majors that came across and 



17 
D. LYNCH 



what can we say about that, you know. It was obvious 
from early on to us that the toll on the Department, 
whatever the numbers might have been at that time in 
anybody's head, it was going to be heavy. Certainly 
knew that it was something that the Department, nobody 
could have ever believed was happening. Oh well. 

Before September 11, yes, yes, sure, that 
will never happen. After September 11 I think we all 
know that anything can happen. 

MR. TAMBASCO: All right then. I thank you 

for your interview. The interview concludes at 

1656 hours. 



File No. 9110219 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MARK RUPPERT 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



M. RUPPERT 2 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today's date is 
December 4th, 2001. The time is 11:45. I 
am Lieutenant Chief Art Lakiotes here at the 
command of the New York City Fire 
Department. I am conducting an interview 
with -- 

FIREFIGHTER RUPPERT: Mark Ruppert . 
CHIEF LAKIOTES: -- Firefighter Mark 
Ruppert regarding the events of September 
11th, 2001. 

Q. Mark, if you would, just take me 
through the time you got on the rigs, responded 
and what transpired during this event. 

A. We got to the box about 10 to 9. We 
went to a staging area outside the Battery Tunnel 
with about five other companies that met us 
there, 101 being one of them, and 202 and 205. 
We were watching the tower burn when 
the second one hit. We actually saw the second 
one hit and the plane burst into flames. Not 
even a minute later we were sent in to the box. 
So we went through the tunnel. 

After we got through the tunnel, we 
pulled up right in front of the building, weaving 



M. RUPPERT 3 

in and out of the other trucks. We got a spot 
out in front there. We got out and we said, you 
know what -- the chauffeur pulled the rig around 
the corner. There were so many rigs there 
already. 

We went across the street, across West 
Street, and we were waiting there. As we were 
waiting there -- well, you don't want to know 
about the bodies jumping. You know all that. 

Q. Whatever you feel like talking about, 
just tell me. 

A. We were there for about 15 minutes, 10, 
15 minutes. Then we got orders to follow up. So 
we went under the overpass. We crossed Liberty, 
went under the overpass and then proceeded into 
the lobby of the Marriott, crossing Liberty. 

As we entered the lobby, we entered it 
through the bar area. Then we went into the 
lounge area which connected, from what I 
understand, to tower one and tower two. 

We were told to get comfortable because 
we were going to be there a while. Some got real 
comfortable. I left my bunker pants on and took 
them off when I -- I think I left my coat in 



M. RUPPERT 4 

there. I took my coat off because it was hot, 
took the tank off, put our tools down. I went to 
use the bathroom, got something to drink there. 
They had water set up. There was a lot of 
companies in the lobby there. 

Q. What time was that? Do you have any 
idea how many guys were in that lobby at that 
time? 10? 20? 30? 40? 

A. I would definitely say between 75 and 
100, I would say. It was full. The whole lobby 
was - - 

Q. Full of firefighters? 

A. Uh-huh. 

Q. Lieutenant Wood went to the command 
post staging area for instructions? 

A. Yeah. Let's see. He took a walk down 
there, down the lobby, and came back and said -- 
actually when we went that way, he told us to go 
to the bathroom, try to use the phone, which I 
tried but I didn't get through on my phone call. 
We used the bathroom, whatever. 

When I got back, he was back. He said, 
"All right, we're going to go down to --" I 
thought he said we're going to go to work. I 



M. RUPPERT 5 

thought we were going to go relieve companies up 
there. He said we're going to go to a staging 
area down in the other tower, the north tower. 

Basically just at that time I had my -- 
I got my coat back on. I had my mask in my hand. 
I was about to put it on my back and -- 

Q. You started hearing a noise? 

A. No, no. Looking out the window -- I 
was facing the window, and I saw everybody 
running. 

Q. Gary said the same thing. You knew 
something was going on. 

A. I yelled. I said, "Everybody run. 
Something is going on." We were basically 
looking out and you saw everybody running. Then 
you look up. You hear rumbling. You hear 
something. So you look up and we saw the 
reflection of the building across the street. We 
knew something was coming down. 

Then we just said hit the deck. 
Everybody was running towards the back of the 
lobby. We ran into an area where we were -- we 
were running kind of towards the bar area where 
we came in. So I guess instinct tells you to go 



M. RUPPERT 6 

the way you came in, so instinct. 

You felt it all coming. You felt the 
rumbling. You heard it hitting the floor. Then 
it was just that hit and the wind came and was 
blowing us. Back into the bar area is where it 
blew us. Somewhere along the line a rolldown 
gate came down between the lobby and the bar, and 
we realized that was the only way out after a few 
minutes of being in there. We didn't know what 
was in there. We lifted the gate up to get out. 
What were you going to say? You were 
going to say something? 

Q. I was running down Liberty. I was one 
of the guys you saw running, because we could see 
it actually happening. We looked up -- see, I'm 
surprised -- what was in my mind and I could 
never forget it is the noise it made. 

A. Yeah. 

Q. It was like a train -- 

A. A freight train. 

Q. -- going over my head. When Gary said 
that you thought you heard something, it really 
was incredible. He didn't hear what we heard. 
We knew he was right under it, but we heard from 



M. RUPPERT 7 

the outside. 

A. Did you hear the snapping on that? Did 
you hear the floor snapping? After the first one 
came, we wound up going across the street. We 
wound up -- we were going where the windows were. 
We were going out that way. We didn't realize we 
were out of the building until we were in the 
middle of West Street, basically. There was a 
crevice that we were climbing down and all this 
steel -- 

Q. What was the visibility like? 

A. It was very hazy, very thick. But you 
could see. You look back and you couldn't really 
see the building -- anything. But once you were 
across the street, you look and you see the 
structure, steel sticking up still. 

Then when we were across the street -- 
as we were going, there was a guy in a bush. He 
might have been a reporter of some kind. David 
something. I grabbed someone else and said, 
"Let's get this guy." We pulled him across the 
street, and we took him with us into -- there was 
a deli over there. We put him in there. 

Then as we said what are we going to do 



M. RUPPERT 8 

now, what are we going to do with this guy, 
what's our next move, that's when the second 
building -- I guess 10 minutes later? 15 minutes 
later? I don't know. It seemed like that much. 

But then we saw the other one coming 
down. Part of you wanted to keep looking because 
it was like holy cow. You could hear it going 
"kachoo, kachoo, kachoo." Now outside it's total 
hysteria, and you had time because it's this big 
building. You had -- I don't know, how long did 
it take? Looking at it we said we better get in. 
We started running. We realized we've 
got to get cover. We all started diving into 
this store, pushing each other in, pushing a guy 
and he's pushing you. You get in there, and it's 
basically the same thing. That wind was blowing 
and debris messed that building up. All the 
windows were broken in the front of the building. 
We thought we were buried in there. Somebody 
started panicking, and somebody took over and 
told them to shut the hell up. 

Q. That bad? 

A. Yeah. 

Then somebody walked outside and said 



M. RUPPERT 9 

let's see if we can get outside. It was clear. 
You couldn't see anything, but we could walk out 
and we weren't buried. The dust was settling. 

We grabbed that guy again and we pulled 
him down West Street to the water, and they took 
him in the boat. Then we walked along the water 
to where they were evacuating people. We got a 
bunch of people on. Everybody was standing 
around. Finally officers said, "You guys, we're 
going to go now. " 

That ' s basically it . 

Q. You don't know how much time you have 
on the job? I asked your chief about it, but I 
don't remember. 

A. I have like three years. 

Q. Okay. So don't know of anybody you saw 
in the lobby except for your own company? 

A. I remember seeing guys from 101. 

Q. You do? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. At what point in time do you remember 
seeing them? 

A. I saw them on the outside of the tunnel 
when we met there. Then we pulled into 101. I 



M. RUPPERT 10 

know the faces. I think it was a guy from 122. 
I saw 122 in there. 101, I'm pretty sure they 
were down in front. We were in the lobby. They 
went down further, and we were on this side. 

Q. You were more towards the Liberty 
Street side? 

A. We were more towards Liberty, yeah, and 
they were in front of there. There was dozens of 
firemen. I don't know why at that point -- I 
know after we came down and I was walking out and 
I couldn't find my helmet and my tools. I was 
kicking a helmet, so I shook it off, I put it on 
my head, and I went out, thinking it was mine. 

A guy when I was outside, he said, 
"You're from 58?" I said, "No, I just found this 
helmet." I didn't even know what number was on 
it. He said, "That's my helmet." So whether it 
was or not, he got his helmet back. So I know 58 
was in there. 

Q. You didn't see anybody from 101 after 
that? 

A. No, no. After that it was who was with 
us there. Basically it was guys from our 
company. There was a pedestrian or two. That 



M. RUPPERT 11 

was about it, really. I can't hardly remember. 
I know it was us from our company. There were a 
few other firefighters, that guy there from 58. 
That's it. I can't remember anybody else being 
with us there. There weren't too many with us. 
There were about 10, 12 guys there, maybe. 
That's it. 

Q. Your memory is better than mine, 
believe me. 

A. Part of you starts searching, thinking 
you're going to find tools, find my helmet, any 
other guys. It was just such a mess. 

Q. How was the visibility? 

A. They said we're going out, everybody 
out, grab people and we're going out. 

Q. How was the visibility in the lobby of 
the hotel after the collapse? 

A. It was settling. It was like a thick 
smoke. It was thick. It was a thick dust. You 
could see. It was settling. At first you 
couldn't see a thing. I was worried about 
breathing. I couldn't see. I had my hood over. 
Good thing I had the hood. I had that over my 
mouth, and I was breathing through that. You're 



M. RUPPERT 12 

kicking a lot of dust and dirt and papers. 
Everybody looked like a statue. All you could 
see was the guys and the mouth. 

Q. The eyes were all red. 

A. Yeah. It seemed like everybody was 
going "blah" with their mouth and spitting. We 
went to the guy across the street and we kind of 
tried to towel up, get the junk out. It was bad, 
but you could see. It was like a thick fog. You 
could actually see to get to walk. You could see 
in front of you. 

I wish -- 

Q. You did fine. 

A. I'm pretty aware of when I go to jobs I 
look at different companies that are there. 

Q. Sure. 

A. I just wish I would have a little 
more -- 

Q. Let me tell you, it was traumatic for 
everybody that was there. A lot of us don't 
remember a lot that went on. 
Okay. Thank you. 
CHIEF LAKIOTES: This concludes the 

interview. It is approximately 12:00. 



File No. 9110220 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER EDWARD DAVIS 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



E. DAVIS 

BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today's date is 

December 4, 2001. The time is approximately 

11:10. This is Chief Art Lakiotes of the Safety 

Battalion, New York City Fire Department. I'm 

conducting an interview with -- 

FIREFIGHTER EDWARD DAVIS: Firefighter Edward 

Davis. 

BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: Who was assigned 

to Battalion 32. Regarding the events of 

September 11, 2001. 

Q. Eddie, just take me through your response to 
the World Trade Center and what transpired after that. 

A. Responded to the World Trade Center with the 
21 Battalion. The 32 Battalion car was at the rock. 
Responded with them, arrived about 2 minutes prior to 
the first collapse, which I believe was the south 
tower. Upon that collapse, was upon the scene also for 
the second collapse, and conducted a search and 
attempted rescue from that point on. 

Q. Did you see anybody else that was there that 
may have not made it, can you think of anybody? 

A. Can't think of anybody that didn't make it. 
Ladder 101 was there, but I hadn't seen any of them 
prior to my arrival other than being in the fire house 



E. DAVIS 

before the start of our tours. 

Q. Everyone you saw in that area, myself 
included, you saw afterwards? 
A. That's correct, sir. 

Q. There is no way of telling where anybody was 
that didn't make it at that point? 
A. That's correct. 

BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: Okay Ed. Thank 
you. 

FIREFIGHTER EDWARD DAVIS: Okay, Chief. 
BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: This concludes the 
interview at approximately 11:15. 



</XMP></BODYx/HTML> 



File No. 9110221 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER ERIC BERNTSEN 

Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



E. BERNTSEN 

BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today's date is 
December 4, 2001. The time is 1300 hours. My 
name is Battalion Chief Art Lakiotes of the Safety 
Command. I am conducting an interview with -- 
FIREFIGHTER BERNTSEN: Eric Berntsen. 
BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: -- Firefighter 
Eric Berntsen regarding the events of September 
11, 2001. 

Q. Eric, would you just mind telling me in your 
own words, from the time you responded, exactly where 
and what and how the day unfolded for you. 

A. Okay. We heard the explosions from the 
kitchen. We went up on the roof and got there just in 
time to see the second plane hit the towers. So we 
figured we would be going on that. So we ran 
downstairs. By the time we got down to the apparatus 
floor, we got the ticket. It was about five after 
9:00. I jumped on the rig. I was an extra man. The 
dispatcher came over and announced to bring the extra 
man. I was supposed to be detailed to 205, but I 
called to quarters and they said they were out, so I 
jumped on the rig. 

We went down to the Trade Center. On the way 
there, we experienced a lot of traffic. We went over 



E. BERNTSEN 

the Brooklyn Bridge, came down Church Street, made a 
right onto Liberty, and parked near 10 and 10' s 
quarters, on the opposite side, on 10 and 10's side of 
Liberty. We grabbed the rollups and an extra bottle 
and walked down Liberty towards West Street. When we 
got to the corner of West Street, we made a right and I 
ran into the Marriott. We stopped underneath the 
pedestrian bridge where a lot of guys were using that 
for shelter, so we didn't get hit by anything coming 
down, bodies, et cetera. 

We ran into the Marriott and stayed by the 
security desk there. The officer went off, got orders 
from a Chief, and we were told to go to the 74th floor 
of the south tower. He came back, told us what we were 
doing. We gathered the company together, started 
heading north through the Marriott. Then we made a 
right and went down the ramp to get to the concourse 
level. 

We headed eastbound in the concourse level to 
where it first turns up to the left, where the mall 
turns up to the left, up north, and we got to that 
corner and the officer told us to wait there. Instead 
of carrying the stuff all around, he was going to try 
to find a staircase or the best way we could get up. 



E. BERNTSEN 

He walked away. He went west in the concourse and 
talked to a security guy. He was, I guess, about 100 
feet away from us, maybe more. 

That's when we heard the building start 
shaking. I looked up into the Marriott, because you 
could see up into it from where we were standing, and 
just saw black, like dust. I saw stuff falling off the 
ceiling and I saw just black dust coming down. I 
turned and I ran a couple of steps west, a couple of 
steps east, and then we turned up north, up into the 
concourse, because I didn't see anything falling in 
that area at that time. So I felt that was the safest 
direction to go. I jumped into a corner. The lights 
went out. I jumped into a corner under an archway. I 
thought maybe that might provide some better support. 
I just held my helmet. I figured we were going to get 
like a pancake collapse on top of us. 

After the building stopped shaking and there 
was no rumbling noise any more, Vinny Picciano of 212 
regrouped the company by saying 212, regroup, get 
back. 212, where are you? We all got back together. 
We all turned on our lights. We talked to the 
civilians, told them to keep quiet, to stay calm, don't 
yell or scream, everybody stay calm, we are going to 



E. BERNTSEN 

get out of here. We asked if anybody knew how to get 
out. Me and this guy who was with us, he said he knew 
how, but he couldn't really see too much. He looked 
like he was blinded by the dust. We just walked store 
to store. He was asking us what store do you see? We 
told him all the stores and we just headed north 
through the concourse and came out in between the PATH 
and the number 1 and number 9 line. There is an exit 
there that comes out into building 5. It comes out on 
the exterior of building 5, which leaves you off in the 
middle of Vesey Street, between Church and West 
Broadway. 

We got out, myself and Jimmy Murphy, who was 
detailed to 212 from 220 Engine. We chocked the doors 
outside, went back in, told all the people this is an 
exit. We had about 50 civilians with us. We told them 
to exit out that way. We made kind of like a chain 
with lights, with flashlights, so they could see where 
they were going to get them out. Once everybody was 
out, we went back in and we started searching. 

We tried to give a Mayday for our officer 
because our officer wasn't with us. We couldn't find 
him. We went back in and we searched the stores, 
searched the PATH. There were some more people still 



E. BERNTSEN 

in there. I remember a guy from the GAP. He was the 
manager. I asked if anybody was in there. He said no, 
he was the last guy to leave. So we got him out. We 
found a guy, probably in his mid 40s, bald head, or 
short crew cut hair, under the concrete. We picked him 
up, put him in a chair and carried him out. 

When we got out on to Vesey, there was a Port 
Authority cop with us and he said that they were given 
reports that the second building was going to come 
down. So we made a decision we'd better leave. We 
came out of the door on Vesey Street. We were 
exhausted from carrying this gentleman who was pretty 
heavy, we estimated about 300 pounds, 275. It took six 
guys to carry him. We were all exhausted. We were 
changing. We didn't know if we could get him out of 
there before this building was going to come down, so 
we put him down for a second, took a breath, and made a 
decision to just go for it and pick him up. We made it 
a couple of steps and then we heard the rumble and we 
knew the second tower was coming down. Everybody let 
go of the guy and ran. There was no talking, no 
looking. You just went. 

Q. What direction? 

A. There was a cop, NYPD, I'm pretty sure it was 



E. BERNTSEN 

an NYPD guy, and Vinnie Picciano were in front of me. 
We were facing north. We didn't even reach the 
sidewalk. We didn't even get off the sidewalk in front 
of building 5. I saw them run forward, north, heading 
across the street. 

Q. Up West Broadway? 

A. Across Vesey Street from where building 5 
is. Directly straight across Vesey Street towards the 
Federal Office Building, the Post Office. Vinnie and 
the cop jumped under a car. Vinnie Picciano jumped up 
on top of him. There was no room for me there and I 
thought I could make it a little bit further than 
that. So once I hit the sidewalk on the Federal 
Building, on Vesey, I turned right, which had me east 
on Vesey Street, and I started running. Then I looked 
up and I saw a dark cloud and I grabbed my helmet. 

The force knocked me down, blew me. I don't 
know how far I went, but I went forward pretty far. It 
knocked the wind out of me. I got covered with debris 
and just kept my hands on my helmet. Something pretty 
big hit me and knocked my helmet off. I felt a blast 
and just a lot of pressure when it hit me. So I had no 
helmet. I put my hands back on top of my head and I 
felt debris hit me. I felt weight piling up on my back 



E. BERNTSEN 

and I figured I was going to be under what I thought 
was about 10 feet of rubble. 

When it all stopped, I said what do I do 
now? I said, well, I can't breathe. Let me get my 
mask on. I got my mask out. I didn't realize my 
bottle wasn't on. So I couldn't reach it because I was 
face down, and I kind of gave up. Then I was still 
laying there. I said I can't just lay here. I said 
let me get out of here. Let me see how deep I am, see 
what I can do. I remember saying I have no radio, this 
fucking job, I can't get any kind of radio. 

When I pulled myself out from this debris 
that was on my back and my legs, I was up against the 
wall of the Federal Building, and then I realized it 
was still pitch black. I said I must be in a big void 
because it was pitch black and I couldn't see 
anywhere. 

Then, as it started lightening up a little 
bit, I started using my light. I was able to see over 
the top of the debris around me. I could see up the 
wall a little bit. I realized, holy shit, I'm free. 
I'm not buried. I got up. I took a step and just 
collapsed because I had no energy. I got up again, 
took two more steps and collapsed. Then a cop picked 



E. BERNTSEN 

me up and helped me walk up to Church. I made a left 
on Church and there was a car on fire on the corner. 

Maybe 50 feet, 100 feet up Church, I saw 
Vinnie Picciano, who was under the car with that cop. 
He was stumbling around. He had a bad gash on the back 
of his head. There was blood coming out from the back 
of his turnout coat. He was a little dizzy and 
disoriented. He asked me to look at his cut. I told 
him it's all right. You will be okay. I didn't really 
think so, but what are you going to tell him at that 
point? I said you got a good cut, but you're going to 
be all right. 

We walked up Church, made a right on to 
Barclay and dropped our masks and continued up to 
Broadway and got to I guess it was Park Place maybe and 
Broadway. We got into the back of an ambulance and got 
Vinnie 's head checked out. Then we left the ambulance 
because there were secondary collapses. I was hearing 
secondary collapses and I didn't know how far away we 
were. I didn't know how much of the building came 
off. I said I want to get out of here, as far away 
from this place as possible. 

We headed north and got to Duane Street. I 
said, oh, the 7 and 1 is over here. We made a left and 



10 

E. BERNTSEN 



we walked into the quarters. Three guys that were in 
the company, Jimmy Murphy, Joe Galasso, Danny Walker, 
they were all standing there. 

Q. What company are they in? 

A. 212. Same company. Me and Vinnie thought 
they were dead because we were the only two that walked 
in. We only saw each other on Church. They must have 
came out before us, after us, you know. What happened 
is they ran back into World Trade Center 5. Me and 
Vinnie and the cop ran forward. So they were okay, but 
they got beat up with the debris. They got tossed 
around, blown off their feet. So we had everybody 
except the officer and the chauffeur. We didn't know 
where the chauffeur was because we were on the complete 
opposite side now. 

We saw a Chief. We let the Chief know that 
these guys were missing. So we regrouped and from 7 
and 1 we took an ambulance to Jamaica Hospital, 
Queens. That's most of my recollection. 

Q. The Lieutenant and the chauffeur? 

A. They were alive. The chauffeur got blown 
down I don't know what street. Somewhere. 

Q. He was with the rig? 

A. Yes, he was with the rig. The officer made 



11 

E. BERNTSEN 



it out with some of the guys from 238. I don't know 
how they got out. I don't know which direction they 
went in. 

Q. I'll try to get an interview with him. 

A. Yes. But he made it out and he was with 
Lieutenant Glenn Wilkinson. They were trying to come 
back, to get back into the building, because he knew we 
were in there, and they were trying to get a mask. By 
the time they got masks for each of them, they lost it 
after the collapse. They were tangled and stuff. They 
dropped it. I don't know about looking for my officer. 

Q. What was his name? 

A. Neil Brosnan. 

Q. Did you notice any other companies in the 
lobby of the Marriott when you were in there? 

A. No, I didn't. The only person I saw that I 
recognized was Chuck Margiotta and he was asking 
everybody if they had an extra mask for a Chief. 

Q. His unit is? 

A. I don't know what unit he was working in that 
day. I believe he was assigned to 85 Truck, but I 
don't know where he was working that day. 

Q. You saw him in the lobby? 

A. I saw him in the lobby. 



12 
E. BERNTSEN 



Q. Do you remember how far down in the lobby off 
of Liberty, off the staircase? A hundred feet down? 

A. About 100 feet down. I saw him there, but 
then he left. I don't know how far he went, but I saw 
him headed north. 

Q. Towards tower 1? 

A. Right. Towards the north tower. I saw him 
headed that way. 

Q. How many guys do you think were in the lobby 
at that point when you got there; 20, 50, 100, crowded? 

A. At least 50. Probably over 10, maybe 15 
companies, 12 companies, something like that. There 
were Chiefs. I saw a couple of Chiefs who were just 
kind of walking through. I don't remember who they 
were. 

Q. What happened to the rig? Did the rig 
survive? 

A. The rig survived. It got beat up, the 
windows blown out, a little fire damage, not that 
much. 

BATTALION CHIEF LAKIOTES: Okay. Very good. 

Excellent. This concludes the interview. It is 

now 1320. 



File No. 9110222 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER VINCENT MASSA 

Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



V. MASSA 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: Today is December 4th, 
2001. The time is 4:44. This is Battalion 
Chief Dennis Kenahan of the safety battalion 
of the New York City Fire Department. I'm 
conducting an interview with Vincent Massa, 
firefighter first grade of Engine 64. 
Q. Tell me what happened on September 
11th. 

A. I was working that day. It was regular 
code work fire house. I saw on the news that the 
planes had hit, and about five minutes after the 
second plane hit they sent us to a staging area 
at 35 Engine and home with a rig. I had the 
control position. I had a radio. 

We got on the rig, gathered everything 
we thought we would need, flashlights and extra 
clothes and stuff, because we knew it would be 
crazy and we'd be there at least a day. We went 
down Bruckner Boulevard towards 35 Engine, which 
is in Harlem. You could see the towers burning 
while driving down the Bruckner. 

On the way down there, we were 
listening to the radio. I believe we switched 
over to the Manhattan frequency. As we were 



V. MASSA 3 

going down the Bruckner, you heard the 
dispatcher -- it seemed like a Manhattan 
dispatcher, unless he had us on citywide -- 
talking to the units that were at the scene. You 
heard different things going on. 

The dispatcher announced that elevators 
were dropping. I remember them saying at first 
to stay out of one of the elevators that serviced 
the 44th floor. Then less than a minute later 
they said not to use any elevators. This is as 
we're driving down the Bruckner, things we were 
hearing on the radio. He said to stay out of all 
elevators because the elevators were dropping. 
We knew that there was something crazy going on. 

As we were approaching closer to 
Harlem, we got out of sight of the buildings. I 
remember hearing different things. I remember 
hearing "major collapse" on the radio. That's 
one thing that threw me about the whole thing was 
that when we got to the scene we didn't know what 
had happened exactly. 

To jump ahead a little bit, when we got 
to the scene, we got there between the two 
collapses. We had no idea that the first 



V. MASSA 4 

building was already completely down. All we 
heard on the radio was major collapse, and we 
figured the top fell off. So we heard elevators 
are dropping, then we heard major collapse, then 
we heard the dispatcher calling out for anybody 
and nobody was answering. A few minutes later we 
heard a chauffeur from one of the rigs screaming, 
screaming that he was trapped and screaming, and 
then out. | 

We got to Harlem, and we joined up on 
the ticket -- we went on the fifth alarm, one of 
the fifth alarms; I don't remember which one. We 
went with five or six other Bronx engine 
companies that were meeting with 35 Engine in 
Harlem. There was 35, us, 64, 83 Engine, 68 
Engine, 94 Engine and 50 Engine. We all met up 
with 35 Engine. We were there. They were 
gathering tools up. We were waiting for the 
other engine companies to come in. 

Once everybody got in, we started 
aligning like, it's a funny thing but we ended up 
leading the pack. It was a convoy. I figured 35 
would end up leading the pack, but we ended up 
leading. Circumstances brought us to put our rig 



V. MASSA 5 

in the front, and we ended up leading. 

So we were waiting in house 35. You 
could hear everything that was going on. They 
were calling us. They were trying to get like a 
roll call of us, exactly what companies were 
there. They said they were waiting for other 
companies to show up before sending us and 
telling us where to report to down at the site. 

Once everybody was there, they got 
everybody accounted for, we started heading down. 
It turns out we bought ourselves some time which 
probably saved our lives because our chauffeur 
was leading. Instead of going right to the West 
Side Highway, because he could have gone right 
around the block to the west side, we shot 
straight down. I remember him telling us on the 
way there that the west side was wide open. He 
had gone down Third Avenue and down through 
Central Park and through construction. It bought 
us like ten minutes. 

Once we got down there, we got down to 
the West Side Highway. There were other 
companies behind us. Some of the companies split 
off and pulled ahead of us. We had a covering 



V. MASSA 6 

officer that day. He told us to park in a 
certain spot, and it was maybe about four blocks 
north on West Street. We were to report to the 
command post on West and Vesey or the West Street 
command post. 

We got all our stuff, got out of the 
rig and were getting ready. Our chauffeur didn't 
have a mask, so the boss told him to stay behind, 
to stay with the rig, in case he needed to move 
the rig to use it for anything. 

At this point, like I said, we didn't 
know that one tower had come down. We were all 
there trying to see what was there, and we 
couldn't tell. We thought it was there, but we 
couldn't see it because of the smoke and the dust 
and everything. It turned out it wasn't there. 
The second one was still standing, the north 
tower . 

So we got our equipment and we started 
walking down, and we got to somewhere between 
three-quarters to a half a block away, within a 
block, when the north tower came down. We were 
walking down with the companies we were with. 94 
Engine was there. I remember seeing the guys 



V. MASSA 7 

from 94 with us. They all made it out. 

So as we were walking up, we had our 
rollups and stuff. I don't know what we planned 
on doing with them, but we figured we were going 
to go operate somehow. We were supposed to 
report to the command post. 

As we got like a half a block away, you 
could hear a gigantic rumble. It sounded like a 
jet flying overhead. Everybody immediately 
looked up, and you could see just a big cloud of 
dust coming down to the ground. I didn't see the 
actual top of the building coming down, but you 
knew what it was . 

So we looked up, and there was probably 
about a 30-story tidal wave of crap coming down 
West Side Highway. As soon as we saw it, 
everyone stopped, looked for a second, and it 
took everybody a couple seconds for it register 
what was going on and that we had to get the hell 
out of there. 

We were standing there -- we were 
fairly close, not as close as other guys. We had 
our masks. I had a radio. We had our masks. I 
had tools in my pocket, what I thought we needed 



V. MASSA 8 

to hook up with, like gloves, a monkey wrench, an 
adapter that was going to carry the whole thing 
up 80 flights. 

We were standing there, and somebody 
yelled "run." We were all looking and whatever 
guys were in the street, it was like a sea of 
guys from all the companies that were down there. 
There were a few civilians down there. We just 
turned around and were just running down West 
Side Highway as fast as we could, running, 
looking over your shoulder. We were watching 
this cloud of shit chasing us down the street. 

I hit the ground after running maybe a 
block, probably not even, maybe half a block. I 
remember I got past the last intersection. We 
walked a block, and I ran and I crossed through 
that intersection that was a block away that was 
in between there until -- I remember looking 
before it hit us to see where I was, and I was 
like close to another intersection. 

I went to my knees, put my mask on, and 
the cloud of shit hit us, like little bits of 
rubble. There wasn't anything big at that point 
because we were far enough away, I guess. I had 



V. MASSA 9 

stuff hitting my helmet, "dung, dung, dung." It 
just got pitch-black. It went from a sunny day 
to just total blackness. 

I was wearing my mask. I figured I was 
going to make a right and go behind the 
buildings. I wasn't near anything. A couple 
guys jumped behind cars. I wasn't near any cars 
or anything. I figured I'd make a right. It was 
pitch-black. Literally your hand could be on 
your face and you wouldn't see it. 

So I stopped, took a few steps, made a 
deliberate right turn and then started walking 
straight to try and get behind the buildings, 
wearing my mask. I got about ten paces after 
making the turn to go to the right, and another 
fireman kind of like jumped on me, screaming. He 
dropped his mask. I think he was from 9 Engine. 
I'm not sure. 9 Truck or 9 Engine. I think it 
was 9 Engine. He had forgotten his mask. He had 
dropped his mask, and he was flipping out. 

So I grabbed him. We walked a couple 
of paces. I had my hand out in front, trying to 
find something, just to get down some kind of 
protection or something. I brought him to the 



V. MASSA 10 

ground, and I started giving him my mask. We 
were sharing my mask. We were sitting on the 
ground, and I let him take what he needed, I'd 
hold my breath and he gave it back and we were 
just going back and forth. 

I'd say after about maybe a good five 
minutes it started lightening up. As it started 
to lighten up, he got up and was like, "Thank 
you, thank you, thank you. What's your name? 
What's your name? Where are you from?" Blah, 
blah, blah. I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." I 
had to go. I have to find the rest of my guys. 

Everything was covered with gray, 
everybody. Two, three inches of dust and crap on 
the ground, papers everywhere. I don't remember 
hearing anything on the radio all that time, 
nothing at all, really. Going down there I'm 
trying to remember if I remember hearing anything 
while we were walking towards it. I don't 
remember. Nothing jumps out that I remember 
hearing anything coming over the radio. 

Q. Did you see anything, like the 
building, anything that -- a sign that it might 
be coming down or anything like that or no? 



V. MASSA 11 

A. As we were walking down? 
Q. Yeah. 

A. No. Some of the guys that were walking 
were looking up. As it was coming down, I must 
have been looking straight ahead or down. I 
heard the rumble. By the time I looked up, it 
was just a big cloud of shit. You saw a cloud of 
stuff coming down, and almost like it turned a 
corner and was coming down the block. 

We stood there looking at it -- you 
look at it to judge to see am I too close, am I 
all right here. If you could see it diminishing, 
then maybe you'll be all right, no problem, I'll 
be all right. But it was just getting bigger and 
bigger. Everyone just like "ah," and ran. 

There was a lot of chaos on the radio 
after the dust lifted and it started getting 
light out. I remember listening out, and I made 
some calls to my officer, because I remember 
which direction they went in. Before we ran and 
split up, we all ran in a general direction. We 
all ran north. 

After a while I was monitoring the 
radio to hear from him, and I called him on the 



V. MASSA 12 

radio. I heard other things, people calling 
other people. I don't remember exactly. Nothing 
stands out. We hooked up together -- he told me 
where he was after I got him on the radio. He 
was underneath the overpass at Chambers. There's 
that overpass on West Street. So we met up over 
there . 

Once we all got together, we started 
walking back in because we all wanted to try to 
get in and do something and get to a command post 
and see -- we had no idea what had happened. We 
figured there was still a command post. We 
figured we would go to the command post. 

As we were heading down, everybody 
dropped their shit. We dropped all our rollups . 
I dropped my gloves, my wrench, everything. I 
had nothing but my mask, my helmet and my bunker 
gear. So I was concerned about if we're going to 
go in and we're going to do something, I've got 
to get a pair of gloves on. 

I was scrounging around. There were 
tools and stuff all over the West Side Highway. 
It was completely covered with tools and gear and 
shit just everywhere. I scrounged up a pair of 



V. MASSA 13 

gloves. As we were going in, we passed some 
rigs, we grabbed some stuff. I grabbed a 
halogen. I found the search rope. 

We were just grabbing everything we 
could get our hands on as we were heading back 
in, because we figured we were going to be doing 
something with all the work. 

As we started walking down, we figured 
we would try to find the command post. I 
remember we were walking down and we got to 
almost where we were when it came down, like 
within a half a block away or so, and I think 
Stuyvesant High School is on -- as you're walking 
south on West is on the right side by the water 
there . 

There were reports coming over the 
radio that there was a secondary device in 
Stuyvesant High School, that there was a major 
gas leak and to evacuate the area. Everybody 
turned around and started heading north again. 
We were like, Jesus Christ, what the hell is 
next? Everybody was shell-shocked. We figured 
this building is going to explode now, you know. 

So we started walking north again, and 



V. MASSA 14 

we were still concerned about finding a command 
post. We stood there for a minute or two and we 
were like -- I don't know, this is bullshit, and 
let's start heading back in. 

We started heading back in. We changed 
our bottles on the west side. Another reason we 
changed our bottles, we were trying to find a 
command post and there was none. I remember the 
officers all calling, trying to find out where to 
meet up. But there was no command post, so there 
was kind of chaos. Nobody knew where to go. 

As we were waiting on the west side for 
something to do, I remember two fire marshals 
came up the block. They must have been close. 
They were totally covered with crap. Their pants 
were ripped. We had a box of flashlights. We 
sat there with them and put batteries in a couple 
cases of flashlights for them. 

I'm trying to think if there's anything 
else worth noting. I can't remember. We helped 
them. We hung out. Then they came up with the 
command post at West and Chambers near the 
underpass. So we started heading back there. 

When we got back there, we hooked up 



V. MASSA 15 

with -- they gave us an assignment to stretch a 
line from the water -- there was a marine boat on 
the water at Vesey Street. They wanted the line 
stretched -- I think two or three companies -- 
they were looking for engine chauffeurs. I'm an 
engine chauffeur. They were looking for engine 
companies to help stretch lines to manifold them 
to satellite off the boat close to the debris at 
the intersection of West and Vesey. 

We rode with them. We took a rig. We 
drove down to the water and Vesey. There was 
already a rig backed in that dead-end street to 
the water, 3-something. Maybe 320-something . I 
don't remember. We had a spare rig that was 
like -- it was a spare rig or reserve rig. We 
stretched three and a half from there up Vesey to 
West, and we fed 33 Engine, I think. We supplied 
it to them. From them they fed it manifold, and 
they fed I think a satellite. 

It was a mess. I remember thinking 
this is ridiculous. It's taking us forever just 
to stretch a line because everything was just 
chaos. There's lines all over the place. Nobody 
knew where this line ran, this and that. 



V. MASSA 16 

Everything was all over the place. 

There were a couple officers that did a 
good job keeping everybody together and saying 
hey, just do this, get this done. Everybody had 
their own ideas of what they should do, and 
everybody was doing what they thought they should 
do, and it was all different things. It was hard 
to accomplish simple tasks. 

Once we did that, there was a long 
wait. We went in. We got that hooked up. We 
helped them. We were going to stretch some hand 
lines in, but they said to hang that. They kept 
backing everybody up and then bringing them in. 
Now at this point everybody was gathered on Vesey 
by West and wanting to go to work. Everybody was 
hanging out. This must have been probably almost 
an hour after the second tower came down. 

We were over there. We tried to do 
what we could. Our officers tried to get us to 
work. We hung around for a while. I think they 
were more letting rescue do it and they were 
letting whoever had their rigs who was on the 
ends of any place supplying any kind of water. 
They were more interested in trying to supply 



V. MASSA 17 

water, and there were some guys searching. 

But they weren't letting guys too 
close. At this point Seven World Trade Center 
was going heavy, and they weren't letting anybody 
get too close. Everybody was expecting that to 
come down . 

We hung out for hours . We went into 
the American Express building. We looked around 
there. We searched around for a while, but you 
could see guys were already in there. We pretty 
much did that on our own because we were right 
there and the door was there and we just walked 
in . 

I remember later on in the day it was 
getting close that they were more concerned about 
seven coming down. We had no idea what was going 
on on the east side. We were all on our side. 
On the west side it was pretty clear. The wind 
was blowing from west to east, I believe. 

I remember later on in the day as we 
were waiting for seven to come down, they kept 
backing us up Vesey, almost like a full block. 
They were concerned about seven coming down, and 
they kept changing us, establishing a collapse 



V. MASSA 18 

zone and backing us up. 

At one point I remember the chiefs 
gathered all the officers in the street. They 
put all the engines on one side of the street and 
the truck guys on the other side of the street, 
and they gathered all the officers in the center 
of the street to try to come up with some kind of 
plan, try and get some semblance of organization. 
They wanted everybody's riding lists. They 
wanted everybody to be accounted for to make sure 
that nobody was missing, just trying to get their 
bearings . 

I remember being concerned about 47 
Truck that went with us . They were relocated 
down to 6 Truck before we went down. So they 
were down there a lot earlier. Maybe their guys 
will tell you their story. 

I remember trying to listen to the 
radio, hearing for anything on 47 Truck. I 
remember hearing the officers say something once, 
and I remember hearing 47 was on B call on 47' s 
roof, but the roof not answering. We were 
concerned that some of them might be missing. 

We had no idea what they were going 



V. MASSA 19 

through on the other side or wherever they were, 
but we knew they were there because we heard on 
the radio. We were sure that they were there 
because they went back to 6 Truck, early. 

After they got us in the street, I 
remember Chief Salka from the 180 was one of the 
guys that took charge. He kind of kept everybody 
in line. Him and I think Visconti had a plan of 
attack . 

The whole time while we were waiting -- 
there were hours that went by. Seven came down 
after 5 in the afternoon. I remember listening 
to the rescues that were going on. They got 6 
Truck out of the stairwell. I remember hearing 
all that, what was going on, Three or four 
different rope rescues going at the same time. 
Different chiefs talking to different crews, guys 
that were going in to try and get 6 Truck out. 

Other than that, we were surprised that 
there wasn't a lot more going on on the radio. 
It was actually -- considering what was going on, 
it was pretty quiet. Plus it was like -- it must 
have been hours later when we realized both the 
towers were completely gone. It was just like 



V. MASSA 20 

holy shit. 

I remember somewhere during 
the hours of waiting there was a proby from 18 
Truck that hooked up with us because he knew one 
of the probies that was with us. He didn't know 
whether he could find his company, so our officer 
told him just stay with us. So we latched onto 
another guy we had extra guys with us. I don't 
remember his name. 

I know we were waiting in the street. 
You had the engines on one side, the trucks on 
the other, the officers were in the middle. 

At that point I guess it was about 5 in 
the afternoon or so. That's when seven came 
down. Seven World Trade Center came down, and 
that was like two blocks away. As soon as it 
came down, everybody got up and tore ass west 
down Vesey Street. 

Everybody was trying to get into this 
building. I remember there were 150 guys trying 
to get through two revolving doors with full 
gear. It was like (sound) . Everyone is 
screaming. Guys were trying to smash the glass 
with their halogens to get through and ended up 



V. MASSA 21 

freaking out. The stuff gave way and we all got 
out. You can laugh it off, like Jesus Christ. 
Everybody was shell-shocked. 

That's when Salka came up and he said 
all right, now that seven was down you can start 
getting closer and down things. There was no 
collapse threat anymore. Salka wanted three 
engines and three trucks because he wanted to go 
into the Verizon building, which is on the corner 
of West and Vesey. 

He wanted to search the Verizon 
building to make sure that there was no fire in 
there. He wasn't as concerned about people 
because he figured everybody was out by now 
because it was hours later. There wasn't much 
fire in there, but there was some. We didn't 
want to lose that building too. We're not going 
to stay away from it and let it burn because 
there wasn't much fire. 

Everybody is jumping up. You had 300 
guys that wanted to go to work, and he's looking 
for three engines and three trucks to go to work. 
Our boss got in there. He wanted companies that 
all had masks, companies that had radios, because 



V. MASSA 22 

a lot of guys had radios because they came down 
alone . 

It turned out because we scavenged we 
had our masks and we had radios that were 
working. We still scavenged in those hours for 
fresh batteries for the radios . I had that 
search rope. He needed a search rope. I gave 
Salka the search rope. He had gotten one. 

So he ended up picking us to go. I'm 
trying to remember the truck company we went 
with. We went in with three chiefs. We paired 
up into teams, each one with a chief. I can't 
remember the truck company we went with. I want 
to say 13 Truck, but I don't think so. 
Q. That's okay. 

A. So we went in. What he wanted to do is 
we split up into three teams, and each team 
searched ten floors. We brought floor ropes with 
us in case we found fire. There was a rig right 
in front of the building. We each grabbed a 
length of hose and what we do to hook up, and we 
went in. 

We had to force the door to the 
stairwell. We walked up -- I don't remember the 



V. MASSA 23 

chief's name we went with. We went up to the 
tenth floor, and we searched from 10 to 20 
looking for fire. We were looking for people 
too, but we were more concerned with fire. We 
had fire and there was damage, holes in the 
walls, big holes in the walls. Actually we were 
with 54 Truck. 54 Truck was there. 

That was pretty much it. Then we came 
downstairs. By the time we came out, it was 
dark. We were shot. We were heading out. More 
people were showing up. There were hundreds and 
hundreds of guys there. 

We came over to try and get another 
assignment at the command post. We saw 47 Truck 
there. And we picked up things that we were 
missing. We went to the command post. We saw 
Chief Didomenico to try and get another 
assignment. He took one look at us and said, 
"You guys been here since this morning?" We 
said, "Yeah." He said, "You better get the hell 
out of here." It was like 10:30 at night at this 
point. He told us to get out of there. 

So we took our stuff and walked back 
down to the rig. We were trying to find our 



V. MASSA 24 

chauffeur. Actually I remember as we were 
walking past 47 Truck's rig, there was a civilian 
going through it. He was wearing one of our 
guy's coats and one of our guy's helmets. I 
recognized the helmet. We grabbed the guy, "What 
the hell are you doing?" He said he was retired. 
He wasn't retired. We grabbed the stuff and told 
him to get the hell out of here. 

We went back over and picked up our 
chauffeur and came back, back to quarters. We 
got back to quarters sometime shortly after 11. 
That's it. 

Q. That's pretty good. All right. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: It's now 5:10 p.m. 

This concludes this interview. 



File No. 9110224 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER FRANK CAMPAGNA 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



F. CAMPAGNA 2 

CHIEF MALKIN: Today is December 4th, 
2001. The time is 1431 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Malkin of the Safety 
Battalion. I'm conducting an interview with 
Fireman Frank Campagna of Ladder 11, and 
we're in the quarters of 28 Engine at this 
time. This is the fireman's statement. 
Q. Where did you respond from? 
A. I responded from quarters, came up the 
FDR, showed up to the scene. The fire was 
blazing out. The first plane had hit. We pulled 
up in front, and we headed inside toward the 
lobby. On the way inside you saw the usual stuff 
like everyone else saw, things falling and stuff 
like that. 

We got inside the lobby and we waited 
to hear from a chief or whoever what's going to 
go on, wait until we found out what's going on. 
What wound up happening is they teamed us up with 
4 Engine, I believe it was. What it was is they 
combined us as one hose team pretty much. So 
they dropped half of their rollups and we kept 
half of ours, we kept one standpipe kit, and we 
headed up together. 



F. CAMPAGNA 3 

As we were going up, they said on the 
lower level the second plane hit the other 
building. Me personally, I felt it on another 
level up, so I think the timing was off between 
everybody. 

We just kept walking up. As far as we 
knew, there were no planes or anything coming in. 
There wasn't even a plane that hit that building. 
We just knew there was a fire up there. Any 
other explosions that we felt from inside were 
maybe extra machinery or something like that. 
Those were the words that we were getting. 

So we just kept going up the stairwell. 
We got up to about the 17th floor, and we felt 
another pretty big explosion. At this time about 
every two floors, every three floors you'd stop 
into an office, get some water, take a breather. 
Guys were pretty winded. They had equipment on 
and carrying everything. 

We're taking a breather, and I believe 
that's when the other Trade Center went down and 
everybody felt it and they didn't know exactly 
what it was. Everyone headed towards the 
stairwell, thinking it was a safer place to be. 



F. CAMPAGNA 4 

After that happened, the building was 
still standing, everybody kept going up. So we 
kept going up, still stopping about every two, 
three floors. People still coming down. We were 
just telling them to keep calm and walk on the 
way down . 

We got up to about the 28th, 30th 
floor, and we were taking another break. There 
was an office or we had a whole floor full of 
people. A chief came down from a floor above 
with another company and said everybody evacuate, 
everybody out now. We had to switch staircases. 
I believe the staircase we were in, there was no 
way down it anymore on the lower level. There 
was word that it had been taken out; we don't 
know what from. 

So we switched to a different 
staircase. We headed down. We let the civilians 
go first. We showed them towards that staircase 
and started heading down, letting the civilians 
go first, and we walked our way down. We were up 
there with a couple of companies. I don't know 
the exact numbers. I know 4 Engine was with us. 
Everybody went down with us. 



F. CAMPAGNA 5 

We got down to the lobby, and there's a 
lot of guys down there in the lobby itself along 
with 4 Engine. Everyone is standing there, 
waiting to hear what's going to happen next, 
what's going on. Guys were just saying it's time 
to go, this isn't safe to stay in here. 

So I believe we headed out along the 
wall of the Trade, and I believe 18 followed us 
out. That was it. It came down on top of us. 
That's all I remember of who followed us out or I 
heard who followed us out. 4 Engine obviously 
didn't make it out. They were with us the whole 
time, so I'm assuming they were still in the 
lobby at that time. 

That's pretty much it from that point 
on. 

Q. What did you see when you left tower 
one? Tower two had already collapsed. 

A. I didn't see it. Tower two we didn't 
even know went down. I had no clue it went down. 
When we were up on the 30th floor, guys were 
banging out the windows, saying, "Holy shit, this 
looks like a war zone." 

Guys were saying stay away from the 



F. CAMPAGNA 6 

windows, something might come in, something might 
fall down and come in through the window. So I 
never got to see it. What they were talking 
about was the other Trade Center when it had gone 
down. The whole scene outside looked terrible. 

On our way out when we left first World 
Trade, all we saw was -- it was like tunnel 
vision. All you saw was what was right in front 
of you. Things were still falling as we were 
heading out. The streets were all dusty. I was 
not really realizing that the other Trade Center 
had collapsed, because it was towards our left, I 
believe, which we were running towards the right. 
We were standing along the line, and it's just 
what's in front of me. 

I wasn't really looking around to take 
a look. There's still stuff falling on top of 
us. So I still didn't know it went down. I 
actually didn't know until the other one fell 
down and I heard that the other one was gone 
while we were in there. 

Q. Question: When you exited the World 
Trade Center, the north tower, you were going 
where? North on West Street? Which way were you 



F. CAMPAGNA 7 

exiting the area? Running away from the 
buildings, which street were you on and which way 
were you going? 

A. We were on West Side Highway and we 
were headed up towards -- 

Q. North? 

A. Yeah, north, toward Vesey. We were 
right there. Our rig was parked on Vesey, so we 
headed up that way. We were right under the 
walkway just about, and that's when it started 
coming, about there. 

Q. Did you see the command post? Did you 
see Chief Ganci? Do you know Chief Ganci? 

A. No. 

Q. Did you see the command post with the 
command board? 

A. I saw the command post. Actually I 
don't know -- I just remember seeing like there 
was a bunch of people over there past the walkway 
towards the water. There was just a crowd of 
people. I didn't know -- in that intersection 
there, that's all I was looking at was in that 
intersection there. 

There was nobody in the intersection, 



F. CAMPAGNA 8 

nobody in the streets in general, everyone just 
saying come on, keeping coming, keep coming. 
That's when it went. I looked back. You see 
three explosions and then the whole thing coming 
down. I turned my head and everybody was 
scattering. From there I don't know who was who. 
I don't even know where my guys went. None of us 
knew where each other were at at that point in 
time. 

Q. So you just kept running as it was 
collapsing? 

A. Yeah, pretty much, yeah. Each and 
every person, pretty much. 

Q. Then what happened? How did you 
regroup? Where did you go after that? Did you 
form up again or meet your guys again? What did 
you do after that? 

A. After everything happened, we got 
engulfed by the whole cloud of smoke and 
everything, and guys were sharing masks inside 
that whole thing and trying to find our way out. 
We couldn't see anything inside there. I was 
right up on a cop van. My face was right against 
a headlight, and I could barely see that, because 



F. CAMPAGNA 9 

the lights were on on it. 

Once we got out of there, I heard Mike 
Kehoe yelling, "28, 28." I found him, and from 
there we went looking around and we found Roy. 
He was up getting IV up somewhere. Then we 
finally found our lieutenant and Jimmy Ippolito 
who both of them I guess had ran towards the 
water towards where all the guys were at the 
command post area. I guess they ran towards that 
way. We ran down the West Side Highway. 

The other guy we didn't really know 
where he was was our chauffeur. He was still out 
by the truck, I guess, when everything was going 
on. I guess when the second plane hit, from what 
I understand, he got blown back a couple feet and 
he got helped out and he got taken to a hospital. 
So he's all right. That was the only one at that 
point that we didn't know. 

Then we finally all regrouped and 
whatnot and found each other. Around that time 
guys were coming in bus loads before we know it, 
coming in to help search. 

Q. Where did you park your rig? Where was 
28 parked? 



F. CAMPAGNA 10 

A. He dropped us off right in front, right 
in front of the tower we went in, which is -- 

Q. The north tower? 

A. The north tower, the second one that 
went down. He dropped us off right in front of 
there, and from what I understand he parked it 
right on Vesey Street. That's where we got off. 
It was right in front. 

Q. What floor did you reach when you were 
climbing up? You said you were like on the 20th 
floor and then you decided to come down? 

A. 28th or 30th floor, the 30th, around 
there, because we were going like every two 
floors. So it was around there. I remember 
seeing 28 on the wall, and then I think we went 
up again. I think it was around the 30th floor, 
we made it up there. From there that's when we 
went down. 

Then a chief came down and pretty much 
said everybody evacuate, because nothing was 
coming over the radios, as far as everybody was 
still waiting. We were waiting with a bunch of 
guys at that point in time. 

I saw one of the guys I knew from the 



F. CAMPAGNA 11 

academy. He was in 4 Engine. Another one I knew 
from academy, he was from 10-10. They were up 
there with us also. I don't know if you got 
details from someone else, but I'm pretty sure he 
was from there. 

Q. What floor did you say you were on when 
you think the south tower fell down? 

A. I would say about the 17th. 

Q. You didn't have a radio that day. Did 
you have a handy talky? 

A. Me? No. 

Q. You were with the officer when you were 
climbing? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you remember what was on the handy 
talky when the south tower fell down? Was there 
a lot of screaming? Do you remember radio 
messages or anything like that? 

A. No, nothing like that. 

Q. There were a lot of guys in the lobby, 
you said, when you came down to the lobby and 
hooked up. You don't remember anybody specific, 
companies or personal people, individual people? 

A. No, like I said, it was real tunnel 



F. CAMPAGNA 12 

vision. I just wasn't being pretty much aware of 

anything around, who was around me and whatnot. 

Like I said, 4 and 18 are the only ones that 

stuck out in my head. 

CHIEF MALKIN: Okay. I'm thanking the 
firefighter for the interview. The 
interview is concluded. It's now 1443 
hours. This concludes the interview and 
also the chief's aide in the Safety 
Battalion, Michael Bosco, sat in on this 
interview. 



File No. 9110225 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER BERTRAM SPRINGSTEAD 

Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 2 

CHIEF MALKIN: Today is December 4th, 
2001. The time is now 1626 hours. I am 
Battalion Chief Malkin of the Safety 
Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I am conducting an interview 
with fireman first grade Bertram 
Springstead, Ladder Company 9. We're in the 
quarters of Ladder 9, and this interview is 
regarding the events of September 11th, 
2001. Also present is fireman Michael Bosco 
of the Safety Battalion. 

Now, Fireman Springstead, I have asked 
him to relate everything that he remembers 
from the incident on September 11th. 
Q. Okay, go ahead. 

A. September 11th I remember walking into 
the kitchen about 8:30 in the morning, sat down, 
coffee, paper. A little while later, I guess it 
was about a quarter to 9, somebody came in and 
said they saw the plane coming over quarters and 
then they said they saw it hit the Trade Center. 

So we all ran to the corner of 
Lafayette and Great Jones, and we could see the 
big hole in the building where the plane had hit. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 3 

So we all went back to quarters, started getting 
dressed. We didn't get the call right away. 32 
went on the first ticket. We were all sitting in 
the house watching, bunkering up. Then it came 
on the TV, and we started watching it on TV, 
wondering why we didn't get the call yet and 
complaining that we didn't get the call. 

Q. Sure. 

A. It was about 5 to 9, I guess, or a 
couple minutes before 9, I guess, I remember 
saying to the guys, "I wonder if they're holding 
this ticket until after 9." Sure enough, the 
ticket came in 090014. 

Q. Get out of here. 

A. And I made a copy of the ticket, and I 
stuffed it in my pocket, because I was like, 
"This is bullshit. I'm calling the union when I 
get back." We were watching people jump on TV 
from the building. I said how can they be 
holding this ticket. That was what was going 
through my mind the first time. 

We get on the rig. We're going down. 
The probie, John Tierney, he was off duty before 
we got out. Something wasn't right that day. I 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 4 

knew something was wrong, and I turned to him and 
said, "John, do me a favor, don't take this run 
in. Just stay here. You're off duty, you're not 
getting paid, just go home, man, just go home." 
But who is not going to jump on the rig? So he 
jumped on the rig and he was sitting on a lap. 

We were driving down, sirens the whole 
way down. We get there. We stepped off the rig, 
and I look up and I noticed that both towers were 
on fire now. We didn't realize at the time that 
another plane had hit. We didn't see it and 
couldn't hear it while responding. I just 
figured the other tower was on fire from stuff 
flying from the other building. So we really 
didn't know there was a second plane. 

We parked on I guess it was the 
northeast corner of the Trade Center, which is 
right at Vesey and Church, I guess. Vesey and 
Church, Vesey and Church right there. We stepped 
off the rig, and there were plane engine parts 
and people yelling and screaming. We stepped off 
and noticed the two towers on fire. 

We started walking down Vesey towards 
West Street. Our assignment was tower one, so we 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 5 

would go into the lobby. Just as we turned onto 
West Street, we were coming towards the entrance 
of the Trade Center and we saw a jumper coming 
down. We were like, "Oh, man, look at this." 
They were smoldering, on fire, smoking. So we 
were like, "Oh, man." Just a tremendous thump. 
The noise was unbelievable. 

Now we're looking up as we're going in, 
and we go into the lobby and there's everybody. 
Von Essen's there. The Mayor's there. 
Everybody's at this command post, everyone in 
white hats. We were standing there at the 
command post, waiting for our assignment. 

The probie still didn't have a mask. 
He had jumped on the rig, so he was on somebody's 
lap on the way down there. So I walked over to 
the command post and took one of the aide's mask 
and gave it to him and said, "Put this on because 
we were going up now." Ganci took us over to the 
stairs and said, "Call us when you get there." 
That's all they said. 

Q. Ganci was with you in the lobby? 

A. He showed us to the stairs. Ganci 
showed us to the stairs to take. We started 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 6 

walking up. I was taking my time, pacing myself, 
going nice and slow, taking it easy. Those guys 
were a little quicker than I was, and they kind 
of advanced a couple floors beyond me. 

They were up a couple floors ahead of 
me - - I don't know how many -- and Don Casey 
waited for me I guess it was on like the 13th 
floor -- I forget exactly what floor it was on -- 
so that I wouldn't be alone. I was taking my 
time going up there. We were taking breaks here 
and there. I forget what floors we took breaks 
on. 

There were a lot of maydays with chest 
pains on the radios and stuff like that. I don't 
remember who or what floor, but there were a lot 
of maydays. EMS was going all over the place 
with maydays with chest pains. 

We got up, and then me and Don were 
kind of pacing ourselves. We pretty much tried 
to take a break on every floor that you had 
access to, because you didn't have access on 
every floor. So whatever floor you had access, 
we would go in, take a quick breather and then 
get going again. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 7 

I guess it was about the 19th or 20th 
floor when I said, "Don I've got to take a 
break." I was really hot. I said, "Don, I've 
got to take this coat off for a second, take a 
breather." They had water, and people had broken 
open a Poland Spring machine and there were 
bottles of water, so we would take a break. I 
took my stuff off, and I was pouring water all 
over. 

5 Engine was there on the floor too. 
Derek Brogan from 5 Engine, he was miserable, 
miserable: chest pains, nauseous, on his knees. 
He looked terrible. So we were pouring the water 
over him. Real bad. 

Then Don Casey, who I was with, starts 
staying his arm was tingling, he's getting 
numbness in his arm, in his left arm. I was 
like, "All right, sit down." EMS was there. Two 
guys from EMS were there. One was working on 
Derek, and the other guy started working on Casey 
with the oxygen and stuff like that. 

I remember somebody said, "You think 
you're having a bad day? Take a look out this 
window." We looked out the Trade Center window, 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 8 

and there was the Vista Hotel, I guess it was 
there. I'm not really sure what building I was 
looking at, but I'm pretty sure it was the roof 
of the Vista. There had to be 30, 40 jumpers 
sprayed out all over the roof. I went, "Oh, 
Jesus, what the hell is going on here?" 

As I was looking out the window, which 
is a total of five seconds, another jumper comes 
by, kind of like clipped the edge of the roof and 
just vaporized. The guy just disappeared. There 
was no longer a body, just a big cloud of red. 
Q . Wow . 

A. I was like, "I didn't need to see 
that." A total of five seconds I was looking out 
that window, total. 

So I go back, and I was with Don and I 
was saying, "Maybe we should take you down, Don. 
Maybe we should start working down if you're 
getting --" He said, "No, I'm all right now. 
I'm all right." 

The EMS guy was yelling at him. He 
said, "You guys, I've probably seen this a 
thousand times. You might be having a heart 
attack." But Don didn't think so. He thought 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 9 

his suspender strap was too tight, which turned 
out it was, because he was fine. 

There was a time we were like, "Well, I 
don't know, Case, maybe we should take you down. 
Let's get out of here. How much farther? Are 
you going to make it?" 

Then 5 Engine was there, the whole 5 
Engine was there. Derek Brogan was miserable. 
He was terrible. He looked terrible. I was 
nervous about him. He looked really bad. So I 
turned to 5 Engine officer. They didn't want to 
leave him, but they wanted to keep going. I 
said, "Look, Lou, you want me to take down 
Derek?" I said, "I'm going to take Don down. Do 
you want me to take Derek down? I'm taking two," 
because 5 Engine didn't want to leave another guy 
behind. He said, "Yeah, maybe that's a good 
idea, if you're going down." I had a radio, Don 
had a radio, and this way they didn't have to 
lose another guy with a radio when it went up. 

So maybe, I don't know, five seconds 
later, that's when tower two must have started 
coming down. The building started shaking, a 
tremendous rumbling. Light bulbs were falling 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 10 

out. File cabinets were tipping over. 

We were in that corner of tower one 
that's kind of close to tower two where they kind 
of like point at each other there. That's the 
corner we were in. I don't know what the hell 
was going on, but whatever it was, it was right 
outside the window that we were standing like 
five feet from. 

Some guys were diving on the floor. 
Some guys were -- I just took off for the other 
side. I said whatever was going on was on that 
side. I said I'm getting to the other side of 
the building. I started running. 

We got to that side of the building. I 
didn't see Casey, but he told me he dove on the 
floor first. Then when he saw me run by, he 
said, "That looks like a good idea. Maybe I'll 
go with Bert and get to the other side." Casey 
got him to the stairwell. He said, "Let's get 
the hell out of here." I said, "Hold on, hold 
on, Case. I don't even know what that was. 
Let's regroup here. First we've got to go back 
and get our stuff. " 

We had taken our coats off. We don't 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 11 

have any tools. We don't have our masks. I 
said, "Let's go back, get our stuff." I said, 
"First of all, Brogan is still back there. We're 
responsible for him now." I said, "Let's go see 
if we can find Derek." 

We get back there. It was dark. Most 
of the light bulbs had fallen off, so you really 
couldn't see much. I guess it was from the dust 
cloud outside there was no light coming in. We 
didn't know at the time. We just thought it was 
another plane or something, another explosion or 
whatever. We really didn't know what it was. 

We got our masks and our coats, grabbed 
the halogen and started looking for Derek, 
couldn't find him, searched all over. He didn't 
have a radio. We couldn't call him. Then we got 
the word on the radio to get out of the building. 
I was like, "Case, I guess he's gone. There's 
nobody on this floor." We searched the whole 
floor. There's nobody there. 

So we started going down. We made our 
way to the stair. Then it was just a slow walk 
down, as slow a 20 floors as you can walk. You 
took a step, you took another step, took a step. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 12 

You got to each landing, you opened the door, 
"Anybody else here? Let's go. Everybody out." 
You let a couple people in front of you, another 
step. 

We just happened to be on the staircase 
with an FBI guy. He had an FBI jacket on. He 
turns around to me and goes, "We've got to get 
out of here." I said, "What are you talking 
about? We're getting out. Let's go. 
Everybody's walking out." He said, "No, you 
don't understand. There's more planes coming." 
I said, "What the hell are you talking about, 
more planes?" He said, "There's two more planes 
on the way for these buildings." "What do you 
mean, two more planes?" I didn't even know there 
was more than one plane at this point. We didn't 
know there was a second plane. 

So then we started walking out. It 
didn't matter. You weren't going anywhere. It 
was slow walking. We got to about the 5th or 6th 
floor. It was getting a little smoky, dusty, 
whatever. Don started to put his mask on. I 
said, "Don, why don't you save it?" It wasn't 
that bad yet. I said, "Why don't we get down and 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 13 

see if we need it to get out of here before we 
waste it up here." So we just started covering 
up, and we made it all the way down. 

We came to the lobby, and the lobby was 
a disaster. It never registered that the other 
building had collapsed. We came outside, and we 
walked the same way we came in. We went back to 
the -- you didn't go through the doors. All the 
glass was broken on the ground floor when we came 
in the first time, I guess from the elevators 
collapsing or I don't know. All the glass was 
gone. 

So we were walking through the plate 
glass along the wall. We slowly walked our way 
out towards the sidewalk, making sure that no 
jumpers were landing on us. I don't know what it 
was exactly, but I wound up seeing Lieutenant 
Smith. We just happened to bump into him. 

I radioed to him on the way down that 
me and Case were in staircase B, I think it was, 
and we were on our way down. He said, "Okay. 
See you out front." I said, "Do we have 
everybody?" I forget what he said. I don't 
know. Everybody was with me on the stairs. I 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 14 

don't see everybody. 

But there were people -- there were 
guys all over the place. There were firemen 
everywhere, wandering around. So we started 
looking around to see if we could see the guys. 
I said, "Lou, they've got to be right here. So 
I'm going to go back inside and maybe they're in 
the lobby." He said all right, he's going to 
gather everybody up out here when I find our 
three guys. I said, "We'll get together up the 
street. We'll regroup and where are we going." 

I still never realized the building had 
collapsed. In fact, I had my camera in my 
pocket, and I was taking pictures on the way out. 
Casey is yelling at me, "Let's get the hell out 
of here. What are you doing?" 

Q. Did the pictures come out? 

A. Yeah, they came out great. 

Q. Have you got them here? 

A. I have the negatives. Guys keep asking 
for copies left and right. 

Q. I bet. 

A. In fact, I get about six, seven copies 
made up at a time, and guys -- whatever it costs. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 15 

It costs me about $5 to get them made. 

So I started my way back in underneath 
that foot bridge right on the corner of Vesey and 
Church, the same way we walked in. There were a 
couple rigs there. There was a guy with a 
bullhorn, a chief. I thought he was a chief. He 
had a white shirt on. I don't remember if he had 
a helmet on. But he had a bullhorn, a guy with a 
bullhorn. 

He was yelling, "Clear the area. Clear 
the area." I really wasn't listening to him. I 
was kind of walking by. He stopped me. He 
grabbed me. He said, "You've got to get out of 
here." I said, "Chief, I'm missing three guys." 
He said, "Everybody coming out I'm sending this 
way. They're probably out already. Go up this 
way. Everybody is going up this way." I said, 
"Look, Chief, they might be right here." He 
said, "Get the -- out of here now." He had me by 
my shoulder and he kind of shoed me away. 

All right. So now I'm doing the same 
thing. I'm looking around. There's firemen all 
over the place now. I'm looking at each guy and 
I'm going over to guys. It's not really 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 16 

registering. The street is a disaster. There's 
stuff all over the street. 

I was just by the other side of that 
foot bridge, I guess. You heard somebody, turned 
around and looked up, and I saw a big section of 
the facade coming down, straight down. I said, 
"Holy shit," and I took off up West Street, north 
on West Street, just ran as far as I could, which 
wasn't too far before the dust cloud took you out 
and stuff was hitting you and banging off your 
mask and your helmet and, geez, what the fuck's 
going on, you know? 

Then the dust cloud started coming, and 
I turned around and the cloud was coming and I 
turned my mask on and put it on. Then it was 
just dust and dark for it seemed like forever, 
darker than any fire I had ever been in. There 
was nowhere to go. You could see it swirling 
around you. I actually had to push the face 
piece onto my face to keep it out. It was 
forcing its way inside. 

Then it was just wandering in the dark 
north on West Street, bumping into cars and 
barricades and whatever else I bumped into. I 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 17 

finally started coming out of the dust and 
finally started seeing a little light. I turned 
around, and now I'm missing all seven guys, the 
other seven guys that were with me. Now I don't 
know where anybody is. 

So I started looking for guys again. 
The first guy I saw was the chauffeur, Warnock. 
He was miserable. He didn't have a mask on, so 
he must have dropped it and ran. I don't know 
what happened. He didn't have his mask on, so he 
was terrible. He couldn't see. He had stuff in 
his eyes. He could barely breathe. 

I just scooped him up by his arm and 
dragged him over to an ambulance and was banging 
on the back. They opened up. I actually had to 
scoop stuff out of his mouth, it was so thick 
with dust and stuff. I told him, "Mike, make 
yourself throw up. Get rid of that stuff." 

EMS was trying to hose him down and get 
the stuff out of his eyes. I was holding him 
down as they were squirting the stuff into his 
eyes to clean his eyes. They were clearing his 
eyes. It wasn't like dust; it was like rocks 
were in his eyes. It was bad. He was in a bad 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 18 

way. They laid him down. EMS was there, so I 
said, "Mike, I'll be back." I said, "Let me go 
see if I can find anybody else." 

The next guy that I saw was I think it 
was Smith and Casey. Casey was hurting too. He 
had his mask on the way out, but he said he lost 
it to run. He said he figured you moved faster. 
So he was hurting too. I dragged him over to 
where Mike was. Lieutenant Smith seemed okay. 
He is a pretty fast runner. I don't even know if 
he got caught in the dust, because he ' s a 
jackrabbit . 

That was it. I didn't see Mike. Then 
the other three guys -- Mike Maguire, I didn't 
know where he was. Casey and Warnock were in the 
ambulance. I kind of asked them not to go. I 
said, "Why don't we stay together, guys. It's 
chaos. Why don't we stay together. I don't even 
know where they're taking us. Why don't we just 
stay together . " 

They weren't that bad; they were 
just -- they were okay now they got their eyes 
washed out. They didn't seem that bad. I said, 
"Why don't we stay together. One of the guys 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 19 

said, "No, I just want to get away from this." 
They were like, "Okay, go ahead." 

So that was me, Smith and I don't 
remember -- there was some probie there in an 
orange hat, and he couldn't find his company, he 
didn't know where everybody was, he didn't have a 
radio. I said, "Why don't you stay with us and 
listen to the radio." I don't even remember his 
name or his company. He stayed with us the rest 
of the day. He never hooked up with any of the 
guys in his company. I don't even remember what 
company he was. He stayed with us. 

We walked around, and I started calling 
the guys on the radio, you know, "9 OV to anybody 
at 9 Truck." It was weird because there was no 
radio traffic. There was nobody on the radio. 
It's like I could clear as day call anybody that 
was on it. Nobody was answering. 

Then I started with 33 Engine. Nobody 
was answering. I just kept wandering around. 
Finally Mike Maguire, who had the can, he 
answered me. He told me where he was. I forget 
what street. West Street and North End walk, 
something like that. So we had to walk a couple 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 20 

blocks to get to there. 

We never found him. I didn't see him 
again until nighttime. I don't know, it was like 
10:00 at night the next time I finally saw Mike. 
But I knew he was okay, though, so I really 
wasn't worried. I was more worried about the 
other three guys. 

I kept wandering around. Finally 
somebody said, "Well, everybody who's been coming 
out, they've been sending them to a staging area 
north on West Street. I said, "All right, let's 
go up there. Maybe they're up there." He said 
they were sending everybody north on West Street. 

So we kept walking north. We never saw 
anything. We hitched a ride to 8 Truck, and then 
they said they would taking guys to 20 Truck, 
anybody they found were going to 20 Truck. I 
said, "All right, let's go to 20 Truck, see if 
the guys are there." 

We still assumed that those three guys 
had gotten out. We had gotten out, so we were 
like where the hell are they? They must have 
gotten out. We went to 20, and they weren't 
there. Then I told Lieutenant Smith, "Lou, I'm 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 21 

going to walk back to quarters. Maybe they'll 
try and call quarters." 

I got back to quarters, and they 
weren't there. This was like 4 or 5:00 in the 
afternoon now, after we had been wandering down 
there for hours. Nothing. They never -- 

Q. Where did you last see those guys? 
A. I saw them in the lobby going up in the 
stairs, probably the third floor going up. They 
were taking off. They were in much better shape 
than I was. They were flying up the stairs. I'm 
like I'm pacing myself. We've got 90 floors. I 
said I'm not going -- I'd be dead by the 20th 
floor if I ran up 20 floors. It was a nice easy 
pace. 

I never saw those guys for the rest of 
the day. I was with Casey. I bumped into Smith 
and Warnock. When I saw those guys outside, it 
was right underneath that foot bridge. That's 
where I saw those guys. Then I turned around and 
went back in the lobby. 

I saw Mike Maguire. I kind of just 
waved to him that, hey, be careful of the 
jumpers. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 22 

We were out there. He walked out and 
met up with those guys. Then everybody scattered 
when it came down. Guys went off in all 
different directions. Those guys were walking 
north on West Street when I went back towards the 
building to go back in to get the other three 
guys. 

That's the last time -- I never saw 
Walz. I never saw Baptiste. I never saw 
Tierney. I never saw those guys. I figured they 
had to be in that lobby, though. I don't know, 
they must have made a wrong turn in the lobby or 
something or followed the wrong guy. I don't 
know. I didn't really see them, so I don't know 
what they did. I just figured they were in that 
lobby and I was going to go get them. 

That was it. I got back to quarters. 
Answering the phone putting the family off then. 
That was pretty much it. 

Q. Those three guys are lost? 

A. Those three guys are lost. 

Q. They never came back? 

A. No. I thought for most of the night 
that we'd find them someplace, whether it was in 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 23 

a hospital. They didn't know where anybody was. 
I just assumed they got out. I just assumed that 
those three guys got out. I miss them. 

Q. Sure. 

A. That's basically it. 

Q. I just want to ask you a couple 
questions that I jotted down while you were 
talking. 

What position did you have? Do you 
remember? 

A. OV. 

Q. You were the OV. Okay. 

Did you get any sense that the 
elevators were running at any time when you got 
there or at any time was there any talk about -- 

A. The elevator doors were blown off. 

Q. Blown off? 

A. Yeah. You could see they were a 
disaster . 

Q. Was there evidence of fire or smoke in 
that area? Did you get the sense that fire had 
been in that shaft or was in that shaft, the 
elevator shaft? 

A. No, no, I never thought -- I just 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 24 

assumed that they must have plummeted from being 
cut - - 

Q. I see. 

A. The airplane just -- that's probably 
why the plate glass was blown off too. We didn't 
walk through the doors; we walked through -- all 
the glass in the lobby was out. 

Q. Even when you got there? 

A. Yeah. So we walked through the glass 
to get into the building. 

Q. Wow. Oh, yeah, I could see that, the 
elevators coming down might do that. 

How about the handy talky traffic? You 
were on Channel 1 the whole time? 

A. Yes. 

Q. You didn't switch over; right? 

A. No. There was chaos, and then they 
said -- I remember somebody saying tower two 
switch to whatever number it was. I don't know 
what they switched to. But I was in tower one. 

Q. Handy talky Channel 1 that you were on, 
was it chaos the whole time? There was a time 
that you were making some calls to people? 

A. There were so many maydays going on. 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 25 

Q. You did hear maydays, but what about 
getting through? 

A. Maydays were left and right for guys 
with chest pains. There was a lot of guys with 
chest pains. After tower two collapsed, we 
didn't know it at the time but there was one 
radio transmission that came through that said 
the 65th floor just collapsed. But we didn't 
know what that was or who gave it. I heard on 
the radio 65th floor just collapsed. I don't 
know who gave it or for what building. It had to 
be our building, because we were on a different 
radio channel. That was it. 

Q. At any time did you hear any 
announcements over like the PA system instructing 
people what to do, like the fire wardens making 
any announcement? 

A. No. 

Q. Did you get any sense? Do you have any 
recollection? 

A. No, I don't remember hearing any. 

Q. No. 

A. Everybody was calm walking down. There 
was no problems. We were on the right. We were 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 26 

going up on the right; they were going down on 
the right, patting us on the back, handing us 
water, "go get them, guys, you're earning your 
money today," all sorts of stuff like that. 

Q. When you came downstairs, you used the 
words "the lobby was a disaster." What did the 
lobby look like? 

A. Just like dusty and -- 

Q. Dusty -- 

A. The lobby was empty. I was going back 
towards the command post. I figured that's where 
everybody was going to be. The command post was 
set up in like that northwest corner of the 
building there. There was no chiefs in the 
lobby. There was nothing there. I'm like now 
where do we go. 

So we just started filtering out 
towards the street, because that's where 
everybody -- there was kind of like a line on the 
stairs. Thank God we went the right way. If you 
went left, I don't think you were getting out of 
there. If you made the right, that's the way we 
went into the stairs, so that's the way I went 
out. That was the way I was walking back to the 



B. SPRINGSTEAD 27 

rig, the same way I went in there. It was just a 
right lucky pick of the two. 

Q. That's pretty much it? 

A. Yeah. 

MR. MALKIN: I want to thank you for 

your statement and cooperating. The time is 

now 1655 hours, and this concludes the 

interview. 



File No. 9110226 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER EDWARD SHEEHEY 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



E. SHEEHEY 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: Today is December 4th, 
2001. The time is 3:23 p.m. This is 
Battalion Chief Kenahan from Safety 
Battalion from the New York City Fire 
Department. I'm conducting an interview 
with Edward Sheehey, fireman first grade of 
Engine 91. There is no one else present. 
Q. Okay. Start your -- 

A. We responded after the second tower was 
hit by the aircraft, through voice alarm. I 
guess it took us approximately, on the fifth 
alarm, between five and ten minutes to get down 
there. 

We got off the rig on West Street and 
Vesey, parked the rig. We noticed numerous 
jumpers coming down. There were firemen across 
the street that called us over to the command 
post. We went to the command post. We were 
standing fast at the command post with other 
companies, waiting for an assignment. 

We were there approximately maybe ten 
minutes before we received an assignment to go 
into the south tower subbasement. We were on our 
way in with an engineer, and he told us that if 



E. SHEEHEY c 

there was smoke in the building that he wasn't 
able to go. He had no mask, and he didn't have 
all the keys to the doors. 

So a battalion chief, which I do not 
know who he is, stopped us and told us he was 
going to get us more men, and we sent the 
chauffeur back to the rig for tools, forcible 
entry tools. Within one or two minutes standing 
there waiting for him to come back, the south 
tower started to collapse, and we -- 

Q. Where exactly were you when the south 
tower collapsed? 

A. We were proceeding across West Street. 
We were probably maybe 25 yards from the command 
post . 

Q. South of the command post? 

A. Straight across from it, going in 
towards the south tower. We were probably just 
at West Street, just at the street. Then the 
south tower -- we heard an explosion, looked up, 
and the building started to collapse. 

We dropped all our tools and gear, and 
we turned around. There was a parking garage to 
the right of the command post, so we ran down 



E. SHEEHEY 4 

into the parking garage. After being in the 
garage about five minutes, we got out through a 
stairwell in the rear out into a rear courtyard. 

At that time we started looking for 
rest of the members of the company. We found one 
other member, Joe Meola. We then proceeded to 
look for the lieutenant and the two other 
members. I guess we made our way around back to 
the front after about five or ten minutes looking 
for them. It seemed like five or ten minutes. 
We found Tim Hoppey. 

That's when the north tower started to 
collapse. At that time we ran down Vesey Street 
towards the water and then north through a 
construction site and basically started looking 
for the rest of the guys that we were with. 

About an hour and a half later we found 
our lieutenant, Lieutenant Casey. We just stood 
fast with him for the rest of the day. About an 
hour after that we found our chauffeur. We found 
out he was in the hospital. 

Q. Did you hear any emergency 
transmissions on the handy talky? Did you have a 
handy talky? 



E. SHEEHEY 5 

A. No, I didn't have a handy talky. 

Q. Did you hear anything being next to 
anybody? 

A. I heard maydays. As we were at the 
command post, we heard maydays. I couldn't make 
out what they were for. 

Q. Was this before the collapse or after? 

A. Before the collapse. Then after the 
collapse I heard -- we looked for someone with a 
radio, and we found a captain from another engine 
company. I couldn't tell you what company he was 
from. He was looking for the rest of his men, 
and he had a handy talky. He said if he heard 
them calling for us he would let us know. I 
heard a couple of maydays on his handy talky but 
couldn't make out who was giving them or where 
they were. 

Q. Anything else you want to add? 

A. No, nothing I can remember. That's 
what we did pretty much. That was basically our 
whole involvement in the collapse. 

Q. Okay. Thanks for your help. 

MR. KENAHAN: The time now is 3:28, and 

this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110227 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER KEITH FACCILONGA 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



K. FACCILONGA 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: 5:38 and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the Safety 
Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I'm conducting an interview 
with Keith Faccilonga, firefighter first 
grade from Engine 64. 

Q. Go ahead and tell us what you remember 
from September 11th. 

A. I saw the second plane hit the second 
tower on TV. I tried calling my battalion -- I 
tried calling my company -- (inaudible) after the 
second plane hit the towers, I got in my car. I 
called the company and then I called my battalion 
and I called my division, and there was no 
answers. 

I had my firefighting gear at home with 
me and started getting the gear together, 
figuring I was going to come into work. After 
getting all the gear together, I made the phone 
calls again. Still no answer at all three 
places, including 47 Truck, who has their own 
department phone. 

I got in the car and drove down, 
in live nx. I figured I was close enough 



K. FACCILONGA 3 

to get down there, report in to a chief and do 
something. I drove down on the FDR Drive. I was 
about halfway down -- I couldn't tell you where, 
probably in the mid 90s when I saw the first 
tower go down. I saw that from the FDR Drive. 

I had my helmet in the window, and the 
police kept waving me through. I got down there 
pretty quick; I would say less than 15 minutes 
door to door. I parked my car. I pulled -- 
actually on the FDR Drive right around the 
Brooklyn Bridge, there was, I would say, 
thousands and thousands of civilians that were 
walking up in a panic, up the FDR Drive. 

The smoke at that point was so thick 
that I couldn't even see, so I had to back up, 
make a U turn on the FDR Drive and get off, I 
guess underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Somehow I 
made my way over to Park Row, took one look, 
parked on Fulton Street right next to the 
St. Paul cemetary. 

I got out of my car. I got my 
firefighting gear on, my bunker gear, helmet and 
everything, no mask. I walked about half a block 
down Church Street and made a left. In front of 



K. FACCILONGA 4 

me was Five World Trade Center with fire showing 
out of just about every single window of Five 
World Trade. The building was fully involved, 
the whole entire building. 

I made a left on Church Street, and I 
continued walking and that's where parts of the 
first building were all over Church Street and 
all in between Four World Trade and Five World 
Trade it was all parts of, I guess Two World 
Trade Center was the first one to collapse. 

I made my way to the corner of Liberty 
and Trinity, and I found a bunch of firemen that 
had come in the same as I did, on their own, on 
their day off and were in the same situation. We 
were going through rigs looking for Scott masks. 
That was the only thing nobody had and the one 
thing that everybody needed. 

220 Engine was parked, it looked like I 
think on the corner of Trinity and Liberty, and 
the truck was there and he was telling me he lost 
his whole company in the first collapse. So a 
bunch of us got together with a lieutenant 
from -- I don't even know what company. I don't 
remember his name anymore. We told him you're in 



K. FACCILONGA 5 

charge and he was going to lead us in and try to 
find the guys that the truck from 220 was telling 
us were missing. 

We headed down Liberty Street towards 
the quarters of 10 and 10, and we made it just 
about that far. I would say somewhere across 
from 10 and 10 right in the plaza. We were 
making our way across the rubble, and it was real 
slow going. 

We were crawling across the rubble, 
trying to find -- at this point I wasn't sure 
which building had collapsed. I know the area a 
little bit. We were trying to get towards Two 
World Trade Center, which was the building that 
went down already. We didn't know that. So 
we're trying to get in there, thinking that's 
where the guys are. We're thinking -- I'm not 
sure -- we figured we could find the guys. 

So we're walking over there, we heard a 
big roar. Nobody really knew what the roar was 
until the chauffeur from 220 said, "Oh, my God, 
not again." We turned around and started running 
directly up Liberty Street away from the Trade 
Center, running east on Liberty. We crossed 



K. FACCILONGA 6 

Trinity. On the way a couple of guys bailed out 
and went into some of the buildings. Some guys 
hid in Burger King. Myself, I kept running. I 
tripped a couple of times. I got pelted and half 
buried along the way. 

I got over to the corner of Broadway 
and Liberty, and there was a truck company parked 
on that corner. We hid behind the truck, and all 
the stuff came flying by. A couple of guys got 
hit by stuff and hurt by stuff. Even guys that 
were hiding behind the rig were getting hurt. I 
noticed some windows were broken. 

At that point I couldn't breathe 
anymore. But there was an officer. I think he 
was from... I would have to say 20 Truck who 
shared a mask with me. I never found out really 
who it was, but I think it was a lieutenant from 
20. He shared a mask with me. 

After a good couple of minutes of 
pitch-black total darkness, it started to clear 
up a little bit and I could almost breathe again 
and maybe you could see your hand in front of 
your face. I decided to then go back, because on 
my way running away from the building I knew I 



K. FACCILONGA 7 

left guys behind that I really wasn't sure if 
they made it or not. 

I made it back down there toward 10-10 
where I lost guys. The rubble was so deep that 
there was no way we were going to dig something 
up. I mean, everybody knows it was real deep 
rubble, and we heard banging on the doors of 
Burger King. So we went over to Burger King. 
There were a couple guys in there. They thought 
they were buried alive because the dust and dirt 
were so thick on the windows. They couldn't see 
anything. So we pulled the doors open, and there 
were maybe, I would say around five, six, seven 
guys, maybe, came out of there, and they were 
surprised they weren't buried in a couple of feet 
worth of dirt. It was only thick on the windows. 
It made them think they were buried alive in 
there. 

We all got together again and tried to 
make another trip to get in there. As we entered 
the plaza again the second time. Now, stuff that 
had fallen I guess whatever was... there big, hard 
pieces of, I don't know, big pieces that had been 
standing for weeks. Pieces were falling off 



K. FACCILONGA 8 

there and landing and we were kind of worried 
about some landing on us. 

We couldn't pass there on Liberty, so 
we made our way south. I'm not sure if we went 
up Albany or Carlisle. I'm not sure what street 
it was. We went around to the west side, and 
along the way different guys were trying to do 
different things. 

We hooked up with a couple of different 
chiefs, a couple of different lieutenants and 
captains, and different guys would attach 
themselves to those bosses and try to do 
something with them. Because the wind was 
blowing from the west, I thought the best bet was 
to go to the West Side Highway and try to make an 
attack from that side. 

So me and a couple of guys from -- I 
don't remember what squad, but one of the squads, 
we hooked up together and we found an officer. 
We made our way to the West Side Highway, and we 
tried to make a push into the rubble. Actually 
while we were doing it, there were some fires 
that they were putting out. I took some hose 
line straps. We helped stretch some hose lines, 



K. FACCILONGA 9 

helped carry some pieces to the manifolds, some 
gates, stuff like that. We were carrying stuff 
along the way. 

What else? At that point there were 
civilians up in one of the buildings. I couldn't 
tell you which building it was at the time. He 
was up in one of the buildings that was damaged 
but not knocked down. He was waving to us. We 
kept saying, "What the hell does that guy want?" 
It looked like he wanted to be saved originally, 
but then we realized he was pointing and he saw 
something that we couldn't see. 

So we started walking. He was 
directing us towards the south pedestrian bridge. 
As we got closer to the pedestrian bridge, I saw 
something shiny so I called some guys over, and 
we started making our way towards where the 
pedestrian bridge came to the ground on the east 
side of the West Side Highway. 

Right where the pedestrian bridge met 
the ground, I noticed a bunker coat. So I called 
everybody over, and we started digging frantic. 
Then we realized we found somebody for sure. We 
started finding that it was his whole entire 



K. FACCILONGA 10 

bunker coat and his hand was still in the bunker 
coat . 

We were digging, and there was no 
response from whoever was buried. We got him 
buried out as much as we could, but there were 
three motorcycles that were pinned on him. It 
looked like a river of debris had come in. He 
had hid under the pedestrian bridge at the point 
by the ground where it meets the ground. He hid 
there I guess when the building collapsed. I'm 
not sure which one. At this point we didn't know 
who it was. Now I do know it was a chauffeur 
from 65 Engine, and we didn't know until we got 
him out of there, and I'll continue telling you 
how we got him out . 

So he hid under the bridge where the 
forty-five meets the ground, and he got dirt from 
both sides of the bridge. Stuff just came 
running like a river and just buried him. There 
were three motorcycles that had toppled over, and 
they were pretty much pinning him to the ground 
even after we dug him out. 

So myself and one other guy got as 
close as we could to the chauffeur. We grabbed a 



K. FACCILONGA 11 

hold of the motorcycles. He finally came to and 
he finally was talking to us. He told us he was 
the chauffeur from 65. He didn't know how long 
he was out. He was unconscious. He doesn't 
remember anything other than running and hiding 
under there and then waking up. I think he was 
out for at least an hour or two by the time we 
made our way to him. It might have been more. 
I'm not sure. 

I was the closest one to him and I told 
him we were going to try to get him out of there. 
We picked up the motorcycles as much as we could, 
but it still wasn't enough. We got some more 
guys over. 

There was some fire in the rubble pile 
that was getting pretty intense, and the heat was 
a lot for us. So they stretched more line to put 
out the fire while we tried to get him out. We 
got a back board in there, and somebody counted 
to three. On the count of three, about three or 
four of us picked up the motorcycle as high was 
we could. While another two, three guys pulled 
him out of the pile. He was still pinned. I 
think his leg was pinned in the pile. 



K. FACCILONGA 12 

So then I crawled underneath and tried 
to find out where he was pinned, his leg was 
stuck at. Probably his bunker gear was stuck 
under the motorcycles. So then we kind of 
finagled his legs. He was really tough. It was 
pinned pretty bad. The only thing we could think 
of was to pull him out. We got him free of what 
he was pinned under. We got a whole bunch more 
guys, maybe about five or six guys, to try and 
pick the motorcycles up on the count of three. I 
counted to three this time, and I told the 
chauffeur that we were going to pull him out on 
three. He was counting down and he was still 
pinned. I couldn't see where he was pinned. So 
we said we were going to do it and if it was too 
much, he was supposed to scream and let us know. 
On the count of three we picked up the bikes, and 
the guys pulled him out. They threw him on the 
board, and they got him out. 

Let's see. After that I took a break 
for a couple of minutes. I got some water. I 
went and scavenged some equipment off of some 
rigs. I got a halogen, and I found a Scott pack 
off one of the rescue rigs that was parked right 



K. FACCILONGA 13 

there, very close to the pedestrian bridge where 
Liberty meets the West Side Highway. 

I got one of the Scott packs, and I put 
that on. Pretty much for the next couple hours 
we were inside the rubble pile, mostly from the 
west side. Since, like I said before, the wind 
was blowing towards the east, and it was a lot 
clearer coming in from the West Side Highway 
going toward Battery Park. 

I concentrated my efforts towards One 
World Trade Center and Two World Trade Center. 
On and off during the day I hooked up with 
numerous firefighters and officers from 
lieutenants all the way up to battalion chiefs. 
We would hook up with teams and work as much as 
we could until somebody needed a blow and then 
they'd go take their own break and come back 
whenever they were ready and then hook up with 
another group or the same group. It pretty much 
went on like that until around 5:00. Let's see, 
it was around 3:00 I decided to take a break, and 
I made my way back towards -- I headed towards 
the command post set up on Broadway somewhere 
near Park Row. So I was pretty much spent at 



K. FACCILONGA 14 

that point. 

So I made my way over to Park Row where 
there was a command center where there were 
companies coming in. It was City Hall Park where 

1 guess it was kind of a meeting point where 
people were coming in. I saw people coming in 
from "the Rock" I guess they sent their chauffeur 
school, that type of thing. They were all 
showing up there. 

Checking in and I saw 47 Truck there, 
which is the truck that's in with the engine I'm 
assigned to. So I went over there and I reported 
to that officer who was Lieutenant Lowney. So I 
reported to him. I told him that I was going to 
be attached to him for the day. He's just about 
to sign in, I guess, and he was going to give my 
name. So I figured I would stay with them for 
the rest of the day. That was somewhere between 

2 or 3:00. 

At that point some fireman and some 
police were scavenging stuff from a hardware 
store, from a pharmacy for drops. My eyes were 
shot. I couldn't see anymore. We were putting 
drops in our eyes. We got some tools. 



K. FACCILONGA 15 

We finally got an assignment. We got 
on the rig maybe around 3:00 and drove around to 
see what was going on over by Six World Trade and 
make our way towards the rubble from that end. 
We were doing that for about two hours. Pretty 
much we couldn't get past the rig. So we carried 
as much food as we could. We made our way to the 
pile again. We were doing searches. Not much 
found. It was rough going. 

At that point I was having trouble 
breathing. I couldn't even walk 20 or 30 yards 
without help. So they put me in an ambulance, 
gave me oxygen and they were talking about 
intubating me and they sent me off to 
St. Claire's Hospital. I stayed there pretty 
much through the night. 

I got out of the hospital. That night 
I stayed at a friend's house in Manhattan. I 
came back down around 9:00 in the morning to get 
my car. My car was on Fulton Street. I got my 
car and went back up to the Bronx. I was 
supposed to be working that day and pretty much 
the rest was all responding with 64 Engine after 
that. You know after the first day. 



K. FACCILONGA 16 

So I guess pretty much that's my story. 
That's about it. 

Q. Okay. Thanks a lot. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 6:05 
p.m. This concludes this interview. 



File No. 9110228 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER DAVID MORIARTY 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



D. MORIARTY 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: Today is December 4th, 
2001. The time is 5:17 p.m., and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the Safety 
Battalion of the Fire Department of the City 
of New York. I'm conducting an interview 
with David Moriarty, firefighter first grade 
from Engine 64. 

Q. Please tell us the events of September 
11th as you remember them. 

A. On the morning of September 11th, I was 
working a mutual with Kevin Hansen. I was 
working a day tour here at 64 Engine. I was just 
finishing up getting shaved when we received from 
the news that a plane had struck the World Trade 
Center. I was looking at the television when we 
actually saw the second plane strike the World 
Trade Center while we were still in quarters. 

Sometime after that we received a 
ticket to respond as an additional unit on a 
fifth alarm to the quarters of 35 Engine in 
Harlem, and we got on the rig and headed down to 
Harlem. While we were on the Bruckner Expressway 
heading down, you could see smoke rising from the 
area of southern Manhattan in the vicinity of the 



D. MORIARTY 3 

World Trade Center. 

We got down to Harlem, and Lieutenant 
Brendan Whelan was working in 35 that day. He 
got promoted out of Ladder 47 here. They were in 
the process of gathering extra tools and stuff 
for their apparatus, and he had us stage our 
apparatus around the corner facing I guess east. 

We were there for a short period of 
time, and other companies came in. I believe 94 
Engine responded in, maybe 50 Engine was there 
and a couple of additional engines. I don't 
remember exactly who. 

We were in quarters, like I said, not 
that long and the voice alarm went off, and the 
person on the voice alarm asked Brendan to read 
out a roll call of all of the units which were 
currently at quarters there. Brendan did that, 
and he had to repeat it a couple of times. You 
could tell the guy on the voice alarm was 
probably writing it down. 

Shortly after Brendan read it out to 
him, he said -- the guy on the voice alarm, the 
dispatcher, said respond forthwith to West and 
Vesey Street to the staging area. 



D. MORIARTY 4 

So we got on the apparatus, and somehow 
we wound up pretty much like in the lead heading 
south through Manhattan. In the area of 81st and 
Central Park West -- I don't know if it was the 
traffic conditions or what, but we were kind of 
delayed right there. 

I told the chauffeur that I knew of an 
entrance to the West Side Highway at 79th. So 
what we had to do was we went one block west to 
Columbus, went south to 79th, made a right all 
the way across and got on the drive there at 79th 
and West Side Highway and proceeded south. 

It was while we were in transit there 
that the radio traffic picked up on the citywide, 
and somebody put over that there was a collapse 
at the World Trade Center. The thing was, they 
never went into the extent of the collapse. We 
didn't realize that the entire south tower had 
collapsed while we were en route. 

That transmission was somewhat garbled, 
and immediately after that we heard a member over 
the citywide frequency screaming a mayday. You 
could tell by his voice that he was pretty bad. 
He was in bad shape. He said he was trapped by 



D. MORIARTY 5 

debris, he was finding it difficult to breathe 
and "Somebody come and get me." The dispatcher 
got right back on and tried to calm him down and 
assure him that they had units moving towards his 
location. 

Then pretty soon after that we arrived 
on West Street north of West and Vesey, several 
blocks north of the walk bridge that's at a 
college there or something. That's where our 
chauffeur found parking. 

We got off the rig and we grabbed our 
rollups. We started walking south on West. 
Vinnie Massa, who had the control position, told 
us hold on a second. He wanted to just remove 
the basic items he'd need for a standpipe 
operation from the standpipe kit so he wouldn't 
be lugging the entire kit with him. 

At this time there was units all over 
the place on West, guys walking south and throngs 
of civilians walking north. I mean, hundreds and 
hundreds of people were walking north on West. 

Then we started sizing it up as we were 
walking. It was pretty bad. I mean, the north 
tower was burning pretty good. It was ripping on 



D. MORIARTY 6 

the upper floors. There was all sorts of debris 
in the air. We could see there was a dust in the 
air that we didn't really understand what it was. 
We thought it was smoke and whatnot. People were 
still streaming north as we were headed south. 

I started watching the debris, trying 
to see the other tower. The debris that was in 
the air and stuff, I was watching that, trying to 
see around the north tower to see the south 
tower, how bad did it look. 

As I was looking through the debris was 
when I first started seeing people jumping out of 
the north tower. I had thought at first -- I was 
walking alongside my probie, Billy Horel, and we 
were both kind of looking up at the debris. It 
was like, "Did you see that?" He said, "Yeah." 
I said, "Those are people jumping out of the 
building." There were enough of them that jumped 
while we were walking. 

As we got closer, you could see debris, 
but there was a throng of firefighters and people 
still between us and Vesey. That's when I 
started noticing equipment on the roadway and 
masks and shit like that. 



D. MORIARTY 7 

I had been looking up again, and 
suddenly somebody to the front of us -- I don't 
know if it was a civilian or firefighter or cop 
or what -- said, "She's coming down." We were 
within a half a block of the north tower. 

It was my intention -- I was probably 
the senior guy on the back step that day -- that 
we report in to some command center down there. 
Our officer would report in and we would probably 
be going into the north tower or somewhere with 
an assignment for a high rise job. 

But that shout went up, and the crowd 
in front of us suddenly surged towards us. 
Everybody turned and started coming back north. 
I looked up, and it appeared as if the north 
tower -- it almost appeared to be liquefied. The 
very top of it began to cascade out and down, 
almost in a rolling motion. 

As I watched it, the street started to 
fill with this tremendous sound of just noise. 
It reminded me of a jet aircraft engine when a 
jet takes off. It was that loud. The debris 
started coming out onto West and down. 

We turned. I yelled something, maybe 



D. MORIARTY 8 

"Come on 64," or something. I grabbed my probie 
by his harness, and I took one last look. I 
could see now that the dust cloud was coming up 
at us pretty fast. We turned around and we 
started heading back north. We weren't running 
at a flat-out run, but we were walking very 
briskly. 

I took a look over my shoulder. I 
realized we weren't going to outrun this thing. 
Still holding onto Billy, I said, "Come here." 
There was an EMS ambulance parked facing north in 
the southbound lanes. I said, "We've got to get 
down here." I got down in front of the bumper 
with Billy. I told him, "Mask up, mask up." 

I looked, and I didn't know what was in 
this debris. I said to myself if there's any 
heavy stuff in this debris, we might not be in 
the best of spots, but at least we had some 
cover. Before I could get my mouthpiece, my face 
mask on, it was that quick. That cloud of stuff 
was up, on us, and over us. 

I didn't know exactly where the other 
members of the company were, but I knew Billy was 
with me. He got his mask on. I cleaned mine out 



D. MORIARTY 9 

a little bit. It was very difficult to breathe. 
Everything became kind of encapsulated. You 
couldn't hear people yelling. Things weren't as 
loud as they would normally be on the street 
because of this dust that was all around us. 

What happened then was the EMS 
ambulance was running. It was on. The engine 
was on. It started whining terribly bad. I 
realized it was sucking all the dust. I thought 
maybe we're going to have a car fire here. I 
told Billy, "Billy, we're going to stand up and 
walk north together out of this thing." 
Basically that's what we did. 

There were other people. We did bump 
into people that were standing. We didn't 
encounter anybody laid out or anything like that 
along our path north until we got out of that 
cloud . 

When we got out of that cloud, we 
regrouped. It was a matter of minutes before all 
of the members were accounted for, we had 
everybody, and we turned around and headed back 
south now. 

It was at that point as we closed in on 



D. MORIARTY 10 

where the north tower had been that I really 
realized the extent of what had happened. There 
was a tremendous amount of equipment strewn 
across West Street, I mean partner saws and 
masks. I saw a case for a heat-seeking camera. 
I was clued in on that. 

We passed a side street, and there was 
an engine. I think it was 16; I'm not sure. It 
was hooked up to a hydrant. There was debris 
burning around it, and it was a matter of I did a 
quick check, a cursory check, for the chauffeur 
to see if he could possibly be in among this 
stuff here. 

It was on a side street away from like 
the heavy debris. There was all this stuff, and 
there were small pockets of fire burning around 
the apparatus. It was like is he around? We 
looked under the rig. We checked the interior of 
the rig. There was nobody by that rig, so we 
moved on. We moved south back towards the Trade 
Center . 

We got to the corner of West and Vesey, 
and it was just very chaotic at that point. 
There was a lot of firemen there, guys looking 



D. MORIARTY 11 

for stuff to do, doing cursory examinations of 
the pile and stuff. 

Shortly -- I don't know how long. You 
know, time kind of speeded up and slowed down 
depending on where you were. What we wound up 
doing is we assisted members of 54 Engine. They 
had been ordered to draft water from a marine 
unit in the river. 

We assisted them in positioning the 
rig. We got a manifold, and we had I think four 
or six lines. Like they were eventually hooked 
up to this manifold in the area of West and 
Vesey. Those lines were operating. We didn't 
operate off of it, but other companies had them 
charged . 

There were guys that had put up 
portable ladders towards part of the World Trade 
Center there and were getting up onto I guess it 
was a mezzanine level and doing a search there 
real quick. 

But the command at that point wasn't 
really organized at first. Then I remember 
seeing like a few different chiefs at the corner 
throughout the day. They became very concerned 



D. MORIARTY 12 

about the condition of number Seven World Trade 
and where we were in vicinity to that. They kept 
announcing the collapse and who's moving, and we 
got pushed further and further west. 

We took a blow in the vicinity of the 
American Express building. I heard that a police 
officer, the body of a police officer, had been 
recovered right where we were standing when we 
first got there to the corner. Guys were just 
making small examinations of the pile that was 
around us. But they weren't really getting guys 
get too deep into it because of the possible 
pending collapse of Seven World Trade. 

We were staged there a good part of the 
afternoon until seven finally did collapse. It 
was shortly after the collapse of seven that -- 
Chief Fellini, I guess was the commander at West 
and Vesey. I know Chief Salka was at West and 
Vesey and there was another chief with them. 

They wanted to get a primary of the 
Verizon building. They were asking for three 
engines and three trucks. That's all they wanted 
to commit to the buildings to do a cursory 
examination for possible victims and stability 



D. MORIARTY 13 

and building damage. 64 Engine was chosen to do 
part of that search. 

We wound up entering the building. 
Three engines, three trucks teamed up, one 
engine, one truck, per ten floors. It was 6 or 9 
Truck that we wound up with, and we did floors 10 
through 20. We did have structural damage to the 
building, especially to the east side, and small 
pockets of fire set back there, but no victims 
within the building. 

We came out, and we took a blow on West 
Street, reported back to the command center. 
Basically we were told that it was time for us to 
leave. We wanted to stay. The chief that was on 
duty then, he asked us what tour we were working 
and so on. We told him we were there from the 
day tour. The chief said, "I've got a thousand 
guys here to help. It's time for you to guys to 
take up and go home," which we eventually did. 
That's it. 

Q. Very good. Thanks for your help. 

A. Okay. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: This concludes the 

interview. 



File No. 9110229 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER TIMOTHY HOPPEY 
Interview Date: December 4, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



T. HOPPEY 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: It's December 4th, 
2001. The time is 3:39 p.m. This is 
Battalion Chief Kenahan from the Safety 
Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I'm conducting an interview 
with Timothy Hoppey, firefighter first 
grade, assigned to Engine 91. We're at the 
quarters of Engine 91 conducting this 
interview. 

Q. Go ahead with any -- 

A. We cut through Central Park to get down 
there. Then we got over to the West Side 
Highway. The cops pretty much had it all cleared 
out for us, so we cruised right down to pretty 
near the World Trade Center. I believe we parked 
on West Street. 

We got off the rig. It was myself, Ed 
Sheehy and Maureen Schulman on the back step. We 
took our rollups and started walking down West 
Street toward the command center that we were to 
report to, walked about 50 yards or so, and 
Maureen was actually carrying the standpipe kit 
and rollups. I went back and grabbed the 
standpipe kit from her to speed things up a bit. 



T. HOPPEY 3 

We got down to the command post. As 
soon as we arrived at the command post, I noticed 
the jumpers were coming down there. I believe 
there were a lot more landing on top of the 
hotel, but some were hitting out in the street. 

There were quite a few firefighters 
already assembled there. The chief of the 
command center told us to step back off of West 
Street so that we wouldn't actually see the 
impact of the jumpers. There was a parking 
garage there with a ramp. So by going down the 
ramp a little bit, you still saw and heard the 
jumpers, but you didn't actually see them hitting 
on the street. So that's pretty much where 
everyone was. 

We took our masks off and dropped the 
rollups and stuff because we were assuming that 
we might be there a while waiting for our 
assignment and seeing how most of the other 
companies had done that also. 

As far as the companies assembled 
there, I really only saw 34 Engine. I don't 
know. A lot of guys had their helmets off too 
and their gear stacked in specific areas. 



T. HOPPEY 4 

While we were there, I went back into 
the parking garage, and one of the guys in the 
glass booth back there, I asked him where a 
faucet was. So came out and turned on a faucet 
for us so we had some water. 

We were just hanging out there, waiting 
to be called, and eventually Lieutenant James 
Casey came back, told us to get our gear on, that 
we were going to head in. 

So we went up to West Street. We were 
right by the command center at that point. We 
were kind of on the curb to cross West Street. 
Actually we were told we were going to go to the 
six sublevel. I'm not sure of what tower. 

We were going to go in with an engineer 
who -- I guess they were having standpipe 
problems up there. We were going to isolate a 
standpipe or something. Not that we knew how to 
do it, but this engineer was going to tell us 
what valves to turn or whatever. As I said, I'm 
not even sure what tower we were supposed to go 
into. 

We walked out into West Street maybe 
ten yards or so, and the chief called us back. 



T. HOPPEY 5 

I'm not sure what chief this was. I know Peter 
Ganci was at this command center, but I'm not 
sure what chief this actually was. 

The chief wanted to get a truck company 
to go in with us. He was figuring we would 
probably have to force doors getting down to 
these sublevels. At that point Lieutenant Casey 
had sent our chauffeur, Steve Connor, and Brian 
Russo, who actually had just gotten off the night 
tour but had ridden down with the rack unit, I 
believe. He sent them back to 91 's rig to get 
forcible entry tools, rabbit tools or something 
like that. 

In the interim while we were standing 
there on the curb at West Street, probably three 
minutes or so after he had told us to go in, 
that's when we heard the rumble. I looked up, 
and it was just a black cloud directly overhead. 

At that point I was thinking it was a 
secondary explosion. It looked to me like it was 
much lower than where the planes had gone in. 
That was probably just a delay in looking up. 

I turned around and looked to see what 
everyone else was doing, and everyone was running 



T. HOPPEY 6 

right down that ramp into the parking garage. So 
I just dropped the rollup and standpipe kit right 
there and took off running and made it into the 
parking garage. 

As I was running down the ramp, there 
was a pillar on the left. I jumped behind it. I 
was going to throw my mask on, because I was 
assuming at the time that -- thinking that the 
World Trade Center -- I thought the top half of 
the building was falling off, and I was thinking 
of it falling outward, not really imploding upon 
itself like it did. So if it was falling our 
way, we might get buried alive or trapped down in 
that parking garage. 

I was going to throw my mask on, but as 
soon as I jumped behind the pillar, there was 
just a black cloud rolling probably five or ten 
yards away from me, so I just kept running. I 
didn't know if it was the building or if it was 
just debris. I had no idea what was in the 
cloud . 

By the time I got to the rear of the 
parking garage -- it stayed pretty clear back 
there. It wasn't too bad. There was a stairway 



T. HOPPEY 7 

up. There were a ton of guys on the stairwell. 
I know there was a delay in getting out the door. 
Whether they got the key or forced the door, I'm 
not really sure. I stayed down at the bottom 
there. I had my flashlight on directing people 
in there. 

Once the door was forced or opened or 
whatever they did, everyone headed up and out the 
back of the parking garage. I went up there. We 
moved either a bicycle rack or some type of 
barrier to hold the door open up top. 

While I was standing there, some 
captain -- I don't know what company --he saw I 
had an orange flashlight on my jacket and he 
said, "Let me have that flashlight. I'm going to 
go down and search the parking garage." So I 
said, "All right." So I gave him the flashlight. 
I said, "I'm going to go down with you." 

So we put on our masks and went down 
into the parking garage. He set up a search 
rope. The visibility was actually fairly good 
down there. You could see all the shapes of 
people. It seemed like everyone who had gotten 
in the parking garage was fine. 



T. HOPPEY 8 

I walked back out to where the ramp met 
the air, but you really couldn't see too much at 
that point. You wouldn't see anyone walking 
around out there. I didn't really see much of 
anything out there at that point. 

I went back out through the garage, 
back out into like a little park behind the 
garage. Walking around there, I met up with two 
guys from my company, Ed Sheehy and Joe Meola, 
who also had been relieved that morning but had 
come down. 

We just started looking for our 
lieutenant and the rest of our company at that 
point. We walked through the park I believe to 
Vesey Street, and we were going to loop around to 
come back down into the Trade Center to see if 
our lieutenant and other members were down there. 

I would assume we were on Vesey Street 
or West Street. I'm not even exactly sure. But 
a cop started screaming, "The north tower is 
leaning." We again started running. That came 
down a couple minutes after that. As I said, I 
think we were on Vesey Street at that point, but 
I'm not really sure. 



T. HOPPEY 9 

After that it was kind of pandemonium. 
The U.S. marshals were saying a third plane was 
coming in. They said there were bombs in all the 
buildings around there. No one really knew where 
to assemble. Every time you tried to set up a 
spot, you were being told to keep moving further 
north. Eventually we ended up by Stuyvesant High 
School. That was pretty much it. 

Q. Do you have anything else? 

A. No, I don't. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: It's now 3:48. This 

interview is concluded. Thank you. 



File No. 9110230 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FATHER JOHN DELENDICK 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



J. DELENDICK '< 

MR. TAMBASCO: Today is December 6th. 
My name is Mike Tambasco with the World 
Trade Center Task Force. We're on the 
fourth floor of Nine Metrotech in the 
conference room, conducting an interview 
with Father John Delendick into the events 
of September 11th. 

The time now is 1431 hours. 
Q. Father, if you would just be good 
enough to tell us your story from that day. 

A. I had just finished saying the 8:30 
mass at St. Michael's in Brooklyn. The pager 
went off and said that a plane had crashed into 
one of the towers of the Trade Center. I called 
emergency operations center and said I was 
responding, and I left for the Trade Center. 

I went through the Battery Tunnel. I 
parked my car as close to the Battery Tunnel as 
possible and walked to the Trade Center from 
there along West Street. I stopped for a few 
minutes to talk to Jerry Barber, who was 
opposite -- I guess we were standing on the 
corner of Liberty Street and West. I believe 
that's where I saw him. I then proceeded down 



J. DELENDICK 3 

further . 

He told me that the command post was on 
West Street down in front of the Financial 
Center. According to this paper, it's Two World 
Financial Center, Merrill Lynch. They were set 
up in front of there with two huge garage doors 
which went underneath the Financial Center. 

I spoke to Ganci briefly, told him I 
was there. I saw Bill Feehan, said hello to him. 
I stood there for a while talking to Timmy 
Stackpole and to Chief Ed Henry, both of whom 
left a few minutes later. 

And Henry picked up his tack and said 
to me: "I've got to go to work," and he went 
across the street to the Marriott. Timmy 
Stackpole and I continued to talk -- in fact, 
people started jumping off the north tower at 
that point. We were watching that. I said to 
Timmy I think we should go back to the office. 

I should mention that behind us a lot 
of different companies were staging. That's 
where they were waiting to move in. I said: 
"Timmy, we should go back and remind the officers 
to look after their probies because I don't think 



J. DELENDICK 4 

they're going to be able to handle this. I 
turned around with Timmy, and we both looked and 
then looked at each other, because no one was 
handling it, the probies or the veterans. 

Timmy at that point took a group of 
guys -- I'm not sure who was with him -- and went 
across the street as well. I believe they went 
to the Marriott. Most people going to the south 
tower went to the Marriott and went through the 
Marriott to get there. 

The top of the building kind of started 
to rumble, and we all looked up. It looked -- 

Q. Let me interrupt you for a second. 
Were you there when the second plane hit? 

A. No. When the second plane hit, I was 
still in Brooklyn. I was trying to get through 
the tunnel on Hamilton Avenue. We saw the plane, 
but I never saw it hit. I remember saying to 
myself, boy, that guy is awful low in the 
pattern. I remember saying something really 
stupid like, you know, did he come down to see 
what happened with the first one? It never 
dawned on me that he was heading for the other 
tower, but that's where it was headed. 



J. DELENDICK 5 

We heard a rumbling noise, and it 
appeared that that first tower, the south tower, 
had exploded, the top of it. That's what I saw, 
what a lot of us saw. We ran down underneath the 
Financial Center. 

Q. The garages behind you? 

A. The garages. 

We were followed by that cloud, that 
dark black cloud. It was very difficult to 
breathe, very difficult to see. 

I stopped running or I stopped going 
down when it leveled off. There was like a ramp 
that went down, and I stopped at the bottom ramp 
where it leveled off. Bill Feehan was next to 
me. Ray Downey was over there too, because they 
both started talking -- I knew it was them 
because they were talking, so I knew. 

I remember asking Ray Downey was it the 
jet fuel that blew up. He said at that point he 
thought there were bombs up there because it was 
too even. As we've since learned, it was the jet 
fuel that was dropping down that caused all this. 
But he said it was too even. 

Q. Symmetrical? 



J. DELENDICK 6 

A. So his original thought was that he 
thought it was a bomb up there as well. 

We then started walking up, back up. I 
was with Bill Feehan. I'm not sure where Ray 
Downey went. I understand Pete Ganci found a 
stairwell, went up a stairwell and went back to 
the lobby, back to the command post where we 
were. 

Bill and I stopped a few times on the 
ramp going up. There were some firefighters who 
had fallen there. I don't know who they were. I 
didn't really get to see their faces. You 
couldn't really see much. You trip over them is 
how - - 

Q. You found them. 

A. We would grab other firefighters to 
help them down further. They had apparently 
minor injuries. They were okay, but they had 
fallen or whatever. We got people to assist them 
to go down further into the building. 

I remember saying to Bill at one point 
we had to be near the garage doors. I said we 
should be seeing daylight soon. Little did I 
know that we weren't going to see daylight. I 



J. DELENDICK 7 

didn't even think. He said yeah, you're right. 

Next thing we knew, we were outside. 
There was kind of - - I don't know what to call 
it, like an island between two garages on the 
driveway outside that had flowers in it. We were 
right next to it, so we knew we were outside, 
couldn't realize. Couldn't see anything. 

We didn't know the building came down. 
We just knew the top of the building exploded and 
didn't know what happened to the rest of the 
building. You just couldn't see anything. 
Things began to lift a little bit. 

Just to take a step back, when I got 
out, we discovered we were outside, somebody said 
to me there's somebody hurt down on West Street. 
And I started walking south on West Street. 
That's when I began to notice fire trucks that 
were damaged and ambulances on the side and cars 
destroyed . 

I stopped and said where am I going? 
Where am I looking for this guy who is injured? 
I have no idea where I'm going. I turned and 
went back to -- 

Q. Where the command post was? 



J. DELENDICK 8 

A. -- where the command post was. 

Ganci was there at this point, and I 
stood there a few minutes. Pete started yelling, 
saying to everyone that we should start moving 
north and we're going to re-form the command post 
up on West and Chambers Street. 

A whole group of us started moving 
north again. I'm not sure who I was with. We 
just started moving north. When we got to the 
corner of West and Vesey, we heard that kind of 
same rumbling noise. And someone just yelled 
run, and we all started running. Some people ran 
north. I ran with a whole bunch of people going 
towards the river. 

Q. West? 

A. On Vesey Street, west. 

I remember a cop running along next to 
me. I remember this. This is great. We were 
running along, and a cop is running next to me. 
He says: "Father, can I go to confession?" I 
looked and said: "This is an act of war, isn't 
it?" He said: "Yeah, I believe so." I said: 
"Then I'm giving general absolution." I gave 
everyone general absolution, and I kept running. 



J. DELENDICK 9 

Q. You ' re covered? 

A. Also I ran into a bunch of guys from 
the Secret Service, about 25 or 30 of them, all 
in their suits. I don't know the name of the 
street that's behind the World Financial Center. 

Q. It might be North End or -- 

A. It must be North Avenue. They were 
walking along North, crossing Vesey, and they 
were going down further. I stopped one of them 
and I said where are you going? He said one of 
our members is in the building and we have to go 
find him. I remember saying to him I don't think 
it ' s a good idea going down there right now. He 
said no, we've got to find him. I said fine, go 
right ahead, do what you have to do. 

I kept going. I walked along the 
river, and a group of us walked along the river. 
We walked past the high school, Stuyvesant High 
School. There's an alleyway between the high 
school and -- 

Q. The river? 

A. -- the river. I'm not sure what was 
there. I think the river was there. And we came 
up to -- back to West Street. Then at that point 



J. DELENDICK 10 

we're all standing around. Where is everyone? 
Where's Pete? Where's Bill? 

Nigro came a little while later. 
Apparently he had walked around I think he said 
South Street. He was down the other way, walked 
around somehow and found his way back to Chambers 
Street. 

Things began to clear. We were 
looking, and we realized both buildings were no 
longer there. Many of us just walked back down 
West Street back to the towers to see what we 
could do. 

Q. There was -- 

A. I learned Father Judge was dead, and I 
began to learn that so many guys were gone. 

Q. Heck of a day, huh? 

A. I found the worst part of the day was 
people coming up to me that I knew and there were 
guys who had sons on the job or fathers on the 
job or brothers on the job and they would be 
asking me: Did you see my brother? Have you 
seen my father? Have you seen my son? I had to 
tell them no. I didn't even know they were 
there. That made it very hard. 



J. DELENDICK 11 

Q. Father, is there anything else you can 
think of that you might like to add just for the 
history, any feelings, anything else? Feel free. 
If not -- 

A. No, I think that's about it, I guess. 

Q. In that case I thank you for the 
interview? 

MR. TAMBASCO: And the time is now 1443 

hours. 



File No. 9110231 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM JOHNSON 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



W. JOHNSON 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Today is December 6, 
2001. The time is 1315 hours. This is Battalion 
Chief Ronald Kemly of the New York City Fire 
Department conducting an interview with the 
following individual, Firefighter William Johnson, 
fireman first, assigned to ladder 147, detailed to 
the research and development unit. I'm 
interviewing him at 59 Page Avenue, regarding the 
events of September 11, 2001. 

Q. Fireman Johnson, please tell me what happened 
while you were there? 

A. The morning of September 11, I reported to 
the office of R and D, where on notification of the 
accident at the World Trade Center, we responded in the 
R and D vehicle. Along with Lieutenant Stein, 
Lieutenant Monachelli, Firefighter Stein and myself. 
We responded through the Midtown Tunnel en route to the 
World Trade Center. On arriving at Church Street and 
Vesey Street, we pulled our Suburban into the corner. 

As we exited the vehicle, I noticed ESU units 
circling the area, who advised us to keep our rig 
closer to the corner, so in the process of backing our 
rig into the corner, as I looked up, I could at that 
moment see the first building coming down. In that 



W. JOHNSON 

instance, we all started to make our way back up Vesey 
and at that point I spotted a doorway. I jumped into 
the doorway and stayed there as the debris and rubble 
came down from the first World Trade Center. 

As it cleared, or started to clear, I noticed 
a few civilians walking around and we escorted them 
into the buildings. After escorting the civilians into 
the buildings, we exited, regrouped at the Suburban, 
donned our masks, crossed the street going toward 
building 5, where we encountered who we thought was 
Father Judge. 

As they brought Father Judge to us, we 
examined him quickly, noticing that there was no pulse 
and we left him in the hands of EMS. As we made our 
way into building 5 we were notified that there were a 
couple of hundred people trapped in the subway below. 
In an attempt to try to go down there, the second 
building started to collapse. 

Again heading up towards Vesey, making our 
way up, this time I was unable to get to cover. I was 
struck by the cloud in the middle of the street. We 
stayed in the middle of the street, for a period of 
let's say 5 to 10 minutes until everything cleared 
again. 



W. JOHNSON 

Getting out of that cloud, we regrouped back 
at the corner of Broadway and Vesey, where Lieutenant 
Stein began the operations of a command post. I 
started my way back down Vesey Street again, to look 
for Lieutenant Monachelli, who lost us. We lost each 
other as a matter of fact. We regrouped. I found 
Lieutenant Monachelli on the corner of Church and 
Vesey. From that point we started to make a couple of 
surveys and searches of the area. Noticing Ladder 
119 ' s rig, and a couple of members from that company 
and that's about all I can remember. 

For an hour or two we stood there searching 
and then I was taken to Bellevue Hospital. I couldn't 
see any more. I had pretty bad eye problems, so they 
transported me to Bellevue where I stayed for I believe 
an hour and a half. I was treated, released and the 
health team brought me back home. That was it. 

Q. Okay, when you say you were -- you saw the 
people that were with Judge, any ID, any unit IDs on 
them? 

A. I remember seeing a court officer, an OEM 
person with an OEM jacket on and an EMS driver, I think 
think it was, but that's about the only people I can 
remember seeing. 



W. JOHNSON 

Q. Okay. Before the second building came down 
or subsequent to your arrival, did you happen to see 
any other Fire Department units that you could identify 
at any place? 

A. I saw Engine 226. I don't know exactly where 
they were located right now, but I remember seeing 226 
on the rig. I think they were on that Church and Vesey 
corner . 

Q. Other than the vehicle, you didn't see any 
Fire Department personnel? 

A. No, I didn't see any Fire Department 
personnel. 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Okay, that concludes 

the interview. Thank you. 



File No. 9110235 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER PATRICK SULLIVAN 

Interview Date: December 5, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



P. SULLIVAN 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 5, 2001. The time is 1:40 p.m. This is 
Firefighter Patrick Sullivan's interview from the 
World Trade Center. I'm Battalion Chief Robert 
Burns of the Safety Battalion. 

Q. If you would Pat, please tell me about what 
you saw or heard on that day when you guys responded to 
the Trade Center? 

A. When I first saw the plane crash on the news, 
I was getting relieved. I was coming off a 24 and I 
was supposed to be going home. I was actually in my 
civilian clothes. After the first plane hit, they had 
a voice alarm announcement and ordered everyone going 
home to stay and every Engine would be riding with five 
men. I don't know how long -- I changed back into my 
uniform. I don't know how long it was after that, 5 
minutes, 10 minutes, we responded. A little after the 
48 went. 

We went through the tunnel as we were 
responding. We were going over into the Gowanus 
through the tunnel, we were supposed to go to the 
staging area outside the tunnel and as we were going, 
you could see the building, you could see the fire, you 
could see the flames and you could also see the smoke 



P. SULLIVAN 

coming out of the building. There was also papers 
blowing as far as here, regular sheets of paper blowing 
through the air. I guess that's from when the plane 
hit. 

We went to the staging area. We stayed at 
the staging area for maybe 5, 10 minutes until all the 
companies that were going on the ticket, everyone was 
there, they all grouped together and we went. I don't 
know all the companies that were there, but I know 201 
was with us. I couldn't tell you what other companies 
were there at the time. 

We responded and we went through the tunnel. 
We came up the West Side Highway on the right side of 
the divider and we were stopped by either a Chief or a 
police officer. We couldn't go any further because 
there was organic matter in the street and they were 
considering it evidence. There was a part of a body 
probably from when the plane hit. 

So we got out of the rig and we started 
walking. We walked maybe 50 feet further and there was 
a Deputy Chief there. I don't know the Deputy Chief's 
name. He was there with his aide. He was an on duty 
Deputy Chief. He had an official car. There was 
another Deputy Chief there, I think he came in his 



P. SULLIVAN 

private car, because he was there with the other Chief, 
unless they were riding with 2, which could have been 
two. Maybe they both took the run in when they got 
it. 

Anyway he told us drop our roll ups, that we 
were going to walk up, we were going to go to the 40th 
floor. I think there was another staging area on the 
40th floor, tower two, the south tower, if that's tower 
two, the one closer to the Battery Tunnel. We were 
going to walk up. He said it's going to take 40 
minutes to an hour to get up there, to drop our roll 
ups and start walking. 

He said watch out for bodies, bodies coming 
down like leaves from a tree. They were coming down 
all over the place. He said God be with you and we 
started walking. 

As we started walking, I was looking straight 
up at the tower and I saw the top of the tower coming 
down. I saw the black smoke, sort of like pushing out, 
and I saw debris starting to come out from the 
building, probably from one floor depressing on the 
other, blowing everything out and I knew it was coming 
down. 

I turned around and I yelled to the guys that 



P. SULLIVAN 

were with me to run. They seemed to be just standing 
there, frozen. I don't know if it was disbelief or 
shock or what. But they snapped out of it and they 
turned around and started running. As we started 
running, we were right -- there's a, on the West Side 
Highway, there is a pass through. There is a concrete 
divider that goes between the two lanes, north and 
south, and there is a pass through right on the other 
side of the pedestrian bridge that didn't come down. 

That's where we were, walking towards 2 World 
Trade Center. That's where we were when we started 
walking. When I saw the building was coming down, I 
turned around and started running back towards Albany 
Street. I was trying to get around another building 
and down the block. I saw tomorrow Tommy Dun was with 
me. He was in front of me. He was our proby, and 
another guy, Darren Jacobs, he was in front of me as 
well. 

I didn't get as far as Darren and Tommy. 
Tommy must have been 30 feet in front of me and after 
the collapse he couldn't hear me. I was calling for 
him. Darren kept on running. I don't know where he 
wound up ending up, but Tommy Dunn was maybe 30 feet in 
front of me. I was right by a Suburban car. 



P. SULLIVAN 

As I was running, there was debris, I don't 
know what it was, rocks or part of the building, 
shooting over my head, hitting the ground and it was 
going through windows and taking cars out. I ran as 
fast as I could and as far as I could until the black 
dust cloud overtook me and I couldn't see any more. I 
knew that there was a car there because I saw it just 
before it blacked out. I went over to the car and I 
thought not to go under the car, because if something 
landed on the car it would crush me and the car. I 
thought I would just go next to it like a void, try to 
make a void and hope for the best. 

I remember thinking that -- first I remember 
praying that I was going to make it out of there alive, 
but I didn't think I was going to. I didn't think I 
was going to make it out of there. I prayed that my 
family would be okay. My wife and my boy would be 
okay, and I waited for something substantial to land on 
me and I was hoping it was going to be quick. I was 
hoping I wouldn't be trapped for any period of time. I 
was getting pelted with -- it felt like soft balls. I 
couldn't breathe. It was like putting your face in a 
bag of cement and trying to take a deep breath. 

I couldn't get any air. It was like holding 



P. SULLIVAN 

your breath, trying to breathe in and breathe out. 
Nothing was going in and nothing was going out. So I 
tried to take my mask. This all happened in between 
maybe 15 and 30 seconds. I tried to take my mask and 
take a hit off my mask and it didn't work. There was 
no air coming out of it. There was a pile of dust 
inside so I shook it out. Shook all the dust out and 
tried to take another breath. It just wasn't giving me 
any air. I remember trying to turn the valve again, 
thinking that my mask wasn't on, but it was on. It 
just wasn't working. It was clogged up with shit in 
it. I banged it a couple of times. I finally got a 
little bit of a breath out of the mask and shortly 
after that, it started clearing up anyway. I could 
start seeing daylight through the dust. 

I remember it being very very quiet, like 
being under water. I was calling out to my proby. I 
was yelling his name and I was yelling, you know, 
anybody in 240, because I didn't have a radio and I 
didn't know if anybody else made it. He couldn't hear 
me calling. He must have been maybe 30 feet in front 
of me. The sound must have been like not traveling 
through the air. It must have been stopping dead 
because it was so thick. 



P. SULLIVAN 

After that, I got up and I started seeing, I 
started hearing pass alarms going off. I started 
walking around. I started looking for my company. I 
couldn't find anyone from my company. I was on Albany 
Street. I went down to -- one more block and I turned 
around and went back to the rig. I figured maybe guys 
would go back to the rig. That's where I ran into John 
Winkler. And we tried to test the hydrant and hook up 
to a hydrant to put out car fires. There were a bunch 
of car fires right by the rig. 

There was a Deputy Chief's rig on fire that 
was extended to 113 ' s rig. There was a big ambulance, 
like a rescue company truck, but it wasn't a rescue 
company truck. It was a huge ambulance. It must have 
had Scott bottles or oxygen bottles on it. These were 
going off. You would hear the air go SSS boom and they 
were exploding. So we stretched a line and tried to 
put that out. He could only use booster water. 

We would open up the hydrants. The hydrants 
weren't working. The water main broke or something. 
So after we ran our booster water, the rig was 
basically useless. 113 ' s rig went up and we tried to 
get a line from the fire boats to supply one of the 
rigs so we could get some water. 



P. SULLIVAN 

At that point I had to leave because I 
couldn't see any more. I couldn't open my eyes. I had 
to rinse my eyes out quite a few times during the 
course of what we were doing. After a while I couldn't 
open my eyes any more. There was fiberglass or 
whatever the hell was in there. They led me. Two guys 
led me to the water by a rope and a cop drove me to an 
ambulance. 

From the ambulance they rinsed my eyes out 
again. I walked to the tunnel and hitched a ride with 
a Port Authority guy to the other side and came back to 
the fire house. That must have been about 2:00 or so 
or 3:00 in the afternoon. I don't know if I left 
anything out, but that's basically what happened, as I 
remember it. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Great. Thanks, Pat. 

It's 1:51 p.m., this is the conclusion of the 

interview. 



File No. 9110236 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOHN WINKLER 
Interview Date: December 5, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



J. WINKLER 2 

CHIEF BURNS: Today is the 5th of 
December, 2001. The time is 1:25 p.m. 
This is Engine 240. My name is Battalion 
Chief Robert Burns, New York City Fire 
Department. I'm conducting an interview of 
Firefighter John Winkler, Engine 240. This 
is in regards to the events of September 
11th, 2001. 

Q. Maybe, John, you can tell me in your 
own words what happened at the Trade Center from 
the time that you responded to the scene until 
you guys left the scene. 

A. When we received the ticket, we were 
assigned to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn 
Battery Tunnel. There was a staging area. We 
were the first ones there. On the arrival of the 
other companies, we received a ticket to respond 
to West Street, West and Liberty. 

I was driving that day. I went through 
the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, came up West Street. 
There was a chief at West and Albany who stopped 
us right on West Street and told us to remain 
right here. 

Members of my company got out, grabbed 



J. WINKLER 3 

their rollups, reported to the chief that was on 
the sidewalk on the west side sidewalk of West 
Street. This was after the second plane hit, 
before the first tower came down. 

I was told to stay with the rig. I 
proceeded to put my bunker gear on when I looked 
up and I saw the tower falling, the first tower 
coming down. I jumped into the cab, put my 
helmet on and just ducked and just waited. It 
shattered the windows, shook the rig. 

While sitting in the rig, I heard over 
the radio that "I'm trapped underneath the rig." 
So I responded -- I'm not sure if I responded on 
the department radio or on the handy talky -- 
"Engine 240 chauffeur coming to get you." 

I climbed out of the rig, climbed over 
the rubble, got my mask and went forward and 
walked north on West Street. Right before the 
south pedestrian bridge, there was I believe it 
was one of our members stuck under an ambulance. 
There was another fireman with him. He said, "We 
have a guy under the ambulance here." 

I gave a mayday on the radio that I'm 
240 chauffeur, we have a guy stuck under an 



J. WINKLER 4 

ambulance by the south bridge. I then proceeded 
to grab members from Ladder 14. We grabbed their 
air bags, went back to the ambulance. By that 
time the guy was already out. The member was 
out. So I left 113. 

I went back south on West Street to 
where 240 was. At that time I was told by 
Chief I don't know who that we have to start 
putting these fire outs. There were numerous car 
vehicles on fire. There were also ESU vehicles 
on fire. I was told they have ammunition in them 
and we have to get them out. 

Tested the hydrant; there was water. 
Connected to the hydrant; there was no water. In 
the meantime I put the rig in pumps. One of my 
members stretched a line with the help from other 
firefighters. While I was in pumps, I used that 
as a booster and was putting car fires out. 

We tried to get another hydrant. Same 
thing: opened the hydrant; there was water. 
Connected to it, there wasn't enough water. 
While doing all of this, he ran out of booster 
line. 

The best I can remember, we just got 



J. WINKLER 5 

together. That's when the second tower came 
down. I dove behind a chief's rig, the two of 
us, and same thing. We were down there for a 
while. Mouth full of the dust, choking on it. 
Couldn't see for a while. Finally it cleared up 
a little bit to see. 

We regrouped, got a couple of our guys. 
Everybody proceeded to walk down Albany to the 
water, where we started stretching lines to the 
fire boat. We continued stretching lines, 
lengths of hose, up Albany Street to West Street. 
Pretty much the rest of the day that's 
what we were doing, taking lines from the fire 
from the water up Albany Street, down Albany to 
Washington, around, and just continued doing that 
most of the day. That's about it. 

Q. Let me ask you a question, John. When 
you said you saw chiefs when you came in, do you 
know the name or the identity of the battalion 
or - - 

A. I know one of them that was on the 
sidewalk was Chief Lakiotes. 

Q. Okay, from the Safety Battalion. 

A. He was on the sidewalk. My company 



J. WINKLER 6 

reported to him. There was another chief in the 
street that stopped me and said "Keep the rig 
right here." I was double parked right next to I 
believe it was 210, right behind Ladder 113. 

I didn't catch his name, but I think he 
was the guy that was pretty much running this 
area, telling us to stretch lines, we've got to 
get hose, we've got to put fires out. I'm not 
sure of his name. 

Q. Okay. Great. Okay, John, thanks for 
the interview. 

CHIEF BURNS: The time is 1:29 p.m. 



File No. 9110237 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER OWEN CARLOCK 
Interview Date: December 5th, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



0. CARLOCK i 

CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is December 
5th, 2001. The time is 4:17 p.m. I am 
Battalion Chief Robert Burns, Safety 
Battalion, FDNY. I'm conducting an 
interview with Firefighter Owen Carlock, 
Ladder 122, detailed on the day of the 
incident to Engine 220. This is in 
reference to the events that occurred on 
September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Owen, if you would, just tell us in 
your own words exactly what happened that day. 

A. We took the Brooklyn Bridge, which was 
closed. We had trouble getting there from here 
with all the traffic. We took the Brooklyn 
Bridge, which was emptied at Chambers Street, a 
lot of traffic, obviously, in Manhattan. 

We went to West Street, turned left on 
West. We picked up a straggler, John Jermyn, 
from the --he used to be here in 122. He works 
in the Fire Department Museum. We picked him up 
and drove around to -- as near as I can figure 
out, I think it was between Murray and Barclay 
Street, where we left the rig on the southbound 
lanes. 



0. CARLOCK 3 

We walked down the southbound lanes to 
I guess it was the command post. Captain Grabher 
went over there, and they told him to go to the 
south tower. So he said he wasn't going to take 
Liberty because of the jumpers. 

So we went to some building on the 
corner of Albany and West Street that's under 
construction. It's being renovated. We went 
that way. We took Albany past Washington, and 
then we were on our way to Greenwich? No, it was 
at Washington when the tower came down on us. 
Somebody yelled "Oh, shit, here it comes." It 
was coming towards us. 

So we dove behind the Deutsche Bank, 
and the five of us -- three went back, four went 
ahead, the seven of us. Four of us laid behind 
that building, waiting. We thought we were going 
to die. 

After that we tried to take a window in 
the back of the bank. We did take a window, but 
behind it was a steel wall, corrugated tin or 
whatever. We couldn't get into the window. 

They followed me. I had the light. 
They followed me, and we went into Deutsche Bank 



0. CARLOCK 4 

into the side entrance, got our wits about us, 
and we went across the street to get Eddie and 
George and Mike Schroeck. 

Then we were going to make our way back 
to the command center when the north tower came 
down. We ducked into some hotel. I don't know 
what hotel it was. It was on West Street south 
of Albany. 

After that came down and the stuff 
cleared, the officer said, "Listen, we're not 
going to go back to that area. We're going to 
come around, because we don't know what else is 
going to come down, what else could come tumbling 
down. " 

So we went over to the water, and from 
there we helped Marine 6 put it into -- I think 
it was Captain Fuentes. They dug him out. He 
was banged up pretty good. We helped put him on 
the boat. 

At that time Captain Grabher told Eddie 
Plunkett and myself, "Go find a rig and back it 
up to the fire boat, Marine 9, which is already 
there." He said, "We're going to at least get 
water as best as we can to the towers." 



0. CARLOCK 5 

Eddie and I found I don't know whose 
rig it was. We backed it up to the fire hose, 
took the three and a half off of there and went 
as far as we could. Then another rig came, and 
they stretched their three and a half off the rig 
we were on, and then they left. 

I went back to find Captain Grabher, 
Mike Schroeck, George and Dean. They were 
nowhere to be found. Later on I found out they 
were on the ninth floor of one of the apartment 
buildings on the west side of West Street, 
fighting the fire on the ninth floor. That's why 
I couldn't find them. I had no radio. I had no 
clue where they were. 

So I hooked up after a while with Chief 
Congiusta of 48. He and I went down with a 
couple other guys from 240 into the parking lot 
of the Vista to look for 6 Truck, which was 
missing at the time. We were standing there and 
waited for him to come out, and he never came 
out. He took an underground passageway and came 
out on Barclay Street. 

After that I hooked up with four guys, 
recall guys. I hooked up with 220 and stayed the 



0. CARLOCK 6 

rest of the night until 11:30 and went to the 
hospital. I had my eyes cleaned out. 

As far as the companies, somebody said 
205 was right in front of us, and I don't 
remember seeing them. That's the best I can tell 
you where we were, where everybody is, that's 
what we did the day of the attack. 

CHIEF BURNS: That concludes our 
interview. The time is 4:22 p.m. 



File No. 9110239 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER GERARD CASEY 
Interview Date: December 5, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



CHIEF BURNS: Today is the 5th of 
December, 2001. The time is 3:59 p.m. I 
am Chief Robert Burns of the Safety 
Battalion conducting an interview with 
Firefighter Second Grade Casey from Ladder 
122 in regard to the events that took place 
on September 11th, 2001. 

Q. If you would, just tell me in your own 
words what happened at the World Trade Center 
fire. 

A. We received the alarm about a quarter 
to 9. We responded to the tunnel with 132, 105, 
101 and 131. 101 might have made -- I think 131. 
We got stuck in the tunnel for ten minutes. 
There was a car with two firefighters. They 
cleared out the left lane, and we finally made it 
through the tunnel. 

We were last in line because we were 
getting into the tunnel via the service lane, and 
105 and 132 were closer in, closer to the tunnel 
portals than we were, because we were in the 
service lane. So we ended up behind them. 105 
took the front of the north tower. We went with 
132 and I believe 131 or 101, I'm not sure. 



We had to pull the rig out. We had 
spots in front of the rig where there were a lot 
of bodies and debris in front of us, body parts. 
We were in front of the north tower where the 
staging area was. 

We positioned the rig up around -- 
passed the north tower at Vesey Street and we 
proceeded to walk towards the north tower at the 
staging area, which is in front of the north 
tower. There were two garages directly across 
the street from the north tower. 

The incident commander and Ganci, 
Feehan was standing there too, divided up the 
trucks and the engines, engines on one side of 
the garage, trucks on the other side. We 
couldn't go through the front of the north tower 
because there were too many bodies on the ground. 

So he wanted us to go to the south 
tower, all the truck companies that were in that 
garage bay front area, about five truck 
companies. We grabbed extra bottles, proceeded 
to the overpass that is next to the Marriott, I 
believe, on West Street, and we had to go 
underneath the overpass to avoid debris falling 



from the south tower and bodies. People were 
jumping. 

We made it across there in time to get 
into the building. 132, 105 and 101 I saw. When 
we were in the lobby, I saw them. We were 
standing fast in the Marriott lobby. Close to 
the doors where the elevators were in the south 
tower was a doorway that leads into the lobby. 

That was the last known positions I 
know that I saw them, those companies I mentioned 
that were next to us. I spoke to Vinny Brunton 
on the Brooklyn Battery's Brooklyn side. We 
thought we were going to be there all day. They 
were giving us water. Guys were cooling off. We 
knew we were going up. We didn't know if we 
could take any elevators at that point. Later on 
we found out we were going to go up and walked 
up. 

We got the order to move, to go ahead 
and go forward. We started putting our gear on. 
Other companies moved up ahead of us maybe 20 
feet, 25 feet ahead of us. There was a short 
distance between us, and 131 was behind us, 
waiting on us to move. We were just moving up in 



the line going in. I believe 24 Truck was behind 
131. So it was us, 131 and 24 Truck. In front 
of us was 132, 105 and 101. 

We put our gear on, started going 
moving forward, and that's when we heard the 
rumbling. Somebody screamed, "The building's 
coming down." I had one shoulder strap on, I 
dropped my mask and I turned around and made it 
to -- I tried to run towards the restaurant to 
get out. 

I didn't get any more than one step and 
everything just turned black, and I got pulled 
into a corner in there that was still standing. 
My helmet came off. I had a concussion, I 
believe. That was it. At that point I didn't 
think I was going to make it out alive. I 
thought that was it. 

I made noise at the door. I banged on 
the door really loud before guys came to me. One 
guy from 24 Truck was bleeding really bad. He 
had no face piece on his regulator. I said, 
"Let's get this door open." I put my light on 
and I started banging and making a lot of noise. 
Other guys came and started lifting up the door. 



I heard a guy from my company screaming, "I've 
got the way out. It's over here." I followed 
his voice with two other firemen. I followed his 
voice. 

That's pretty much what I remember as 
far as locations and locations of the companies 
that I saw that were operating. 

Q. Which tower were you operating in? 

A. South tower. 

Q. South tower. 

From there where did you go? Did you 
go to EMS? 

A. I came out. I came out of the crater. 
The street was gone, the restaurant and 
everything was gone. I saw Koyles and Vitiello. 
They were alive. I saw them and then I turned 
around and I couldn't see them. Walker had come 
out. I turned around and Koyles was gone. I 
don't know where he went. 

I told Vitiello, I said, "Follow me," 
because he's a proby. Then I turned around and 
he was gone. He walked another way. I walked up 
-- by the overpass was a fire truck there. There 
was a fireman crushed. There was another guy who 



was screaming, going crazy. I walked another 50 
feet and there was another guy that was dead. 
There were bodies everywhere. 

I walked another like 50 feet. I was 
limping. I hurt my knee, my back. My eyes were 
closing. I couldn't see. I bumped into a guy on 
the floor. I helped him. He was hurting. He 
was injured bad. I started walking with him. 
Another fireman came over and helped me. 

We just kept walking, and we ended up 
at the water marina. A boat came over, and they 
pretty much threw us on the boat. They said, 
"You guys are banged up. Get on the boat." And 
that was it. 

Q. Okay, Jerry, thanks for the interview. 
CHIEF BURNS: It's 4:06 p.m. This is 

the end of the interview. 



File No. 9110240 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOHN PICARELLO 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



J. PICARELLO 2 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today's date is 
December 6th at approximately 1320 hours. 
My name is Battalion Chief Art Lakiotes from 
the safety command. I'm here to 
interview -- 

FIREFIGHTER PICARELLO: John Picarello, 
40 Battalion. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: -- regarding the 
events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. If you can start me off with the 
response. I guess it was you and Chief Henry. 

A. Right. We responded from quarters with 
some units, went down toward Fourth Avenue. Our 
original assignment was to a staging area on the 
Brooklyn side of the Battery Tunnel. We reached 
somewhere around the tunnel when the second plane 
hit. The second plane hadn't hit yet. So it was 
right about that time the second plane hit. 
The tunnel was a mess. They were 
trying to clear it for the rest of the emergency 
vehicles and everybody else and their mother 
trying to get out of the city. 

I went through the tunnel, made a right 
out of the tunnel onto West Street and went up as 



J. PICARELLO 3 

far as I could. I dropped off Chief Henry and 
his equipment. Then I backed up to get the 
vehicle out of the middle of the street and 
parked it by West and Rector on West Street just 
short of Rector Street. 

Q. Here's a map. That may help you a 
little bit. 

A. Okay. That's where I parked, by Rector 
Street. 

So I got out and suited up and told 
Chief Henry I'd meet up with him. 

After parking it, I walked along West 
Street up to about Liberty, just a little past I 
guess it's the south bridge, the one that's by 
Liberty. I was there for a few minutes, just 
like everybody else, just looking up at the two 
gaping holes, looking at the towers, debris 
falling. 

I remember in particular my attention 
was on the north tower, just watching jumpers and 
people falling. I don't know much about the 
south tower, the huge hole. My attention I just 
know was mostly toward the north tower. 

After a few minutes walking underneath 



J. PICARELLO 4 

that south bridge, just because of the debris 
that was coming down, I made my way into the 
lobby of the hotel through the corner. There's a 
bar and grill or something there. 
Q. Tall Ships? 

A. I don't remember the name of it . I do 
remember that's where I entered. There was some 
EMS workers taking people out, swapping helmets 
with people so they can get across the street. I 
went through there, and walking through there you 
can go through a double doorway into the lobby. 

So I got into the lobby of the hotel. 
There were some other guys there, the Fire 
Department, police, EMS. I always said there had 
to be about a hundred people. That's what I 
said, in my estimation. There were a lot of 
people there. 

I walked through the lobby and got to 
about, I'd say, maybe halfway through to the 
center of it, met up with Chief Henry. There was 
another chief there. I wasn't sure exactly if he 
was a deputy or acting deputy. I wasn't sure. 
He was giving out assignments. 

So it was me and Chief Henry. There 



J. PICARELLO 5 

were two other guys to my left, and there was 
Chief Stack on my right. I just remember looking 
up and seeing Safety Battalion. I never met him 
before. That was the first time I met him. So 
there was a group of us. 

Our assignment was either the 70th or 
the 75th floor of the north tower. They gave us 
some units that Chief Henry had, so I didn't have 
them, and said some of them already started up 
and just meet up with them and go as far as you 
could. 

I'd say we were there just maybe a 
couple of minutes. We took a couple of steps -- 

(Interruption. ) 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: Okay. We're 
continuing with the tape. We stopped it 
momentarily to answer the phone. 
Q. John, you said you're in the lobby now. 
You saw Chief Stack with Chief Henry, and you 
were assigned to go to the 75th floor. Some of 
the units had already started up. You go? 
A. Yeah. We go meet up with them. 

So we were there a few minutes, and we 
started to walk, make our way through the lobby 



J. PICARELLO 6 

to the other side. I'd say we got maybe ten 
steps. We didn't go very far. I heard sort of 
like a rumbling sound. We stopped, looked at 
each other, and took off. 

We just took off away from the doors. 
Instead of running out, we ran to our right, 
which would be toward the walls. It just 
happened really quick. I just remember running. 
Stack was in front of me. Henry went to my left 
with the other guys. 

In about a second or two, you just 
heard like a ba-ba-ba-boom, and everything just 
came down and everything was pitch-black. I 
landed on top of Stack, and we were both in the 
corner by the wall. Everything was just quiet, 
pitch-black, quiet I guess for a few seconds or 
so, I would imagine. 

We got up. Stack had gotten up. He 
didn't have his helmet. He looked like he was 
trying to get out of his turnout. He got out of 
his turnout. He asked me to give him a hand with 
it. He pulled on it, pulled out his flashlight, 
and it was half under the wall. So the wall we 
were against probably shifted. His turnout was 



J. PICARELLO 7 

under the wall, so we just left it. 

Then we started hearing some guys 
calling. Chief Henry was trying to call outside 
on the handy talky. Nobody was responding. It 
was almost like it was dead. You could hear 
nothing on the handy talkies, but you could hear 
some muffled sounds, both guys calling for units 
and some guys calling for help. 

About three or four feet behind me, 
when I stood up and Stack stood up, from ceiling 
to floor was all collapsed down, so we were cut 
off from the rest of the lobby. I couldn't see 
too far in front of us, but I could see debris 
all over the place. 

Immediately to our right was the wall 
that we were against. I don't know, it looked 
like a coat check. That's the best I can make 
out of it. In there I could see debris probably 
shoulder high, and I could see the wall was open 
on the other side of that. You could see that it 
was collapsed. 

Right to my right also there was a guy 
yelling for help. I found out later -- I don't 
know if he was an officer or what, but I do know 



J. PICARELLO 8 

that he made it out. But he was buried. It 
looked like he was in a wall. I don't know if it 
was in a hallway, but it looked like he was in a 
wall. 

So there were a few of us, I'd say 
three or four of us, trying to dig him out, 
throwing stuff, chairs and everything, I would 
say maybe 15 minutes. It seemed longer, but it 
was probably about 15 minutes digging him out. 
He came out. He was able to walk. 

Q. Firefighter? 

A. He was a firefighter. 

Q. You don't have any idea who he was? 

A. No. The group I was with right there, 
I knew nobody. 

Q. You had lost Larry? You had separated 
from Larry at this point? 

A. No, Larry was with me the whole time. 

Q. Okay. So the other group, you only 
knew Larry? 

A. Yeah. It was like we were about two 
groups. After the collapse, I'd say it was 
probably maybe 12 to possibly 15 people. There 
was about 12 of us. But with that there were 



J. PICARELLO < 

also some hotel employees that were with us. It 
wasn't only members. 

Q. Of the 12 or 15 members besides Larry, 
did you know anybody else that was there with 
you? 

A. No. 

Q. Chief Henry wasn't with you at this 
point? 

A. Chief Henry was with us, yeah. He 
was - - 

Q. Part of the group. So besides Larry, 
Stack and Chief Henry -- 

A. No, I didn't know anybody else. 

Q. -- you didn't know anybody else? 

A. No. I did know there was another 
battalion chief there. 

Q. Big tall guy with gray hair? 

A. I don't know if he had gray hair. 
Everybody had gray hair. 

Q. I know. 0' Flaherty? 

A. That's what I found out. His arm was 
messed up. That's what I remember. I remember 
his arm -- he put his hand in the pocket of his 
turnout and he just couldn't use it. He was 



J. PICARELLO 10 

there. 

Q. Chief Downey? Do you know Chief 
Downey? 

A. I don't know Chief Downey, no. 

I remember after a few minutes digging 
this guy out, Henry and one group started ahead 
of us. We felt like a cool breeze in our face, 
so we decided just follow that. They went on 
ahead. So we were a little bit ways behind them 
after we got this guy out. 

We started to walk. We came down to I 
guess it was a corner, and there were three doors 
on the left. One was a stairway that went 
downstairs. That was pitch-black. We didn't 
think that was a good option. There was a 
stairway from the stairs next one. 

The next one opened into a corridor 
that I thought looked like a service entrance, 
because it was cinder block, concrete. Then 
after that there were double doors with an exit 
sign. But we elected just to stay with that 
second door because when you opened it up we 
could see light all the way down at the end of 
the hall. So we elected to go down there. 



J. PICARELLO 11 

At that point I don't know exactly how 
many were with us, but I do know there were some 
hotel employees. There was a big heavy guy. His 
leg looked a little mangled. 
Q. A hotel employee? 
A. A hotel employee. 

Stack was helping him. Another one of 
the guys was helping him. We were just sort of 
helping him along down that hallway. 

Q. In reference point, walking north 
towards tower one, do you think? 

A. Okay, the best I can tell is when we 
got out, if I could say standing in that lobby 
right where we were after the collapse, if to my 
left was West Street, let's just say, then it was 
sort of in that direction. It was north, it 
would be, towards West Street but a little 
towards north. It was at an angle. 

The hallway that we went down was on 
our left, but it did open up onto West Street. 
We came to the end of it. There was an opening. 
I don't know if it was a knee wall or originally 
it was a window. I have no idea. But it did 
open up onto West Street. You could see out onto 



J. PICARELLO 12 

West Street, nothing but rubble everywhere. 

I remember looking out. I didn't think 
I was on West Street at first, because I thought 
there was a building on my left, a big slant, 
looked like it was going to come down. That 
looked like it might have been those big pieces 
that came down and stuck in West Street. 

Chief Ganci was out there. So I saw 
him. There were some other members across the 
street, and at that point Ganci was waving guys 
out, telling them to get out. So some of the 
guys went over -- it was about four feet high. 
They went over that, went out across West Street 
onto the other side. 

I remember to my left I saw two members 
coming toward the building and actually going in. 
One guy I don't know. The second one I do 
remember from 10 Truck was Georgie Bachman. 
Georgie Bachman was going in. It almost looked 
like a bay or something. I'm not sure. I 
remember him going in. 

So I stuck my head back in and just 
wanted to go over, just head out. I was just 
waiting for a lull in the debris; to then run 



J. PICARELLO 13 

across. 

At that point there were two or three 
guys who went to our right. If you're facing 
that opening on West Street, to my right there 
was another little hallway that went out. There 
was a door at the end of that and a set of stairs 
that also went downstairs. 

The guys tried to open that door. It 
opened about maybe six inches, and you could see 
there was a ton of debris behind it. They 
couldn't get it open. They were going to look 
for another way out. 

I'm not sure who went down the stairs, 
but I believe two members went down the stairs. 
I don't know who they were. They went down those 
stairs, looking for another way out. That's the 
point when I got separated from Chief Henry. So 
I don't know which way he went. 

I came back to the area where all of us 
were. They had found a chair for this guy, big 
guy. He was sitting down. Now we were just 
questioning, do we lift him up, get him over the 
wall, who wants to go next? 

At that point Ganci was motioning to 



J. PICARELLO 14 

us, "Come on. Let's get out." Stack said that 
he'll wait for another two guys who were still 
lagging behind and going to come up. I said, 
"I'll wait for them." He told me, "No, you go 
ahead and go." 

So I went over the wall, and Ganci 
called me to him. He had told me that they had 
just moved the command post. He said they're 
probably not set up yet, but it's up toward Vesey 
Street. 

He wanted me to go to the command post. 
He said he wants four trucks if they've got them, 
if there's a squad and a rescue available. He 
said just bring them back here as soon as 
possible. He just told me, go ahead, go. 

That's when I left the building, left 
Ganci. I started walking north on West Street. 
I remember getting under the north bridge. I 
stopped for a few seconds just to catch my 
breath. I don't know how long I was there, 
probably about 30 seconds, I guess. I started to 
walk again. I don't know how far I walked, just 
a little ways, and started to hear that rumbling 
sound again. 



J. PICARELLO 15 

I looked up, and the first thing I saw 
was the aerial on the top of the tower just 
rocking one way and rocking the other way, and 
all of a sudden there it goes. So I took off. 

I remember running diagonally. I ran 
across Vesey diagonally to the other side of West 
Street. I do remember making it across Vesey. 
The next thing I know, I could feel pressure 
behind me. I could feel all sorts of stuff. You 
could feel it coming. 

I do remember out of the corner of my 
eye things started looking grayish and dark. 
There was a truck there. A lot of vehicles were 
parked. There was a truck there. At that point 
I just dove behind the truck -- 
Q. Apparatus? 

A. No, it wasn't apparatus. It was a 
plain truck. I don't even remember if it was 
either a van or a pickup. I'm not sure which. I 
saw the front of the truck. 

I dove behind the truck. Just as I hit 
the floor, it was like this black just blew past 
me. It was like a hurricane. It just blew past. 
You could hear stuff breaking and everything. I 



J. PICARELLO 16 

just covered up. 

When that stopped, I just remember 
opening my eyes and it was pitch-black. I 
couldn't see anything. I do remember it was just 
silence. You heard nothing, no radio 
transmissions, not even a call for help for a 
second or two. Everything was quiet. I didn't 
know, did I get buried or something, whatever. I 
took a breath. It felt like somebody threw a 
handful of sawdust in my mouth. The whole thing, 
vomiting and everything else. 

At that point when it cleared, the 
first transmission I heard was Chief Henry 
calling me. So I acknowledged him and told him 
that I made it out, I was okay. He said he made 
it out. He was a little bit pinned under stuff, 
but he said, "I can get out of it." Nothing he 
felt was serious. So I told him "meet up with 
you later," because he wasn't sure where he was. 

So at that point I was able to make it 
to my feet. I remember turning around looking 
toward where the buildings were. I don't have to 
tell you what it looked like. It was just a 
mess. The thing that struck me was just looking 



J. PICARELLO 17 

at the north bridge. I was just there. It was 
just crushed to the ground, rubble all over the 
place. 

The first person I actually saw was 
actually Father John Delendick. He had told me 
about Father Judge. 

I made it to an ambulance, got taken 
care of a little bit, and just went back to see 
whatever it is that I could do. So I actually 
didn't leave the scene until about 12:30, 1:00. 
I went to Roosevelt Hospital and came back to the 
scene. 

Q. So the last place you saw Larry 
Stack -- 

A. The last place I saw Larry -- 

Q. -- would be east of West Street inside 
some part of the building? 

A. Yeah, I don't know what part of the 
building, where that is. This really doesn't 
help me at all. I went back on Monday the 15th 
and just looked at the hotel. I couldn't make 
heads or tails of where we came out. 

Q. But from your description, I'm guessing 
you were either at the very north end of the 



J. PICARELLO 18 

hotel or somehow had gotten into tower one. 

A. Something like that. Somebody told me 
that we came out in the north tower, but then 
again I can ' t - - 

Q. No, I understand. The general area. 

A. That would be accurate, because I do 
remember when I started to walk, when I left 
Ganci and went north -- I didn't walk very far at 
all and I was under that north bridge. 

Stack, the last time I saw him was when 
I went over that little wall or out the window, 
whatever that thing was. He was standing there 
with two or three other members and some hotel 
personnel and one of the staff guys, the heavyset 
guy. He couldn't walk. His leg was really 
messed up. 

Q. Brian went out over the wall too, I 
think, prior to you getting back. Brian and 
Henry went over that wall when you went left to 
go see the other firefighters or something by the 
stairwell, you said, that went down? 

A. Right. 

Q. When you got separated from Henry. 

A. I got separated just prior to reaching 



J. PICARELLO 19 

that big opening. He had told me he was going to 
down the stairway. I do remember he had somebody 
there with a little flashlight or something. It 
wasn't even ours. I think one of the hotel 
employees had it. So that I remember. 

But I had stopped at that point and 
turned around with Stack. There was a number of 
others. We just stopped, and we were just 
helping lead these people out. So Henry went 
down the stairs with the other group. That was 
the first group. We were sort of behind after we 
helped this guy out. 

Q. You went down the same staircase, 
though? 

A. No. It was the same staircase that was 
that first door. We didn't go down there. We 
passed that. We went through the second door, 
which was the long hallway and went through the 
opening. 

Q. Brian talked about going over a wall 
with Henry. 

A. So that might be, then, that second 
stairway, because there was another one -- you 
reached the end of the hall, there's the opening, 



J. PICARELLO 20 

and then to the right there's a stairway. I 
don't know where that goes. 

Q. He explains it almost like you did. In 
fact, they had to put a chair in front of the 
wall so Eddie could step on the chair and get 
out . 

A. Right. He was ahead of us, because 
there was a chair there by the opening. That's 
the chair we used for this big heavy guy. 

Q. That was probably the chair that they 
used to step on to help everybody, Brian with his 
broken arm or his broken shoulder. They couldn't 
get over this wall; it was just high enough. 
Eddie probably couldn't get over. So they knew 
they had this chair there to step on and get over 
from our talk with Ladder 9. 

A. Yeah. 

Q. So this chair was there when you -- 

A. It was already there by the opening. 

Q. So that was probably the chair they 
used to go through the opening. 

A. Right. 

Q. That's the last time you saw Larry and 
the heavyset -- 



J. PICARELLO 21 

A. Yeah, the last time was right by that 
opening. That was it. That's the last time I 
saw him. That's the last place I saw Ganci. 

Q. Did you see Commissioner Feehan up 
there also? 

A. No, I didn't see him. 

Q. You don't know what Ray Downey looks 
like to know if you saw him at all? 

A. No. 

Some of the faces -- after the 
collapse, it was so dark. Even if I did, I 
didn't know if they were with me or not. 

Q. Right, exactly. 

A. That's basically it. 

Q. Thank you, John. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: That concludes the 

interview. It is now 1547. 



File No. 9110242 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MIKE ZECHEWYTZ 
Interview Date: December 5, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today is December 5th, 
2001. The time is approximately 1820. My name is 
Battalion Chief Art Lakiotes, Safety Command, New York 
City Fire Department. I'm conducting an interview 
with -- 

FIREFIGHTER ZECHEWYTZ: Michael Zechewytz, 
engine 278, firefighter. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: This is in regard to the 
events of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Mike, do me a favor and just tell me in your 
own words from probably the time you started responding 
with the company to the events that unfolded for you 
that day. 

A. Well, I remember we were drinking coffee in 
the kitchen and we saw on the news breaking story on 
Channel 5 that a plane just hit. I remember I was 
right by the TV set and I said, "That must have been a 
drunk pilot." I mean, it was clear outside. So we 
were like, "Wow, the guy must have had a few last night 
or something." 

So then Roger Jackson and myself went out to 
the front to see the smoke. If you were in front of 
the firehouse and you looked over to the right, you saw 
the smoke. Then he called and he goes, "Zech." That's 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 



my nickname. He goes, "Zech, look," and we saw the 
other plane going from left to right with its nose 
down. 

So then we ran back in the kitchen, and then 
maybe 30 seconds later the news said that a bomb went 
off in the second building. But then they saw in slow 
motion it was a plane. So that was the plane that we 
saw go into it. Then the 4 responded, I forget what 
alarm, maybe third alarm, and then we went on the fifth 
alarm. 

Then we went to the staging area right by the 
tunnel. 228 went through the tunnel and they couldn't 
make contact with them for a while. Then there was a 
collapse. Someone said it might be a collapse on the 
south side of the tunnel. Then we didn't hear from 
them and then later on they went through. There must 
have been a lot of debris in there. 

Q. Let me ask you a question before we go any 
further. Were you there before or after the collapses? 

A. We saw the collapse. 

Q. You weren't there? 

A. We were at the tunnel on the Brooklyn side. 

Q. And you saw tower 2 go? 

A. We saw tower 1. 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 

Q. That was the second tower to go. 

A. All right. No. 

Q. The first tower to go was tower 2. 

A. Okay. So that's the tower. We saw that from 
the Brooklyn side of the tunnel. I was right in front 
of the rig. It was me and Vinny Buonocore right in 
front of the rig. We were like the first thing out of 
our mouths after that was, "Wow, we have firemen just 
died." We saw it come down. 

Then whatever Chief was there by the tunnel, 
they sent us and a couple other companies to the 
Brooklyn Bridge. Tower 1, then, I guess was still up. 
People were saying like, you know, it's crazy to give 
us the assignment to cross. 

Then we went over the bridge. The tower was 
still up. That was tower 1, I guess, that was still 
up. 

Q. The north tower. 

A. I guess from that time, when we got over the 
bridge and where we parked our rig, it went down. But 
we didn't hear it. We just saw debris everywhere, but 
we didn't know that tower came down yet. 

Q. Do you know who the Chief was that gave you 
the order to go back? 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 

A. No, I don't know. I remember his face. I 
mean, I could remember like it was yesterday. No, I 
don't remember. 

Like I said, we parked the rig on I forget 
exactly what street and we went to the West Side 
Highway. We were there for a while. Then, I guess, 
after an hour or two, they sent us to the Milennium 
Hotel with roll-ups. We went to the fourth floor 
there, hooked up to a standpipe. 

Then another Chief -- I don't want to say the 
wrong name. I'm not sure exactly who. It might be 
Jensen, if he was there with us. We went there with a 
truck company, another engine company. We were there 
for at least an hour, an hour and 15 minutes, and then 
they said that someone gave a Mayday in the hallway up 
the stairwell that the Milennium Hotel might come 
down. So we just ran out of there. We left our folds 
right on the stairs. We left the hose on the standpipe 
and all our stuff. 

Q. That's about it? 

A. Yes. After that we were pretty much just 
going from -- we were helping dump trucks, we were 
doing like little searches, engine searches, moving 
debris. 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 

Q. You said Roger was with you? 

A. No. Vinny Buonocore, McLaughlin, John 
McLaughlin -- no, Jimmy McLaughlin. I'm sorry. Richie 
Vetland, Captain Henricksen. The only companies I 
remember with us at the staging area, I can remember 
280 being there because I have a friend that was 
working that day. 102 truck was there. They walked 
through the tunnel. I knew a guy from there, Jimmy 
McCutcheon. 

Q. Jimmy McCutcheon? 

A. Yes. He actually walked through the tunnel. 

Q. I hope he has a brother on the job. There's 
a Lieutenant in 122. 

A. Oh, yeah? 

Q. Yes. Somebody said they saw him there, 
Lieutenant McCutchan. Did you say 280? 

A. 280 was with us at the staging area, 102 
truck, 114 truck. 

Q. 114 got through. 

A. Yes, they got through. I don't know how they 
got through and we didn't. 

Q. Because Dennis Oberg was standing next to me 
when the buildings came down. 

A. Yes. 



M. ZECHEWYTZ 

Q. I know 114 got through. 

A. Because I remember seeing them. We had 
pulled up. They went in front of us at the staging 
area and that was it. We didn't see them anymore. But 
we saw the tower come down from the tunnel, and then, 
like I said, the first tower, which is the second tower 
that went down, we didn't see come down. I saw it up 
all the way until we got over the bridge. 

Q. Very good. 

A. That's all. I wish I could help you a little 
more. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: No, that's fine. This 
concludes the interview at 1825. 



</XMP></BODYx/HTML> 



File No. 9110243 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER TROY OWENS 
Interview Date: December 5, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



T. OWENS ; 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: Today's date is 
December 5th, 2001. The time is 
approximately 1705. I am Chief Art 
Lakiotes, Safety Command of the N.Y.C. Fire 
Department. I am conducting an interview 
with -- 

FIREFIGHTER OWENS: Firefighter Troy 
Owens, Engine 279. That day I was working 
at Ladder 131. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: This is in regards to 
the events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Troy, if you would, just take me 
through your day during the event, after the 
event, where you went and so on and so forth. 
A. We responded on the fifth alarm or 
whatever it was at the time, and we were told to 
report to the staging area on the Brooklyn side 
of the Battery Tunnel. We were standing there 
when we were watching one building burn. The 
second plane hit while we were standing there. 

At that time we were deployed into 
Manhattan. We were stuck in the tunnel for a 
little while. We finally made it through. It 
was a disaster area, of course. Everything was 



T. OWENS 3 

crazy. We took a position on the west side of 
West Street. 

Q. If it will help you, here's a map. 

A. I know exactly. We had to get right 
from underneath everything. There was too much 
shit coming down. We were standing on the other 
side of West Street. We were watching them jump 
and all of that there. 

Then we received orders to proceed into 
building two via the World Trade Center Marriott 
Hotel. That's where we were. When we first 
arrived there, we didn't have any other specific 
orders. The lieutenant told us to take a minute, 
told us to take a breather. 

We didn't have specific orders at the 
time. The first captain or lieutenant said, 
"Listen, guys, take your gear off. Take a 
breather, take a minute." What I chose to do is 
I went to say hello to someone I hadn't seen in a 
long time -- 

Q. Would you tell us who it was? 

A. Yes. I went to say hello to Lieutenant 
Gregory McLetchie from Ladder 122. I saw another 
gentleman from proby school. I don't remember 



T. OWENS 4 

his name. 

Q. Do you know what unit he was with at 
the time? 

A. Lieutenant -- 

Q. No, the one from proby school. 

A. I don't remember what unit he was in. 
Also I came back to the company and 
said, "Lou, I'm going to the bathroom." I went 
to drink water and wanted to urinate. I didn't 
want to get stuck up there and have to be 
thirsty. I went to the bathroom. As soon as I 
came back, they said, "Troy, we're ready." I saw 
we had our orders, to proceed to whatever 
staircase, whatever. 

At that time I just had my bunker pants 
on. I put my bunker coat on. Right after I put 
my bunker coat on, I went to grab my mask. I 
noticed one of the guys from the company said, 
"Look, they're all running." 

I heard rumbling. There was a window 
there. I looked outside. I saw a black quick 
shadow come to the building. I thought it was 
another plane hitting. I just heard rumbling, 
and everything just came down. 



T. OWENS 5 

I just had to turn -- they said, "Get 
down, get down." I heard someone say get down, 
and that's what I did. I dropped. My helmet was 
buried. I couldn't get it. I had my hand on the 
strap to my mask. As everything was coming down, 
I was getting blasted by the dust, the debris. I 
was getting blown away, tossed around and 
whatnot . 

I turned the mask on, and I tried to 
open it up and it wouldn't work. So I just 
stayed there until everything finally came down. 
I didn't get hit. I didn't get hit with 
anything, but I was choking on that shit. 

So at the time I was like, wow, 
everything had gone black. I had my big light 
on. I've got my big flashlight on. After 
everything eventually came down and I was still 
alive, at that time I just wanted to know where 
was the way out. 

There was a gentleman; I think he 
worked in the hotel. Maybe he was a fire safety 
director or something. I said, "Where was the 
way out?" He pointed in that direction. I went 
out towards the way out to look. The ground was 



T. OWENS 6 

missing in some of the parts of -- in part of the 
lobby was like a bar area over there somewhere. 
It kind of went out a little bit. 

At that point I said, okay, let me go 
see what's up with Ladder 131. I went back with 
131. The first person I found was Lieutenant 
Woods. He was okay. He was okay. He was badly 
shaken up like I was. 

The rest of the guys, we all came out. 
I think there was a door they were forcing to. 
Eventually we all got out. But I thought 
everybody was with us. Mattie Castrogiovanni, we 
didn't know where he was. From what I 
understand, somebody took him and put him in an 
ambulance and they took him away because his eyes 
got blasted pretty bad. We had communication 
with him at first, but then we lost him. So we 
didn't know where he was. 

When we got out, we kept calling, kept 
calling. While we were trying to find out where 
he was, we helped pull this guy out from under an 
ambulance. I think lieutenant said pair up and 
help people. I paired up with Keith Kaiser. 

We helped get this guy out from under 



T. OWENS 7 

an ambulance. He was a fireman. I don't know 
who he was. Hopefully he's all right. The other 
guys helped this photographer. 

What we did is we went across West 
Street. There was a store over there. I know we 
all needed to drink something or get the stuff 
out of our eyes. So we got into the store. The 
first thing I did was go straight to the back 
where the sink was. When I went there to cut the 
water on, they said, "The other building's coming 
down." The other building came down. All the 
guys that were there that were outside the deli, 
they dove in the deli. I dropped behind the 
counter. That's how we survived the second 
collapse. 

After that the lieutenant said, "Look, 
we just survived two collapses. Let's get the 
fuck out of here." So we kind of got away from 
the area. At that time we -- during the second 
collapse, we kind of lost what's his name? Craig 
Gutkes? He got disconnected from us. We were 
still communicating with him. 

So we went south a little bit. He met 
us there further down. There was another 



T. OWENS 8 

building there, and I went inside this building 
to try to wash some of the stuff off my face and 
go to the bathroom. While I was in the building, 
I wanted to make a phone call also. While I was 
on the phone, they said you have to get out of 
the building because the building is going to 
blow, there's a gas leak. 

At that time everybody in the vicinity, 
in that immediate vicinity, they made us all get 
on boats and they took us over to Jersey and that 
was it. We got on, me, Keith Kaiser and Mark 
Ruppert. We all got on together. We stayed 
together the whole time. 

They took us to the decon units over by 
the triages over there. We tried to hook up with 
the lieutenant and Greg Gutkes was together. We 
tried to found out where they were. We spent a 
long time trying to find out where they were. We 
didn't want to go to any hospital until we knew 
where they were. Then eventually we found they 
were all right, because a gentleman from the 
house, Harry, he was helping us out, Harry 
(inaudible) . 

Q. (Inaudible.) 



T. OWENS 9 

A. Yeah. He was helping us out. We knew 
everybody was okay. It was just Mattie, we 
didn't know what the hell was up with Mattie. 

Eventually we wound up in the hospital. 
I forgot the name of the hospital. 

Q. New Jersey? It's okay. 

A. Actually the hospital was in I think 
Staten Island. 

Q. That's what I'm saying, Staten Island, 
whatever. St. Vincent's or something like that. 

A. I can't remember. They sent me a 
letter with the pictures that they took of us. 
They were real nice people. They took real good 
care of us. They washed out my eyes. My eyes 
got washed out three times. I still had a hard 
time. I was still choking on this stuff. My 
chest was burning and whatnot. 

That was the end of it for us that day, 
for me. 

Q. How many guys did you see in the lobby 
when you were in the lobby? 50? 60? 100? 
More? 

A. There were a lot of guys going in with 
rollups. We were one of the last companies to go 



T. OWENS 10 

in the building. I believe we were -- when we 
first walked in the Marriott World Trade Center 
Hotel, if I remember correctly, there's a bar 
that you ran into first. 

Q. I think it's called the Tall Ships bar 
or something like that. 

A. Okay. Then right after you get to the 
bar, then you actually reach the lobby, the hotel 
lobby. We were like the last ones, because I 
remember there was this wall. 

When I found out the building was 
dropping, I dove right on this side of this wall. 
I tried to get close to something. Instead of 
being out in the open, I was kind of like hugging 
the wall. The other guys were right on the other 
side of the wall. There was a bunch of guys in 
there. The hallway, it was a long hallway, a 
long lobby. 

From what I understand, everything 
behind that -- if you were behind the revolving 
doors, it would be curtains. From what I 
understand, everything behind the revolving 
doors -- I believe not even that far. I don't 
know how many people made it out. I don't think 



T. OWENS 11 

it was too many. There were a lot of guys in the 
lobby. I can't really tell you a number because 
I know it was a deep lobby. 

Q. What was that lieutenant's name from 
122? 

A. Lieutenant McLetchie. 

Q. McLetchie? 

A. Yeah, Lieutenant McLetchie, 122. 

Q. So basically you were in the lobby 
close to the Liberty Street side. 

A. Yeah. Actually they found my helmet. 

Q. Did they? 

A. The front piece only, just the front 
piece. 

Q. You don't know what happened after 
tower one came down. 

A. When tower one came down, we were on 
the other side -- 

Q. Yeah, I know. You left your helmet in 
the lobby of the hotel; right? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. That's what I'm saying. So we don't 
know what happened to the lobby after tower one 
came down. 



T. OWENS 12 

A. The lobby itself? 

Q. Yeah, after all the -- 

A. I have it up in my locker. The front 
piece, it's just the front piece of the helmet 
only, the leather part. It has a tag on it that 
says deceased. 

Q. All right. 

A. It said on Liberty Street. 

Q. Very good. 

A. It had a 9 on it, a 9. My badge number 
is the only one with Engine 279 on it because 279 
is missing so maybe that's why they put 
"deceased" on it. I was working with 131. 

Q. Okay. Sure. That's possible. 

A. Mine was the only one from 279 that 
started with a 9, so it had to be mine. 

Q. The guys from 279 didn't do too well. 
So except for the lieutenant -- you 
really don't remember the name of the proby that 
you saw? 

A. A Latin guy. I didn't see his name on 
the list of deceased. I would like to hear his 
story. 

Q. What about his picture? I'm sure we 



T. OWENS 13 

have it . 

A. I talked to Lieutenant McLetchie. He 
said that he just grabbed a column and held on. 
What held him up is he was waiting for one of 
their men in the bathroom. That held them up. 
After everything came down, I remember him saying 
he was trying to cut a lieutenant out, some 
lieutenant . 

Q. I'll get to talk to him. 

A. Their tool failed, and they went on to 
get another one. When they went to get another 
tool, the other building came down. So that's 
what he told me. I thought he was missing, 
actually. I got his name mixed up with someone 
else. But he's okay. I talked to him on the 
phone. They were a little further in the 
building than we were. 

Q. I guess that's it. I want to thank 
you. 

CHIEF LAKIOTES: This concludes the 

interview. It is approximately 1725. 
Thank you, Troy. 



File No. 9110245 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL HAZEL 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



M. HAZEL 

CHIEF KING: Today's date is December 6, 
2001. The time is 1625 hours. This is Battalion Chief 
Stephen King with the Safety Battalion of FDNY. I am 
conducting an interview with Firefighter Michael Hazel 
from Engine 224. The interview is regarding the events 
of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Mike, you can start any time you're ready. 
A. Okay. That morning I was awaiting relief, 
believe it or not, and we were watching TV in the 
kitchen and we saw the news saying that the tower was 
hit, the first tower was hit. 

So we had a couple of guys here. One guy was 
going off duty. The rest were all working. Another 
guy just came back from a detail. I said to them, 
"Don't go anywhere because we're going to be going to 
the World Trade Center, " because we always respond to 
that box and you could see from the TV that it was a 
substantial fire and I knew we'd be going. 

You couldn't tell at that point it was a 
jet. I thought originally it was a publicity stunt, 
especially after that guy with the parachute who got 
caught in the Statue of Liberty. I figured it was just 
some guy who was trying to fly between the towers and 
got lost because it really didn't look like that big of 



M. HAZEL 

a hole. So a few minutes later we responded. We were 
sent a ticket and we responded, but to the Battery 
Tunnel, to the staging area. We didn't go directly to 
the Trade Center. 

On the way to the Battery Tunnel, we're 
driving along Columbia Street and I'm sitting across 
from the proby, and as we're talking and I'm preparing 
him for the events, what to expect at this job we're 
going to go to, he just says to me, "Look at this 
dummy. He's flying underneath the smoke instead of 
over it." With that I turned to my right and looked at 
the Twin Towers and I saw the second jet hit. So he 
started screaming and I just said to him, "We're in big 
trouble. This is an attack. We're being attacked." 

So we thought we were going to get sent right 
to the Trade Center, but we went to the Battery Tunnel 
and, obviously, everybody else who was there saw the 
second plane hit, so no one was sitting in their rig 
just waiting to go. We all jumped out and ran over to 
each other and started talking, like this isn't good, 
we're in trouble here, there's a lot of fire, there's a 
lot of people, and we couldn't understand why we 
weren't getting called yet. 

A couple of the chauffeurs who got out of 



M. HAZEL 

their rigs to mingle turned up their radios, so it was 
like in stereo. All the rigs just blared, "Anybody at 
the Battery Tunnel." They started rattling off the 
companies. "Respond." So we all wished each other 
luck and we jumped in our rigs and we went through the 
tunnel. We got stuck in the tunnel for a while, 
probably a good ten minutes, but it seemed like 
forever, where it just wasn't moving at all, and we 
pretty much all got the feeling that it was a setup, 
that we were meant to get stuck in there. 

But we eventually got through the tunnel, and 
at first we started seeing bits and pieces, when we 
turned up West Street, of the plane and of what turned 
out to be body parts. But the closer we got, the 
bigger the parts got, the plane parts and the body 
parts, and it finally got to the point where I was 
facing forward and I told the proby, who was facing the 
rear, not to look anymore because I told him the things 
he was going to see he'd rather not see and that he 
would never be able to get it out of his head if he did 
see them. 

At that point, Smitty was driving. That's 
when he started trying to snake his way up West 
Street. There was a lot of debris in the street and I 



M. HAZEL 

remember yelling to the Lieutenant to keep going 
because stuff was still landing all around us. We just 
passed a compact car where the engine was running and 
the door was open, which looked to me like the driver 
had escaped, but from the back seat to the trunk was 
crushed by a jet engine. I said to the proby, "There 
goes the luckiest guy in the world right there." So we 
went past that and we saw a couple of more gruesome 
scenes, and at that point I just made sure that we 
weren't going to pull over because it was just raining 
down too much debris. 

We started going up West Street. I believe 
that's when Smitty ran over the part of the plane, but 
he did that to avoid the bodies because there were 
obviously bodies in the street that were hit by either 
apparatus or cars or something and it wasn't a pretty 
picture. Like Smitty said, it's just very hard to 
intentionally run over a body, even if you know they're 
dead. So we tried to go around them as best as 
possible. I didn't hear him hit the debris in the 
street. The guys on the other side said they heard it. 

Anyway, we pulled up. We got a hydrant. We 
all jumped off and the Lieutenant reminded everybody to 
take their extra cylinder. I told the Lieutenant that 



M. HAZEL 

maybe we should help Smitty hook up because we'd 
probably need water more importantly than anything 
else. They had a lot of people there already. The 
hose I didn't think was going to be that important as 
much as water would be. 

So we helped him hook up, and an officer came 
over from the command post. I thought it was a Chief. 
Somebody told me it was a Lieutenant. I'm not sure who 
it was. He told us to move. He said to get off the 
hydrant and move further up north to another hydrant so 
that rigs coming up from behind us would be able to 
form a chain rather than have them try to get around us 
because there wasn't much room to get through West 
Street. So we had to disconnect the rig. 

We got back on the rig. We moved up to the 
next hydrant. Again we helped Smitty hook up and 
grabbed our roll-ups and our cylinders, and as we were 
turning to walk away, one of the guys just nonchalantly 
said, "Hey, Smitty, that's you," and he pointed to the 
ground. I didn't know what he meant. I looked down 
and it was transmission fluid. So I said, "What are 
you talking about?" He said, "That's from when he hit 
the plane. We must have a leak." So I stopped him and 
I said, "We can't leave him here like this because, if 



M. HAZEL 

he runs out of transmission fluid, he's not going to be 
able to pump and he's going to be useless." So I said, 
"Let's see if we can help him." 

So I called to one of the other guys, Richie 
Saulle, and I asked him to get the clay, the gunk that 
we use to fix gas tanks. I asked him to get it and see 
if he could go under there and try and patch this 
hole. So then we got the gunk and we went under the 
rig and it was a pinhole. It wasn't that much. We 
patched it up and we waited a while to see if it was 
going to stay. It looked like it was going to hold. 

So we got out from under the rig and we got 
our roll-ups and our cylinders and we walked about 
maybe ten yards, 15 yards, and the tower started to 
come down. At first it looked to me like just the top 
of the tower, like maybe the top 15 floors, like the 
skin of the building was just peeling off and coming 
down. We pretty much all just stood there in 
disbelief, and what I did at that point was I told all 
the guys I was with to put their masks on, their face 
piece, because I saw the dust coming and I said, "Who 
knows how much we're going to get hit with? We might 
as well put our masks on." I told Smitty and this 
other guy, Bailey, who was just buffing the job, to get 



M. HAZEL 

their masks on or to hightail it. 

So we all put our face pieces on and we 
pretty much got hit with a lot more than we expected, 
so we tried to find refuge behind cars or up against 
fences or whatever we could. I got down on the ground 
and a civilian -- I don't remember now if he bumped 
into me or if he just was calling out, but I grabbed 
him and I started sharing my face piece with him, 
sharing the mask, and then you just started hearing 
people screaming and yelling because they started 
getting engulfed in the cloud and it started getting 
darker and darker. Another guy was coming running by 
crying, screaming. I called out to him. He came 
over. The two of those guys were sharing my mask now. 
After a little while, a third guy starts coming up and 
he was screaming and we grabbed him, and then I had all 
three guys sharing my mask. So I was trying to calm 
them down because one guy was panicking. He was pretty 
upset. He was getting hysterical. 

CHIEF KING: We're going to stop the tape for 
a minute. It's 1635 hours. 

(Pause. ) 

CHIEF KING: It's 1636 hours. We're going to 
restart the tape. Go ahead, Mike. 



M. HAZEL 

A. So the one guy was getting pretty 
hysterical. The other two guys were okay. They pretty 
much took their hits of the air and they gave it back 
to me when I asked. But the third guy kept grabbing it 
and screaming and yelling. So I told him, I said, 
"Listen, you keep it up, I'm not going to give you any 
more and then you're going to pass out and I'm going to 
leave you here." So he pretty much calmed down after 
that. The bottom line is, I had my hood over my face, 
but they pretty much used up all my air. When it 
finally started to lift, the first guy who was pretty 
calm said thanks a lot and took off. The other two 
guys were a little more out of it. 

We regrouped and tried to go a little up 
north to try and find a place where we could clear our 
eyes and throats and noses so we could breathe better. 
At that point I called out to all of the other guys in 
the company. I wanted to make sure that we didn't lose 
Smitty or Bailey because they didn't have any masks and 
I knew it got pretty nasty and, if they didn't run, 
they were going to need help. 

So we couldn't find them originally. We got 
together, all of us regrouped, and we stood there for a 
while because we had heard reports now that the tower 



10 

M. HAZEL 



came down and we didn't believe it. We just thought it 
was the top couple of floors. It was still too dusty 
and too dark to see. So we just stood there watching 
and waiting to see if it cleared and we could tell what 
was going on. At that point, on the radio, we heard a 
lot of Maydays and a lot of yelling and who's trapped 
and who' s hurt . 

It didn't seem like that long of a period of 
time, but by the time we regrouped and got our act 
together and we were going to start heading back down, 
that's when the second tower started coming down. When 
that tower started coming down, we knew from the first 
one, which, actually, the first collapse was blocked by 
the north tower from us. It sort of shielded us a 
little. When I looked up and I saw the antenna on the 
second tower coming straight, just like falling 
straight into the building, I knew it was coming down, 
and we pretty much just turned and started to run. 

As we were running, it overtook us, the 
impact. A couple of guys went flying. We went diving 
under cars and up against fences. We started getting 
pelted with stuff. Nothing substantial, though. It 
turned pitch black. You couldn't see anything, but you 
could still hear the screaming again and the yelling. 



11 

M. HAZEL 



Pretty much the radio went dead after that, the second 
tower. We didn't hear anybody screaming for help. It 
was just like an eerie silence. We knew that it was 
really bad . 

At that point, I put my face piece on and my 
cylinder ran out. So I had the proby with me, who I 
had told to stick with me, and we ducked down behind a 
fence and I told him, I said, "Joe, you're going to 
have to remain calm here because you're going to have 
to change my cylinder." He said, "No problem," and he 
took my spare cylinder and changed it without a 
problem. 

Then two guys behind us that were following 
the fence actually walked right into us and then a cop 
came by. I thought he was a transit cop. I'm not even 
sure now. We all stuck together and we started moving 
north up along the side of the fence because we still 
couldn't see anything. At that point, I think the four 
of us got together and we waited for it at least to 
clear up a little bit so we could see. 

Most of the guys now were pretty bad as far 
as the dust and the breathing, and it seemed like a 
godsend. We were walking up West Street and a guy in a 
Poland Spring truck pulled over. I said to myself, 



12 
M. HAZEL 



"I'm going to go over there and I'm going to grab some 
water. I don't care if this guy likes it or not." But 
we couldn't even blink. I told the guys to sit down, 
and as I ran over towards the truck, the guy got out of 
his truck and he just started opening up all the gates 
on the truck and started throwing us water. So we just 
took bottles and we started rinsing everybody's eyes 
out. By the time we got cleaned up, there were guys 
coming up by the hundreds, walking up the block and 
just needing to be rinsed and cleaned. 

We got our act together. We regrouped and 
the Lieutenant and one of the other guys went down 
south again to see if we could find anybody left 
because at this point we didn't know what was going on 
and we wanted to see if we could find a command post or 
somebody down there that could tell us what to do. But 
we were northwest of the hotel and all the debris, it 
was like a roadblock. There was no way to get in 
there. That whole side of the West Side Highway was 
just pretty much just demolished. That's where the 
walkways were. 

We went down there and there were numerous 
rigs burning, cars burning. It looked like something 
out of a war movie. There was really nothing to do. I 



13 
M. HAZEL 



mean, all the rigs that were crushed and with all the 
debris in the street, we couldn't even get to the World 
Trade Center complex. 

That was about it. That's pretty much it. 
After the second tower collapsed, we tried to get 
together and stick together. We found Smitty. We 
never found Bailey, but it turned out, we found out 
later on, that he ran up to 20 truck and made a few 
phone calls. But, unfortunately, when they asked where 
we were, he said he didn't know, that we were lost. So 
that didn't work out too well, except for the fact that 
at least the guys that were here knew not to tell 
anybody who called what he said. But that's about it. 

The only thing I left out was, in between the 
two towers collapsing, there were a couple of firemen 
who were walking up that were bleeding pretty badly 
from the head, and we stopped them. They didn't want 
to stop. They were lost. They didn't know what they 
were doing. They were sort of out of it. So we had to 
like grab them and restrain them and hold them by the 
rig while we patched up their injuries on their heads. 

An ambulance was coming down the block and I 
pulled them over and I said, "These two guys are hurt 
pretty bad. You've got to take them." They said, "All 



14 
M. HAZEL 



right. We'll pull up and you can throw them in the 
back." I said, "Okay." So they drove to the back of 
the rig and I went behind the rig to grab these two 
guys and their heads were being bandaged by the proby 
and by Saulle, and the ambulance just took off. They 
kept going. So, when they kept going, I was like, you 
know, well, whatever. But anyway, they kept going, and 
that was only a few minutes before the second tower 
collapsed. So I don't know what became of them. 

But most of the guys that were walking up the 
block after us were obviously closer to the building 
than us and they were injured. A lot of them were 
bleeding. Most of them were dazed and didn't even know 
where they were. That's why, when that water truck 
pulled over, that was really good because people 
couldn't breathe. The civilians didn't even realize, 
you know, when you can't breathe and when you've got 
dirt in your eyes, I guess, for some reason, we're a 
little more used to that than civilians are, but these 
civilians were panicking, and you know any time people 
are yelling and screaming and crying, it just adds more 
stress to the situation. So when this truck pulled 
over, we pulled out a couple of the five-gallon barrels 
of water, put them on like a ledge and just pulled the 



15 
M. HAZEL 



cap off, and there were people sitting underneath them 
just like a shower and it helped a lot of people. That 
calmed them down a lot anyway. 

CHIEF KING: Okay, Mike. Thank you. The 
time is 1645 hours and we've concluded the interview. 



File No. 9110246 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER THOMAS SMITH 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



T. SMITH 2 

CHIEF KING: Today's date is December 
6th, 2001. The time is 1355 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Steven King of the Safety 
Battalion of the Fire Department of the City 
of New York. I am conducting an interview 
with the following individual, Firefighter 
Thomas Smith from Engine 224. This 
interview is regarding events which occurred 
on September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Tom, you can start whenever you want. 
A. My story starts with, in the morning 
sitting having coffee at the firehouse table. 
Somebody says, "Turn on Channel 1. A plane 
crashed into the Trade Center." The guys getting 
off the night tour, day tour, we had about seven 
to eight guys in the kitchen. The young guys 
were saying, "Look at that, look at that." 

So my first thought was somebody flew a 
small Cessna or some plane and flew into the 
tower. We were sitting there, and the guys were 
like, "Wow. " I said, "You know what, we may go 
on that, " because us being so close to the 
Battery Tunnel and we went there in ' 93 to the 
towers . 



T. SMITH 3 

Two minutes later, tones go off, "224 
respond to Brooklyn Battery Tunnel at the staging 
area." The plane crashed at 8:48. We got that 
tone probably at about 5 to 9, 8:55. 

So now there were guys hanging over 
from the night tour, and it was like, all right, 
ba-ba-ba, things were going on. Who's jumping on 
the rig? Who's the day tour? Who's taking the 
ride? PS, we start responding towards the 
Battery Tunnel. 

En route to the tunnel, making a left 
out of quarters on Hicks, a left on Joralemon and 
another left on Furman heading towards the 
Battery Tunnel, there's a wide open view at the 
foot of Atlantic Avenue that shows the Manhattan 
skyline . 

As I'm making the turn heading towards 
Columbia Street which leads into the tunnel, the 
proby on the right side of the rig yells out, 
"Another one hit the tower." I'm driving and I'm 
looking, I'm looking. I didn't see the crash, 
but I could see the flame, the orange. 

Now we get to the tunnel . Now, the 
whole time we're not even thinking when we're 



T. SMITH 4 

responding that it was a terrorist thing. En 
route to the tunnel, the second plane hitting, we 
meet at the tunnel. We were there with about six 
other companies. We're staging and, hey, how you 
doing, how you do, what's going on. Do you see 
what's going on? What are we going to do, blah, 
blah, blah. 

With that they're trying to get 
Brooklyn-bound traffic out of the tunnel. It was 
chaotic at the toll plaza there. 224 and 210, we 
were on like a Rapelye Street, which is a side 
street leading into the tunnel. 101 was there 
already. Two or three other companies, this way, 
that way, at all different intersections leading 
into the toll plaza. Also we got word it had to 
be 9:08, 9:10 — I'd say about 9:10, all right, 
let's go, respond to the towers. So we went 
through there, six or seven companies, I think it 
was; I'm not sure. If I see the ticket. 

So we proceeded to go through, and it 
wasn't a straight run. We went and we had to 
stop because they had Port Authority guys in the 
tunnel, whatever. They still had cars inside. 
So it was go and stop. Cars would come along, 



T. SMITH 5 

go, stop, which is normally a two- to 
three-minute ride through the tunnel. It seemed 
like 20 minutes we were in that tunnel. 
Q. It was long? 

A. It was long, probably about ten 
minutes . 

If the second plane hit 9:06, we were 
at the staging area there probably about three 
minutes. So by the time we came out of the 
tunnel on the Manhattan side, it had to be 9:20, 
9:25. 

When we came out of the tunnel, I came 
out of the tunnel, went to West Street, made a 
right. There were rigs backed up, backed up. We 
proceeded up to the front of tower one where they 
had a lieutenant there. I don't have his name. 
The trucks were getting orders, and the engines 
were getting orders . 

The trucks were just -- they were 
saying everybody get as far left as you can 
because they want a passageway for rigs to get 
in. Me being an engine, my officer got orders 
from the lieutenant in the street, "Tell your 
chauffeur get as far left as he can. There's 



T. SMITH 6 

hydrants on West Street. Get a water supply. 
You're going to be relayed, you're going to 
feed," ba-ba-ba, the whole thing. 

So we went as far left as we can, and 
there were rigs coming in, coming in all 
different angles and guys just coming up the rig. 
So I pulled up to my hydrant. My members get 
off, and we test the hydrant. We stretch our 35 
foot yellow hose. We're hooked up to the 
hydrant . 

One of the brothers in my firehouse 
turned to me and said, "Smitty, do you see that 
puddle of trannie fluid?" I said -- 

If I can go back a little bit. When we 
came out of the tunnel when we were heading on 
West Street, there was all debris in the street: 
airplane debris, building debris, body debris. 
So as we were going heading towards to get our 
orders at the tower, we were serpentining around 
body parts, airplane parts, building material. 
It was just chaotic. 

So in the midst of me doing that, I 
hooked up to my hydrant, got my orders. My 
brother, one of the other firemen, noticed that I 



T. SMITH 7 

punctured my trannie pan. We had a 5 by 5 circle 
of pink trannie fluid in the street, and I'm 
saying to myself as the ECC that I'm going to be 
fed, I'm going to be supplying, my rig cannot 
break down. Plus I had my back to the tower. 

So I don't know what made me do it, but 
I repositioned my rig. I think it was Murray 
Street where all the rigs were when I got there. 
So there was an opening. I went a half a block, 
and there was a cross street. I think it was 
Murray. I turned my rig around, and faced the 
towers where I was looking at my pump panel and 
looking at the towers . 

So this whole thing took maybe seven to 
ten minutes. Here it is probably a quarter to 
10, 20 to 10. I'm trying to replay the time in 
my mind, but it's very foggy. It might be 2 
minutes; it might have been 12 minutes. But we 
did the maneuver with the rig. I don't know what 
made me do it, but personally I just said -- the 
guys helped me out, we repositioned, came back 
around, hooked back up. 

Me and another fireman proceeded to get 
our putty out that we putty for gas leaks and 



T. SMITH 8 

everything on the highway. We took a piece of a 
chock. We chocked it up. The hole was probably 
a one by two hole. It was a nice gash. 
Obviously I ran over some airplane debris, 
propeller or whatever, a rough edge, blunt edge, 
gouged my pan. 

So anyway, we proceeded to plug it. It 
was a steady plug coming out. When we finished 
probably three to five minutes -- because the 
fluid was hot, so it was tough. We had to plug, 
step back, wipe off. We were getting it down our 
arms. PS, about five minutes we plugged it to a 
slow leak. 

Our guys, who had their rollups and 
everything ready to go in, I would say, 
approximate now, I would say probably quarter to 
10, 10 to 10, and our guys -- "Smitty, you okay? 
You all set?" "Yeah, I'm all set. I'm all 
hooked up. I'm all right." 

This whole time we're watching people 
from probably 95 to 105 come out of the first 
tower, just coming every three to five seconds. 
There's another one, there's another one. 

I'm taking deep breaths in the street. 



T. SMITH i 

I'm almost getting sick. All I had was a cup of 
coffee in me. I just couldn't believe what was 
going on. It was sickening. There were so many 
urgents and maydays and chaotic radio 
transmissions . 

Another person coming out, a couple 
holding hands coming out, splashing on the 
ground. I could see them coming down 
three-quarters of the way, but we couldn't see 
the splash. 



Our guys are all set. They start 
moving in. I'm standing there in a golf shirt 
and shorts. The tower comes down. My guys just 
rolled up in a ball, ran, rolled up in a ball. 
They were all donned up in gear. 

I, seeing this coming, ran and I had to 
jump over two parked cars. I ran two, three 
blocks, myself, EMS and other units that were 
still there in the street trying to get set. So 
I jumped over two parked cars. I ran two blocks. 
So two blocks after Murray, I'm not sure what 
street it is. But there were cars parked on the 
side, and I just bailed over these cars, rolled 



T. SMITH 10 

up in a ball and just let the first cloud blow me 
over . 

So after I regrouped, I hacked up a 
little bit more, because I had all that stuff in 
my throat, my eyes. EMS guys came over to me and 
gave me rinse for the eyes. I was taking water. 
I was a little disoriented, but I was fine. 

The only thing I wanted to know is how 
my guys were, because I knew they were there. 
But me being in non-detective gear, I just did 
the 400 yard dash down West Street. I was a 
little shaken up. 

So after I was tended to, eye rinse and 
washing out my throat, I proceeded to find my 
members, and we all embraced in the middle of 
West Street: Are you all right? Are you okay? 
Good, good. 

One of the guys that was off duty, he 
was with me when we ran. He didn't have a mask, 
so he stayed with me. He never came back to the 
pack. So I ran another block to see if he was 
all right, couldn't find him, met up with the 
guys again. Everybody okay? 

With that, guys that were on the outer 



T. SMITH 11 

part of the collapse were coming out. I took out 
first aid stuff, put it on the back step of the 
rig. The rig was just whited out, glass taken 
out, just whited out everything, smoke, debris. 
I mean, just debris, dust. 

So we took our medical EMS stuff out, 
put it on the back step. There were guys on the 
outer part of the debris, guys coming out with 
glass hanging out of their forehead, guys 
couldn't see, their eyes were caked, they 
couldn't breathe because they had no breathing 
apparatus on, they got caught up in the ball. 

We were just tending to ourselves, 
making sure everybody was okay. What went on was 
just bullshit, uncontrollable, this is crazy. 
Okay, everybody's okay? You're regrouped. The 
officers, everybody all right, ba-ba. Let's make 
sure we know what we're doing here. "Smitty, are 
you okay?" "Yeah. " 

I went to the rig. They proceeded to 
head towards the tower again. The second tower 
comes down. I still have no protection. I'm 
still whited out. The second tower, the cloud of 
debris was twice as big as the initial one. I 



T. SMITH 12 

knew I did this dash before. I knew I ain't 
going to die in West Street this way. 

I knew there were brothers in there 
after the first one. I'm not even thinking about 
how I'm doing. I just know that there's 
casualties, not only civilians from jumping; I 
know there's 45 minutes of respond time worth of 
brothers in there. 

PS, the second tower comes down. Every 
man for himself. I did another 400 yard dash 
down. There were so many people coming out of 
the scene already, I couldn't get to where I went 
to the last time, so I ended up running towards 
Stuyvesant High School. There were people 
running in there, so I could see them from a 
distance. So that's why I made a straight line, 
made a left-angled turn, headed towards the 
outside lobby of Stuyvesant. 

As I was going there, the cloud was on 
the back of my head. I could feel it. I just 
lunged to the door. As I was lunging, a guy 
opened it up and I darted inside. They tended to 
me . 

I was not shaken up, not upset. I was 



T. SMITH 13 

out of sorts, out of sync. I didn't know what to 
anticipate was going on, what can we do. There 
was no radio transmission. I had an empty 
feeling in my stomach. 

Then I go back to see where my guys are 
again, because I'm fine. I knew my guys -- they 
had all their gear on. They weren't going to run 
as fast as I was. So we went back there and made 
sure everybody was okay. There was more crazy 
stuff in the street. There was bleeding 
civilians coming out. It was hysteria in the 
street . 

I went to my guys . Everything was 
okay. "Smitty, are you all right?" We're 
hugging, kissing, making sure we're all here. 
All of a sudden I hear on the radio transmission, 
"Okay, 224 start water." I'm saying I'm 224. My 
officer is right there. I said, "Lou." 

Anyway, to make a long story short, 
when I repositioned my rig, I was the only rig 
facing the towers . Everybody who was coming in 
from Brooklyn from the Battery Tunnel were facing 
going down West Street. I was facing the towers. 
So they obviously moved my rig, repositioned my 



T. SMITH 14 

rig from West and Murray to two, two and a half 
blocks up right on West -- on Vesey right up at 
West, and they started to relay from marine unit 
to 57 Engine, 84 Engine, feeding me. I was 
feeding 33 Engine, who was feeding the manifold. 

I went back to my rig it had to be five 
minutes after the second tower came down, and I 
pumped from about 11:00 a.m. until quarter to 11 
that night. My captain finally came on the scene 
probably about 12:00, and he took charge and made 
sure the guys were okay. I stayed with my rig 
until about 10:30, 11:00, quarter to 11 at night. 

They backed me off the rig because 
seven was in dead jeopardy, so they backed 
everybody off and moved us to the rear end of 
Vesey Street. We just stood there for a half 
hour, 40 minutes, because seven was in imminent 
collapse and finally did come down. Then we 
proceeded to pump another six hours. 

I was told to go back to the firehouse, 
jump on the first bus out of there. Relaxed, 
because to my group -- I was on a mutual that day 
anyway. I was working for somebody. I wasn't 
even supposed to work. My group was due in 



T. SMITH 15 

tomorrow morning at 0900. They wanted me here. 

So the captain picked a few guys, they 
had to stay. The guys that were here all this 
morning, whatever, you guys go home. So instead 
of staying in the firehouse, I told him I'm going 
to go home. 

In the midst of all this, I called my 
wife and let her know I was fine, called my 
mother and all the family, because it was a 
little -- I knew my wife would be a basket case, 
because she knows I was there in '93. My one son 
is up in college at Marist. He knew I was there 
in '93. He knows I'm five minutes away from the 
tunnel. They're watching it on TV. I wanted to 
make sure that everybody knew I was all right. 

My wife said, "I saw Tommy on TV." 
They saw me fleeing from the scene. So I went 
home that night. I was shaken up. I was fine on 
the way home -- when we came back to the 
firehouse a little after 11:00, that was the 
first time I saw the actual footage on TV. We 
stayed there for an hour and a half, and we 
talked with the brothers. 

Then I proceeded to drive home. I was 



T. SMITH 16 

fine. A block away from my house, knowing my 
wife and my three other kids were waiting for me, 
I just lost it. I watched it on TV for another 
three hours with my wife and kids and couldn't 
sleep, woke up about 7, was here by 8:00, and I 
went up there for the 12th and we did our part 
digging, digging, digging. 

We all came back, but unfortunately the 
guys that we met outside the Battery Tunnel that 
morning, the six or seven companies that were 
there -- 118 went over the Brooklyn Bridge. So 
let me remember this. 101 was there. 226 was 
there. 279 was there. 35, 38 guys, I don't know 
how many extras that were on each rig. 19 or 20 
of them didn't come back. 

I'm just glad to be here. I don't know 
if it's a guilt complex thing, but I'll never 
forget. It was the most traumatic day in my 
life. I said it ten times in the street, I've 
got 18 and a half years on the job. I've got 
three sons. They all want to come on the job. I 
said it ten times in the street that day, I said, 
"This is it. I'll fight fires until I'm 65 years 
old, but I can't control it. This is bullshit." 



T. SMITH 17 

But I was just concerned about guys 
that I knew that were unaccounted for. Then the 
twelve we met at 211. We went over there. I had 
to go on the bus. They had the list of the 
unaccounted members. That's just a tough nut to 
swallow. 

That's my take on that whole morning 
from 9:05 to 10:55. I was at the scene -- I was 
back there 0900 the next morning. We did 24 on, 
24 off. I went there in between a few tours. 

I'm just coming back, just took a 
vacation, just came back from my vacation. I 
came back and I had what they called the WTC 
cough. I've been coughing since. Some shit 
nights sleeping. I'm just happy to be here, 
Chief. 

Q. Thanks, Smitty. 

CHIEF KING: The time is 1615 hours, 
and this interview is complete. Thank you. 



File No. 9110247 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER RICHARD SAULLE 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



R. SAULLE 2 

CHIEF KING: Today's date is December 
6th, 2001. The time is 1735 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Stephen J. King from Safety 
Battalion, FDNY. I'm conducting an 
interview with Firefighter Richard Saulle 
from Engine Company 224 regarding the events 
of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Richard, you can start whenever you 
want . 

A. To start off with, I was in the shower, 
because I have this fetish about taking a shower 
before every shift. No matter if it's the first 
half or the second half of the 24, I always take 
a shower. So unfortunately I was caught in the 
shower. 

The run came in. Somebody came running 
up and said a plane just hit the tower. I said, 
"What are you talking about?" I thought they 
were trying to get me out of the shower, maybe 
flour me or do something hilarious like they 
normally do, or somebody will turn the water off. 
So here I am, I jump in my shorts, just a regular 
work shirt and a pair of shoes, no socks, no 
drawers. Here I go, I'm down. 



R. SAULLE 3 

The tones went off, responded. The 
first response was to respond to the World Trade 
Center. Then the second one came in as we were 
driving out of quarters to report to Rapelye 
Street at the base of the Battery Tunnel. That 
was the second one that came in. 

So we sat there and waited. I believe 
we must have waited there until they were 
clearing the tunnel out. That was just my logic. 
There were cars coming in there. They shut it 
down, cleared the tunnel out. We were getting 
ready to go through as a convoy with the rest of 
the fire engines and fire trucks going through 
there. 

I was on the chauffeur side of the rig, 
back of the chauffeur, like I normally sit when I 
ride in the back, unless I have the pipe. A 
young kid, Joe Sullivan, said, "Why is this plane 
flying through the smoke? Holy shit, he hit the 
second tower." I said, "Get the hell out of 
here." I stuck my head out the window, and I 
looked up and I was amazed what I saw. Both 
towers were on fire, and I said we're in a lot of 
trouble. 



R. SAULLE 4 

So we started going through the tunnel, 
and I said we're in a lot of trouble. They're 
coming with more planes. This is terrorism. My 
brain started -- I'm not the sharpest tool in the 
shed. Guys will tell you I say that about myself 
all the time. I said, they're coming, they're 
going to hit the tunnels, they're going to hit 
the bridges. 

So my mind told me to say good-bye to 
everybody. So I reached across and I said to 
Hazel, "Good-bye, Mike, it's been nice working 
with you for 16 years." "Joe Sullivan, I'm sorry 
you're only on the job a couple of months." 

I told Bradbury, who was sitting 
opposite me, "Kevin, I know we don't like one 
another very much, " because me and him are always 
bickering, but we still like each other. That 
was just our way, we always fight with each 
other. I said, "Goodbye, Kev." Then I hit 
Smitty in the back of the head and I said, 
"Smitty, you still owe me $15. When we get up to 
heaven, you better pay me." 

This kid, Stu Bailey, was in the middle 
of the officer and the chauffeur in the front, 



R. SAULLE 5 

and I told him the same thing. I said, "You owe 
me $5 if you remember too." Then Desimone, I 
said, "Desimone, I'll see you at the big one." 

Then we proceeded. We got through the 
tunnel. What we saw on the floor was amazing. 
There were plane parts, cars wrecked, body parts. 
It looked like Tales of the Crypt. There were 
arms sticking up in the air, and bodies were just 
shredded all over the place. 

There was a car that we drove by that 
the driver's door and the passenger door were 
open, and there was a plane motor on the back 
half of the car. Two inches more, and both these 
guys would have been dead too. That was their 
ticket. It was amazing. The car was actually 
cut right in half with this motor, right there 
back of the front seat. I sat there in 
amazement . 

Then we drove. Smitty is very 
aggressive, just like I am when I drive. We kind 
of hit a couple of bumps when we went over. I 
don't know what it was. But we got to a point in 
front of the two buildings. We looked up, and 
the flames were coming and the bodies were coming 



R. SAULLE 6 

down and splattering on the street like 
watermelons. 

Chief told us to supply an engine 
company in front of the building, find a hydrant. 
We started rolling up, and as we rolled up Kevin 
says, "Hey, we have a transmission leak." There 
was a puddle about two feet around of 
transmission fluid. 

So we got to the spot, which was 
probably another 50 feet up. The first hydrant 
that we saw that was open, squeezing through all 
kinds of fire trucks that were angled all over 
the place. It was just the way everybody just 
parks and just gets out and runs. 

So I climbed under the rig, and there 
was a little cut, about an inch cut, with a 
little drip hole coming out from the 
transmission. I need a chock. I said, "I need a 
chock. Do we have a chock?" I started jamming. 
The chock was too big. 

So I actually started gnawing at it 
with my teeth. I made like a miniature size 
toothpick out of this, and I jammed it in there. 
It still was dripping. I had to put the goop on 



R. SAULLE 7 

there, and it worked pretty well. 

As I did that, that's when the first 
tower fell. As soon as I finished, got up, the 
tower came down. We heard somebody saying, "Sh." 
That's how the tower sounded coming down, 
"Shhhhhh." That's all you heard it, a big shush. 
The tower came down. 

Hazel said to me, "It's going to get 
awfully dark in a minute," and that's exactly 
what it did. It just wiped us out. Nobody had 
masks on. People were running at us, knocking us 
over. It got black. You thought it was night. 
It was like night for five minutes. 

The first thing that came to mind is, 
we all had masks on and everything, but we didn't 
don them. It didn't dawn on us until after the 
fact. We must have donned them a minute after 
this building came down and after the blackness 
hit us, because we didn't have time between 
people running you over and worrying about Joe 
Sullivan, make sure the proby was next to us, and 
Bailey, who had nothing but shorts on. He had 
dress shorts on. 

After the first building came down and 



R. SAULLE 8 

it finally cleared, it was like somebody blew 
pillows up. It was just dust in the air, totally 
dust. A couple of guys came walking out of the 
pile, truckies, because they had their tools with 
them. 

One guy had an ax, one guy had a 
halogen, and they were actually throwing their 
halogen and axes on the floor in frustration and 
pissed off. Maybe somebody they knew got wiped 
out in front of them, maybe what they saw. One 
of them looked like he was scalped because the 
whole back of his head was opened up. 

So we grabbed the EMS bag and we 
started bandaging his head, we washed him out. 
We actually washed his head out with booster 
water, which was rusty. The rig wasn't hooked up 
to a hydrant yet, and that's all we had, whatever 
we had, the 500 gallons in the tank. 

We started washing his head off because 
the stuff was like glue. It was stuck to him. 
It didn't come off by just washing it. You had 
to rub and wash. So we washed the back of his 
head off, and this guy was so -- he was cursing 
up a storm. He was worried about what happened 



R. SAULLE 9 

to him. He didn't even realize that the whole 
back of his head was ripped open. 

So we were bandaging two guys heads, 
and then I guess it must have been a worker came 
out of the building. He had just a white shirt 
on. He was covered. When he opened up his eyes, 
it looked like the Little Rascals in the film 
when the guy got covered in stuff and you just 
saw the whites of his eyes. He was black. He 
couldn't see. So we proceeded to wash him and 
rub him down. 

Geez, about a couple of minutes after 
that, here come the second tower on us. The 
first tower was in the way of the second tower. 
When the first tower came down, the second tower 
was blocking it in our hitting range. I figured 
this tower is definitely going to get us, because 
now we were closer, and there was no building to 
block it. I thought this is it, we're getting 
wiped out again. 

We ran down the street. We must have 
gained 30 yards, 30 yards at most, and it was 
like you were running as fast as you can and 
somebody shoved you in the back of the head and 



R. SAULLE 10 

you went head over heels tumbling, because the 
force of the wind was incredible. It knocked you 
over . 

There was a guy actually on his hands 
and knees begging to me, "I have no mask. Don't 
leave me here. I don't want to die." I slapped 
this guy -- I don't know, he's from an engine 
company, because he had a black face piece. I 
slapped him and I said, "It's dust, stupid. It's 
dust. You're not going to die. Relax." 

Then when the lieutenant heard me 
yelling at the guy and hitting him, he came 
crawling over and he said, "I have no mask." I 
said, "Listen, we're going to buddy share this 
mask. If you try and take it away, I swear to 
God I'll knock you on your ass," just like that. 
I said, "It's dust. Go like this. That's all 
you have to do. Put your coat over your mouth." 
These guys, they lost it, totally lost it. 

The second tower came down. The same 
thing, blackness for longer this time. It was 
ten minutes now. Finally the dust cleared, and 
it was like panic. People were running. The 
whole street was running at us. 



R. SAULLE 11 

The chief was telling us, "I want 
everybody 300 feet back," because we didn't know 
if any other buildings, from the shock, or 
undermining or anything else if they were going 
to weaken any other buildings. He said, "I want 
everybody 300 feet down." 

We walked all the way down. There was 
a couple of fire hydrants that were open. There 
were thousands of people giving us bottles of 
water. It was amazing. It was like a candy 
store in the street: water, drinks, this, that. 
Within minutes everybody was getting it. Trucks 
were there with food. 

I jumped in a puddle because there was 
a fire hydrant running, and I washed this stuff 
off me, because, like I said, it was glue. I 
washed my helmet in the water. I had it all down 
my neck. I was breaking it, and everything, 
because it was gagging you. 

After that it just ended right there 
for a while. It was like stagnant for a while. 
Then finally we heard the total recall. We heard 
the radio, we tried to listen to radio stations. 
Then everybody had radios around us. They hit 



R. SAULLE 12 

this, they hit that, they hit this. 

It was like oh, my God, we're in the 
middle of like a world war over here. They're 
hitting everything. I said they're going to hit 
more. I thought they were going to hit another 
building by us, because there were a couple 
buildings -- as we walked down West Street, there 
was a couple of big buildings that we were 
getting to. 

I said, "Listen, they're going to start 
hitting this because this is the next tallest 
building. I said this is no good either. You're 
better off staying right here." In between this 
tall building, in between the towers, this is a 
regular low area. I said you're better off 
saying over here, and we did. We kind of like 
shacked up on the curb. It amazed me. 

(Interruption. ) 
A. So now we're just sitting there it 
seemed like an hour, an hour and a half goes by, 
and we said what the hell are we doing? So we 
started walking back towards what I guess they 
gave it the name now ground zero. They might 
have given it the next day or whatever. 



R. SAULLE 13 

We were walking back towards that. 
Guys were just sprawled out all over the place. 
Who was there, who has a bandage on their head, 
who was just sitting there with their mouth open. 
It was terrible. It was terrible. You knew guys 
were dead. You knew guys were really dead. 

It was hours, it must have been. We 
were trying to find the rest of the guys, because 
the recall was there. So we started walking -- 
you're walking in this stuff, and it was just 
like powder. So we were walking and breathing 
this shit all day long. It was like an inch 
thick. No matter where you looked, everywhere, 
blocks away, it was an inch thick. We're walking 
in this rubble, and nobody has a mask on. It 
only lasts for 17 minutes. 

We walked down Vesey all the way 
around -- we actually found where the rig was, 
where Smitty was actually pumping water. He was 
pumping water for a few hours. Before that we 
packed up into a hotel, and they said there were 
some sandwiches up on one of the upper floors. 
So we ran to get a sandwich and thought of 
Smitty. We came around and gave him half a 



R. SAULLE 14 

sandwich. 

Then it creeped up until it must have 
been 2:00 in the morning they were ordering guys. 
They took a head count. Everybody had to report 
in. There were a few guys that were missing, but 
we got a head count of our whole company. Then 
they said, "Anybody on the day shift, you have to 
go home. You're ordered to go home." I said, 
"I'm not going home. I'm staying with my rig. 
I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." 

Our captain was there, Captain Quinn, 
at that time. Now he ' s a chief. A few days 
later after that they made him a chief, the next 
rank up. He ordered us to go home. I said, "I'm 
not going home." He said, "I'm telling you, go, 
that's it. You've had enough. Go home. See you 
tomorrow." He said there's buses on West Street. 

I walked for three miles on West 
Street. We didn't see a bus at all. There was 
like seven of us that were walking back. This 
guy Pacheco, who was one of the recall guys, he 
had an interview with I guess a Puerto Rican 
station. So they wanted him to talk a little 
Puerto Rican, and he started talking, and the 



R. SAULLE 15 

rest of the guys filtered up. They must have 
jumped on the bus, and we missed the bus. 

So me, Smith and Pacheco were left 
behind. We walked for three miles on West Street 
until we found nothing. There was a Con Edison 
crew there that we actually begged them, "Do us a 
favor. We just want to go home. We're tired." 
It's now 3:00 in the morning. We're exhausted. 
We want to go home. 

One of the guys said, "I'll take them 
home. I'll take them. Where are you?" I said, 
"We're right over the Brooklyn Bridge, right 
there on Hicks Street." "That's no problem, but 
you have to get deconned first." Ai-yie-yie. 

So here we are, stripped naked as a 
jaybird. We had to get washed down with ice-cold 
water from the fire hydrant. They gave us these 
coveralls. They put all our stuff in red bags, 
double taped them, gave us all the stuff. 

Normally when something like this 
happens, they say usually you take everything 
that's on you. I had the commissary money on me. 
I had $600 in my right pocket. I said they're 
not getting that. I ripped open the kneecaps, 



R. SAULLE 16 

the pads in the bunker pants, and I stuck it in 
there. I said they're not getting the money. I 
closed it back up. So I had the $600 on my right 
knee just about from 3:00 in the morning on. I 
said, "Sh, they're going to confiscate all our 
money. I put all my money in the kneecap." 

They dropped us off and wound up giving 
us back our bags. So the first thing I did is I 
ripped my bag open and let all this air and shit 
out in the firehouse. The whole firehouse was 
white from everybody else coming in with their 
bags. 

I didn't even go home. I just went 
upstairs and went to bed, I was so exhausted. 
The only thing is my wife was trying to get in 
touch with me the whole day. She didn't know. A 
couple of guys told her, "I don't know. I don't 
know where he is. I don't know." So she was 
kind of on pins and needles all day. 

I woke up about 9:00 in the morning, 
9:30. My eyes usually open up at 6:00. I was so 
overexhausted that I got three extra hours in 
there. 

When I got home, I collapsed on the 



R. SAULLE 17 

floor like a baby -- I have to say that -- right 
on the floor. I don't know why I did it, but my 
legs just gave out from under me as soon as I 
walked in my door. My wife and my kid was home, 
and my puppy. I just got a dog. 

The only thing I wanted was to kiss 
that dog, kiss my wife. All four of us were on 
the floor. My dog was ballistic because he was 
licking the three us. He was licking us up, 
going from person to person and licking us up. 
It was amazing. It was amazing. 

My legs buckled. They never did that 
before. Actually they probably buckled one other 
time. When I had my first son in the hospital, I 
got the jitters. But other than that, I usually 
hold everything. You know, I cry at funerals. 
That's me. I'm a little weak. But the weak 
legs, I usually never have them. 

That's my story. 

CHIEF KING: The time is 1755 hours, 
and we're concluding the interview. 



File No. 9110248 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER STUART BAILEY 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



S. BAILEY 

BATTALION CHIEF KING: Today's date is 
December 6, 2001. The time is 1715 hours and this is 
Battalion Chief Stephen King, Safety Battalion, FDNY. 
I'm conducting an interview with Firefighter Stuart 
Bailey from Engine Co. 224, and this interview is 
concerning the events of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Stuart, you can start the interview. Just 
tell me what position you had that day. 

A. I actually didn't have a position that day. 
I was one of the guys that took the run-in being off 
duty. 

Q. Okay. Tell us your story of what you saw 
that day. 

A. I worked that night in Ladder 101, the night 
before, and got relieved there around 8:20, came here, 
got in the house around 8:30. We responded shortly 
after that on the first plane, took the run-in, jumped 
on a rig with another kid, Joe Sullivan, a proby. We 
both took the run-in, both were off duty. 

We got to the staging area by the Battery 
Tunnel. Before we were going into the tunnel, we were 
pretty much just watching it, just watching the first 
plane. I believe the second plane hit as we were going 
into the tunnel, or possibly as we were going to the 



S. BAILEY 

staging area, the second plane wound up hitting. 

At that time we realized -- the kid in the 
back, the proby, said it was a terrorist attack. No 
one even realized what actually was going on. We just 
thought this plane accidentally hit, until that second 
plane hit, then we realized what was actually 
happening. 

Maybe ten minutes after being at the staging 
area, they started moving the rigs into the tunnel. As 
we were going into the tunnel, one of the kids that was 
actually walking with his gear -- I can't even recall 
his name, but there's a big article. The guys know his 
name -- actually asked Tommy Smith, who was the 
chauffeur, if he could jump on the back of the rig. I 
didn't even realize that he jumped on, neither did 
Tommy or anyone else, until maybe later on, then we 
realized the kid actually did jump on the rig. I 
believe he was lost. He was missing. 

When we pulled out of the tunnel, the way I 
saw it, they couldn't keep us really right there by the 
tunnel. We had to proceed past the building because of 
all the rigs that were behind us. I guess it would 
have delayed them from getting in. We would have been 
backing up the tunnel pretty much. So they kind of had 



S. BAILEY 

everything blocked off and we kind of swerved around 
debris from the plane, body parts pretty much 
everywhere. That's the first time I've ever seen 
anything like that. I'm sure no one did. 

Then I believe we went to get a hydrant. We 
had a pretty close hydrant to the Trade Center itself, 
pretty much almost right out in front, and a Lieutenant 
started screaming at Tommy Smith that he wanted the rig 
moved. He wanted to stand out front, I guess, to relay 
water or to help out with that, getting water over 
there. So that guy actually moved Tommy from pretty 
much in front of the Trade Center to a little bit 
further where we wound up being on Vesey and West 
Street, over there. 

At that time both buildings were going, both 
planes had already hit the building, and we were just 
standing there. I looked up, realized the 
transmission, our transmission, from riding over the 
rubble that was on the ground, the remains of the 
plane, ruptured our transmission tank, so transmission 
fluid was leaking. Tommy noticed that. So we kind of 
spent an extra five minutes or so kind of trying to 
plug that in. I guess the guys rendered it useless at 
that time, it would have been useless if we didn't do 



S. BAILEY 

that, you know, just another story out there of how you 
get saved. But the guys got off their gear. 

Guys all had their gear. I didn't have any 
gear on me. I didn't realize. I was just going in for 
the ride. I thought it was just a regular fire, a 
little bit bigger than regular. But as we're standing 
there, the guys had all their tanks on. I didn't have 
anything. Tommy didn't have anything. So we were kind 
of like maybe even a step back from everyone else, 
realizing what's happening, jumpers. You didn't 
realize, until you actually looked and saw arms and 
legs waving, exactly what was happening, you know, one 
after another. There must have been three or four 
dozen that jumped out right there while we were 
standing there, just in amazement, exactly what 
actually was happening. 

Then all of a sudden, the further tower, the 
south tower, I think it is, the first one that went 
down, the south tower went down. We really didn't 
realize that it was actually the whole building going 
down. It looked like just maybe a side or something 
because you couldn't really see because the other one 
was in the way, and then you realized exactly what 
happened because, as you saw on the TV, all the smoke, 



S. BAILEY 

that pretty much came up ten stories high, 15 stories 
high, pretty much just came right at us. 

Asses and elbows, you know, we just started 
running every which way. I think I might have actually 
ran a little bit further than everyone else being I had 
no gear on me or anything like that. I couldn't take a 
knee and just let everything blow over me. So I was 
kind of out in the front. I might have even ran an 
extra block or two before I turned around and just 
realized there was nobody even with me. 

I would say it was 15, 20, 25 minutes before 
that cloud kind of dissipated even a little bit. I 
started working my way back slow, relaxing, just taking 
it easy, realizing what's happening. I would say about 
a half a block away from there, I came back with my 
company again, not even knowing what happened to them 
because they weren't even near me, the second one came 
down. I ran again. It might have even been another 
block I ran. 

At that time jets were coming over your head 
and you didn't know what was happening. Is that our 
guys? It didn't even dawn on me that it was our guys. 
It was just this happened here, big buildings are all 
around, they're still hitting us. 



S. BAILEY 

It must have been another half an hour until 
I kind of got on my feet and just was like, okay, let 
me start working my way back. At that time guys from 
other companies were kind of there also, so I wound up 
hooking up with some kids from different companies. A 
kid from 20 Truck was there, a Lieutenant from 34, 
Lieutenant Winkler was there. I hooked up with them 
and I actually wound up not even seeing my company 
until maybe 11:00 o'clock that night, you know, working 
without anything. I wound up getting gear later on. 
Maybe a couple hours later I was able to get gear on 
the side, no bunker coat, no helmet, just pants. 

I just pretty much worked through the whole 
night. I wound up finding out that they were actually 
alive from one of the guys from 202 that was actually 
on our side. Somehow or another I wound up being on 
the other side of the building. I wasn't even on the 
side where we were. I wound up being on the other 
side. I saw a kid from 202 and he showed me a way how 
to get to the other side to where 224 was. He let me 
know that the guys were okay. That was at 11:00 
o'clock at night maybe I hooked up with them. 

Then we went back to the house by bus like 
1:30 in the morning, you know, finally taking the bus 



S. BAILEY 

in. That's pretty much it. I went back to work the 
next day. 

BATTALION CHIEF KING: Okay. Thank you, 
Stuart. The time is 1723 hours and I'm concluding the 
interview with Firefighter Bailey. 



File No. 9110249 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER DOMINICK MUSCHELLO 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



D. MUSCHELLO 2 

CHIEF KING: Today's date is December 
6th, 2001. The time is 1831 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Stephen King, Safety 
Battalion, FDNY. I'm conducting an 
interview with Firefighter Dominick 
Muschello from Ladder Company 119. This 
interview is concerning the events of 
September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Dominick, you can start any time you 
want . 

A. I worked the 6 by 9 tour the day before 
and the day of September 11th. We saw the smoke 
when the first plane hit the towers from 
headquarters here because we have a clear view to 
the World Trade Center, but it was obstructed by 
the factory across the street from the first 
floor. So we went up to the third floor to see 
what it was, and we noticed that it was the World 
Trade Center. 

At that point we flipped the TV on in 
the gym, which is on the third floor. There's a 
TV up there. We were watching the news, and they 
said a plane had hit. Plus a marshal had come 
in. The marshals are also in the building. He 



D. MUSCHELLO 3 

said he got on his pager that a plane had hit the 
tower and it wasn't just a bomb or a fire. 

As we watched the fire from the third 
floor, we saw the second plane fly right into the 
center of the building clear as day, because 
there were about two or three of us up in the gym 
at that point. 

I kind of thought we were going to go 
before that happened. But once the second plane 
hit, I knew we were going over there and then you 
knew that it wasn't any type of an accident, two 
planes, a terrorist. Then you started thinking 
it was going to be a long day. A lot of people 
definitely got hurt over there that day. 

We got the alarm I think our ticket 
said 9:08. We were actually first due on the 
ticket to the second tower, out right first due 
on the first alarm. 

So going over, looking at the towers as 
we were starting to go over the bridge -- I'm not 
the chauffeur, so I don't know what bridge we 
went over, but I believe it was the Brooklyn 
Bridge. I just remember saying to myself I hope 
they don't blow this bridge up on the way over, 



D. MUSCHELLO 4 

because I had a real bad feeling I wasn't going 
to come home that day. By the way everything 
looked, I had a feeling it was going to be a bad 
day. 

When we got to the Trade Center, we had 
a hard time getting close because of all the 
debris that was falling from the building. So we 
parked I believe, near the corner of Church and 
Dey near that old church there, along that street 
with the wrought iron railing. 

I remember walking down there. We were 
going to make a left and head down towards 
Liberty because we were first due to the second 
tower. We were going to go down Church to 
Liberty, but there was too much debris falling. 
So we made a right, and we went down Vesey or one 
of those streets, whatever streets goes over to 
the West Side Highway, around tower one. 

As we were walking up, the jumpers were 
jumping clear as day, hitting the street and the 
marquis from tower one right in front of us on 
the West Side Highway there. That was a very 
disturbing sight. 

There was the walkway that goes across 



D. MUSCHELLO 5 

right there that's no longer there, that walkway 
that goes across the West Side Highway. When we 
reached that walkway, we stopped for a second 
because there were so many people jumping we were 
afraid of getting hit by jumpers. 

We walked across the street underneath 
that walkway, and at that point when we got 
across the street, that's where there was a 
command post set up, just maybe 100 feet south of 
that walkway on the northwest side of the West 
Side Highway. That's where the command post had 
been moved to, which we did not know at that 
point. We were going in to the lobby to the 
command post. 

When we got to that command post, the 
chief, which I don't remember who it was, but I 
do remember seeing Chief Nigro there. I don't 
know if he was there when we got there or if he 
got there after us. Chief Ganci was down the 
road just another 30 feet or so. We were told to 
stay at that command center. It looked like 
there were about four or five other companies 
there. 

While standing on the sidewalk, I 



D. MUSCHELLO 6 

looked up at the tower and I said to the captain, 
"Captain, this is not a good place to stand." I 
said, "If this building comes down, we have 
nowhere to run." He said that's a good idea. 

We moved in front of this garage door. 
That luckily was open. We stood in front of the 
garage door. It was a basement-entering garage, 
a garage ramp, underground garage door there. I 
think it was Two World Financial Center building 
or one of the buildings there. We stood up on 
the sidewalk but knew that we had the garage to 
run into if anything happened. 

We were kind of wondering why we were 
still standing there. I kept asking the captain, 
"Captain, what's going on? Let's go in the 
building." He said that there was a mayday given 
for a company -- I don't remember which company. 
I'm sure he'll have that information. 

The command post chief told us, or the 
lieutenant or the captain at the command post 
told us we're getting a so-called rescue team 
together. We're putting together three engines, 
two trucks, and we're going in for the company 
that's giving the mayday. I believe we had three 



D. MUSCHELLO 7 

engines and one truck and we were just waiting 
for the second truck to come. 

All of a sudden it felt like a train 
was pulling in, and the second tower came down. 
I only looked at that tower for a split second or 
two and knew it was time to run. Everybody ran 
into the garage. Upon running into the garage, 
there were people in front of me and there were 
people in back of me. You couldn't see anywhere. 
It was running into darkness. 

I hid behind a pillar. I didn't know 
there was a way out. I wasn't thinking there was 
a way out. It was definitely every man for 
himself. There wasn't one person looking out for 
anybody else, which is understandable. 

I didn't realize there was a rear door. 
There was a staircase that went up to -- and they 
were able to get out of the rear. I wasn't 
thinking that fast. I wasn't following the guys 
running in deep, deep, deep into this garage. I 
went in about 40 feet and dove behind a column. 
I didn't figure I had much more time than that. 

I kneeled in the corner of this column 
and put my mask on, my face piece on, and took 



D. MUSCHELLO 8 

the respirator part out and got ready. I didn't 
want to use any air, and I didn't know what was 
going to happen at that point, if it was going to 
fill up with fire or what-have-you. So I didn't 
want to start using air. 

I put my jacket over my head. I took 
my jacket off and put it over me kind of, not 
took it off but loosened it and put my hood and 
everything, just tried to cover as much as I 
could. I crawled into the corner. 

A couple of other people got on top of 
me, and all of a sudden debris and stuff started 
falling in front of the garage and falling into 
the garage and the cloud of smoke and dust came 
in. 

Then all of a sudden when it seemed 
safe and there was no more noise, I got up. 
There wasn't really anybody else around me 
anymore. I guess the guys that were on me had 
left. They didn't feel safe or whatever the 
story was. 

So my first reaction was to head back 
out instead of going deeper into the garage, 
because I knew 40 feet up along the right wall, 



D. MUSCHELLO 9 

which is where I was, going in to the left but 
right on the way out, I would be able to get to 
the sidewalk again. 

I couldn't see. I took my face piece 
off at that point because I knew it was just 
smoke. I reattached it to the respirator and 
just pulled my hood over my mouth and nose, just 
tried to breathe through that, because you really 
couldn't breathe at all. It was so thick that 
you spit it out. You coughed it and spit it 
right out. It filled your mouth up. Your nose 
got clogged instantly, you couldn't breathe 
anymore through your nose. 

I made my way up to the sidewalk, and 
there was nobody there. There was one or two 
people around. You couldn't see very far. It 
was very, very quiet. There wasn't even any 
sound. I didn't have a radio. 

I remember seeing Chief Nigro kneeling 
on the ground. It looked like he was saying a 
prayer. He had just his helmet on and his white 
shirt, no bunker gear. I tapped him on the 
shoulder, and I said, "Chief, are you all right?" 
He just looked up to me. I said to myself I know 



D. MUSCHELLO 10 

he's not hurt. So I looked around to see if 
there was anybody else that I could help. 

This whole time I'm thinking that all 
the guys that ran into this garage were going to 
come back out the way I was. I didn't think they 
had found their way out the back door. So I was 
kind of hanging on the sidewalk and heading 
across the street, hitting the middle of the 
street, looking around. 

There was a lot of rubble, a lot of 
debris around. I was looking for people to help, 
because I knew where the garage was. You could 
actually follow your footprints back. It was 
like snow. There was no problem seeing where you 
came from. 

A firefighter came across the street at 
that point. He didn't have any bunker gear on; 
or he may have had bunker pants, but he didn't 
have a coat or helmet or anything. I don't know 
who he was. It looked to me like his fingers may 
have gotten cut off or something, but he was 
bleeding really, really bad. He was bleeding 
real, real bad. He was bleeding all over me. 

I actually yanked my T-shirt off that 



D. MUSCHELLO 11 

was under my shirt, and I wrapped his hand. I 
brought him into the garage, because I wanted to 
get him off the sidewalk because there was still 
stuff that was falling. I don't know whether it 
was coming from the first tower now, because we 
were actually closer to the first tower, or if it 
was stuff from the building, maybe glass. There 
was still stuff falling down. 

I went into the garage, and at that 
point I met up with somebody that had stretched a 
search rope. I didn't see who that was. All of 
a sudden he said this search rope leads out to 
the rear. 

So I walked the guy that was hurt along 
the search rope, and I said, "Follow the search 
rope and you'll be able to get out through the 
rear," because there were guys that were coming. 
I said, "Somebody help him." 

But he went into a closet and sat down 
and said, "I can't walk anymore." I said, "You 
can't sit in this closet. No one is going to 
find you." So I helped him back onto the search 
rope and started following the search rope. I 
myself didn't know where it went. I didn't 



D. MUSCHELLO 12 

follow it yet. 

At that point a guy came who had a 
white windbreaker on, I believe it was. It might 
have been like retirees or a union or a chief 
association, but I don't know who he was. It was 
civilian clothes with some type of a white 
windbreaker on, an older fellow with gray hair. 

I handed him this guy that was bleeding 
off to him. As I told him take this guy to the 
rear, I'm going to see if I can help anybody 
else, we heard a tapping noise. I stopped. I 
said, "Do you hear that?" He said, "Yeah, I do." 
I said, "It sounds like it's coming from over 
there." The guy said, "Yeah." 

We started stretching the search rope 
over to the noise, and then it wouldn't go 
anymore. I told the guy, "You take the guy to 
the rear, and I'll be able to find my way back to 
the search rope. " 

I followed the noise, the tapping 
noise. It was an OEM guy. His name was Powell, 
I believe, or something like that, a big black 
guy, Calvin or something. I don't remember. I 
remember asking him. He was in this closet. I 



D. MUSCHELLO 13 

guess he was scared. 

(Interruption. ) 

MR. KING: We're continuing the tape 
again. We had to stop the tape for about 
five or six minutes. It's now 1849 hours, 
and we're continuing with Firefighter 
Muschello. 

A. So I helped the guy out of the closet 
there, the OEM guy. I brought him to the search 
rope. The search rope led to a set of stairs and 
a set of exits. At that point I said, "You can 
get out from here." He said, "No problem." 

I went back out on the search rope 
towards the street again, went to look for more 
people to help. I made it pretty close to tower 
one across the street. Some guys, firemen, came 
running out. I don't know where they came from. 
You couldn't see no more than ten feet in front 
of you. 

I didn't know where they came out from, 
but they came running and they were yelling 
something like a bomb or something. They were 
like, "Run, run, run!" Everyone was running. I 
didn't really know what they were talking about. 



D. MUSCHELLO 14 

I knew where the garage was, so I said, 
"Come this way." They followed me to the garage. 
We ran into the garage. We still couldn't see. 
A few other guys came behind us, and they said 
run. We ran in. 

At that point we ran past the search 
rope. Really you couldn't find it. I thought it 
was to the right, so I headed to the right. I 
think there was like a ledge or a curb of some 
type, a little bit of a drop. I kind of got 
trampled and ran and pushed and went down off the 
drop. I came down pretty hard, twisted a few 
things, but you know with adrenaline flowing I 
really didn't feel it until a day or two later, 
but I got banged up. 

At that point I said to myself my guys 
from my company probably have to be wondering 
where I am. I tried to grab somebody with a 
radio and call my captain, but that wasn't 
happening. So I decided to follow the search 
rope out of the building, out of that garage, to 
the rear. 

As I walked down the sidewalk in the 
rear like that Battery Park City thing close to 



D. MUSCHELLO 15 

the water, I met up with my company, they were 
coming back to look for me. They thought that I 
had perished. 

Then we were in the back, and I just 
remember saying, "Captain, I saw three guys that 
were hurt over there. Let's go back and help 
them. There's definitely people that we can help 
over there." He said that the first tower is 
going to come down too and we're not going over 
there right now. We'll all group together, look 
for some kind of command. Then we'll plan from 
there, instead of just running aimlessly back in 
and becoming more victims. 

One thing I never heard a mayday after 
that first one was given by the guys in the first 
tower. I never really heard one. Like I said, I 
didn't have a radio. I didn't hear too many 
people telling people in the first tower that the 
tower had collapsed, that the second tower had 
collapsed. So I don't know if they were given 
that information or not. 

Some guys said that they knew it 
collapsed, and a lot of guys said they had no 
idea it collapsed. So I really don't know what 



D. MUSCHELLO 16 

happened at that point. 

Then we walked around in the back 
there, and I just remember saying we have to try 
to find as much open space as possible, because 
there was nothing but tall buildings around, in 
case any more of them come down. 

Then the second tower collapsed, on the 
first tower. Then we just ran a little bit, 
because that same puff of smoke engulfed you 
again. I would say we couldn't have been any 
more than a quarter mile away at that point. But 
that smoke went a long way, that dust cloud, 
whatever you want to call it. 

The same thing happened again. I 
remember seeing a granite wall along the back 
of -- near the Battery Park City, kind of near 
where the New York Waterway Parks. I hid behind 
the granite wall, because I thought that was a 
pretty safe place. 

Then we went out around past Stuyvesant 
High School. They were evacuating all the 
students. At that point there was nobody around. 
But then when we got around to Stuyvesant High 
School, there were a lot of people over there. 



D. MUSCHELLO 17 

Everybody seemed to be walking along the 
sidewalk. 

We jumped out onto the West Side 
Highway and gathered up the tools and stokes and 
things like that and headed back down to help 
whoever we could. 

At that point they were saying all 
kinds of stories of gas, deadly gas, not natural 
gas, and stuff like that. So we really didn't 
know what was going on. We kind of had a feeling 
that there couldn't have been too many people 
more that we could help over there. We did go 
back there, but we just kind of waited until we 
felt it was a little safe. 

Not to mention the fact that at that 
point a lot of our tools had gotten lost. A lot 
of our equipment had gotten lost by just dropping 
everything and running, guys trampling gear and 
whatnot. We really didn't have the gear that we 
needed to head back in. 

Again, we gathered up what we could, 
and we went back over. Then we just proceeded to 
operate for the remainder of the day. Sometime 
later on that day, I believe after -- when they 



D. MUSCHELLO 18 

told us to evacuate the area for tower number 
seven, building seven, when they knew that was 
coming down, I had hooked up with my company, 
Ladder 119, at that point. I told the captain I 
was going to set up with my company at that 
point, because at that point the recall guys were 
there. There were a lot of guys from each 
company there, so there wasn't any type of 
manpower problem. This is later on in the day. 
I worked with Ladder 119 for the rest of the day. 

We were on the Church Street side, 
which unfortunately -- I was there for two days 
straight. I never left until the 12th. Actually 
I didn't leave until the 13th, which would have 
been Thursday morning at sunlight. That's when I 
really couldn't stand anymore. 

The whole time we were down there, the 
wind was blowing exactly that way. It was 
blowing right towards the Church Street side. So 
we were getting nothing but -- you couldn't blink 
anymore, your eyes or so dry and red. You 
couldn't even blink or rub them. I couldn't 
breathe anymore. It was unbelievable. But we 
were over there for the whole time. 



D. MUSCHELLO 19 

That night all the cars and that 
afternoon all the cars and the trucks and 
everything that were along Church Street were all 
still burning, and there were water problems. We 
operated and did different things with the tower 
ladder. 

Actually we were putting water on 
building number five I believe for a while. Then 
they moved us over to building number four, and 
we operated the tower on that. 

That's about it. 
Q. That's terrific. That's fine. 

CHIEF KING: We're concluding this 
interview. The time is 1856 hours. 



File No. 9110251 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER EDWARD CACHIA 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



E. CACHIA 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: Today's date is 
December 6th, 2001. The time is 2 p.m. 
This is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of 
the New York City Fire Department, Safety 
Division. I'm conducting an interview with 
Ed Cachia of Engine 53. 
Q. Please state your recollections for 
September 11th. 

A. As far as that particular day, we were 
in the firehouse cleaning the kitchen, and a 
member had come in from the house watch and said 
put on Channel 7, whatever channel it was. He 
said a plane hit tower one of the World Trade 
Center, the north tower. 

We all ran into the kitchen. Everybody 
regrouped in the kitchen. We were watching the 
news, and they had helicopters in the air 
immediately with the footage. We were discussing 
more than likely we're going to go down there, 
this is going to be a big fire. 

We all witnessed the second plane 
hitting the south tower, and with that everybody 
got kind of psyched up and said we're definitely 
going to be going down there now, it's definitely 



E. CACHIA 3 

some kind of terrorist act and everybody be safe. 
Everybody is very concerned. 

With that the tone alarm went off, and 
53 Engine was called down to the north tower. 43 
Truck remained in quarters. As we got on the 
rig, everybody double-checked their equipment, 
checked the flashlights and all that. 

We headed down. We had a very good 
chauffeur who went through the park and got us 
down there pretty quick. I believe we pulled up 
somewhere on West Street a couple blocks before 
the towers, the north tower. With that I 
remember seeing 22 parked in front of us, 13 
Truck. They must have gone ahead of us. 

We walked towards a command post which 
was set up by an underground garage across from 
tower two. There was a chief on both sides of 
this garage, the entrance and the exit. One was 
the truck, which was on the southern side. On 
the northern side of the garage were the engine 
companies. We were waiting there for our 
assignments. I believe as we were there a couple 
companies were assigned into the building. I 
remember seeing 13 Truck to our right. 



E. CACHIA 4 

Then the jumpers started to take effect 
as far as everybody's concentration and thoughts. 
There was a tremendous amount of people jumping 
from the top floors, and the sound and the vision 
of it kind of broke everybody's concentration. 
So with that I remember losing sight or record of 
13 Truck, which I believe they soon went in 
after . 

We moved to the top of the hill. I 
don't remember what companies were in front of 
us, but we worked our way up to the top of the 
hill. We were with 44 Engine, I believe. We 
were about to get our assignment to go into the 
building, and I remember Chief Ganci on the radio 
yelling, "There's another plane in the air. I 
don't want anybody to go into the towers. 
Everybody stay put." 

Then I remember him desperately trying 
to get information: Is the military going to 
send a plane up to intercept the plane? He told 
the chiefs again, "Make sure no companies go in 
right now. There's another plane up in the air. 
We don't know what's going on." 

With that I remember a chief coming 



E. CACHIA 5 

over to us saying, "53, 44, do me a favor, before 
you get your assignment, before you go anywhere 
near this building, I want you to move a couple 
of rigs so we can get some ambulances in here." 

So now that broke up our company. I 
remember standing there with my officer, 
Lieutenant Bob Dorritie, and the other members of 
the company -- Danny Schofield, Louis Giaconelli, 
Michael Catalano -- went to move some rigs. 

As I'm standing with my officer, the 
people are continuing to jump. Ganci is still on 
the radio trying desperately to get some 
information concerning this third plane in the 
air. 

As my officer and I were looking at the 
south tower, it just gave. It actually gave at a 
lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit, 
because we originally had thought there was like 
an internal detonation explosives because it went 
in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then 
the tower came down. 

With that everybody was just stunned 
for a second or two, looking at the tower coming 
down. Then everybody started to turn towards the 



E. CACHIA 6 

garage. That was it. We were just kind of blown 
into the garage with all the dust and the debris 
and material from the building. It came up 
rapidly right up the street. 

As I remember turning, if you were out 
in the street somewhat, a good amount out in the 
street, you were kind of blown down the street, 
where we were kind of forced into the garage. We 
were very fortunate. There were several 
companies. 

We were encapsulated in this garage for 
quite some time, maybe 15 minutes or so. You 
couldn't see. You couldn't breathe. You 
couldn't even hear because all the residue and 
material was in your ears and your nose and your 
mouth. 

Then as a few minutes went by, you 
heard some voices. It was dead silence at first. 
Just different emotions: How are we going to get 
out of here? I can't see. I can't breathe. My 
chest. It was still completely black. You 
couldn't see an inch in front of your face. 

Then I remember an officer saying, 
"I've got a wall. I've got a wall. I'm going to 



E. CACHIA 7 

hit the wall with the halogen. Follow the sound 
of the halogen. Come towards me. I've got a 
wall. We'll get out of here." 

As I was on the floor -- I was very 
fortunate. I landed towards the incline of the 
garage. I was probably one of the last ones to 
get into the garage. I felt the incline with my 
left hand, and I had my light. I remember 
screaming, "I'm at the entrance. Follow my 
light." I was telling everybody, "Just follow 
this light, because this is the way out." 

I remember another officer yelling, 
"How do you know that's the way out? I've got a 
wall. Come towards the wall." So there was a 
lot of different emotions and different things 
going on in everybody's mind at the time. 

I started to kind of go up the hill 
myself, pointing the flashlight towards everybody 
in the garage, and came across like little tree 
limbs. At that point you still couldn't see. It 
was completely blacked out. I knew this was 
definitely the way to go. Some guys followed me 
out . 

That was it. I remember hearing the 



E. CACHIA 8 

chief's voice. Maybe this is like 15 minutes or 
so, maybe going a little towards 20 minutes, a 
little under 20 minutes, everybody kind of 
followed their way toward the incline of the 
garage. 

The chief said, "We're going to 
regroup." It started to lighten up just a little 
bit. It was still kind of dark out but lightened 
up enough where you saw other people's faces. 
The chief said, "We have to regroup in another 
area. " 

With that guys were asking each other, 
"How are you doing? Are you all right?" This and 
that. Guys were starting to regroup little by 
little. It's still dark out but light enough to 
see people now where we were standing. People 
were still jumping from tower two because you 
could hear the bodies hitting the ground. 

Then another chief came over and said, 
"We have to regroup, but I want everybody to go 
back into the garage. We're going to have a 
lifeline set up, and we're going to come out the 
back of the garage. It's safer." The other 
chief had said, "We'll walk along West Street and 



E. CACHIA 9 

we'll regroup around the other end of the 
building. " 

So with that I remember my officer 
grabbed me by the shoulder and said we're going 
to go back through the garage. It's going to be 
safer. I remember him yelling out to a few other 
people too we'll go through the garage, it ' s a 
lot safer, because at this point in time it's 
still kind of dark out. People were still 
jumping. There still was a little confusion as 
to what was down the block from the collapse. 

So a few guys regrouped on top of the 
garage and I believe started to walk along West 
Street on the outside. I walked back into the 
underground garage with my officer and several 
other guys. There was a lifeline set up, and we 
came out the rear of this building -- I don't 
know what building it was -- by the marina. 

At that point in time, everybody got 
out the rear, and my officer and I, Bob Dorritie, 
was standing there. There was the chief that 
initiated the entire removal. My officer said to 
the chief, "Chief, I'm missing a couple of guys. 
I don't know where they are." 



E. CACHIA 10 

At that point in time, myself, Louis 
Giaconelli and my officer were the three left 
standing there with the chief. The chief said, 
"Send one of your guys back into the building. 
Maybe they're in the building somewhere. And you 
two guys stay out here in case they do come out." 
So I stood there with my officer, and we sent 
Giaconelli back into the building. 

At that point in time, we're looking up 
at the north tower. I remember my officer 
saying, "I have a feeling this one is going to 
come down too." Just as he said that, that tower 
came down it looked like at the point of impact. 
We actually witnessed both towers coming down 
visually. We happened to be looking at that 
particular time. With that, the tower came down. 

We ran towards the marina to seek 
shelter, and all the debris came over the 
building we were behind. We were kind of buried 
a second time with light debris, my officer being 
ahead of me by the boats, and I just didn't quite 
make it that far. I just hit the ground and 
hoped for the best. 

You could hear the steel beams coming 



E. CACHIA 11 

down. They flew everywhere. That was it. 
There's another point in time you couldn't see, 
couldn't breathe, for at least another ten 
minutes or so. 

I remember finally getting in touch 
with my officer, calling his name out. It took 
quite some time, and he had said he couldn't 
speak because of all the residue in his mouth. I 
had my mask with me at the time, and I had it on. 
That was it . 

After that we were hoping for the best 
with Louis Giaconelli who went into the building 
to look for the other members who were in another 
place. They moved the rigs and took shelter in 
the Winter Garden, I believe, at the time of the 
collapse. We were hoping that he was going to be 
all right. He had walked out of the building at 
that time, so we knew he was all right. 

So what we did was we walked by the 
water to regroup in another area, which I don't 
exactly recollect. We were explaining to the 
chief we're missing a couple guys. He said, "A 
lot of guys took refuge in the Winter Garden, 
which was next door. Let's get some confirmation 



E. CACHIA 12 

before we do anything, but everybody stay here." 

Later on we did hook up with the 
members that we were missing. My officer was 
extremely concerned and very upset about that. 
He pursued it wholeheartedly. They regrouped 
with us. 

At that point in time, they were trying 
to organize some kind of search for the missing 
members that were caught in the collapse. I 
remember walking towards tower two, basically 
back towards the front of the garage where we 
regrouped to leave the area. We wound up back in 
that area. 

I remember seeing Chief Visconti very 
visibly upset, standing on a pile of rubble. It 
must have been a story or two high in that area. 
He was explaining that we're going to create a 
line. We're all going to walk across the rubble 
as wide as we can, and we're going to search 
every little nook and cranny and hole or cabin, 
whatever we can find. Where there's a space, 
you're going to look for the brothers that might 
have got caught in the collapse. 

At that point in time, we did that, 



E. CACHIA 13 

this being maybe half an hour from the point in 
time of actually leaving that marina area, maybe 
half an hour after that. I remember several guys 
came across a fireman's body here, a fireman's 
body there, a helmet. You saw the back of 
someone's bunker gear, his legs, a rig twisted 
under the rubble. Basically that was it. 

There wasn't the equipment at the time 
to dig anybody out, because of the twisted steel. 
So we put markers for the bodies. They would try 
and get as deep as possible and close to a body 
to see if there was a pulse. If there was a 
confirmation that this person didn't make it, 
they would mark off the area and we would 
continue forward, hopefully to find someone that 
was still alive. 

We did that for some time. The 
inhalation of the dust and the initial collapse 
just was overwhelming. You were just choking and 
coughing on your own phlegm and this and that. So 
we did that maybe 45 minutes or an hour or so. 

Then my company and I, we regrouped in 
another area just to get a breather, because at 
that particular time more and more firemen were 



E. CACHIA 14 

coming in. My officer said, "Look, we've got to 
really just take a break here. We're really 
overloading ourselves here, " because he saw our 
condition. We were kind of waning at that point 
in time from exhaustion. 

So that was it. We went back to 
another staging area. We regrouped. We 
replenished water. Basically that was the last 
thing I remember, we regrouped. At that point in 
time, other members from our company met us at 
that area, and they were going off into the area 
to search also. 

I myself personally had my eyes 
encrusted with the cement and lime dust. The 
second I stopped working, I couldn't even keep my 
eyes open. So my officer said, "Look, we've got 
to get you to see the eye doctor right away, " 
because my eyes were bloodshot red and I couldn't 
even keep them open at that point, knowing that 
this was it, we're going to take a break, more 
guys are coming in. 

Then I remember it was a little while 
after that we all went to the triage center, and 
everybody was getting treated for eye injuries. 



E. CACHIA 15 

Then they said they felt that we had cornea 
damage so we should go right to a hospital. 

So my officer and myself, I think Mike 
Catalano and Louis Giaconelli went to Cornell. 
That was it. That was it for us. We were 
examined . 

Q. Thank you very much. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: This concludes the 
interview. The time now is 2:16. 



File No. 9110252 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOHN COLON 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



J. COLON 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today is December 
6, 2001. The time is 1:35 p.m. This is Battalion 
Chief Kenahan from the Safety Battalion of the New 
York City Fire Department. I'm conducting an 
interview with John Colon of Ladder 43 about the 
events on September 11. 

Q. Please tell us what you know from that day. 
A. Well, I'm John Colon, I was a chauffeur for 
43 Truck that morning. We were watching TV and we got 
a run to 43 Street and Lexington Avenue for a person 
trapped in a revolving door. We go from here from 102 
Street and 3 Avenue and it was a 10-91. Then we got 
called to the World Trade Center. We kept hearing what 
was going on. I made a right on 57 Street. I went 
down the West Side Highway and we parked around 4 
blocks away, 5 blocks away. We got out of the rig, we 
got ourselves organized. 

We started, not running, but walking fast 
towards the -- towards one of the buildings. We didn't 
see whether the first building was down. We really 
couldn't tell. When we got about approximately a 
block, block and a half away, the building started 
coming down. We stopped, we paused because we were in 
awe. The whole building starts coming down. We turn 



J. COLON 

around, we run. Luckily we got into a loading dock and 
I asked the junior guy, Jerry Suden, to force open a 
chain . 

We got in there. The whole building came 
running down, came falling down. We waited a few 
minutes. We regrouped, we went back to, I presume it 
was the second tower, the building that came down, that 
we were looking at. There was numerous fires all over 
the place. The officer, Glen Rohan, told Jerry Suden 
to put out car fires. There were car fires. The rigs 
were on fire. Jerry got a hose line, started putting 
the fires out. 

We climbed up a 35 foot portable ladder and 
we helped get the officer from Engine 1, who was 
deceased. We continued from there. I don't know how 
much more I could tell you. I could tell you what we 
did all day long. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : No, that's not 

really what we are interested in. 

Q. So as far as you know, you didn't see any 
companies go into any particular position prior to the 
collapse? 

A. No, not at all. No, we didn't. We saw the 
rigs parked there, but I have no idea where their 



J. COLON 

positions were. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Okay, thanks a 
lot. This concludes the interview. The time is 
1:35. 



File No. 9110253 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER RICHARD BANACISKI 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



R. BANACISKI 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : December 6, 2001. 
The time is 3:30 p.m. This is Battalion Chief 
Kenahan of the Safety Battalion of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with Rich Banaciski of 
Ladder 22. 

Q. Please tell us the events of September 11 as 
you recall them? 

A. We got the alarm for us to respond, just, I 
would say, a minute after the second plane had hit the 
tower. Then they actually came over the voice alarm. 
Actually told the companies to respond outlet. We 
responded in and it was all the west side companies 
were actually all running down together, down the West 
Side Highway, because it was closed going northbound. 
So we could see what was going on, the two towers, both 
of them burning pretty good and then we got into, down 
to the site. We were at the corner of West and Vesey. 
That's where we parked the rig, in front of the Verizon 
building . 

We were told to bring extra cylinders. We 
each brought our extra cylinders and we brought our 
rollups, the whole thing, and we reported in to the 
command post, which was in front of -- I think it was 



R. BANACISKI 

the Merrill Lynch building. There was a parking 
garage. There were two ramps that went in that parking 
garage. 

Q. On West Street? 

A. On West Street. We reported in to there and 
I remember they had the command post set up. They were 
telling the engines to the one side, all the trucks to 
the other side, put your cylinders in the middle. We 
were there. They were getting the command structure 
going. I just remember we were -- initially we were 
out by the street and they started having jumpers, so 
they all kind of moved back towards the parking garage, 
towards the building, so nothing would come down on 
us . 

We were there I don't know, maybe 10, 15 
minutes and then I just remember there was just an 
explosion. It seemed like on television they blow up 
these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the 
way around like a belt, all these explosions. 
Everybody just said run and we all turned around and we 
ran into the parking garage because that's basically 
where we were. Running forward would be running 
towards it. Not thinking that this building is coming 
down. We just thought there was going to be a big 



R. BANACISKI 

explosion, stuff was going to come down. 

There was just a tremendous cloud that came 
into the parking garage. Somebody actually laid out a 
search rope, I think it was the officer of 76 Engine 
too, Lieutenant Farrington. He laid out a search rope 
so some of the guys could find their way to a back 
door, set up a back staircase in the Merrill Lynch 
building. We followed that up and we ended up coming 
out behind the building where the Marina is. Back in 
there. A lot of guys made their way out there. 

We kind of -- from there we kind of regrouped 
together because we lost each other when the building 
came down. We all ran, so we kind of regrouped there, 
got ourselves together. Then there was a lot of people 
not knowing what to do, do you know what I mean. 

I said to the officer, I'm going to go look 
for our chauffeur and I knew he parked the rig right in 
front of the Verizon building. I went up there. I 
started looking for him. He had moved the rig, not 
knowing now -- now I know, but he had moved the rig. 
I'm not exactly sure where he put it, but I went to go 
look for him because I couldn't get him on the radio 
due to the amount of radio traffic. People looking for 
this guy, this guy, companies looking for their own 



R. BANACISKI 

guys. 

So I was kind of looking around over there, 
up and down West Street and looking on Vesey and I just 
remember there was a police officer standing there and 
he just started saying, it's starting to lean, it's 
starting to lean. I remember looking up, looking at 
the second building and just seeing it starting to 
move. I just started running back down Vesey towards 
the water again to where I had come from. That's 
-- the second building came down there. 

So we kind of -- same thing, there was a time 
period where people were kind of in shock, not knowing 
what to do. I just remember we finally said we got to 
go somewhere now. We got to figure out what's going 
on . 

I remember going back up Vesey to West and 
then they were telling us to go north. Go north up on 
West Street, because there is a foot bridge north, like 
an arched foot bridge. Had everybody going north of 
that. We will regroup up there. 

I just remember that's when I started seeing 
all the guys coming in from home, all the guys from the 
company and we actually -- everybody from this house, 
we stuck together and we actually from there, a little 



R. BANACISKI 

bit of time, maybe an hour or so, they actually started 
telling us to go here, go there. They moved us from 
one spot, they moved us on to Vesey again. Because 
then they were worried about --we actually searched 
the Verizon building, because there was reports of 
firemen there. Basically our whole house searched that 
building . 

They told us to get out of there because they 
were worried about 7 World Trade Center, which is right 
behind it, coming down. We were up on the upper floors 
of the Verizon building looking at it. You could just 
see the whole bottom corner of the building was gone. 
We could look right out over to where the Trade Centers 
were because we were that high up. Looking over the 
smaller buildings. I just remember it was tremendous, 
tremendous fires going on. 

Finally they pulled us out. They said all 
right, get out of that building because that 7, they 
were really worried about. They pulled us out of there 
and then they regrouped everybody on Vesey Street, 
between the water and West Street. They put everybody 
back in there. 

Finally it did come down. From there -- this 
is much later on in the day, because every day we were 



R. BANACISKI 

so worried about that building we didn't really want to 
get people close. They were trying to limit the amount 
of people that were in there. Finally it did come 
down. That's when they let the guys go on . I just 
remember we started searching around all the rigs. 

That was basically the rest of the day, the 
rest of the night. We were searching around rigs 
looking for men. That was it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : All right. 
Q. Do you have anything else to add? 
A. No. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN: Okay. Thank you 
very much for your cooperation. The time now is 
3:45 p.m. This concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110254 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER RICHARD BATTISTA 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



R. BATTISTA 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The time is 4:49 
p.m. This is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan, the 
Safety Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I'm conducting an interview with 
Richard Battista of Engine 76. 

Q. Richard, explain to us what you remember on 
September 11. 

A. Well, September 11, the day started out 
normally just like any other day. The men had gotten 
up for breakfast and I turned on the channel, I turned 
on the news TV and we saw that one of the World Trade 
Center towers had been struck by an airplane. At that 
time we thought it was an accident. Shortly after, the 
second plane struck the second building. We started 
receiving our alarms and everybody came over the voice 
alarm telling us exactly what to do. 

Members started to turn out and we made our 
way downtown. We took a route along the West Side 
Highway and on our way down there you could see both 
towers in flames and you could see a lot of smoke in 
the immediate area. On arrival we got there, the 
Lieutenant had - Lieutenant Farrington, told us 
basically what we needed to do as to - just start 
getting to a staging area and while he was receiving 



R. BATTISTA 

his orders from the Battalion, we pretty much kept a 
wait in front of what is now -- I think was the 
American Express building. 

At that time he just told us basically to 
prepare, getting extra water, whatever else we might 
have needed for the flight up. I think he was getting 
reports of possibly going up to a building, one of the 
floors in the second tower. 

Q. North tower or the south tower? 

A. Sorry, the north tower. At this time, I had 
just been waiting for a while, and all I could remember 
from my vantage point was seeing civilians jump out of 
the buildings in the west side of the tower and landing 
around the surrounding streets. At that time, to be 
honest I didn't really focus too much on what was going 
on around me because I was sort of fixated on what was 
happening up above, so I didn't really get too much of 
a time to notice what was happening immediately around 
me. I know there was a lot of people running back and 
forth and there was havoc, but it didn't really dawn 
upon me at that time that I should be aware of my 
immediate surroundings. 

Once they started falling, we got a report of 
a firefighter being injured, from someone maybe 



R. BATTISTA 

falling, so we decided to move back further away from 
the tower. I remember specifically the command post, 
which may have been, I don't know, maybe 40 feet in 
front of us, something in that nature. When I saw 
that, Lieutenant Farrington told us to move back so we 
were sort of underneath a garage area when we first 
heard reports or guys yelling that one of the towers 
was coming down. I was able to stick my head out and 
look up a bit and once I saw that I just immediately 
turned around and ran into the building. 

Within seconds everything was pitch dark. I 
remember something actually hit me on my shoulder, what 
it was I don't know. It could have been a helmet, it 
could have been something that hit me on my left 
shoulder. Even though we weren't immediately in front 
of the south tower, in that vicinity, because I wasn't 
able to see what was coming down around me, I thought 
maybe it was a piece of the building or something, so 
at that point I just ducked into a corner and put my 
-- rolled up in a fetal position, just balled up and 
waiting for the worst to be over. 

Once things settled down I heard firefighters 
asking for help. Someone actually stated oh, I have 
asthma. I can't breathe, whatever. So I was one of 



R. BATTISTA 

the few firefighters that I remember who actually had 
my cylinder on my back, because some of the 
firefighters had actually put them down to rest, 
because we had been waiting for a while. 

At this point I turned on my flashlight and I 
tried to look for anyone that I might be able to assist 
within the garage area, keeping in mind I didn't know 
how badly affected the building I was in was. I just 
knew it was pitch black in front. I couldn't see out 
where I came in from originally, so I thought who 
knows, maybe we are underneath or trapped as well. 

After some of the haze started clearing, we 
started seeing bits of light, but we couldn't exactly 
see the entrance. Lieutenant Farrington had the 
forethought of getting a search rope tied off to a 
bannister and made his way out to the back of the 
building heading towards the west river. He started 
calling out to the members of the 76 and other 
companies. We found the line and made our way out the 
building and back down under some steps and coming out, 
surfacing on the other side. 

At that time I really don't remember too many 
other faces, because myself, I have a little over a 
year on the job, so I really don't know too many other 



R. BATTISTA 

people from surrounding companies, just a few familiar 
faces. 

I do remember once we made it out the back of 
the building, running towards the river and I saw 
several members of our truck company, 22 Truck. Those 
were the only distinguishing faces I could make out. 
Not only was it hard to see, but a lot of helmets were 
covered with soot at that point after we made it out 
the back, so it was difficult to even see some of the 
numbers, even if I did look for it. 

At that point we waited by the river and 
tried to gather everyone because all the members who 
were in the Engine that day, I think two of the members 
might have gone a different way, so we were waiting to 
catch up with them and then we were waiting to make a 
voice communication with them over the handy talky, but 
there was just so much confusion that that wasn't able 
to happen right away. 

Eventually we did meet up with them and we 
started walking up north when the second tower 
collapsed. At this point that walk turned into a run 
very quickly and we made our way to, I believe it's 
Vesey or on West Street, and started going up West 
Street until we were able to come to another meeting 



R. BATTISTA 

point . 

Other than that, that's pretty much all I can 
recall at this point. 

Q. The point that you are just talking about 
now, had the second tower come down yet or not? 

A. No. 

Q. What happened after you met at that point, 
did you go back at all or did you stay up there when 
the second tower came down? 

A. Once we made it out to that meeting point 
where the Chiefs were trying to get a head count over 
on West Street, I was (inaudible) for a message from 
the Chief's aide and found out that we had to go back 
in eventually to find -- to see how many members we 
could find. This took some time, because like I said, 
everything was out of whack. People -- whole companies 
weren't together, so it took some time for us to not 
only gather the men but gather our bearings, because 
you could imagine once we were waiting we also got 
another report of a plane in the area, so we thought 
possibly at that time that another building around us 
might get struck. 

I remember sitting down and drinking water 
and trying to get a bite of an apple or something by 



R. BATTISTA 

that time. When we finally did get our job duties, 
what we were supposed to do, we started gathering up 
again and we were told we had to turn out on a 
spreading fire in what I believe is 6 World Trade 
Center or the customs building, possibly a bank. 

At that point, this was later on, closer to 
the afternoon maybe, maybe 12, but I'm not exactly 
sure, during that time -- 

As I was saying, once the afternoon came 
around, 12 or 1, by that time I think a new officer had 
met up with our company, we had Captain Jirak take us 
into that fire on that 6 World Trade Center where we 
helped extinguish some fires on the back of that 
building. 

Prior to that, earlier in the day, just to 
backtrack a little bit, when the second tower 
collapsed, I remember we were all by the water way, by 
the river, right on the river's edge, and we were 
looking in the general direction of the towers, but you 
couldn't see much, because I believe the other 
building, maybe 4 World Trade Center or the American 
Express building, was blocking our view. We couldn't 
really see nothing but what was up in the sky. 

Once we finished extinguishing the fires, we 



R. BATTISTA 

once again met up on West Street with Captain Jirak and 
we just waited for further orders to go out and start 
making searches. That's about it. 

Q. Okay, anything else you would like to add? 

A. No. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Thank you Richard, 

for all your help. This concludes the interview 

it ' s now 5:05 p.m. 



File No. 9110255 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER TODD HEANEY 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



T . HEANEY 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The date is 

December 6, 2001. The time is 11:10, and this is 

Battalion Chief Kenahan of the safety battalion of 

the New York City Fire Department. 

I'm conducting an interview with Todd Heaney 

of Engine 209. 

Q. Please tell us any information you have about 
September 11. 

A. All right. I'm going to -- just a little 
checklist you gave me, Chief, might help me -- 

Q. Fine. 

A. -- if I can use it. 

Q. Whatever way. 

A. We were here in quarters, just like everybody 
else, and we saw what happened. When the second tower 
got hit, we were dispatched on the fifth alarm. 

We left quarters. We took the Brooklyn 
Bridge to Manhattan. En route we could just see the 
damage to the towers. It was bad. 

We got to Manhattan. I think we were 
dispatched around ten after nine. We got to Manhattan 
quickly. We were there in 20 minutes, but maybe less. 
We were there about 9:30. I don't remember where we 
parked our apparatus . 



T . HEANEY 

We came down Chambers Street off the Brooklyn 
Bridge, made a left-hand turn onto Broadway, and we 
took one of the side streets. Might have been 
Liberty. I don't remember. I don't remember where we 
parked exactly, but when we got off the rig, we took 
our roll-ups, and we took some forcible entry tools, 
search rope, things like that. 

No civilians or anything approached us. It 
was pretty -- pretty much had people evacuated from 
around the towers at the time. A lot of people on 
Broadway and the side streets, but when we got down to 
the complex, I expected to see a lot of people running 
around, but there weren't. They had most of the people 
out . 

We saw Engine Company 217 on the corner of 
Liberty and Church. At that time, I had a 
handy-talkie, and we were supposed to report to the 
lobby of Tower 2, but our handy-talkie message told us 
to report to command post at West and Vesey Street. 

Now, at that time, they also were telling us 
to bring additional cylinders, so our rig wasn't parked 
that far from where we were, which was Liberty and 
Church, so we went back to the rig and grabbed 
additional cylinders . 



T . HEANEY 

We -- our officer spoke with the officer of 
217 for a couple of seconds at the corner of Liberty 
and Church. I don't know if that's 4 or 5 World Trade 
Center on the corner, and then there's a Burger King 
right there. 

We proceeded down Liberty towards West 
Street. We ran into an injured fireman. I don't 
remember too well, but there was an injured fireman. 
Dr. Kelly was there. She came out of a building, and 
they were carrying this fireman. They put him into an 
ambulance right away. 

I asked Dr. Kelly if she needed our help, and 
she said, "No, we're going to take him to the 
hospital." We passed 10 and 10 's quarters. 

I mean, I don't know what they want me to 
tell them. There were people -- dead people 
everywhere. I don't know if you want to know that. 

Q. What did you do, you know, you can say it. 
Whatever you saw. 

A. You know, they -- the people were just 
everywhere. Saw some luggage. From the plane, I 
imagine. A lot of debris from the upper floors, papers 
and things of that nature. 

We ran into a truck company. I don't 



T . HEANEY 

remember who they were. This was on Liberty. On the 
corner of Liberty and West is 90 West Street. I know 
that building, the old -- an older building with 
scaffolding all around it. This building is located 
next to 90 West. It's the building -- it's still 
standing. It has a big slash in it from the -- that's 
where we bumped into this truck company. 

There was some type of, like, promenade there 
or steps that could go up into, like, some type of 
balcony, steps that could go down, and they came up to 
us and said, "There is no command post. We're going to 
the lobby." And they went to the lobby. 

Our officers -- we were very close to West 
Street at this time, standing right across the street 
from Tower 2. We thought we could just go to West 
Street and look. If there was no command post there, 
we were going to go to Vesey. 

At this time we found an officer's helmet 
badly crushed with a lot of blood on it. I don't know 
what company it was. I don't remember. 54, 50 
something, but it was an officer's helmet, badly 
damaged. 

We continued down Liberty to West Street, and 
there was this chief standing there in the middle of 



T . HEANEY 

West, a little bit south of West Street, and he had his 
own little, like, command post in there, you know, like 
the flip-up, and he was standing there all by himself. 

Before we went to go to Vesey, our officer 
said, "Let me just ask this guy if he wants us to do 
something from here." That chief told our officer to 
stand fast right here, and the buildings came down. 
Tower 2 came town. 

We ran across West Street to one of the 
financial buildings, which is near the south pedestrian 
overpass . 

Q. Right. 

A. The doors were locked. We couldn't get in 
the building. Two of our guys got caught at that 
door. Me and another guy got caught outside, and that 
was it. Just -- the buildings came down. It became 
black as night. 

Q. All your members went the same way, like -- 

A. We all headed towards that building. That's 
where we all headed towards. I mean, it happened very 
quickly. You heard the sound, like a crack, like a 
giant tree branch breaking, and I was frozen. I 
couldn't even run. 

People were just running past me, and I 



T . HEANEY 

watched the building, and the top half cracked and 
started to fall towards Liberty, started to fall 
towards Liberty Street, towards where 10 and 10 is, and 
then it just started coming down, and the pounding got 
louder, and louder and louder, and then we just started 
running . 

Q. What happened with that chief? 

A. I don't even know. I don't know what 
happened, if he made it. I don't know. 

Q. I guess he didn't go the same direction you 
went or -- 

A. I don't know. He was -- he was a little 
south of us. We were on the corner of Liberty and 
West. He was a little south of that, so our officer 
went to him. We stayed, like, in the middle of West 
Street right by the Marriott Hotel and the south 
overpass, the south pedestrian overpass. 

When it started to come down, we just ran. 
There was nothing else to do, and we tried to head 
towards that building. 

Two guys got caught in the revolving door. I 
didn't find out until later that they were able to 
break the window and get into the building. Myself and 
Tommy Hansard, who was working that day, we got caught 



T . HEANEY 

outside. There was a -- there was a police officer and 
a woman civilian, who were kind of, like, curled up on 
the floor. I kind of just, like, curled up with them. 
I thought that was it. This is the end. You can't out 
run the World Trade Center, and the concussion 
was -- it was deafening, and this hot, super wind blew, 
and it just got dark as night, and you couldn't breathe 
because of the dust, and we didn't have our -- we 
dropped our masks. We had them on, and so we -- really 
that was it. 

I -- I didn't know what happened to everybody 
else. I thought I was by myself, but I knew -- I knew 
what direction I was facing. I knew that that building 
we were running to was the west side, and that if we 
could make it to the west side, we'd hit the water, and 
maybe we'd be able to get away, so I crawled along the 
side of the building, and I had this police officer and 
this woman with me. They held onto me, and I crawled 
along the wall until I got to the corner, and I made 
the right, and we just kept crawling. 

Along the way, I found a fireman's helmet 
from 101, and I picked it up, and I kept calling out to 
101 on the way there. Nobody answered. Other 
companies would answer. I don't remember who answered, 



T . HEANEY 

but it wasn't 101. 

We crawled to just about the end of this 
building, and we got to the west side where it was a 
little bit clearer. We got into a restaurant and 
dropped those two people off there. 

Now, I don't think I bumped into my guys 
again. I went back to where we were to try to find our 
gear, and I still had the guy's helmet in my hand, and 
I kept calling out for him, and he didn't answer, so I 
put the helmet back down basically where I found it. 

When I got to the front of the building, it 
tossed rigs down the street like it was -- like they 
were toys. They were upside down, on fire. There was 
a large chunk of the facade basically where we were 
standing. I didn't know where the officer was or what 
happened to that chief, but I found Tommy Hansard, the 
guy who was caught outside with me. 

We went back to the west side because it was 
clearer, and then we found our other guys. They had 
went through the building and came out basically on the 
other end, so we regrouped there. We started to head 
back. We weren't on Liberty. It would be the next 
street north of Liberty, and we were heading back 
towards the towers, and we found three firemen 



10 
T . HEANEY 



climbing -- just coming up out of the rubble. Two were 
trying to help one, so me and another guy took him. He 
had a bad head wound. 

While we were down by the water dropping off 
the civilians I was with and that cop -- there was an 
ESU cop or someone there who said, "I have medical 
equipment, " so I remembered him saying that, and we 
brought this officer to him, and he had a few people. 
There was even -- there was a police launch boat 
there . 

It cleared -- the air cleared pretty good 
down by the water, so we dropped him off, and we 
started heading back. I don't remember what street we 
were on. I don't remember exact -- I really don't 
remember where we were, but as we were heading back, 
the next tower came down, and again we were just 
totally engulfed in just debris, and we just curled up 
next to a building until it blew away. 

We made our way back, and everything was 
gone. Everything was gone. It was gone. 

Q. With the second collapse, did you see 
anything? 

A. No, we weren't close enough to the second 
collapse, plus the dust cloud from the first -- I 



11 

T . HEANEY 



couldn't even see the tower. I knew where it was, you 
know. I mean, you could hear the fire. 

You had a good idea where it was, but you 
couldn't see it any more, so instead of walking 
straight down the block, we just figured that we 
headed -- we were now more north than we were when we 
were at the south tower, so we're right near the north 
tower . 

We were figuring if the second tower -- if 
the Tower 2 came down, Tower l's coming down, too. 
Just don't know when, so instead of walking straight 
down the street, we headed a block south, and then 
headed east to go back to the towers. 

Just figured if the towers are going to come 
down, we'd put a block between us, we might be able to 
make it. Just knew that there were guys in the tower. 
We knew there were guys in the tower. We saw them 
coming -- I saw them running out of the building, and I 
knew they didn't make it, and there is no way those 
guys I saw emerging from the tower were going to make 
it. 

We got back to basically where the Marriott 
Hotel was. That's the only landmark I can remember, 
that and the south pedestrian walk, and we got split up 



12 
T . HEANEY 



from there. They were trying to get water. Marine 
companies pulled in at the foot of one of the streets, 
and they just started laying hose, and I just started 
helping out with that. 

My eyes were really bad at this point. I -- 
they were just really bad, and they bothered me and 
progressively got worse as the day went on. 

I don't know where my company went, but at 
some point on that street I ran into 102. 102 truck 
was housed with us, and they were sent to the staging 
area at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on the Brooklyn 
side when this happened. They ended up walking through 
the tunnel, and by the time they came out, the towers 
were down, but they met up with me at Tower 2 
basically, what was left of Tower 2. 

I don't know where my officer was. I didn't 
know where my chauffeur was. I didn't see them again. 
We started stretching hose. We couldn't get water for 
anything. The satellite units were showing up. I saw 
the manifolds being brought in. 

Officers were pleading for help to try and 
get a line in place, so I just stayed with them and 
helped stretch a line. There was a rig there that we 
were stretching hose off of. I don't know what rig it 



13 
T . HEANEY 



was. I saw 113 truck, their rig. It was basically 
intact, but heavily damaged. 

I remember getting a drink of water out of 
their cooler there, and then we just started to put out 
the car fires, and the rigs were going, ambulances. I 
mean, there must have been 50 of these things burning 
heavily. The Scott cylinders and the oxygen cylinders 
were all letting go. They were all blowing up left and 
right . 

It was quiet in the beginning, but then the 
radio transmissions started on the radio, and they just 
didn't stop, who was stuck here. I remember hearing 9 
truck being stuck in a staircase and then trying to 
figure out how to get to them. I think it was 9 
truck. I don't know. I don't know what truck it was. 
Q. It was 6. 

A. Was it 6? I heard that whole transmission of 
them trying to tell where they were, and them not even 
knowing that the building was gone, and -- but I knew 
that they had help. I knew that people were going for 
them. 

I ended up with an officer who seemed to be 
by himself trying to put out these car fires, so I just 
hooked up with him, and we put out a bunch of them. 



14 
T . HEANEY 



By this time, it was really, really getting 
hard to see. My eyes were really, really bad. I tried 
to get in touch with my officer several times. The 
radio traffic really, really started getting bad, 
because people were trapped. People were trying to 
find out who was where. 

It was very hard to get through. I heard him 
calling me. I tried to respond. I don't know if he 
ever got the message. I don't think I even saw him 
again that day. 

Time went by very quickly. Before I knew it, 
it was four o'clock in the afternoon, something like 
that, and I was losing it. I was pretty shot. ^^^| 



really see too good. 

So I went up to -- I went up to Broadway. 
Someone said that they were -- a recall was being held 
at City Hall Park, and I went up to -- I went up there 
and I saw some of the guys from this firehouse who 
reported for the recall, and I told them what I knew. 

I knew that 102 was okay. I saw them in the 
collapse. The collapses had already occurred, and they 



15 
T . HEANEY 



were still alive, all of them. I told them who I knew 
was still alive from 209. Again, I didn't know what 
happened to the chauffeur or the officer. I just told 
them who was alive. 

I went back down. I went back down. I tried 
to -- I flushed my eyes out with water. It wasn't 
helping. I went back down. Finally, one of the guys 
found me, and they put me in an ambulance, and they 
sent me to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. They 
treated me there, and they put something in my eyes 
that numbed them, and like a miracle I could see again, 
and it didn't hurt. So I left there. I told them I'm 
okay, and I went back. 

And the last thing I remember was being on 
Church Street, seeing 4 and 5 World Trade Center 
blazing. Every floor of the building was going, and 
just thousands and thousands of people coming now -- 
our guys, cops, people -- I don't know. Just thousands 
of people just started showing up. 

Within a half an hour, that medicine they 
gave me wore off, and I was totally blind again. One 
of the guys found me. It happened to be one of the 
guys from this firehouse found me wandering around. I 
couldn't see. I was -- I was shot. I just couldn't do 



16 
T . HEANEY 



anything any more, and they sent me to Pace University, 
where I got triaged and sent to the hospital from 
there. And that's all. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Well, thanks for 
your help, Todd. 

And the time now is 11:30. This concludes 
the interview. 



</XMPX/BODYX/HTML> 



File No. 9110256 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER BRIAN FITZPATRICK 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



B. FITZPATRICK 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The time is 4:00 
o'clock p.m. and this is Battalion Chief Kenahan of the 
New York City Fire Department from the Safety 
Battalion. I'm conducting an interview with Brian 
Fitzpatrick, Firefighter Sixth Grade from Ladder 22. 

Q. Hi, Brian. Just tell us in your own words 
what happened. 

A. I'd say that morning, on September 11th, it 
was 8:48 a.m., one gentleman at house watch, one of the 
firefighters, saw on the news flash that Tower 1 was 
hit, the north tower was hit by a plane. Everybody 
started getting their gear ready because we knew we 
were going. I was actually kind of excited because I 
thought it was going to be a big job. We didn't know 
the size of the plane that hit it. We just saw a lot 
of smoke. Our tones went off and it was a voice alarm 
and they were basically just calling companies off. It 
basically ran up the west side. I remember it going 
from 35, 40, 74, 25, straight up the west side they 
were calling us, and we responded. I'm almost 100 
percent sure that we were en route pretty much when the 
second plane hit. I don't remember seeing it on the 
news when the second plane hit. So I'm almost 100 
percent sure we were en route. 



B. FITZPATRICK 

When we got down to the scene, it was pretty 
hectic. We pulled up close to the north tower and then 
saw that it was pretty ugly, a lot of debris falling, a 
lot of people running. We moved the rig and went to 
the west side command post. Ladder 22 and Ladder 25 I 
remember seeing go to the north tower. I mean, I 
apologize, the south tower. We were basically standing 
fast just watching what was going on. 

I remember hearing people shouting about a 
third plane being in the air. I don't know if that's 
what held us back from going right away. But we waited 
basically until I saw our Lieutenant Farrington coming 
back and we thought he had our orders where we were 
going. So we were grabbing our gear and we were 
walking out to meet him and we were in front of the 
parking garage in front of 2 World Financial Center, 
the Merrill Lynch building, which is basically on the 
southwest corner of the north tower and right across 
the street from the Vista International Hotel, and 
that's when we heard a tremendous noise and it was 
coming from the south tower, and we looked up and it 
was coming down. 

I basically froze and Rich Banaciski shoved 
me and told me to run, and I remember there being a 



B. FITZPATRICK 

large number of people behind us as we turned to run. 
I remember making it into the tunnel and it was this 
incredible amount of wind, debris, heat. I remember 
falling down, getting back up, and the guys were just 
falling all over each other. It wasn't like we were 
trying to kill each other, but it was all bets were 
off, just run. 

I made a right in the tunnel. I was with 
some other guys. I can't remember the engine company. 
They're from the east side. They were trying to force 
a door in the right of the tunnel and it turned out to 
be a storage shed. I remember when I fell down, I 
picked up a mask and I put the mask on and I was buddy 
breathing with a few of the guys because the air was so 
thick and pulling out like baseball clumps of debris 
out of your mouth. We knew that we couldn't force that 
door . 

My Lieutenant, Farrington, from Engine 76, we 
heard him screaming and banging his tool against 
something metal and I distinctly remember hearing his 
voice. He had found the exit to the back of 2 World 
Financial Center, and it was a maze of stairways, but 
we got out. He found the exit, set up a search rope, 
brought it back, and he got out about I'd probably say 



B. FITZPATRICK 

40 guys out of the tunnel. 

Then we exited out by the marina, the North 
Cove Yacht Harbor, where we all basically just took a 
knee and we waited a couple of minutes. Everybody was 
in shock. We didn't know what happened. We just 
thought it was debris or an explosion or a secondary 
explosion or another bomb inside the building or 
another plane. 

We got up and we made our way around through 
what turned out to be the North End Avenue and we hit 
Vesey. I'd say probably 25 minutes had elapsed by 
now. We were walking up Vesey and we got to Vesey and 
the West Side Highway and we were making the turn. I 
remember seeing the bridge as we turned and somebody 
came running by us saying the north tower was leaning. 
I didn't even know the south tower fell yet. I looked 
up and I actually saw the antenna coming down. 

I just took off running again. I headed 
straight down Vesey. I wound up breaking up with the 
rest of my company, and I wound up by the railing by 
the water. I remember there was a bunch of senior men 
there and they were getting out of their bunker gear 
and they were getting ready to jump in the water 
because you could see ferries out in the distance 



B. FITZPATRICK 

waving us on. They said, "Get out of your gear. We're 
going in the water." 

When I was younger, I used to work out in the 
Hamptons on people's boats and I remember currents. I 
knew the currents down there would just kill us, you 
know, they'd find us in South Jersey. So I just buried 
myself in the fence and hoped for the best. 

The debris cloud pretty much caught us, but 
it seemed like right by the time it hit North End it 
stopped. I think the wind was blowing a different 
direction. It was pulling it all east. That's what it 
turned out to be because I remember the command post, 
everything that was set up later was set up on the west 
side because the wind was taking all the smoke and 
debris east. 

I wandered around looking for the rest of my 
company, which was Rich Banaciski, Richie Batista, 
Billy Reynolds, George Rodriguez, and George was with 
the rig and we were sure that he was under it, and 
Lieutenant Farrington. It took me, if I had to guess, 
I'd probably say about 45 minutes before I found the 
rest of my company and that was on the West Side 
Highway and everybody was just lying on the West Side 
Highway. By that time there was just hordes of firemen 



B. FITZPATRICK 

coming down the West Side Highway whatever way they 
could get there. I guess it was the recall. I don't 
know if that was hours later, but I remember seeing 
guys that weren't working that day that came down, and 
we were all just waiting to get back in. 

When they let us back in, it was early 
afternoon. I'd say it was probably 1:30, 2:00 
o'clock. We searched 140 West, the New York Telephone 
Company building, for 15, 16 floors. It was myself, 
George Rodriguez, Doug Robinson, a battalion aide, and 
Captain Pellegrinelli. We forced numerous amounts of 
doors, but we were basically searching in the wreckage 
of, if you were on West Side Highway, it would be the 
exposure four side of the telephone company building. 
It had gaping, massive holes that you could fit a house 
in, you know, what it looked like from the inside. So 
we basically crawled in the rubble there and looked for 
victims on each floor because the holes took up several 
floors. 

We heard a Mayday for everybody to get out of 
the building -- no, I'm sorry, an urgent, three 
urgents, and we came out of the building. I'd say that 
was like an hour and a half, two hours later. We were 
then positioned on Vesey Street between North End and 



B. FITZPATRICK 

the West Side Highway because there was an imminent 
collapse on 7 World Trade, and it did collapse. 

As far as other companies, I don't know. I 
knew from sticking my head out the window going down 
that we were by 35 and 40. I think they were ahead of 
us when we pulled in. I'm sorry. 35 Truck and I can't 
remember the engine down there, 25, 74, I think 47 was 
there. 

Q. These are all the rigs that were on West 
street? 

A. Yes. We were headed down together. From 
what I saw, we all pretty much met up on the West Side 
Highway at the same time because the alarms went off 
and we're all fairly the same distance from the on 
ramps. 

That's about it. That's my story. I wish I 
could be more helpful. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : No, that's been 
fine. You've been very helpful. Thank you for your 
cooperation. 

THE WITNESS: No problem. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 
4:10 and this interview is completed. 



File No. 9110257 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER LOUIS GIACONELLI 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



L. GIACONELLI 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today's date is 
December 6, 2001. The time is 6:52 p.m. and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the Safety Battalion 
of the Fire Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with Louis Giaconelli. 

Q. Please tell us anything you remember about 
the events of September 11th. 

A. I reported in for work before the change of 
tours and I was already ready to drive. I was assigned 
chauffeur that day in Engine 53. I was upstairs in the 
bunk room when the first plane hit the first tower. I 
heard some of the other firefighters talking about it. 
I slid the pole, made sure I had all my gear on the rig 
and made sure that the rig was full of fuel. 

Then the second plane hit the second tower. 
I was pretty sure after the first plane had hit the 
first tower that we'd be going down there, and when the 
second plane hit, I definitely knew we were going down 
there. Then we were assigned on the second fifth alarm 
to the second tower that was struck. 

I started to drive down there. I went on 
various streets. I do remember going down Lexington 
Avenue to 97th Street, I believe, and then I went down 
5th Avenue to the 90th Street entrance to Central Park, 



L. GIACONELLI 

and I went down Central Park Drive on the east side to 
72nd Street, across 72nd Street, and I got on the West 
Drive and came out of the park by Tavern on the Green 
on 66th Street, I think, and Central Park West. I went 
down Broadway to 57th Street, made a right, and I went 
to 11th Avenue, where we started to pick up radio 
transmissions that we were to respond down 11th Avenue 
because the police had opened up lanes for us or they 
had corridors open for us. So I went down 11th Avenue 
and, sure enough, we picked up a few police cars in 
front of us or vans and we made it down there pretty 
quick. 

When I got there, there were already a 
significant amount of rigs there, and I found a parking 
spot along the right-hand side, along the west side of 
West Street, and I actually was close to a hydrant that 
I could have hooked up to if I had to. I noticed that 
rigs were parked on both sides of the street and that 
there was a lane open straight down. 

So when we got there, we were driving down, 
obviously, we had a clear view of the towers. We knew 
that both of them were on fire. There were thousands 
of people running up West Street when we were driving 
down, thousands of people. So I parked the rig. 



L. GIACONELLI 

Everybody got out, got their masks on, and I yelled to 
my officer, I said, "I'm not going to stay here with 
the rig." I said, "I'm going to come with you guys." 
He said, "Yeah, definitely." So I had all my bunker 
gear with me and I had a spare mask. So I put it all 
on and I went down with the company. We walked down 
West Street and we reported in to the command post 
staging area. 

As we were walking down, I was just looking 
up and I saw it was a lot of smoke, but it was up 
high. It was a crystal clear day and there was a lot 
of stuff in the air, in the sky, floating around, and I 
was trying to get my bearings. I saw something weird 
coming off the building and I looked up and I didn't 
know what it was and I was trying to get a sense of 
what was happening, if things were falling on us, but 
it turned out they were bodies. There were people 
jumping off the top of the buildings. So then I 
realized how bad it was up there. 

We got in to the command post staging area 
and my officer Reported in and tried to get us an 
assignment. So we stood in the staging area, which was 
in the driveway to an underground garage going into the 
World Financial Center. We stood there for a few 



L. GIACONELLI 

minutes and made sure we had all our gear on, and we 
were trying to figure out what was going on and it was 
a calamity. A lot of smoke, a lot of debris coming 
down, bodies coming down, landing right in front of 
us. 

So while we were waiting to get our 
assignment, Captain John Sudnik, who I knew from 23 
Engine, I think, was giving out the assignments and he 
asked my officer if we could move some rigs to make 
sure the lanes were clear coming down to the World 
Financial Center. So it was myself -- I wasn't the 
only chauffeur working. I know Kevin McGovern was 
working, too. He was a chauffeur. Eddie Cachia was 
working also and he was a chauffeur. So we had those 
two guys and two probies with us. 

So between the three of us, we dropped our 
masks and all our gear, we kept our bunker gear on, 
though, and we walked back up West Street to see if any 
rigs had to be moved, like he asked us to do, and we 
found one or two. I know I myself moved one or two, I 
don't recall, that were blocking the path a little bit, 
and I got them out of the way. Then we got together 
again and we all started walking back down West Street. 

I remember passing underneath that north 



L. GIACONELLI 

pedestrian bridge, and I was just about to get back to 
the entrance to the driveway to the staging area and I 
heard this sound, and it was like a train, like a huge 
train rumbling, and I knew that something was coming 
off the building, but I didn't know what it was. So I 
think Lieutenant Doherty and Eddie Cachia were in front 
of me. We were kind of walking in single file, and I 
think those two guys were in front of me and I was 
third or fourth. I don't recall. I know the two 
probies were behind me and I think Kevin McGovern was a 
little behind me, too. 

So I remember Lieutenant Doherty and Eddie 
Cachia went for the driveway and I said to myself I 
wasn't going to make it, but I knew I had to find 
someplace to ditch. So I looked to my right and a 
High-Rise 2 Unit, which I didn't notice at the time 
what it was, but I figured out later a High-Rise 2 Unit 
was parked on the grass to the right of the staging 
area driveway and just in front of the entrance to the 
big glass atrium going into the World Financial 
Center. I didn't think I could make it to the entrance 
of the building. I think that's where Kevin McGovern 
went, and I don't know where the probies went. 

So I just dove underneath the High-Rise 2 



L. GIACONELLI 

Unit. I dove underneath there, and just as I got 
underneath there, the first building had collapsed. I 
didn't realize the whole building had collapsed. I 
knew something significant had come down, but I didn't 
realize at the time that it was the whole building. So 
I dove under the rig and there was another guy 
underneath there with me. It turned out he was a fire 
patrolman. He wasn't a firefighter. But we were under 
the rig and the next thing I knew, I heard the crash, I 
felt the impact, and it went from day to night. 

We couldn't see anything. I couldn't see 
anything, and then, of course, we couldn't breathe 
anymore, and the guy next to me starts yelling that he 
couldn't breathe, couldn't breathe. I had my hood 
around my neck and I was able to get it up over my 
nose, and between breathing through my hood and into my 
coat, I was able to breathe for a while. I just laid 
there for a few minutes and tried to stay calm and get 
the other guy calmed down and I just waited until I 
thought everything was safe again. 

So after a few minutes we were able to see 
some light again, and I started to crawl out and I dug 
myself out and then I poked my head out from under the 
rig. The other guy came out with me and we stood up 



L. GIACONELLI 

and kind of shook each other, made sure we were okay. 
I said, "Are you all right?" He said, "Yes." He said, 
"Are you all right?" I said, "Yeah, we're all 
right." 

So with that we kind of went our separate 
ways, and I just took a quick look around and I don't 
recall ever looking up. I don't really ever recall 
looking up. Not that there was anything to see. It 
was all dust and debris and there really wasn't much to 
see. 

So I made my way back just a couple of feet 
into the driveway and I went looking for my mask and I 
found it. It was right where I had left it and it was 
buried, but I was able to dig it out. Most of our 
equipment was still all there and everybody was clearly 
shook. I don't mean shook that they were scared. They 
obviously had been affected by the impact of this 
thing, and we were all covered with dust and dirt and 
debris and you couldn't breathe and that stuff. So I 
got my mask on, but by the time I got it on and hooked 
up, I didn't have to put it on my face. I was able to 
breathe normally. I made my way down into the entrance 
of the underground garage and into the World Financial 
Center . 



L. GIACONELLI 

So we decided to make our way up the stairway 
of that basement of that building up into the upper 
floors. When I got into the building and we started 
finding our way in there, we were kind of strung out 
and I was still with Lieutenant Doherty, I think, and 
Eddie Cachia. Kevin McGovern and the two probies, I 
don't know where they were. I remember trying to find 
my way through this maze down there and I finally found 
a staircase and made my way up. 

Somewhere along in that process I came across 
the members of Ladder 16. Danny Williams was the 
officer I remember and I know Stevie Wright was there, 
Joe Petrich, Oscar Davila, and I can't remember who 
else. But they had an EMS worker, I don't know if he 
was a New York City EMS worker, but he was definitely 
an EMS worker or EMT, on a stretcher, not a board, not 
a back board, a stretcher, and they asked me if I could 
help them carry this guy out. I kind of said, "Well, 
what's wrong with him?" They said, "We think he has a 
broken leg and a broken arm." 

So he was kind of a big guy and they were 
having a really tough time trying to get him up the 
stairs because it was a real tight staircase and this 
guy was big and we had all our gear on. I mean, I had 



10 

L. GIACONELLI 



all my bunker gear on and my mask, and we were trying 
to carry this guy up. I think there were about four or 
five guys from Ladder 16, me and maybe one other guy, I 
don't recall, and we struggled to get this guy up these 
stairs. We struggled so bad that even at one point I 
asked the guy if it was possible that he could walk 
because we were having such a hard time with him, and 
the guy said he didn't think so. 

Anyway, we wound up carrying him up. I don't 
know how many flights of stairs it was, but we got him 
up. I think it was probably at least three, maybe four 
flights, and we popped a door and we wound up in the 
huge atrium or lobby of the World Financial Center. We 
carried him out and I made it through the building and 
came out on the back side of the building. So now I 
was in I think it's the harbor area. I don't know what 
it ' s called . 

Q. Marina? 

A. The marina area, I guess. So that building 
is 2 World Financial Center. That's the Merrill Lynch 
building, I guess. 

So I came out on the other side and I found 
Lieutenant Doherty from 53 and Eddie Cachia from 53 and 
they were searching around there, and we talked for a 



11 

L. GIACONELLI 



few minutes and made sure we were okay and tried to 
digest what had happened to us. We started searching 
around, and I was curious or worried about what had 
happened to Kevin McGovern and the two probies. 
Somehow or another they went in one direction and I 
went in the other. I wound up going into, looking at 
the map here, it says the Winter Garden, which was this 
glass atrium that I was in. 

So I went into the glass atrium and I started 
working my way to the front of the building. When I 
was in there, it was pretty desolate. I didn't see any 
other firefighters and I really didn't see any other 
people, except I do remember seeing a few civilians 
walking around and they looked like they were workers 
from the building, not us, but maintenance workers that 
had semi-uniforms on. 

So I started working my way to the front of 
the building and I got to the front door of the 
building. When I got to the front door of the 
building, I took a quick look up and I saw that the 
north tower was directly in front of me, still burning, 
and I don't really remember looking for the south 
tower, but my view might have been obstructed at that 
point because the Winter Garden door was a little set 



12 
L. GIACONELLI 



back from the World Financial Center entrance. 

So I took a few steps outside the entrance of 
the building onto the stairway there, and the High-Rise 
2 Unit that I had been under when the first building 
came down was parked right there on the right-hand side 
on the grass. I took a few steps and I was looking 
around, and the next thing I knew, I heard the same 
sound that I'd heard when the first building had come 
down. So I didn't have to look up. I knew what the 
sound was. I didn't have to look up. It was the same 
sound I had heard when the first building came down. 

So, again, I was caught out in the open and I 
didn't really know where to go. I guess instantly I 
decided not to go under the High-Rise 2 Unit. I 
decided to turn and try and run back into the 
building. So that's what I did. 

As I ran through the door, I remember saying 
to myself close the door behind you, close the door 
behind you. But, of course, I didn't really have time 
to do that or even attempt it. I just tried to run as 
fast as I could, and I didn't get very far. The 
building came down and, of course, the concussion from 
the impact blew me down and knocked me down and blew my 
helmet off my head and sent me flying down I guess it 



13 
L. GIACONELLI 



was the hallway of the main entrance of the building. 

There was a tremendous crash and glass and 
then the same effect that had happened the first time. 
It went from day to night. A huge, huge blast of hot 
wind gusting and smoke and dust and all kinds of debris 
hit me and blew me over and covered me, and the same 
thing. I just tried to get my head down into my hood 
and my face inside of my coat where I could try and 
breathe again because it was the same thing. I 
couldn't see and I couldn't breathe. It was just a 
repeat of the same thing that happened to me the first 
time. 

So I waited, it seemed like an eternity, but 
I waited a few seconds, and then, of course, I 
remembered that I had my mask on my back this time. So 
I reached back and turned it on or made sure it was on, 
I don't recall, and grabbed the face piece. Of course, 
I blew into the face piece like you're supposed to do 
and it didn't make any difference. The face piece was 
full of debris and dust and who knows what else. I 
took a couple of quick hits off it and I got two 
mouthfuls and nosefuls and my eyes all full of stuff 
that was in the mask and the stuff that was all around 
me. 



14 
L. GIACONELLI 



Eventually that cleared up and I was able to 
wear the mask. I got my mask on and, of course, I 
started hearing some screaming and yelling around me. 
So there obviously were some other people around, and 
then I remembered that I had seen a few civilians or 
these maintenance workers in the building to my right 
as I had walked in, so then now they were to my left. 

So I started crawling along the floor because 
I couldn't see anything, and I was right alongside the 
wall and I got my right hand on the wall and started 
following the wall along, and I found my helmet. Hard 
to believe, but I found my helmet. It had been blown 
down the hallway a distance and I came across it and I 
was able to get it on my head. I had also had a 
flashlight. So I just crawled along the wall, crawled 
along the wall, and I heard a guy screaming in front of 
me and, sure enough, I eventually came to him and found 
him. I grabbed him and told him he was okay, and I 
just said, "Stay with me and we'll find our way out." 

As I started going along, I came across the 
other people that I heard yelling or screaming in the 
atrium. So I got them all together and I had them all 
hold on to me or follow me along the wall and somehow 
or another I saw light. Even though it was pitch black 



15 
L. GIACONELLI 



where I was and we couldn't see, I saw light coming 
from somewhere. I said, "Let's go. Let's see where 
this light is coming from." 

It turned out that it was a storefront and 
the light was coming from another atrium that was 
behind the store that was in the atrium. I don't 
remember if the door was open or whatever. I didn't 
have to force the door, but we were able to open it. 
Maybe it just swung open. I popped in there and it was 
clear as a bell in there. We could see and we could 
breathe. So I got all these people in there. 

What these guys were doing, and I give them a 
lot of credit, these maintenance guys, they had a 
woman, a black woman, I remember, and she was kind of 
large also and they, much to their credit, were trying 
to carry her out of this building. They were inside 
the building, but they still got impacted by the 
collapse of the north tower. 

So I got them all into the storefront and got 
them all calmed down. They were pretty excited and 
nervous. I got them all calmed down and I said, 
"Okay. We're okay here. Just stay here," I said, 
"and I'll find a way out and then I'll come back and 
get you. So just stay here. I'll find a way out and 



16 
L. GIACONELLI 



I'll come back and get you." 

I put my mask back on again and I had my 
flashlight, the same thing, just followed along the 
right-hand side of the wall, worked my way around. I 
went through the whole glass atrium and I found an exit 
door and I popped out, and again I popped out onto the 
harbor side of the World Financial Center. So then I 
got my bearings and I left the door open and I retraced 
my steps back to the same store that I had left the 
people in and got them out. I counted heads and I made 
sure I had, I believe it was seven people. I made sure 
I had seven, and I said, "Okay. Let's just follow me 
and we'll just follow our way out." I just followed 
the wall all the way back and they followed me, and I 
got them back to that exit door and got them out into 
the harbor area and that was it. That was the last I 
saw of them. 

Then I started looking around, and it was 
pretty desolate down there. There was really nobody 
around. Off in the distance I saw my Lieutenant, Bobby 
Doherty, and Eddie Cachia from 53, and they had been 
down by the seawall when the second tower had come 
down. They said they had wedged themselves up against 
it and still got blasted there, too, tremendously. I 



17 
L. GIACONELLI 



guess you could say they were kind of far away but 
really not far away enough, and they were impacted 
enough that Bobby Doherty said he actually thought he 
was going to have to jump in the water to get away from 
it. 

So then we regrouped, the three of us, and we 
didn't know what to do really. It was clear that where 
we had been had been completely demolished and 
devastated, and we were in pretty bad shape. Our eyes 
were full of stuff and, of course, our noses and our 
mouths were all full of debris and we were trying to 
breathe. Because we knew we couldn't use our masks 
constantly. We would run out of air. So in the open 
air we had to breathe the air. We just couldn't use 
our tanks for any length of time. 

So we started working our way north around 
the back of the World Financial Center, and I guess we 
either went through the back, the glass atrium behind 
the American Express building, or we went on -- I'm 
looking at the map here. It looks like maybe North End 
Avenue. I don't recall how we found our way to Vesey 
Street. But somehow or another we found our way to 
Vesey Street, and then we went over to West Street and 
we started to walk north. 



18 
L. GIACONELLI 



We went north about as far as Barclay, I 
believe, and we sat down along the wall there and we 
tried to collect our thoughts and figure out what to do 
and what had happened to us and all that. I don't 
think we ever really realized that the two buildings 
had come down. I guess we maybe knew it but we weren't 
sure. We sat down and, again, we were surrounded by 
hundreds of people, a lot of cops. Everybody was 
covered with dirt and dust and debris. 

I noticed a lot of people had cell phones. 
So for some reason or another we asked somebody if we 
could use their cell phone, and Kevin McGovern called 
his wife and we asked his wife to notify my family and 
Bobby Doherty's family that we were okay. 

Then we sat there for a few minutes and we 
came across a lot of people, but I remember 
specifically running into Pete Clinton, who was the 
chauffeur of Engine 22, and Joey Graziano, who was the 
chauffeur of Ladder 13, and they looked shook, but Pete 
Clinton was all banged up. He wasn't wearing bunker 
gear. He was driving. He just had shorts on and a 
work shirt, and he was all banged up and bruised and 
covered with dust and clearly distraught. Joe Graziano 
had all his gear on. As it turned out, they were the 



19 
L. GIACONELLI 



only survivors of their company, and I told them to 
stay with us. They stayed with us for a while, and 
then we decided to make our way back down West Street 
back to the site to see what we could do. We didn't 
stay up there very long, maybe ten or 15 minutes. 

So we made our way back down West Street and 
on the way down I started looking for our rig. I 
didn't know where our rig was. I couldn't remember 
where I parked it. Of course, the whole landscape now 
changed, so I had no idea where it was. So we started 
walking down West Street and I was looking for the rig, 
looking for the rig, and I couldn't find it. I thought 
for sure that it had been crushed. 

So we made our way back down as far as we 
could and started searching around, and I asked 
somebody if they knew where 53 ' s rig was and somebody, 
I don't recall who, said they thought they saw it, it 
was over on the west side, somebody had moved it. So I 
told Bobby Doherty, "Let's see if we can find the rig," 
because, obviously, if we could find the rig, we could 
get some tools and maybe fresh bottles for our masks 
and start working down at the site. 

So all of us took a walk over on Vesey Street 
and, sure enough, there was the rig. It was hooked up 



20 
L. GIACONELLI 



to one of the marine units. It was already hooked up 
and pumping water. It was relaying water to another 
engine and they were supplying a tower ladder with 
water. I guess they were pouring water I think on the 
Customs Building. We also noticed that 7 World 
Financial Center was fully involved there, too. 

We started getting whatever gear we needed 
off the rig, and there was another chauffeur working on 
53 ' s rig and he was supplying water. He asked me if I 
was the chauffeur of 53, and I said yes, I was. He 
said, "Would you mind taking over here? I'd like to 
get back to my unit." I said yeah, sure, I would, and 
I basically operated for the rest of the day while 53 's 
guys went down to the site. I went over there a few 
times, but I basically operated 53' s rig for most of 
the day pumping water, relaying it to the other engines 
and the tower ladder. 

I did go over to the site a few times to try 
and help out, but my eyes were very bad and I couldn't 
really see very well. About 2:00 or 3:00 in the 
afternoon, I finally had gotten them washed out once, 
but it didn't work, and I started going to the triage 
areas and washing my eyes out, washing my eyes out, and 
they just weren't getting any better. 



21 
L. GIACONELLI 



I wound up staying down there. I was down 
there from about 9:20 in the morning until maybe 10:00, 
10:30 at night, and we wound up going to the main 
medical facility and they told me my eyes were no good, 
they had to take me to the hospital, and they wound up 
taking me and Eddie Cachia and I think Bobby Doherty, 
too, to the hospital, where they worked on my eyes and 
checked me out for anything else that was wrong. 

One thing I forgot to say was, after the 
second building had collapsed and we worked our way up 
West Street, I had run into the two probies that I had 
been looking for all morning, Mike Catalano and Dan 
Schofield, and they were okay. I still to this day 
don't really know where they went. I don't know if 
they ran into the Winter Garden glass atrium or if they 
just went up north on West street after the first 
building had collapsed, and I don't know where they 
were when the second building had collapsed. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Okay. Well, thanks 
a lot, Louie. We appreciate your cooperation. The 
time now is 7:22 p.m. This concludes the interview. 



File No. 911025? 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER VINCENT PALMIERI 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



V. PALMIERI 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: The date is December 
6, 2001. The time is now 11:08 a.m. This is 
Battalion Chief John Malkin of the Safety 
Battalion of the New York City Fire Department. 

I'm conducting an interview today with 
Firefighter first Vincent Palmieri of Engine 
Company Number 6 regarding events of September 11, 
2001. We are in the quarters of Engine 4. There 
is no one else present in the room and the 
interview begins now. 
Q. Say whatever you like. 

A. Basically I was on my way into the city that 
day through New Jersey when I first heard of a plane 
hitting the Trade Center and I tuned into 1010 WINS to 
hear what was going on. Being from lower Manhattan, I 
knew all the companies would be there. As I was going 
further in on the Turnpike, I started coming in through 
the Holland Tunnel when the second plane hit. I was 
able to actually see the Trade Center, both of them, 
smoke coming from them. 

I went through the Holland Tunnel, got in, 
started heading towards my fire house, which is 6 
Engine. I got to 6 Engine and got my gear together, 
changed, put my uniform on. I took a quick look at the 



V. PALMIERI 

cars outside quarters so I would have an idea of who 
was on duty that day, but I really didn't look at the 
riding list or anything like that. I made a quick mark 
in the journal so someone would have some sort of idea 
that I was on my way over. I just started heading over 
to where I knew the company would be, or the lobby 
command post would probably be set up in the north 
tower . 

I walked up Park Row, made a right, went down 
Vesey Street, cut across Vesey Street, crossed Church 
and started heading towards the entrance of 5 World 
Trade Center, which is right on that corner. Just as I 
was about to get maybe about 20 or 30 feet from the 
entrance of 5 World Trade Center, is when the south 
tower began to collapse. 

I was with a female police sergeant, a group 
of civilians and I got everybody against the building 
wall which is right by Borders and Books and we took 
cover under the overpass of 5 World Trade Center. Then 
basically the collapse occurred. I wasn't totally sure 
if we were caught in it or not. Just basically waited 
until we had some sort of visibility to try to make my 
way out. 

I waited a period of time, I'm not sure of 



V. PALMIERI 

the time here, because I lost track of time. I waited 
till I had a little bit of visibility, turned my light 
on and told everyone to stay with me. I decided the 
best thing to do would be to get away from the area, 
since I had no idea of what was going on. We were 
going to try to head to the end of the building line 
following the wall and then head diagonally across 
Church to the opposite corner of Vesey, then try to go 
up Vesey and get out of here. 

I had everybody stay with me. There was one 
gentleman, a civilian, who was cut pretty bad. I 
believe it was on his right arm. I told him just 
follow along. We would get him medical help as soon as 
I could. As we followed along the wall, I came into a 
group of ESU officers, so that was right outside of 
Borders and Books on that corner. They had donned air 
masks. I think they were either ESU or Port 
Authority. They weren't firemen. The masks looked 
different and they weren't in fireman gear. 

They were headed actually back towards the 
entrance of 5 World Trade Center to try to go in the 
building. I was like, guys, I don't know where you are 
going, but we don't know what happened. I wouldn't try 
to go in. Let's get out and find out what's going on 



V. PALMIERI 

before we go in. They said good idea. They turned 
around, I said we got to go this way out. They started 
going along the wall like we were. 

When I reached the end of the wall, they went 
one way and I led, and I stayed with the group of 
people. I brought them across the street like I said, 
diagonally across to the northeast corner of Church and 
Vesey. There was a construction awning up there. I 
went underneath there. There was a beauty parlor like 
on the corner. A few stores in off Vesey there was a 
deli . 

Some police officers had already taken the 
front door to the deli. They took out the glass and 
they were getting people inside there. There was still 
a lot of smoke, but visibility was pretty decent, not 
totally dark. 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: It's 11:12. I had 

to shut the tape. We were interrupted by somebody 

coming into the room. We now resume at 11:13 

hours . 

A. Again, Palmieri. Basically, there was an 
officer, he took out the door to some sort of deli. He 
was getting people in there. We were still in a light 
smoke condition, not too bad, but we didn't know what 



V. PALMIERI 

was going on. People that I was with and a female 
sergeant, I told the officer get them in there, one of 
the guys is hurt bad, you got to get him in an 
ambulance. I'm going to go back and try to find my 
company. I just wanted to find my company and find out 
where they were. I knew where they were probably at, 
so I turned around and as I'm getting back into Vesey 
Street a Suburban comes down Vesey Street, a Fire 
Department Suburban comes down Vesey Street. 

A bunch of guys jump out, I go up to the 
officer who was in the passenger side. I said where 
are you guys from. They said they are from the Rock, 
research and development, if I believe correctly. I 
told them okay. 

During this I only had my bunker coat on and 
my helmet. After the collapse I dropped my bunker 
pants. I figured we would be walking up 80 flights 
either way, so I was carrying the bunker pants. I left 
the bunker pants after the collapse. I only had the 
coat and a helmet. The officer asked me, are you all 
right, are you okay? I said yes, I have no mask and no 
pants. They were gearing up, they were going to go in 
and try to do a search and find some guys, so I told 
one of the guys, look, I only got shorts on, I'm ready 



V. PALMIERI 

to go, do you have an extra pair of bunker pants? He 
gave me his bunker pants and his boots. I couldn't get 
a mask from them, but I was able to get an axe and I 
got a search rope. I think there were 3 firemen and 
two Lieutenants. They asked me to stay with this other 
Lieutenant, he seemed a little bit older than the rest 
of them and he walked with a limp. I don't know any of 
the guys ' names . 

There was also an Engine parked on the 
corner, which would be the southeast corner of Vesey 
and Church. He was hooked up to a hydrant and he had 
the spicket going and the water flowing. I went over I 
told the guys wait up a minute. I washed off, got the 
stuff out of my eyes, cleared my mouth as best as I 
could and took a drink. 

Then they started heading up Vesey Street, 
that would be westbound down Vesey, along the World 
Trade Center site. I was with the other Lieutenant, 
like I said, so we were maybe a half block behind 
them. I said Lou look, I know the area down here. I 
have been here a long time. I don't think it's the 
best move for us to walk up Vesey Street. We don't 
even know what happened. 

At that point I don't think either of us 



V. PALMIERI 

could look up. There was still too much smoke to know 
that the entire south tower had collapsed. We thought 
maybe a portion collapsed. So I said I think we should 
go one block north and come down Barclay, which is what 
we did. We went down Church and started to come down 
Barclay and that was just me, this Lieutenant and it 
was actually an off duty former union president, 
Boyle . 

We met up with him. He was looking for his 
son, who was in 33 Engine that day. The rest of the 
guys just decided to continue up Vesey Street. I never 
ran into them again for the rest of the day so I don't 
know what happened to them. 

This officer and I were walking down Barclay 
Street. I don't know the exact -- how far down we 
got. Also with Boyle when we heard the same noise that 
I had heard before. I knew it was the second building 
starting to collapse, the north tower collapsing. The 
officer I was with had his officer's tool. We just 
happened to be under a construction type awning and in 
front of 2 glass doors to an entrance to one of the 
buildings on Vesey. I don't remember the exact 
address, but I know it is DC 37 's headquarters, I 
think . 



V. PALMIERI 

He made the move, he started to take the 
front doors. I had the axe. I moved with him. We 
took the doors, went into the lobby, looking to see if 
anybody was in the lobby. At this point the building 
continued to collapse, the building is surrounded by 
smoke. We ended up meeting an Engine Company, I 
believe, from Brooklyn in the lobby. Half the company 
was there. Half of their company was still in the 
street . 

One of the guys was like my officer, an 
Engine officer and the chauffeur was still out in the 
street. We made it into the lobby and I was like, 
there's a lot of dust out there. It doesn't look like 
the collapse came this far up because the other 
buildings would have blocked it. So I believe their 
rig was parked on, you don't have it marked here, and I 
don't know the name of the street. 

Their rig was either - I don't believe it was 
West Street, this street here. It's between West 
Street and West Broadway. Between Barclay and Murray. 
I think it's Greenwich Street. I think that is the 
name of the street. 
Q. Greenwich? 
A. Greenwich. I think that's the street they 



10 
V. PALMIERI 



were on. So he took the search rope and him and one of 
the guys decided they wanted to go out and find their 
officer and the engine chauffeur. We said all right, 
we will wait here. We will give you a few minutes. If 
you don't come back we will follow the rope out and 
come get you. 

We took a feed and waited for them to come 
back and the Engine officer and the chauffeur were 
fine. They just took a feed. They were in the street 
but they were okay. There was, I don't believe, any 
serious injuries. 

Basically, then we were in the lobby for a 
few minutes. A couple of guys made phone calls to 
their wives and stuff. The original officer that I was 
with from the company from Research and Development, I 
don't know if he worked there, but he came with them 
from the Rock, decided to go out on his own and try to 
find his guys now. I decided I would stay with this 
Engine Company and operate with them as a company. I 
tried to get them to come around with me and look for 
the main entrance for the north tower of the Trade 
Center to try to get in. 

Basically that's what we did. We stayed 
together. We walked out down Barclay, got to West 



11 

V. PALMIERI 



Street, came up West Street. I noticed an Engine 
hooked up with a couple of lines coming off of it. I 
noticed he had a hydrant, he had a good hydrant, he had 
good pressure, it looked like. He was right on the 
corner of Barclay and West. As we walked up West 
Street we could see a lot of cars burning, a lot of 
smoke, other than the smoke from the collapse. There 
were cars burning all over Vesey, up around the park, a 
couple of rigs, a dumpster, right on the corner of 
Vesey and West burning. 

Of course 6 World Trade Center was right on 
the corner of West and Vesey burning. Still there was 
a lot of smoke. I wasn't sure it was a total collapse 
of both buildings. I didn't realize that until much 
later on in the day. 

I told the officer, we've got an Engine here 
with good lines if you want to get a line and try to 
get something in operation. He said fine, let's go up 
to Vesey, go a little closer and try to get an 
assessment of what's going on. Like I said, there was 
a huge dumpster on that corner going, right next to the 
AT&T building. 

So he said, all right, go back with a couple 
of guys. We searched and grabbed one of the two and a 



12 
V. PALMIERI 



half inch lines that were laying in the street and we 
started to operate it into the dumpster. At around 
that time we were there for a little while. He went 
off just a little bit to see what was going on. Trying 
to find guys, find out what we should do. 

Vesey Street -- I don't remember if it was 
totally blocked at the time, but there was definitely, 
definitely stuff across Vesey Street that you could 
see. You couldn't get totally down Vesey. Maybe all 
the way to West Broadway. You could see the damage at 
7 World Trade Center, the damage into the AT&T 
building. You could see the damage - 5 World Trade 
Center was burning. There was an aerial ladder up at 5 
World Trade Center. I saw guys operating up into 5 
World Trade Center trying to do some sort of search. 
I'm sorry, let me correct myself. 6 World Trade 
Center, right on the corner of West and Vesey. 

There was an aerial ladder parked on West 
Street operating to the concourse type area on the 6 
World Trade Center looking for guys and they were 
trying to do a search. At this time the truck was 
intact. 6 World Trade Center was almost fully involved 
in fire. We operated the line into the dumpster. We 
stayed there for a little while and then I saw one of 



13 
V. PALMIERI 



the first members of my company to come in and it was 
actually Captain Sakowich. He had walked up West 
Street. He saw me. During the time that I went back 
to the Engine to get the line I was able to get a mask 
off the Engine. Captain Sakowich came up to me, asked 
me if I seen the guys or whatever. 

I said Captain, do you know where Engine 6 
would be. I was trying to operate with these guys. 
The walkway on West Street for the north tower was 
down. So there was no way to walk straight into what 
would have been the old lobby of the north tower, where 
6 Engine would have been. So he said I'm going to try 
to find a way around. Stay here. He said give me your 
mask for now. I stayed with the company. 

Then I found another member from my company, 
maybe, I don't know, 20, half an hour later, 
Firefighter Jeff Straub, hooked up with me. I told him 
Sakowich was around. He was trying to find a way over 
to where the guys were. He said let's not wait here. 
Let's try to find Sakowich or let's try to find our own 
way in. 

We proceeded to walk down Vesey Street, West 
Street was totally blocked. We couldn't get across. 
We got to the corner of West and Vesey. Chief Nigro 



14 



V. PALMIERI 



was there and I saw Chief Pfeifer and a couple of other 
guys from the Battalion. I don't know if they 
responded in or they were there prior to the collapse. 

Basically Nigro -- a lot of the officers were 
trying to get information from Chief Nigro as far as to 
what type of operations he wanted them to commence. 



Chief Pfeifer was just saying 
I don't know what happened. Let's just get everybody 
down Vesey towards the water away from the scene. 
Myself and firefighters Straub had just broke off from 
them and we walked around through the World Financial 
Center area, which would be through the lobby of 3 
World Financial Center, the American Express building, 
out into where the Winter Garden is, but on the 
outside, not actually into the Winter Garden. You 
could see the Winter Garden had took a lot of damage 
also . 

While we were on the outside near the marina, 
walking near the marina, because we were going to try 
to come around up Liberty to see if we could gain 
access from West Street there, we encountered another 
group of firemen that were carrying a fireman on a 
stokes basket. I don't know what company they were 



15 
V. PALMIERI 



from, but I do have pictures of that. A photographer 
took pictures of us doing the carry so I could give you 
his name if you need it, in a pinch, probably the 
road. 

There was only maybe four or five firemen 
helping to carry this guy, so we helped to carry him. 
They needed help. We carried him to a boat that was 
waiting. It was a marine company boat. I don't know 
what marine company. They got him on the boat. I 
believe they were taking him to a Jersey hospital. 
They really didn't say. They got him on the boat. Me 
and Jeff stayed together and we started again to come 
around Liberty Street. Liberty and West in that area, 
then we came across, I found Captain Mallery from 10. 
I saw Captain -- I think you already spoke to him. 
From 10 Engine. I asked him where their guys were. If 
they know how their guys are doing. They basically 
didn't know much about where their guys were or 
anything or where my company was . 

Again West Street was pretty well blocked. 
There wasn't any good access into the area then. 
That's when we basically started to realize it was a 
total collapse, so we tried to make our way into this 
pile or into the area where my company would have 



16 
V. PALMIERI 



been. We went down. Liberty Street was pretty well 
blocked. We couldn't go down that. We continued down 
West. I think we went up Cedar, then took Washington 
back to Albany to try to get to where 10 Engine's 
quarters were and see what was going on over there and 
see if we could come in kind of like from the southeast 
corner or so. 

I got over by 10 Engine's quarters. There 
was a lot of damage to the quarters. There was a lot 
of destruction in the street there. That wasn't any 
other easier access. We ended up somewhere around this 
area again, meeting up with Captain Sakowich. Trying 
to get back around through the Winter Garden area over 
there. Sakowich and Firefighter Straub, then, and 
myself, we walked around looking for guys and basically 
the day just dragged on. We would get separated, I 
would run to numerous different guys that I know 
throughout the job and trying to find reports of who is 
where and stuff like that. 

Eventually we end up finding the easiest way 
back out on to the pile is through the Winter Garden 
where the glass had taken a lot of damage, but it was 
still intact at this point. Then we got out on to the 
pile there and started doing some searches over there. 



17 
V. PALMIERI 



As the day dragged on, again I got separated 
from Jeff and Captain Sakowich. I kind of was 
operating on my own for a while with a lot of other 
guys. I don't know even know who they were. I just 
started getting fatigued. I came out just to take a 
rest a little bit, out into this area here again on 
Vesey and West and I ran into Firefighter Bob Emans . I 
asked Bob, Bob, were you here, who was working, et 
cetera. He gave me a quick rundown of who knew was on 
the rig, where the rig was, what he was doing. He was 
an extra man. He jumped on the rig that day and he was 
assisting the chauffeur. 

So he capped up the hook up and supplied the 
Siamese and then that's when the collapse occurred. I 
had absolutely no idea of the time of the day. Bob 
might have had a better idea and Bob was like look, I 
think the best thing we should do right now is go back 
to 6 Engine, try to regroup, find out who is where, 
definitely who is missing, who might be in the hospital 
and come back and get back. We got to get something to 
drink. We need something to eat. It was a long day. 

I was like all right, Bob, start heading 
back. I'm going to head back in a little while. I 
stayed a little bit longer, I don't know how much 



V. PALMIERI 

longer. It could have been maybe an hour or so. I saw 
Firefighter Al Sicignano from my company. I told Al 
what was going on, how long I had been there, who I had 
seen so far and that was probably just Jeff, Captain 
Sakowich and Bob Emans . Bob had said that Jack Butler 
was also okay. He was the chauffeur that day from 6 
Engine. The rest of the company we had no reports of 
where they were. We knew they were in the building, we 
didn't know where. 

So then I told Al, I saw Bobby, he said he 
thinks it's a good idea we go back to 6 and try to 
regroup and come back in a little while with a better 
plan or something. Al was like all right, go ahead, 
you go on your own. I will meet you back there in a 
little bit. I left and went back to 6 Engine. 

While I'm at 6 Engine, getting phone calls 
from some of the wives, specifically Lieutenant 
(inaudible) 's wife. Gave her whatever information we 
could and that's when 7 World Trade collapsed. So that 
might give you a time frame of how long I was there. 

Stayed at 6 Engine for a while. I don't 
remember who else came back and I grouped up with a 
couple of guys, a handful of guys. We headed back over 
after we got something to drink, a little something to 



19 
V. PALMIERI 



eat. I headed back over, spent the remainder of the 
night there until late into the night. Ran into a 
brother-in-law of one of the firefighters who we knew 
was missing that day, Billy Green. His brother-in-law 
is a corrections officer, at the corner of West and 
Liberty, with Jeff Straub. He was looking for him. 
Had no idea where he was. I just told him that and I 
told him I would be in touch with the families or him 
as soon as we found somebody and just stayed there a 
long time that night. 

Basically didn't see anyone from the company 
that responded that day at all that day. I don't 
remember now. I ended up going back to 6 Engine 
sometime late that night. Got back to 6 Engine. Most 
of the guys that had reported in from home were already 
back at 6 Engine. I was glad to see Butchie Barone and 
a bunch of guys, because I knew that they might have 
been there before me, even though they might not have 
took a mark in the journal. I didn't know who was 
where. I was glad to see most of the guys. 

That's when I started to find out exactly who 
was missing from the company and there were reports 
that Billy Green was okay. He was in a hospital but it 
wasn't confirmed yet. That's it. Just various 



20 
V. PALMIERI 



information like that. 

We just operated as a company for the next 
almost week or two on our own going back and forth. 
The rig was crushed, so we weren't really responding. 
We didn't have a rig for a week or so, so the company 
basically just woke up every morning, ten or 15 guys 
would get together, walk over, one or two guys would 
stay at the house and try to keep the house organized 
with one officer, just to have some sort of idea who 
was where in case anything else happened. 

Every once in a while they would be 
relocating company. I don't remember if that was like 
day 3 maybe or 4. That's basically how we operated 
until we went to an actual AB chart. When we went to 
the AB chart, really didn't make much. The guys that 
were on duty got to go definitely, except one of the 
guys that was on duty had to stay at the fire house. 
Guys that were off duty geared up and went over. It 
was almost like as we were drawing straws of who had to 
stay back and that was it. I don't know what else. 

Q. Okay, very good. You mentioned that north 
walk bridge was completely down? 

A. Yes. 

Q. You couldn't cross West Street because that 



21 
V. PALMIERI 



bridge was down, but it became necessary to go up and 
down West Street you had to find a way around? 

A. Right. That's what we were looking for. 
There was a total collapse in that area. There was no 
way in. No way over or around. You couldn't even 
probably bring portable ladders to get a truck in, 
because there was just too much debris in the street. 
There was a lot, lot of rigs parked on West Street 
between Vesey and Murray, both sides of the street. 
Just rigs all over the place. 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: Okay. I thank you 

for the interview. The time is now 11:30 a.m. 

This concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110260 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER DANIEL STERLING 

Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



D. STERLING 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: The date is December 
6, 2001. The time is 1434 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Malkin, safety battalion, New York 
City Fire Department. 

I'm conducting an interview with Firefighter 
6th Grade Daniel Sterling, Engine 24, regarding 
the events that occurred on September 11. There 
is no one else present in the room, and the 
interview is following right now. 

Q. Just talk in a normal voice and tell me what 
happened. 

Where did you respond from? 
A. We responded from quarters. I was getting 
off duty at nine o'clock that Tuesday morning. The 
alarm came in at 8:47, so I had been relieved already. 
We're a five-man engine, so because it came in as a 
second alarm, and I just got on the job in February, I 
rolled as the doorman, to get, you know, experience. 
Second alarm fire, we don't get that. 

So we were riding down -- I was the doorman 

-- and going south. The control and the nozzle could 

see that we actually had a good job. There were a lot 

of people standing in the streets, looking down toward 

the building, but based on my position, I couldn't see 



D. STERLING 

what they saw. 

We pulled up to the twin towers on West 
Street and into the lobby of the north tower. We got 
there about nine o'clock before the second building got 
hit. We didn't know the second building got hit at 
nine o'clock or anything. 

When we made it into the lobby, there was 
debris falling from the building. Guys were trying to 
vent those big windows in the lobby. I saw 33 engine 
in the lobby. I recognized one guy, who I didn't -- 
who wound up being missing, but I remember seeing him 
in the lobby. He said, "Hey, how you doing? We're 
here to go to work" and whatever. We were in the lobby 
waiting for the elevator. They set up the command 
post, and we are trying to find out if we were going to 
be able to take the elevators up, because they said 
that there was a reported fire on the 80th Floor, so, 
of course, we were going to try to get to the 
elevators . 

After about maybe four, five minutes, still 
no elevator. They're saying the elevators weren't 
working. Ladder 20, the officer from Ladder 20, 
decided to start walking up the stairs. He like 
rallied his guys. So we're walking. We're going to 



D. STERLING 

start walking. Everybody at that point started walking 
up the stairs . 

We -- my team started up the A staircase, and 
we were following Ladder 20. I guess all the other 
companies were following behind us . We ended up going 
up single file. Civilians were coming down single 
file. They were telling us what floors they were 
coming from. 

Lieutenant Hanson was the officer, so he was 
finding out what floors they were escaping from, what 
the conditions were like on their floors, and by the 
time we got to the 11th Floor, people started to get 
tired. 

We got up to the 15th Floor, and we were -- 
started taking breaks. The 15th Floor might be open, 
and then the consecutive ones would be closed up until 
about the 21st Floor, so we came off the 15th, and we 
heard Maydays on the radio from Ladder 10. Ladder 10 
had two men down with chest pains. We heard that on 
the radio. 

Then we would keep going. When we stopped on 
the 15th Floor, we took a survey of the floor, found 
the vending machines . Guys had broken the vending 
machines already to start taking out the water, so we 



D. STERLING 

were taking bottles of water, taking a break, and then 
going back on the stairs. We kept doing that every 
five or six floors, wherever there was an open door. 

Realistically what happened is it took us 
about an hour to get to the 37th Floor, and the guys at 
that point -- well, at the 27th Floor, my lieutenant 
decided to drop two roll-ups, because we were taking 
the four roll-ups and the control bag. We were taking 
a beating just going up the stairs, getting tired, so 
we dropped two roll-ups on the 27th Floor, and we left 
one of our members on the 27th Floor because he really 
-- he didn't feel he could make it any further. 
Q. Uh-huh. 

A. So we continued up. We got to the 37th 
Floor, and we were about to drop the other two 
roll-ups, because Lieutenant Hanson said he got word 
that we were just going to back up 33 engine, so we 
were going to use their hose. We weren't going to take 
any of our own hose. 

At that point when we were on the 37th Floor, 
that's when the building shook from the other tower 
going down, so -- but we didn't know it was the other 
tower that was going down. A battalion chief -- the 
battalion chief from Battalion 11, came from a higher 



D. STERLING 

floor. He came down and saw us on the 37th Floor and 
told us that he thought there was a partial collapse of 
the 65th Floor of our building, and that we should drop 
everything and leave the building. 

Lieutenant Hanson didn't hesitate. He had us 
drop everything, and we started to leave the building. 
We were right by Staircase A. The vending machines 
were around the corner to the right of Staircase A, so 
a lot of the guys that were taking out water and stuff 
ended up hanging out right in that hallway by the 
vending machines, which also had a staircase to get out 
of the building. 

So when the chief told us to leave, we 
immediately started down Exit A, and I think he ran 
around the corner to tell the other guys that were 
hanging out in the hallway with the vending machines to 
also leave, but when the building shook, everybody 
instinctively ran for the staircase, because it shook 
for about 10 or 15 seconds, and we all, like, ran to 
the closest stairwell, so I guess everybody that was in 
that hallway ran for the staircase close to the vending 
machine, and I know for a fact Ladder 5 was in that 
hallway. There were at least 15 other guys, aside from 
Ladder 5, because Ladder 5 was in quarters with us, so 



D. STERLING 

I know all the guys that were there, and I'm making 
jokes with them. The lieutenant was sitting down. 

ESU cops were handing out their oxygen 
bottles for guys to take oxygen, so we were 
like -- everybody was trying to relax for a minute, 
drink their water and get up their energy to keep going 
up the stairs, but when it shook, we went back down 
Staircase A. 

We had another probie with us, Rob Byrne. 
Byrne, when the chief says, "Drop everything," he took 
his face mask, and he took his mask off and everything 
and left it there. And we started going down. We all 
kept our mask. 

I just -- I didn't see giving up my mask at 
that point. It's not that heavy to me, but he wanted 
to go quick. He said, "When he said drop everything, 
I'm dropping everything." 

So we started down. When we got to around 
maybe the 10th Floor, there was a lot of smoke, and I 
guess just dust coming up the stairwell, so we all 
started masking up. At that point, Byrne had the -- he 
used his hood. 

Q. Go ahead. At 1507 hours, we resume the 
interview. 



D. STERLING 

A. We were exiting the building, and Byrne was 
using his hood to cover his mouth and his nose because 
of the smoke and dust that was coming up the 
stairwell. We started using our masks to breathe 
through the smoke and dust around the 10th or 11th 
Floor . 

On the way out from the 37th Floor, we did 
stop at the 27th Floor to meet Rich Billy. 



He looked like he might really need the 
break, so we left him there, and on the way back, he 
hooked up with us . 

So the entire engine was making its way out, 
and when Lieutenant Hanson noticed that Byrne was 
having to use his hood, he sent Byrne ahead. He told 
him to go ahead and run as fast as he could to get out 
of the building, because we were moving down in a slow, 
orderly fashion, like, making sure we didn't really 
make any errors on the way out. We were going slower 
than Byrne could have made it on his own without the 
mask, so he went ahead. 

At that point, we got all the way down in the 
A staircase to the 3rd Floor. Apparently the ESU cops 



D. STERLING 

had -- they put a piece of Sheetrock blocking off the 
3rd Floor, blocking off the A staircase going below the 
3rd Floor, so we exited the A staircase at the 3rd 
Floor . 

Q. Yeah. 

A. We ran into two ESU or Port Authority cops, 
and they were helping a guy in a swivel chair about -- 
he was at least 300 pounds. He had broken legs, and 
they were trying to pull him through the hallway to get 
him to the B staircase, which they said was good. They 
said that they were responsible for blocking off the 
staircase, because there was debris now in that 
staircase. We couldn't have made it out to the ground 
level that way. 

So we helped them with the civilian. We took 
him in the swivel chair down the B staircase. We had a 
new swivel chair in the lobby of the building, because 
we broke that one on the way down. We broke that 
stair -- we broke that chair dragging him down the 
stairs. We put him in a new swivel chair and dragged 
him out the lobby, and we left the north tower on the 
north side. The north -- we came out the north side of 
the tower, and we went right across to 6 Trade Center, 
to the Customs building. 



10 
D. STERLING 



Q. Okay. 

A. We collected ourselves under that little, 
like, overhang. 

Q. Okay. 

A. There's an overhang there. We waited for a 
second, cut the civilian out his pants to make it 
easier for him to move. Then we all started moving 
west. Excuse me, east. East up to the corner of that 
building where we could kind of make it out to Vesey 
Street . 

I went ahead of my team. There were about 
four people helping this guy walk through debris, and 
everything that had fallen, I guess it got pushed out 
to the Customs building from the first tower that 
fell. There was a lot of debris. 

So as everyone is helping the civilian, I 
really couldn't help the civilian, because there were 
already four guys helping him move. I went ahead. I 
got ahead to the corner, made the corner, and went down 
in between these two buildings. There were two Port 
Authority cops standing at this corner of the building, 
of the U.S. Customs building. 

Q. Okay. We're talking about going between the 
two buildings. That would be 6 World Trade Center, 



11 

D. STERLING 



U.S. Customs building, 7 World Trade Center. He was 
going north between those two buildings. 

A. Five. 

Q. Was that 5? Between 5 and 6 rather, going 
north? 

A. I got there to that corner. There were two 
cops, like, directing traffic, and when I got to that 
point with them, they said, "All right. You go ahead 
and run diagonally straight over this way, " there were 
some stairs to get out -- to get off of the courtyard 
level . 

Q. Okay. 

A. Because this whole area is on, like, an 
elevated courtyard. You're above the street. So I 
stood there, and my team still hadn't come around the 
corner of this building of the U.S. Customs building, 
so I decided to wait for them to come around the corner 
before I made my run. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. While I was waiting, it was maybe 30 seconds, 
this tower fell. I never saw them come around the 
corner . 

Q. Right. 

A. Because everything started falling. It went 



12 
D. STERLING 



pitch black immediately. I was standing there with the 
two cops. We were pressed against the side of the 
building, so everything that fell kind of, like, fell 
in front of us . 

So at that point I masked up again, and my 
viber alert started going off, so I know I didn't have 
that much air, but when it went pitch black, we all 
assumed that the building had, like, fallen on top of 
us, because we couldn't see anything at all. We 
assumed were trapped inside, like, a big void. 

So I put my mask on and everything, and I 
started crawling on the floor towards the other 
building. I started crawling on the floor towards 5 
World Trade Center. 
Q. Okay. 

A. I noticed that there was fire on the ground. 
The courtyard now had dents in it, like craters from 
where things had fallen through. So I regrouped, stood 
up, and decided to start feeling along the wall, and 
that's when I started bumping in -- I bumped into one 
guy from my team, Rich Billy, the same guy who we left 
on the 27th Floor. 

I saw him. He didn't know where the 
lieutenant was, and he was -- he was -- he thought I 



13 
D. STERLING 



was a lieutenant. Then he started -- he had a radio. 
The door position didn't have a radio. He started 
giving Maydays and looking for Lieutenant Hanson. We 
were also with four other -- four firemen, and they had 
a civilian. 

We took our area of refuge in Building 5. We 
made it into a window into the lobby of that building 
when everything was still pitch black, before the smoke 
had completely risen. We went in the building, and you 
could notice, like, big chunks sticking through the 
ceiling of that building. So we were just waiting 
around. We're going to have to, I guess, start digging 
our way out or wait a little while and see if anything 
else is going to fall. Then gradually the smoke 
started to lift and the dust and everything. 

Q. How long? 

A. That took about -- it seemed like no longer 
than ten minutes . 

Q. Okay. 

A. Maybe about seven to ten minutes it started 
to lighten up, and you could see shafts of light 
starting to come through from, I guess, this direction, 
Washington Street. Like you could see light. 

So at that point, when it lightened up good 



14 
D. STERLING 



enough, you could look over to the edge of the 
courtyard and see where the rail was. The rail had 
gotten knocked off, but you could see the top of street 
lights -- 

Q. Okay. 

A. -- the curve of the street light coming up 
over the courtyard level. So I told Rich Billy, "Let's 
go over to the edge there and see if we can make it to 
the street over there, " because at least you noticed -- 
you could see the top of the street light. The street 
is not that far below. 

He didn't really want to go across the 
courtyard at that point. He told me he felt that -- 
that if other things started dropping, we might be -- 
we would be in jeopardy by going across. He has 20 
years on the job, 18. He has about 18 years on the 
job, but I was already a little nervous, and seeing the 
things coming through the ceiling, I'm telling him, 
"Well, if more things fall, they might -- everything 
might come through the ceiling, " so our area of refuge 
to me wasn't that good anyway. It was fine while we 
were standing there, but if more things fell, they were 
going to come through the ceiling anyway. 

So I said, All right. "Well, you stay, but 



15 
D. STERLING 



watch me. You watch me make it over. If I make it 
over there, and I don't come back, know that you can 
come off that way, because I'm going." 
Q. Yeah. 

A. Because I figured maybe I would be able to 
jump across to -- the street lamp didn't look that far 
from the edge. I figured maybe I could jump across and 
slide down the street lamp and maybe to the street or 
whatever, but he didn't do it. 

I went, and there was another fireman that 
came with me. I don't know his name or what company he 
was from, but he was much bigger than me, taller guy 
and heavier. So when I got over to the edge, I 
realized I couldn't jump over to the pole. It was 
about maybe a five, six-foot jump over to the pole and 
then slide down. I just dropped the mask and hung off 
the side and dropped down to the ground and ran 
straight up. 

I must have run a little bit this way. Then 
I started heading north. There was also two cops, I 
guess in front of 7 World Trade Center or around this 
corner somewhere pointing towards the north, just go 
north, because I never looked back at the building to 
figure out that both towers had completely fallen. 



16 
D. STERLING 



Q. Right. 

A. As soon as I dropped down to the street 
level, I noticed there was an engine that was 
abandoned, and there was a cop car directly behind the 
engine, and a whole row of cars that was on fire, so I 
ran past all those cars and started heading north. 
That was it. 

I got about four, five blocks before I really 
started limping. I sprained both my ankles just 
dropping off the side there, but I didn't catch up with 
Rich Billy until maybe seven o'clock that evening. He 
told me he waited about five, ten minutes after I left, 
and then the guys he was with just kind of walked 
around the courtyard and found the stairs and took the 
stairs down. I actually -- they had a picture of him 
on CBS News, I guess, like, when he finally made it, 
walked down the stairs, because he was still covered in 
all the gray dust, and he just looked beat. I guess 
that was right when he walked down the stairs. They 
got a picture of him and, like, two other firemen he 
was walking with, and I told him, "I saw you on the 
news." He was, like, we found the stairs. I took the 
stairs down. 

Q. Uh-huh. 



17 
D. STERLING 



A. I didn't really -- I couldn't wait for the 
stairs. I couldn't wait -- I was too impatient. I was 
already -- I had already thought we were dead. Like, 
when everything went pitch black from everything being 
bright, you got outside to the bright daylight, and the 
cops are telling you to make a run this way. It was 
bright. Then all of a sudden it was pitch black. Fire 
was on the ground, craters, so that was it. 

But when I made it out, I went up -- I ended 
up on West Street, and the ambulance took me to St. 
Vincent's. I got my ankles wrapped. Before I got 
there, I was able to call my parents. I called my 
grandmother. I spoke to my grandfather at about 10:30, 
because there was a civilian who let me use the phone 
when I was walking up. Then I got to St. Vincent's. I 
called the firehouse, and I was back at the firehouse 
by about one o'clock, and the chauffeur was here. The 
chauffeur that drove us down there was at the 
firehouse, Otto. Then we -- we kind of regrouped and 
went back to West Street to look for the other guys. 
We found Marcel Claes . He was our control 
man. He started walking down with us from the 37th 
Floor, and we walked -- we were all together, and we 
come to find out -- he told us he stopped and went back 



D. STERLING 

to get the control bag after -- we dropped everything, 
and we started down. He went back to get the control 
bag, started back down the same A staircase. He said 
he cut across the 7th Floor and made it out the 
building before we did, but everybody in the engine 
made it out. 

Q. They did? 

A. Yeah. Everybody that was in the engine that 
day made it out. 

Q. Were they safe? Did anybody perish from the 
engine? They were all okay? 

A. Yeah. Everybody from the engine made it out 
just fine. I got hurt the worst, a sprain in my ankles 
after the fact, but everybody in the truck that was 
with us on the 37th Floor, none of them made it out at 
all. 

Q. No kidding. 

A. None of the truck made it out. We had two 
other guys that weren't working that day from the truck 
that went in. They never made it out. 

Q. Were you with them on the 37th? No? Yes? 
Did they get the message to leave the 37th the same 
time you did? 

A. Yeah. Apparently the chief went around the 



19 
D. STERLING 



corner and told everybody -- 

Q. Yeah. 

A. -- to start leaving the building, too, but I 
think they must have got caught up for some reason 
going down the staircase that they were going down. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. I think they were going down either the B or 
C. We were in the A. If you walked straight down the 
hallway, they were calling that the B staircase, and 
the hallway came into like a T. There was the vending 
machines in this hallway, and there was another 
staircase in that hallway, so they went down that one. 
We went down the same way we were coming up, 
the A, because when we went and got our drinks, we came 
right back, because we were going to start walking up 
again. We were just taking the A staircase all the way 
up. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. But — 

Q. When you guys were walking down the stairs, 
when you had been ordered to walk down the stairs, now, 
you had been climbing for a long time, maybe an hour? 

A. Yes, just about. 

Q. Now, you turn around, and you start coming 



20 
D. STERLING 



down. Were there a lot of civilians still coming down 
the stairs or you were booking in that staircase? 

A. There was nobody in the staircase on the way 
down . 

Q. Nobody? 

A. Nobody at all. I guess the only reason that 
the cops had that one civilian was because he was hurt, 
because he -- he couldn't walk on his own. 

Q. Right. 

A. They had him in the swivel chair. 

Q. Right. 

A. A lot of people were making it out of the 
Tower 1 when we were going up. Even on the way up, we 
ran into one businessman who was coming down from the 
90th Floor, so he made it all the way down from the 
90th Floor. He said he saw fireballs come at him, and 
thought he was going to die, but then he got to a good 
staircase and made it down. He was helping a lady with 
an asthma attack, and at that point we put him in an 
office on about the 21st Floor. We put him in an 
office off to the side of the staircase. 

So I'm hoping he got out, because we were 
figuring we can put people in a safe area of refuge 
below the fire. 



21 
D. STERLING 



Q. Right. 

A. So we told him to just hang out over there, 
but he was just fine. Somebody told me they saw some 
blood on his shirt, but he was coherent and 
everything. He told us he was coming from 90, and 
there was a lot of fire on 90, so we're thinking, man, 
we got 10 floors of fire, and we got roll-ups, but we 
still didn't know the jetliner or anything. 

We're thinking small plane, because when it 
came across the teleprinter, it was a small plane hit 
the building. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. And when we arrived, you could just see smoke 
and fire coming out, but it didn't look like when you 
see the news footage of the second building getting 
hit. It wasn't a big explosion like that. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. It was just fire and smoke. That was it. 
That's it. I mean, that's pretty much the most scary 
experience I've had. 

I get a little nervous every now and then at 
regular fires, but that's, I guess, because I'm brand 
new, but that -- the thought of being stuck is not 
good. 



22 
D. STERLING 



BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: That's an 
interesting story. All right. 

I want to thank you for the interview. The 
time is now 1521 hours. 

This concludes the interview. 



</XMPX/BODYX/HTML> 



File No. 9110261 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER EUGENE KELTY, JR. 
Interview Date: December 6, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Kelty, Jr. 

BATALLION CHIEF MALKIN: Today is 
December 6, 2001. The time is now 10:44. 
This is Battalion Chief John Malkin of the 
Safety Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I am conducting an interview 
with Captain Eugene Kelty, Engine Company 10. 
We are at the quarters of Engine Company 4, 
regarding the events of September 11, 2001, 
at the World Trade Center. 

There is nobody else present in the 
room at this time, except the Captain and 
myself, and now the interview begins. 
A. Okay. My name is Captain Gene Kelty. I'm 
the Company Commander for Engine Company 10, which 
is located at 124 Liberty Street, which is the 
firehouse right opposite the World Trade Center. I 
was off that day. My partner, Lieutenant Gregg 
Atlas, who was working and is still missing in 
action, was working that day. 

We were on the golf course at a company outing 
that we have in our neighborhood when we got a 
report on the pager that the fire -- the towers had 
been hit. Knowing that that was my company, I 



3 
Kelty, Jr. 
responded in with my brother, who is a supervising 

Fire Marshal, James Kelty from Manhattan base, we 

got in Manhattan somewhere around, I would say, 

around 9:35, a quarter to ten. We went up to my 

quarters, because we were changing into our work 

clothes so we could go and start our assistance on 

what was going on within the building or outside the 

building . 

When we got into the building, there was a lot 
of civilians in my kitchen, which is on the backside 
of Cedar Street, between Greenwich and Church, and 
they had been quartered with us when the plane hit 
the buildings, and all the debris and stuff was 
coming down. Captain Mallery was in the building at 
the time, and Lieutenant O'Malley, my Lieutenant 
from Engine 10, was in the building. Captain 
Mallery is the Captain from Ladder 10. Captain 
Mallery was in my office with my brother and we were 
evaluating what was going on and he was giving us a 
briefing regarding the first plane that hit the 
tower, and then the second plane. 

At that time, which was probably somewhere 
around a quarter to ten, the second tower, World 
Trade 2, came down. Unbeknownst to us, we were 



4 
Kelty, Jr. 
upstairs, we heard the building shake, a lot of 

debris came down, and the building was hit with a 

dust cloud. 

The apparatus doors were open, because I went 
out on the second floor by my office, and it was 
pitch black from the air conditioner that was 
blowing in the bunkroom of the second floor. I 
looked out the window. It was pitch black. All the 
dust that was coming down Greenwich Street headed 
southbound. We went down the stairs to see how 
everybody was doing downstairs. There was people 
all over the place. People with broken ankles, 
broken legs, femurs. 

We went into the kitchen and we started 
evacuating the house, because we didn't know exactly 
what happened, other than the building came down and 
collapsed. It was later determined that it was 
building World Trade 2, which is the south building 
that came down. We started evacuating everybody. I 
had not gotten out to the street yet. We just made 
sure that we could get people out the back door, 
that's the Greenwich Street side, and we were having 
everybody go down up to Trinity Place and go south. 
We were heading them towards the Statue of Liberty 



Kelty, Jr. 
way, Battery Park. Captain Mallery, myself, 

Lieutenant O'Malley were in the building doing the 

evacuation . 

At the time, I think, the Captain or the 
Lieutenant went across the street. There was a 
Lieutenant that was injured at 130 Liberty Street, 
which is the Deutsch Bank, and they were assisting a 
first-aid case over there. In the meantime, I 
continued the evacuation. 

Most of the equipment in the building was gone. 
All that was left was my turnout coat and I grabbed 
the truck helmet. I had an understanding that the 
building was taken over by civilians and everybody 
else and all our equipment was taken out of the 
building and had been ravaged by civilians and 
anybody else that needed equipment that day. 

While we were evacuating people, there was an 
ambulance in the engine bay, that was stuck in the 
engine bay because of the debris that came down from 
World Trade 2 and there was no way of going out the 
front door, other than climbing over piles of debris 
that was there. After the tower came down, we made 
the determination that we weren't sure if any other 
building would come down, so we evacuated the whole 



6 
Kelty, Jr. 
building. I went through and did a search and there 

was two EMS people that were still left in the 

building. Again, Captain Mallery and Lieutenant 

O'Malley were across the street at 130 Liberty 

Street. I went into the kitchen to make sure there 

was nobody there when I heard the rumble of Tower 1 

coming down. I don't know the time that it 

happened. I just heard the same rumble I heard when 

Tower 2 came down, the same thing, and I took cover 

in our kitchen. 

The only people left in the building were the 
two EMS people and after the tower collapsed and we 
got more debris thrown in our kitchen, I opened the 
door to go out to the apparatus to find out if they 
were okay and they were right behind the door. We 
pulled them in the kitchen and the two EMS people 
were hurt, but they were conscious and stuff, and we 
evacuated them out. I evacuated them out of the 
back of the building and they went down the street 
towards the south. 

After that I checked with Lieutenant O'Malley 
and Captain Mallery to make sure that they were okay 
and that they were still alive, because I didn't 
know what happened when the second tower came down, 



7 
Kelty, Jr. 
which is World Trade Center 1. They were across the 

street. I was calling to them. I managed to get a 

hold of them. We went over there and there was a -- 

at the time, too, when we were evacuating the 

building Ladder 124 was there. They assisted with 

moving people up the block and down to the south. 

They helped work with EMS. When we went over later 

on, after the second tower, I went over again to see 

if our Captain was okay. They had stabilized the 

Lieutenant. I think he broke his leg and his 

shoulder, and dislocated his shoulder. Lieutenant 

O'Malley had packaged him up -- Captain Mallery, and 

we started on our way and we started going down 

Greenwich Street south to Albany; to Rector Street, 

we made a right on Rector Street to head over to the 

west side, away from any more possible collapses 

until we figured West Street would be open. 

We took them over to -- I think there was two 

other firefighters with us. I don't know what 

company they were. We stopped on the way on Carlyle 

Street, between Greenwich and Washington, to take a 

break and make sure that the Lieutenant was okay. 

Captain Mallery I think remained and I think he was 

doing a search at 130 Liberty. We managed to get 



8 
Kelty, Jr. 
down to West Street and Carlyle and we ran into an 

EMS person and we passed off the Lieutenant to him, 

and they backed him out on some type of vehicle. I 

think it was a flatbed truck. And then Lieutenant 

O'Malley and I started to search some of the 

buildings. We went into the Marriott Hotel, which 

was, I think, 85 or 9Q -- 85 West Street. 

There was a security person in there and we 
talked to him. He said that the whole place was 
evacuated. We told him we wanted him out of the 
place, and made sure that everybody was accounted 
for. After that Lieutenant O'Malley and I went down 
to West Street. We started walking around on West 
Street seeing if we could see any surface victims to 
rescue and stuff. The whole area was covered with 
gray ash from the debris that came down, and then we 
ended up splitting up. I was trying to head over to 
the north side, which was Vesey and West, to see 
what was happening over there. There was no access 
on West Street due to the World Trade Tower 1 coming 
down, part of 3 was down on West Street and there 
was no way up Liberty Street due to World Trade 2 
that collapsed. 

I went through the back way, which was through 



9 
Kelty, Jr. 
the World Finance Centers, cut through the building. 

I ended up getting onto West Street. I'm not sure 

if I went through the towers or I went around the 

back to the north cove and I came out on North End 

Avenue. At that time, there was people on the 

Vesey/West Street side and I paired up -- down on 

the corner of West and Vesey, there was a lot of 

rigs that were buried under the debris. I remember 

the super satellite from Engine 9 was there, in 

front of the 6 World Trade Center. There were 

people climbing all over the place trying to get 

into there and there were some fires. They looked 

for surface victims and stuff. 

I ran into some of the people from the first 

battalion. There was Chief McKavanagh, and we 

started trying to get water. We wanted water lines 

down there to start water. I understand the boats 

were in, so we managed to get rigs that were further 

back towards Murray and Warren Street that were not 

covered in debris. I remember Ladder 115 ' s rig was 

in the middle of the street on West Street by Vesey, 

heading southbound, and that was covered in debris. 

I managed to get an Engine out and we backed it down 

the street, down through Murray, up around the back 



10 

Kelty, Jr. 
on to North End Avenue and we brought it in on Vesey 

Street and parked it midway. We then had lines 

running from the boats, which was at the waterfront 

at the time. We ran lines down to supply the 

pumper, and then the pumper ran more lines down to 

supply the satellite, which was located down at the 

intersection of Liberty --of Vesey and West. And 

we were trying to use that as a supply line to get 

any hand lines or even to get the super pumper up or 

the Vesey water satellite unit in service. 

We then had another break in the block on West 
Street heading southbound that we were hooking into 
to try to boost the pressure up to get water into 
the satellite units so we could extinguish fires 
that were going on right now in 6 World Trade, which 
is the Federal building, the Customs building. We 
couldn't the get pressure up on it. It would only 
reach so much pressure and because it was 3-inch, 
3-and-a-half -inch lines, we couldn't get enough 
water down there to provide the pressure to use the 
satellite gun. And that's where we spent most of 
the day, was just trying to attack the fires, put 
whatever we put out in the area. 

There was units searching in 6 World Trade. 



11 
Kelty, Jr. 
One World Trade we couldn't get near, because the 

bridge had collapsed on top of it. The north end 

bridge had collapsed on the street, blocking the 

whole street, and we were just -- there were units 

all over the place. People were all over the place. 

I didn't know who they were. Because at the time we 

had a problem with as far as determining who was 

who, because equipment was being borrowed from all 

firehouses . 

And 7 World Trade was burning up at the time. 
We could see it. There was concern. I had gone up 
to take a look at it, because I knew that the 
telephone company building, which is 140 West 
Street, was next to 7 World Trade Center, and there 
was a concern that if 7 World Trade came down, what 
would happen to this building? We went in there, we 
checked it out. There were some people in there. 
We made them evacuate and I went in the back to see 
what was happening. 

The fire at 7 World Trade was working its way 
from the front of the building northbound to the 
back of the building. There was no way there could 
be water put on it, because there was no water in 
the area. I went back and I reminded whoever the 



12 
Kelty, Jr. 
chief was, I don't know if it was Chief McKavanagh 

or Chief Blaich, that with 7 World Trade Center in 

danger of collapsing, you had to be careful, because 

Con Edison had big transformers in the back that 

supplied the lower half of Manhattan. So we had to 

be concerned about electricity, that this may be 

energized or not be energized. We also reminded him 

about the telephone company, about the equipment 

that was in there. 

After a while, what happened, my eyes started 
bothering me. I ended up getting taken over to 
St. Francis in Jersey by the water, had my eyes 
washed out and when I was coming back somewhere 
around I think it was 5:00 o'clock, 6:00 o'clock, 7 
World Trade Center came down. We were in the water 
when it came down. It might have been earlier. It 
might have been 4. I don't know exactly when, but 
we were on the river coming back from New Jersey 
when the towers came down. 

They were utilizing the north cove as a 
reference point for evacuation of all people over 
for hospitals and stuff. The Port Authority -- or 
police launches were there. They were bringing 
people across. They had a triage station set up 



13 
Kelty, Jr. 
over there to flush the eyes or to handle whatever 

emergency was quick, and then they moved them over 

and then transported them out over to New Jersey. 

After pretty much the towers came down and there was 

some sense of no more collapse happening, Engine 

10's quarters started to get used as a triage 

station and a general focal point. 

Throughout the whole time Engine 10 's quarters 

emergency generator was working we had some type of 

lighting system and some type of electricity. 

That's why they used it as a focal point. The EMS 

people were in there, they were triaging a lot of 

people. They were eye washing any emergencies, any 

civilians, any firemen. There was continued 

searches throughout the area. Again, the people I 

don't know, because helmets were being used by 

everybody, taken out of everybody's quarters. 

Partial equipment was worn. There were no face 

masks down there at the time, we had no breather 

masks. We were using whatever was handy, and I 

probably didn't get out of there until almost 1:30 

in the morning, and which I stayed at the Fire 

Marshal's base with my brother. I finally touched 

bases with him. I stayed there and then we were 



14 
Kelty, Jr. 
back again at 9:00 o'clock in the morning. That's 

it. 

Q. You mentioned Lieutenant O'Malley. You 
may have mentioned it before. What unit is he in? 

A. He's in Engine 10. 

Q. Okay. And Captain -- 

A. Mallery. M-A-L-L-E-R-Y. He's the Captain 
at Ladder 10. 

BATALLION CHIEF MALKIN: Okay. Good 

interview. I thank you for the interview. 

The time is now 10:58 hours and this is the 

conclusion of the interview. 



File No. 9110262 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM HOREL 

Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



W. HOREL 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Today's date is 
December 7, 2001. The time is 9:55 hours in the 
morning. This is Battalion Chief Ronald H. Kemly 
of the New York City Fire Department. 

I am conducting an interview with the 
following individual: William Horel of Engine 64, 
Firefighter 6th Grade, of the New York City Fire 
Department . 

The interview is being conducted at the 
quarters of Engine 64 regarding the events of 
September 11, 2001. 

Q. Firefighter Horel, would you tell me what 
happened in the events of September 11? 

A. Sure. We were assigned first to respond to 
35 engine for the staging area and met there with 
several other engine companies, and we were told to 
respond to the site, so we drove down to the site, 
parked near Chambers and West. 

Myself, Mike Ferrara, Vinnie Massa, Dave 
Moriarity and Lieutenant Steve O'Brien started to walk 
down West Street. We got to the corner of Vesey and 
West when the north tower started to collapse. 

At that point, I turned north on West and 
dove behind an ambulance. When the dust cleared, we 



W. HOREL 

headed back towards looking for, you know, whatever we 
could do. 

We weren't given any specific assignment 
until much later in the day when we did the primary 
search of the Verizon building from the 11th floor to 
the 20th Floor. 

Don't really recall seeing any members of any 
other units going into the building, because we didn't 
get up right to where we could see the lobby or 
anything. We weren't that close before the collapse. 

Q. Is that it? Do you have any other 
recollection? 

A. Nothing. 

Q. Okay. I'll ask you a few questions, and 
maybe it will help you out . 

When you said you were told to respond, did 
anybody else respond with you? Any other companies? 

A. From 35, yeah, there was probably five or six 
other engine companies. I remember 83, I remember 50. 
There was either 96 or 94, or maybe both of them. I'm 
not sure. I know 50 and 83 were there, and 35. 

Q. Okay. Do you recall if they responded, they 
got there at the same time as you or -- 

A. We were actually the lead engine in the 



W. HOREL 

convoy, so we pulled in first, but they were all right 
behind us. 

Q. Okay. 

A. All right behind us. 

Q. Do you recall if you reported in to anybody? 

A. We were working our way towards what we 
thought was the command post near Vesey and West, but 
as soon as the collapse came, we never got to report in 
to anybody at that point. 

Later on, there were smaller command posts 
set up all over that our officer checked in with, 
but. . . 

Q. Okay. After you got there, like you said, 
the collapse occurred very shortly afterwards. 

Did you happen to see -- maybe not 
companies. Did you happen to see any apparatus? 

A. One apparatus I noticed was 12 truck, because 
I had a couple of friends working at 12 truck, so I 
knew they would be down there. I saw the rig, but no 
members . 

Q. Okay. Where was that located? 

A. Right around the corner of Vesey and West, 
right where we were, a little bit farther in. 

Q. Okay. Was it intact or was it -- 



W. HOREL 



A. It was intact. It wasn't damaged. 

Q. And afterwards? 

A. Yeah, after the collapse I noticed it. 

Q. Okay. 

A. So. . . 

Q. Any other things you can recall? As far as 
did you see any members? 

A. We stretched line, I remember, to the water. 
I guess it was, like, up to one of the boats, one of 
the marine units. 

Q. Right. That was after the collapse? 

A. That was after the collapse. 

Q. As you said, you hadn't seen any members or 
anything before that? 

A. No, not that I can recall. 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Okay. This concludes 

the interview. Thank you. 



File No. 9110265 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER STEVEN ALTINI 

Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



S. ALTINI 2 

CHIEF KEMLY: Today is Friday, December 
7th, 2001. The time is 1615 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of the Fire 
Department, City of New York. I am 
conducting an interview with the following 
individual: Steven Altini, firefighter 
first, assigned to Engine Company 24 of the 
Fire Department, City of New York. The 
interview is being conducted at the quarters 
of Engine 24 in the engine office, regarding 
the events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Fireman Altini, would you please tell 
me what happened on September 11th. 

A. Okay. Me and two other off-duty 
firefighters responded from home prior to the 
recall. We went over the Verrazano Narrows 
Bridge. Looking towards Manhattan, we could see 
the two towers, pretty heavy smoke rushing from 
the towers. 

We responded through Brooklyn via the 
Gowanus Expressway. We were waved through the 
easy pass lane from PD as we showed our ID, who 
we were. We proceeded to go through the Battery 
Tunnel. We noticed no fire apparatus or 



S. ALTINI 3 

emergency vehicles as we went through, just some 
civilian vehicles. 

As we exited the Battery Tunnel to 
lower Manhattan, we proceeded to make a right 
turn onto West Street where we were confronted 
with a lot of debris in the street, airplane 
debris, human remains and such. 

We pulled our pickup truck just north 
of the Marriott at Carlisle Street on the east 
side of West Street, facing north. As we exited 
the vehicle, two other firefighters donned their 
protective gear and headed north towards tower 
two or one. 

Me being in civilian clothes and no 
protective gear, I proceeded west across West 
Street to Commissioner Gregory and his aide and 
asked them where the off-duty firemen were going, 
and what I can do. I was instructed to either 
remain at the scene or proceed over to City Hall 
where the firefighters were now mustering up 
after the recall. 

As I was there, I remember seeing 
Ladder 113, but there was no members there. This 
was between 9:30 and 10. I don't know the exact 



S. ALTINI 4 

time the second plane hit the tower, but that's 
exactly when we left Staten Island. It took us 
maybe about 20 minutes to get in. 

I noticed an engine company -- I 
believe it was Engine 211 -- pull up. As they 
were getting out of the rig, I went over to the 
chauffeur and asked them if they had protective 
gear that I could borrow. Being the chauffeur 
was also suiting up, they had no extra gear. 

With that I headed east across West 
Street and went through the Marriott at Carlisle 
Street, exiting the rear onto Washington Street, 
headed north one block, over east another block 
to Greenwich Street, where I met up with another 
fireman who was in full gear from Engine 249. 

We proceeded north towards Engine 10, 
and we tried to enter their quarters through the 
rear basement entrance, which was locked. As we 
continued north on Greenwich Street towards the 
corner of Liberty and Greenwich is when tower two 
started to come down. 

The only other apparatus I saw, that I 
remembered seeing on Liberty Street in front of 
tower two, I believe it was Ladder 15. The 



S. ALTINI 5 

number is not clear, but I thought it was Ladder 
15. I may be mistaken. I confronted no 
personnel other than the one member from 249 at 
that point. 

We found cover at the corner of Cedar 
and Greenwich Street as tower two was coming 
down, in a deli next to O'Hara's Restaurant. 
After it sounded like the tower was finished 
collapsing, we exited the deli and headed south 
one block, where we were separated, me and the 
fireman. 

I met up with a fire cadet, Eddie 
Gonzalez, who sustained a broken left arm, I 
believe, and we got him to an ambulance maybe 
about 15 minutes, 20 minutes later. By that time 
tower one had already come down. 

When he was taken away in the 
ambulance, I went around by Battery Park and back 
up West Street where there was a lot of firemen 
that weren't there earlier. I didn't see 
Commissioner Gregory or his aide. I didn't see 
any other members that I saw prior to the 
collapses. Just a lot of firemen from out of the 
borough I guess responded from the recall. 



S. ALTINI 6 

I gave Chief Mosier from the 8th 
Division some information about the two members 
that I came up to Manhattan with, because at this 
point I knew they were missing and I thought they 
were caught in the collapse of either one or two, 
tower one or tower two. I wasn't sure, because 
they didn't say where they were going. 

Throughout the day I met many different 
personnel, and we continued to search and help 
stretch some hose line from the tugboats to 
supply tower ladders on West Street, and that was 
pretty much it. 

Q. I'm just going to ask you a couple 
questions. That was pretty good. 

When you say you went there with two 
other firemen, who were the others? 

A. It was Craig Monahan from Ladder 
Company 5 and Joseph Rea from Engine Company 255. 

Q. They had their gear with them? 

A. Yes. 

Q. When you were on West Street, you said 
you were on West Street and you met Commissioner 
Gregory. 

A. Right. 



S. ALTINI 



Q. Where on West Street was he? Do you 
know what street? 

A. Yeah, we were pretty much right between 
Liberty and Cedar, just south of the south 
walkway bridge, at the median in the divider. 
There was a separation in the divider, and he had 
his car and they were there, facing north. 

Q. You mentioned 211, again on West 
Street. Do you know where on West Street? Is 
that the same location? 

A. Same location. They pulled up, and the 
officer had come out and I believe he spoke to 
Commissioner Gregory. At that point I went over 
and spoke to the chauffeur as he was donning his 
gear . 

Q. And the guy from 249, you don't recall 
his name? 

A. No, I'm sorry. 

Q. That's okay. 

A. I was told his name a couple of times. 

Q. Okay. Fine. 

A. I don't remember. 

Q. It would help, but that's fine. 

And Ladder 15, you said they were on 



S. ALTINI 8 

West Street also on Liberty Street. Is that the 
overpass, the south overpass? 

A. No, it looked like they were facing -- 
they were on the north side of Liberty Street 
facing east on a diagonal. I hate to speculate, 
but they may have come around by Battery Park and 
then up West Street and parked their rig in front 
of tower two. They weren't near tower one. 

Q. No, but the overpass on Liberty Street, 
the south walkway. 

A. Right. 

Q. Were they near that? 

A. They were just north of that and east. 

Q. Okay. If you don't have anything else, 
that concludes the interview. Thank you very 
much. 

A. Thank you. 



File No. 9110266 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER ROBERT BYRNE 
Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



R. BYRNE 2 

CHIEF KEMLY: Today's date is December 
7th, 2001. The time is 1645 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of the New York 
City Fire Department. I'm conducting an 
interview with the following individual: 
Firefighter 6th grade Robert Byrne, assigned 
to Engine Company 24 of the Fire Department 
of the City of New York. 

The interview is taking place at the 
quarters of Engine 24, in the company 
office, regarding the events of September 
11th, 2001. 

Q. Fireman Byrne, would you please tell me 
what happened on September 11th. 

A. September 11th I arrived for work early 
to do my probationary firefighter duties so I was 
square with everything. When we got the call to 
go, I was able to -- I had to beg the nozzle man 
to let me take up on him, which I did. The call 
came in around 8:46, so we responded immediately. 
So I had the knob. 

En route to the World Trade Center, it 
was myself as the nozzle man, Marcel Claes was 
the backup, Dan Sterling was the doorman, and 



R. BYRNE 3 

Rich Billy had control, Lieutenant Hanson was my 
officer and John Ottrando was our chauffeur. 

While going to the Trade Center, I'm 
really doing my size-up and saying, oh, my God, 
there's like ten floors missing. Everything is 
blowing out fire. I remember looking how high it 
is and saying, oh, my God, how are we going to 
get up there with all of our equipment. 

We parked on, I'm pretty sure it was 
the West Side Highway by Vesey. I'm almost sure 
it was over in that area. I remember John parked 
the rig. We headed to the north tower at that 
time. 

When we were going there, I remember 
seeing debris and whatnot falling. When we got 
to the staging area inside the lobby, I remember 
seeing other companies. I remember vividly 
seeing it looked like the core elevators of the 
building were blown apart as if a giant had 
punched through tinfoil. 

I remember seeing some bodies. I 
remember looking out into the courtyard and 
seeing some mutilated bodies. Debris was 
everywhere. I remember we were just waiting for 



R. BYRNE 4 

our assignment. 

From there we headed up, I believe it 
was behind Ladder 20, and we headed up to the 
staircase A. We got as far as, I'd say, the 13th 
floor initially. We had to take our first blow 
because we were carrying a lot of equipment. 

There were civilians jamming the 
staircase. There was water flowing down the 
staircase; I remember that. People saying, 
"Thank you, guys." I remember another unit 
behind us. I don't remember what company they 
were with. One of the senior guys was saying 
basically, "You're almost there, folks. You're 
almost there." Then I started joking around with 
the people. I said, "Yeah, all this for 32 
grand." People thought it was funny. That was 
my way of trying to make them feel better, tell 
them a joke. 

On the 13th floor we took a break. I 
remember hearing radio calls then, by other 
units, some maydays, members down with chest 
pains. I don't know what floors they were on. 

I kept going up. I remember seeing 
people coming down in the stairs. We had to make 



R. BYRNE 5 

way for a couple of people that had their skin 
hanging off their bodies, basically. They were 
pretty burnt up. 

I don't remember what floor it was, but 
we were with a woman who had an asthma attack and 
a man was helping her down. We were trying to 
help her. We didn't have too much CFR stuff with 
us, but some EMT I guess it was -- popped out of 
nowhere. He had an oxygen tank with no proper 
rebreather mask, but he was able to give her a 
little air. 

To make a long story short, she was 
able to get out because she decided not to stay 
and wait for EMS to help her out. She just got 
out. She got out of the building. 

It was around the 29th floor, I think 
it was, that we decided to take some of our gear 
off in order to make it up to the 80th floor. 
Then we moved up to I think it was the 29th 
floor. I don't remember what other units were up 
there. Like I was saying, we were going to take 
some gear off, leave a few of the hose lengths. 
We carried a lot of gear up, and it was almost 
impossible to make it up that high anyway. 



R. BYRNE 6 

That's where we left Rich Billy to be 
communications relay, basically, because 
communications were pretty poor in the staircase. 
Personally I didn't hear a lot of radio 
transmissions. 

I remember going to I believe it was 
the 35th floor we got to, and that's where we ran 
into 5 Truck, our guys. They saw us. We came 
into the hallway, and we were pooped. They came 
over and offered us water. We took a blow there 
for a little bit. 

I remember somebody had gotten into a 
water dispenser, and we took Poland Spring 
bottles. I think it was Andy Brunn that got into 
it. We were giving them out to civilians on 
their way down. 

I remember later on we went up to -- I 
don't know if it was still on the 35th floor and 
that's when we all dove into the staircase 
because basically the whole tower shook and we 
heard the noise of something going on. We didn't 
know what it was. 

What it was was the south tower 
collapsing. We didn't know. Finally we got some 



R. BYRNE 7 

sort of transmission on the radio saying there 
was a collapse on the 60th floor. Meanwhile the 
south tower happened to come down. 

We were still on a rest period. We 
started going back. We were supposed to meet up 
with another unit; I don't remember who it was. 
We made it as far as, I believe it was the 37th 
floor, and I believe it was a chief from the 11th 
Battalion that popped up on the staircase. His 
exact words were "Drop everything and get out." 
We looked to Lieutenant Hanson, and he said, 
"Drop everything and get out." That's when we 
basically evacuated. 

I remember going up the stairs took us 
over the hour. Getting down the stairs took 
maybe ten minutes, not even. By that time the 
staircase was empty. The same staircase we took 
up was empty on the way down. 

We got as far as I believe the 10th 
floor, 10th or 15th -- I'm not a hundred percent 
sure -- and we knew something was bad at that 
time anyway. 

There was a radio transmission for -- 
they needed help. Lieutenant Hanson told me to 



R. BYRNE 8 

get out because my -- when the chief told me to 
drop everything, because I'm a proby, I followed 
orders to the T, I guess, and I dropped 
everything, except for my bunker gear, of course. 
But I dropped my Scott tank and everything. When 
I got down to that floor, he said, "All right, 
Byrne, you don't have your face piece. Just get 
out of the building." 

Basically, I got as far as the third 
floor, where I ran into -- it looked like there 
was a collapse down there. It was pretty bad. 
It was all smoky and dusty. I thought it was 
smoke, and I got a little nervous. I was at the 
point where I was going to go up and get another 
Scott tank, but I realized it wasn't smoke. 

That's when I saw it was a collapse. 
It looked like a collapse; either that or the 
collapse and just closed up the staircase, I 
think it was the second floor, third or second 
floor, whatever it was. That's where I ran into 
a Port Authority cop, and he directed me out. 

It was a good thing I had my flashlight 
on still, because it was pitch-black. I followed 
a pitch-black hallway, and that's where I ran 



R. BYRNE 9 

into a group of civilians. When we got to the 
point, I think it was the lobby, and that's where 
we had -- we had a little overhead protection 
there, and then we had to run across to the next 
overhead protection it was about a 75 foot run. 
There were jumpers and debris that was falling. 
We had to pretty much take our chance when we 
made the run. 

Before that I remember running into 
another guy in my probationary class, Jimmy 
Brown. He was with 10-10. He was saying he 
doesn't know where everybody is. To make a long 
story short with Jimmy Brown, he ended up living 
but he got buried up to his shoulders. They had 
to dig him out before he suffocated. 

I remember making the mad dash, praying 
I wasn't going to get hit. I took a peek up. I 
saw it looked clear to me, and I ran. I was 
under another bit of overhead protection, but it 
wasn't really that good a protection because the 
aluminum was just coming down from that building. 
It was just going through that thick plate glass 
like a hot knife through butter. There were 
bodies littering the courtyard. Everything was 



R. BYRNE 10 

on fire. 

So I was by myself with 20 civilians, I 
guess. I was the only fireman. The whole line 
stopped because we had to stay in a single column 
to keep the overhead protection. I didn't 
understand why the column stopped. I was 
worried. I was like, why is this thing stopping? 

So I went around to the front, and 
that's when I found this big lady and she 
couldn't walk. Basically I was like, "Lady, 
you've got to get up. You're going to kill 
everybody." She said, "No, just leave me here." 
So we couldn't do that of course. I tried to 
help carry her, but I was just so exhausted. She 
wouldn't give any effort whatsoever to get up. I 
told her I have to go get a straight board. 

Right around the corner of the 
building, maybe 20 feet, 30 feet, I found a 
couple of ESL) cops. With them two and myself, we 
were able to get her as far as Church and Vesey 
on the courtyard still. We're not in the street 
level; we're still right next to the building. 

I think there was another cop that came 
over with a straight board. We strapped her in, 



R. BYRNE 11 

we took her down the stairs, and that's when the 
building came down. We were about 150 feet away 
when the building came down. 

I remember when the building came down 
I couldn't believe it, because I didn't even know 
the other one came down yet, because we were 
never told. We were told it was a collapse above 
the 60th floor. 

What's that, Chief? I'm sorry. 

All of a sudden the lady was able to 
get up and walk fine. That was good. At least 
she lived. Because I didn't have a mask, I 
inhaled quite a bit of that stuff. It went in my 
eyes, everything. 

I remember walking into, I think it was 
towards Vesey, and I saw somebody in the middle 
of the street and said, "Who are you? "I don't 
know if I said, "Who are you?" I just remember 
looking. I kept on walking towards the only 
person I saw. It turned out to be Lieutenant 
Hanson. He barely got out too. 

Together him and I were able to walk a 
block or half a block through all that debris. 
The debris was burning. We got help from a group 



R. BYRNE 12 

of maintenance guys in a building. They were 
able to wash our faces for us with a five gallon 
jug. From there we got over to 7 and 1 somehow. 
That's about it. 

Q. Okay. Thank you. I have some 
questions just to clarify stuff. 

A. Sure. 

Q. That was a good job there. 

The first question, you said there were 
other companies that you saw on the way, but you 
don't remember their numbers? When you got to 
Vesey and West, you started walking. These other 
companies, you didn't take any notice? 

A. When I was going in or out? 

Q. Going in, walking towards the north 
tower. You reported to the lobby command post, 
probably, but do you know who the chief was at 
the lobby command post? 

A. Yeah, I remember seeing Chief Hayden. 

Q. All right, Chief Hayden. 

A. Because I remember there was a 
firefighter from this house. I think it was 5 
Truck. I remember seeing him around here before 
that, and he was setting up the table, the 



R. BYRNE 13 

command table they use. I remember him knocking 
it down. That's what drew my attention to see 
Chief Hayden. 

Q. All right. So that was the aide 
probably of the division. 

A. Right. 

Q. So that was Division 1 was there 
already. 

But you didn't see any other companies 
like in the lobby, the numbers, any numbers? 

A. I remember seeing 5 Truck too. 

Q. You don't know where he directed him 
to? 

A. No. 

Q. You went up the stairs with Ladder 20? 

A. Yes. They were leading us. 

Q. No other companies came down or up 
while you were working that staircase? 

A. We were passing companies. 

Q. But you didn't take notice of their 
numbers? 

A. I didn't take notice. It was my first 
job, basically. 

Q. Okay. 



R. BYRNE 14 

You said you didn't hear much on the 
radio. Did you have a radio? 

A. I did not, but I was close enough to 
listen. 

Q. That's fine. 

The 11th Battalion, the chief you saw, 
you said you believe it was the 11th? 

A. Right. 

Q. Did you see anybody with him? Was his 
aide with him? 

A. No, he was by himself. 

Q. He was by himself. All right. 

And you met 5 Truck on, what did you 
say, the 35th? 

A. The 35th floor, I believe it was. 

Q. When you were coming down, did you see 
any other Fire Department units or any apparatus 
when you came out? 

A. When I came out there was an engine. I 
forgot the number. 

Q. It was probably crushed; right? 

A. No. 

Q. It was in good shape? 

A. It was in good shape after the building 



R. BYRNE 15 

collapsed . 

Q. You came out of the lobby on the Church 
Street side. Is that what you said? I believe 
you said that. 

A. Yeah, either that or I came out another 
way. I had to go around the building. 

Q. That's when you saw the engine, when 
you first came out? 

A. After the building came down I saw the 
engine, because I went to look for a Scott tank. 

Q. When you saw this fellow Jim Brown, was 
he in the lobby? Outside? 

A. I'm pretty sure he was in the lobby. I 
thought he was just right outside the lobby. 
Just before the mad dash. 

There was something else I missed, I 
wanted to tell. 

Q. Okay. If you can remember something 
else, go ahead. There's no rush. 

A. I just forgot it. 

Q. There's no rush. 

A. Sorry. Thinking about this bugs you 
out . 

Q. No, we're just trying to find out if 



R. BYRNE 16 

you saw the units -- 

A. Oh, okay, I remember now. I remember 
exactly. I remember 5 Truck telling us that they 
got up staircase B because it was empty of 
civilians, because we were telling them how we 
were packed with civilians. They told us to take 
B with them, and we ended up just staying in A. 
That is what I remembered. 

Q. Okay. If there's nothing else, that 
concludes the interview. Thank you very much. 

A. Thank you, Chief. 

Q. Okay. 



File No. 9110267 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER RICHARD MASSA 

Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



R. MASSA 2 

CHIEF KEMLY: Today is December 7th, 
2001. The time is 10:20 in the morning. 
This is Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of the 
New York City Fire Department. I'm 
conducting an interview with Richard Massa 
of Engine 64, firefighter first grade. The 
interview is taking place at the quarters of 
Engine 64 regarding the events of September 
11, 2001. 

Q. Firefighter Massa, please tell me what 
happened in your own words on September 11th. 

A. I was chauffeuring for 64 Engine, and 
we responded to the World Trade Center from a 
command post on 125th Street and Third Avenue. 
We went down there with about four other engine 
companies. We went down there together. 

On the way down we heard reports of the 
first building collapsing, and we heard on the 
dispatch system of people being trapped. I 
remember one instance, there was a guy giving a 
mayday from inside one of the apparatuses, of 
being trapped inside there. It was hard to 
believe what we were hearing. 

Heading down the West Side Highway, I 



R. MASSA 3 

went down West Street as far as I could go, which 
was on West and Eighth, West Street and Eighth 
Street. I think it was called Eighth. I went 
down as far as I could. There were apparatus 
backing up all the way on West Street. So that's 
as far down as I believe I was able to go. 

Looking down to the World Trade Center, 
I saw just really a puff of smoke where the north 
tower would have been. I still found it hard to 
believe that it was actually collapsed. I 
thought maybe it was just hidden behind the 
smoke. 

When I got out, I started getting on my 
gear to go down with my men. I realized that I 
had no mask, because the chauffeur's mask was 
being used by one of the firemen whose mask was 
out of service. So I reported to my officer that 
I had no mask. He said to hang back. 

What I started doing right away was I 
remember seeing one other chauffeur that was back 
there with me. I didn't know who he was. We 
started moving the rigs over to one side, because 
all of West Street was blocked up. We figured if 
anybody needed to get by - - I don't know if there 



R. MASSA 4 

was an order given for us to start doing that or 
not, but I was kind of seeing to it myself. I 
thought at least I could be doing something. I 
could be moving the apparatus over. 

I started moving a bunch of engines and 
trucks over to the side. While I was doing that, 
the north tower, the second tower to collapse, 
collapsed. I watched that and backed up a little 
bit from the smoke. It was really out of reach 
from me. It was hard to tell at the time how far 
it was going to go. But after that I continued 
moving apparatus over to one side. 

So from then when I lost my men, I 
never met up with them until the evening time 
after 6:00 o'clock. We got down there between 
five and ten minutes before the second building 
collapsed . 

After that, after moving over the rigs 
to the side, someone was going around with wheel 
barrows collecting tools and anything that might 
be important for down at the site. So I went to 
a few apparatuses and looked for maybe halogens 
or whatever they were looking for, extra masks, 
to be brought down there, then setting up 



R. MASSA 5 

hospitals after that, just trying to set up or 
help out with what I could at the time. 

I went looking for my company a few 
times, trying to head down as close as I could to 
the Trade Center. There was always a lot of 
people around. I know I met up with 94 Engine 
for quite a while, from my battalion, and I knew 
them pretty well. I hung out with them. We were 
at a command post at the time, and we were told 
to hang back while Seven World Trade was on fire 
and they were afraid of collapse. 

That's really pretty much how I spent 
my day, trying to help set up what I could with 
the hospitals or with equipment. I spent a lot 
of time trying to look for my men. I tried to 
listen by radio if I could hear where they may 
be, but I never found them until after 6:00. 

I really didn't get too close to the 
buildings to really see anything that happened. 
I was pretty much always a few blocks away. 

If there's anything else that would be 
important that I could tell you -- I didn't 
report to any command post on my own. 

Q. Okay. I've got a couple questions. 



R. MASSA 6 

When you said you got to Eighth Street, 
you said you heard a mayday on the department 
radio. Do you recall who gave it? 

A. No, I don't. The fireman gave his 
name. I'm not even sure. But I know he was 
stuck in an apparatus. 

Q. He didn't say what company? 

A. He probably did. More than likely he 
did, because I remember the dispatcher asking, 
"Calm down and try to give the location where you 
were." I remember hearing him saying that he was 
running out of air. I was looking at my officer. 
We were looking at each other like we couldn't 
believe what we were hearing. 

No, I don't remember his name or what 
unit he was from. 

Q. When you say another chauffeur and 
yourself were moving rigs, apparatus, did you 
happen to know what company he was from? 

A. No. I didn't know who he was. I 
didn't recognize him. 

Q. Do you remember any of the company 
numbers of the apparatus you were moving? 

A. I really didn't pay attention. 



R. MASSA 



Q. The same thing happened when you took 
the tools, you were putting the tools in, you 
don't remember company numbers? 

A. There wasn't any tools that were taken. 
But no, I really wasn't looking. I probably knew 
at the time but didn't try to remember. 

Q. When you were moving the apparatus, you 
were getting closer to the buildings? 

A. No, I was just moving to the side. 

Q. This is all the way up by Eighth 
Street? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. Okay. When you say you hooked up with 
94, that was after the collapses? 

A. That was after the collapses. 

Q. Okay. Unless you can think of 
something else, that will be the end of the 
interview. 

A. No, I remember helping a few civilians 
that were walking, back around that time after I 
was moving the rigs, with oxygen. Some of them I 
guess had difficulty breathing. So I used mine 
from 64 Engine, my oxygen, to help civilians. 

I remember one woman in particular, she 



R. MASSA 8 

took some oxygen for a few minutes, said thank 
you and then I put the stuff back and started to 
head down to hook up with some of my men. I 
don't remember helping anybody else besides that 
one woman. 

There's nothing else I can think of as 
far as incidents like that as far as helping any 
civilians coming by. There were some around 
there. There were some firemen back with me that 
I know were helping people that were coming back 
that needed maybe some oxygen. 

Type of tools or what engine or truck 
companies are gone from me. 

Q. Do you have anything else? 

A. I don't think so. 

Q. Okay. That concludes the interview. 
Thank you. 



File No. 9110269 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER STEPHEN ELLIS 

Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



S. ELLIS 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today is the 7th of 
December, 2001. The time is 4:06 p.m. I am Battalion 
Chief Robert Burns, Safety Battalion, New York City 
Fire Department. I am conducting an interview with -- 

FIREFIGHTER ELLIS: Firefighter Ellis, Engine 
239, Firefighter First Grade. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: This is in regard to 
the events that occurred on September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Steve, if you could, just tell us in your own 
words what you saw on that day. 

A. Well, we responded through the Brooklyn 
Battery Tunnel. We drove up West Street. I was in 
search of a hydrant. We proceeded past both towers 
going north on West Street, and I finally came across a 
hydrant at the corner of West and Barclay. 

I tested the hydrant. We hooked up. We had 
water. Soon thereafter I found out that Engine 24, 
which was located on Vesey Street and West Street, 
needed to be augmented. So myself, Firefighter Brown, 
Firefighter Martin and Firefighter Wheeler had 
stretched three-inch line from my rig down West Street 
from Barclay to Vesey and hooked into Engine 24' s rig, 
and I had then gone back to my rig and started water 
and augmented them. 



S. ELLIS 

Other than that, I was not in any of the 
towers. I was there when the towers did collapse and 
me and the rest of the members had gotten caught in the 
huge dust cloud. That's about all I can tell you as 
the chauffeur. The other members were, I understand, 
going towards Tower 1 at the time, after they had 
helped me stretch the three-inch hose to 24's engine. 
That's about all I can say. 

Q. So from the position you were in, did you see 
the tower go down? 

A. Yes. I saw the second tower, not the first 
tower, the second tower go down. 

Q. Did you see any units, where they were, or 
any units that were involved in the collapse or the 
identity of any people that you saw? 

A. No. All I saw was 24's rig when I was 
supplying them and going back to my rig. In the 
immediate vicinity of the tower, I didn't see any other 
rigs. Back by where I was parked on Barclay, I saw 
Engine 235 ' s rig. But in the immediate vicinity of the 
towers, I didn't see anybody else's rig that I can 
remember besides 24. I was concentrating on supplying 
them. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay. Great. That 



S. ELLIS 

concludes the interview. Thanks, Steve. It's 4:10 
p.m. 



File No. 9110270 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 

FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM WHEELER 

Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Wheeler 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 7, 2001. The time is 4:52 p.m. I 
am Battalion Chief Robert Burns, Safety 
Battalion New York City Fire Department. I 
am conducting an interview with William 
Wheeler of Engine 239 in regard to the events 
of September 11, 2001. 

Bill, if you would, tell us in your 
own words what you saw that day. 
A. We went through the tunnel, responded 
through the tunnel, we went up to the West Side 
Highway. There was people all over the ground, 
debris and whatnot. We stopped in front of the 
building and dropped this guy off -- I'm not sure 
who it was -- and proceeded past the building down 
to, I think -- I'm not sure what street it is. 
Warren Street or Murray Street, one of them. We 
found a hydrant, stretched a 3 and a half inch line 
off the back of the rig to 24 Engine who was parked 
on the corner of Vesey and West Street, West Side 
Highway. 

I went back to the Engine back on Warren 
Street, I think, took my roll-ups, live saving rope 



Wheeler 
and whatever else, other tools, went back up to the 
command post in front of 2 World -- the World 
Financial Center. 

The building then fell down. We ran back 
towards underneath the pedestrian bridge on the West 
Side Highway, the north one, and stayed there for a 
period of time. Then I was told by someone, the 
Captain I believe it was, to go get a hand line and 
stretch it into the basement of the World Financial 
Center. I went back to do that. I stopped to wash 
my eyes out and whatever. 

The other building started falling. I ran into 
a building on the corner of Warren Street and stayed 
there for a while. I came back out, went back to 
the rig. Then we went over to see if there was a 
hydrant. 54 Engine was across the street from us. 
We went, hooked it off the hydrant and started 
working the gun on the top to see if we could get 
the car fires out that were in the parking lot 
across the street. But then they told us to shut it 
off because there was no water pressure. They were 
going to move a hand line in. 

Then I went back and we reconnected our 3 and a 
half that we had stretched to Engine 24 originally, 



Wheeler 
because it was covered in the collapse. We went to 
stretch some more of it and got that all done, and 
that's about it. 

Q. When you said earlier that the building 
fell down, that was the first building? The south 
tower? 

A. The south tower. That was the first. 

Q. When you were on West Street stretching 
lines, did you notice any units or the identity of 
any people over there? 

A. The only one I saw, 5 Truck was outside of 
6 World Trade Center, the Customs building, with a 
ladder up. I don't know. There was a tower ladder 
out behind it. I believe it was 12. I'm not sure. 

I saw 54 Engine across the street, I saw 2 
Truck on the West Side Highway facing underneath the 
pedestrian bridge. Let's see. There is not that 
much more I remember seeing. 

I saw 131 Truck when we first pulled up. I saw 
131 get out of their truck. I saw 122 Truck when we 
first pulled up, I saw them get out of their truck. 
I saw the chauffeur for 16 Engine. I talked to him, 
because I used to work there. And he was asking 
me -- he was trying to back out of a block. He 



Wheeler 

asked me how far he could stretch a 3 and a half and 
I really didn't know. I couldn't help him. I was 
doing something. 

And I saw the chauffeur of 235 after the 
collapses asking where his company was, and I saw 
231' s rig was around the corner from our rig, and I 
saw their chauffeur. I didn't see any of their 
guys. And there was a guy that was with us the 
whole time. I don't know where that guy was from 
though. He was with us. Like we used him to 
untangle search ropes and stuff in the building, 
after the second building fell. I don't know if he 
was from Rescue or where he was from. He just came 
out of the basement of the building and he was like 
"Uhhh" and I don't know. 

I think that's about it. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay. Thanks, 

Bill. 

The time is 4:56. That's the end of 

the interview. 



File No. 9110272 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER PETER BROWN 
Interview Date: December 7, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Burns 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 7, 2001. The time is 4:30 p.m. I 
am Battalion Chief Robert Burns, Safety 
Battalion of the New York City Fire 
Department. I am conducting an interview 
with Peter Brown, firefighter from Engine 239 
in regard to the events of September 11, 
2001. 

If you would, Peter, just tell us in 
your own words what happened on that day. 
A. My name is Peter Brown, Firefighter First 
Grade, Engine 239. We were sent on, I guess, a 
second alarm. We staged at the mouth of the 
Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. While we were there, the 
second plane hit. We got the word to go to the 
tower and proceeded through the tunnel. There was 
some traffic in the tunnel and Steve Siller from 
Squad 1 jumped on the rig. We proceeded through the 
tunnel. Steve Siller jumped out on Liberty and West 
Street. 

We proceeded past the two towers up to Barclay, 
looked around. The rig faced south, we grabbed a 
hydrant and we started to stretch the 3 and a half 
back to Engine 24. They had water problems. We 



Burns 

hooked up the 3 and a half, stretched it to like 6 
lengths off us, hooked up, pulled some lengths off 
of them, put them all together, augmented them, 
hooked into 6 World Trade Center, into the sprinkler 
system, went back to our rig, got some -- put our 
masks on, I grabbed a cylinder and a personal search 
rope and we started heading back south again on West 
Street. 

All this time there were people jumping from 
the building so we walked in the middle of the 
street. We walked as a unit down the street and the 
Lieutenant, I think, saw Chief Feehan and he said 
proceed to the staging area. As we were walking, 
the south tower started to collapse. The command 
said the south tower was coming down. We looked up, 
we saw the tower coming down. We ran back north, 
hid under the north pedestrian bridge behind -- I 
hid behind Ladder 3, and the dust clouds, debris 
cloud blew by us and hung around a while. It was 
pretty dark. We sort of thought we were buried 
underneath the bridge. 

It was me, Kevin Martin and another guy was there 
who I thought was a Lieutenant, but I found out -- 
he was coughing. I helped him buddy-breathe and 



Burns 

then he said he needed water so we ran around the 
side of the truck and got a can. I hit him in the 
mouth with the can a little bit to get some of the 
dirt and garbage out of his mouth. Finally the air 
cleared and we realized we weren't buried under 
debris and we regrouped. We got everybody together 
and Lieutenant Mancuso said, "Let's get out of here. 
This one's gonna come down." He said, "Get 
everybody together" and we went back to our rig. It 
was pretty much debris in our eyes and in our 
mouths. 

We went back to the rig and sort of took off my 
mask and I had dropped some tools while we were 
running. I guess the cylinder and the rope I had. 
While we were there -- I was on Barclay, sort of 
went around to this other building there. It was, I 
think, the DC37 building, DC 10. Something like 
that. And while we were in there we went to the 
bathroom to wash up, get the stuff out of our eyes, 
the second building came down. After that it was 
pretty much an operation from a distance, I guess. 
We didn't get in too close. We stretched a few 
lines. There was cars on fire across the street in 
the parking lot. We stretched some lines and put 



Burns 

them out and we did a variety of minor things. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay that's it, 
That concludes our interview. The time is 
4 : 34 p.m. 



File No. 9110277 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER ARTHUR RICCIO 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



A. RICCIO 2 

CHIEF KING: Today's date is December 
10th, 2001. The time is 1718 hours. This 
is Battalion Chief Steven King, Safety 
Battalion, FDNY. I am conducting an 
interview with Firefighter Arthur Riccio 
from Ladder Company 119. He was on overtime 
as a chauffeur in Ladder 110 on September 
11th. 

This interview is regarding the events 
of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Artie, you can start whenever you want. 
A. I came down Liberty Street. When I got 
to Church Street, the second plane hit. We 
didn't know it was a plane; we thought it was 
helicopters going around. I thought a helicopter 
went into it. 

I stopped there. People were running 
at us. It was like a movie. The lieutenant was 
saying, "Back up, back up. Get out of here." I 
stopped. I had people running all around me. 
The women were losing their shoes. One woman 
lost a pocketbook. We took the pocketbook, threw 
it in the rig, and we gave it back to her about 
three days later. She got her pocketbook back. 



A. RICCIO 3 

I backed out. I went down Broadway. I 
came back around and wound up in the same spot, 
Liberty and Church. I went up to Vesey Street. 
I parked the rig on Church Street. We walked 
down Vesey Street, and it was like total silence, 
nothing. It was eerie. There were police cars 
all parked on angles, metal going through their 
hoods. There was a tire of a plane on top of 
one. 

We walked down Vesey, went into the 
lobby. Battalion 11 came to us and said we have 
people trapped on the 31st floor. In the lobby 
was the Commissioner, Ganci, the Mayor was there, 
Father Judge was there. 

We walked around to the A staircase. 
The A staircase was loaded with people. We 
couldn't even get in there. Battalion 11, I 
don't know who it was, he came around and said, 
"You know what, this elevator here goes to 16. 
Let's take the elevator." We asked, "Chief, do 
you want to take the elevator?" He said, "Yeah, 
come on, let's go. If only goes to 16, there 
will be no problem." 

So we took it, went to 16. We got out 



A. RICCIO 4 

and went into C staircase. As we started walking 
up, we were telling civilians to go to the left 
and we were going to the right. We walked up and 
got to 21. 21 was locked. Chief said, "Maybe 
another floor is open. Let's go up." We got to 
28. 

I was behind the chief. I said, 
"Chief, this is 21. Where are we going?" He 
said, "You know what, let's go back down and 
force the door." We went back down to 21, forced 
the door, we go in and searched all the 
occupancies. Nobody was in there. 

It was a little hazy. The bathrooms 
were charred. I had to use my mask to look in 
the stalls and make sure no one was in there. I 
came out. It was like a horseshoe. The last 
office, I was in there with Lieutenant Meara to 
and this kid Mike, a proby. 

All of a sudden we felt wind hitting us 
in the face. We thought fire was coming in. 
Every door we went through , we broke the locks 
so it wouldn't lock behind us. As we go through 
a door, we would hold the door closed. We would 
lay on the floor with our feet on the door, 



A. RICCIO 5 

holding it. 

I think 55 Engine was hooked up, and 
they asked, "Where's the fire? Where's the 
fire?" No fire. Paulie Howard was saying the 
whole building shook. I was laying on the floor 
saying, "Come on, this building -- it's got to 
shake. Everybody was swaying." He said, "No, 
this building's going down." I said to him, 
"There was a bomb in the basement. It's not 
going to go down. " 

Every window was broken. There was 
smoke coming down the hall, and I was just in 
that office. I said, "You know what, I'll go 
back in there. I know the layout." I go back 
in, and the proby came with me. We went on the 
whole outside. Every window was broken. All the 
blinds were burnt. It was smoky. So we came 
back out. 

55 Engine said, "You need a line?" I 
said, "There's no fire in there. I don't know 
what it is. I don't know what happened." We 
didn't know the building went down next to us. 

We passed the C staircase and got to 
the B staircase. We were standing right there, 



A. RICCIO 6 

and a chief, whoever he is, he saved our lives. 
He was yelling, "Get out now. Get out." So we 
started walking down. We were lucky we were in 
the B staircase. They told us that the B 
staircase was the only one that went out, the 
only one that wasn't blocked with rubble. 

On about 18 I saw two civilians trying 
to get a lady -- she must have had arthritis 
because her hands were bent. They were 
permanently like this. So I said, "Come on, 
we'll throw her in a chair." We put her in a 
chair, and I took the back and a civilian took 
the front. Actually another civilian took my 
halogen, and we walked down. The rest of 110 was 
behind me. 

We walked down. I don't even remember 
going down. They told me it was stop and go. It 
was real slow going down. I was kidding with 
her. She was crying. I was telling her, "Don't 
worry, Uncle Artie's got you. We're going to get 
out of here. No problem." 

When we got down to the lobby, it was 
like a bomb hit it. I looked around and said, 
oh, my God, every window is busted. I was shaky. 



A. RICCIO 7 

My arms were shaking. I was totally exhausted. 
I looked for an ambulance, got her into an 
ambulance, and I sat down in front of the 
building on West Street. I was sitting there and 
I thought, my God, I can't move. 

Another chief, another guy who saved my 
life -- I don't know who he was -- he kept on 
telling me, "Go north, go north. Get out of here 
now." So we started walking up West Street. I 
don't know even know how far we got. A block? I 
know we walked under the first walkway, overpass. 
I think we might have just got past there. 

The guy said to me, "Run!" I turned 
around, and it was a tidal wave of black coming 
down on top of us. I couldn't run. I was done. 
I knew that a two and a half foot wall in the 
street was next to me. I couldn't see it, so I 
just rolled to it. I tucked, I hit. I couldn't 
put my mask on. I couldn't breathe. I was 
pulling cement out of my mouth. 

I finally found my mask and put my face 
piece on. It was full of cement. I must have 
laid there for five minutes, ten minutes, in 
total darkness. The next thing I knew -- I was 



A. RICCIO 8 

totally at peace, I swear to God. I think all 
our guys that died, they felt the way I felt. I 
was ready. Total calmness came over me. It was 
unbelievable. 

The next thing I know, a guy from 
122 -- I couldn't see his face in front of my 
eyes. The way you can't open your eyes in the 
morning like this. I had so much dust -- you 
know the dust out there. 
Q. Sure. 

A. You couldn't open your eyes. I just 
saw 122. The guy's lifting me up. He walked me 
out . 

After a while, a couple hours, I guess, 
they went to start searching subways. We 
regrouped and got saws together and were cutting 
gates of subways and going down. They were 
totally collapsed. 

I did see in the lobby, though, a 
friend of mine, John Crisci, as I was walking in. 
He was from hazmat . They just got there behind 
us. I thought they were getting assigned behind 
us. He died. They said they found him between 
the two towers, so they must have sent him over 



A. RICCIO 9 

to go into the south tower. 

I think the people jumping was probably 
my -- they were hitting the atrium as we were 
going in . 

Q. (Inaudible.) 

A. Yeah. We had a proby. I told the guy, 
"Don't look up. Just put your head down and 
let ' s go. " 

I know Mike said he felt the whole 
building shake. We regrouped afterwards. I 
don't know if Mike ran into a building through a 
glass door or something. Another kid Mike, the 
proby, he ran into the back of an ambulance. The 
ambulance was open. 

Over the Brooklyn Bridge, you saw black 
coming down the side of the building. It was 
like drippings. I said, "Lieutenant, what are 
those windows, plastic? What's melted on them? 
It looks like plastic going down the side of the 
building." They said it was the jet fuel coming 
down the side. 

Otherwise seeing anybody, that's pretty 
much it. 

Q. That's terrific. 



A. RICCIO 10 

CHIEF KING: The time is 1727 hours, 
and this interview is concluded. 



File No. 9110278 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER LANCE LIZZUL 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



L. LIZZUL 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: It's December 10th, 
2001. The time is 5:18 p.m., and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the New 
York City Fire Department Safety Battalion. 
I'm conducting an interview with Lance 
Lizzul of Engine 47 in the quarters of 
Engine 47. 

Q. Lance, just relate to us anything you 
saw on September 11th. 

A. When the first plane hit, we heard the 
alarms come in. Watching the TV, we saw the 
second plane hit. They transmitted the second 
fifth, and they sent us down. 

We came all the way down West Street 
and parked the rig I guess around Warren Street, 
and we started walking up the block. I was the 
chauffeur. The rest of the members of the 
company got together, and they started walking. 

I hooked up with another chauffeur. We 
walked towards the Trade Center, and there was a 
rig on the corner that was hooked up, and he was 
fine. So we started walking towards the Trade 
Center and actually stopped because of all the 
jumpers and walked across West Street in front 



L. LIZZUL 3 

of, it looks like the Winter Garden, with the 
atrium there. We were standing by the command 
center, watching what was going on. Some of 
these jumpers, I didn't look. 

After a while just standing there, 
waiting to see what was going on, we heard some 
bangs. That made us look up, and that's when the 
first Trade Center came down. We ran through 
that building and past the atrium and came out on 
Vesey and walked back up to West, helping people 
as we could all along. 

We just couldn't see anything. So we 
waited a little while until it cleared. We 
stayed on the corner. The chief started chasing 
everybody back north, and we started moving back. 
Then we heard the rumbling from the second one 
and just turned around and ended up staying all 
the way down north for most of the next couple 
hours. 

Q. The building that you ran through after 
the first collapse, which building was that? 

A. That was one of the Battery Park 
buildings. It was just a building. 

Q. This is all interconnected. 



L. LIZZUL 4 

A. Okay. Right. We ran right through the 
command center, it was on the ramp going down, 
and then the walkway was right next to that that 
went into the building where the atrium was. We 
ran through that building along the side, along 
the side of the atrium, and out the side door and 
came out on Vesey. There were people all over 
the place on Vesey. 

Then when we came out, we walked up 
Vesey Street. The radios were silent. There was 
no talking on the radios. Then I got to the 
corner of Vesey and West, and the radio 
communications started again. I heard Engine 74 
giving maydays. I know with 74 there was 22 and 
13 and they were all in the same building, 22 and 
13, 74 and us. 

Q. Which building? 

A. It was supposed to be in the second 
one. We ended up, I believe, in the first one. 
By mistake someone took them there. I met our 
control man, and then I saw him a little bit. I 
walked down the block a little bit. He kept 
going. I stopped and was just staring at the 
building. I heard the rumbling of the second 



L. LIZZUL 

one, and it just came down and I just started 
running again. 

That's pretty much it. 
Q. Thank you very much for your help, 
Lance? 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 5:26 
p.m., and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110280 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM CHESNEY 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



W. CHESNEY 2 

CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is December 
10th, 2001. The time is 10:20 a.m. I am 
Battalion Chief Robert Burns, Safety 
Battalion, New York City Fire Department, 
conducting an interview with -- 

FIREFIGHTER CHESNEY: Firefighter First 
Grade William Chesney assigned to Engine 
Company 309. 

CHIEF BURNS: This is in regards to the 
events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Bill, if you would, just tell me in 
your own words what happened that day. 

A. Okay. We were assigned to relocate 
Engine 309 to 33 Engine in Manhattan. That would 
be after the first tower had fallen. After 
coming over the Manhattan Bridge into Manhattan, 
we were notified by the dispatcher to I believe 
the Deutsche Bank, which had I believe been set 
afire or there was a collapse there. I'm not 
sure what the assignment was. I'm fuzzy on that. 

We proceeded to the West Side Highway. 
We made it up to Liberty next to the second World 
Trade Center before it fell. We didn't exit the 
engine. It was still running at the time. We 



W. CHESNEY 3 

heard popping, people, crowd, screaming. The 
first tower had already fallen, so everything was 
very unclear due to visibility, bad visibility, 
because of smoke and ash. 

We visually saw the beginning of the 
first tower crumble, so the engine turned off on 
Liberty and made its way over to Albany Street. 
The tower had fallen. Our engine company then 
exited the engine and proceeded over and 
attempted to help out in any way they could with 
civilians or Fire Department personnel who needed 
assistance. Then we had other companies join us 
that were scattered. 

There was no water pressure downtown at 
the time. It took a while for water to get to 
the fires, Marine 2. We were down by Liberty 
close to the water by Gateway Plaza. We were 
assigned to put a fire out on the eighth or ninth 
floor of Gateway at the time. We went up there 
with hoses. We were drafting water from Marine 2 
from a three and a half. 

After that fire was out, we then 
proceeded to put out additional pockets of fire 
close to second World Trade. I believe it was 



W. CHESNEY 4 

adjacent to the Vista Hotel and three World 
Trade. 

For the rest of the day all we did was 
assist rescue operations, basically. That's 
basically the fundamentals of what happened. 

Q. Did your unit get there prior to the 
second tower collapsing? 

A. Yes, we did, yes. 

Q. Where were you when the second tower 
collapsed? 

A. I'm believing that we actually made it 
over towards the pedestrian bridge close to 
Liberty off the West Side Highway, because I 
believe the Deutsche Bank is adjacent to the 
second world tower or a block off. I'm not 
positive. That's where our assignment was. 

Q. When you guys got there, did you see 
anyone or any companies that you can identify? 

A. No. Due to the poor visibility, it was 
very tough to see in front of your face. With 
the smoke down there, the ash, it was very 
difficult to see anything. Basically I just saw 
through the fog on my end -- I'm not speaking for 
anybody else -- was first and last of the clouds 



W. CHESNEY 5 

there were people running here and there. 

There was no sense of direction. There 
was no way to know what anybody else was doing, 
so we just kept ourselves together and kept a 
level head and just tried to make the best of the 
situation, help out any way we could. That was 
it. 

Q. Okay. Great. 

CHIEF BURNS: That concludes the 

interview. It's 10:25 a.m. 



File No. 9110281 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER STEVEN WRIGHT 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



S. WRIGHT 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today's date is 
December 10th, 2001. The time is 12:18 and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan, Safety Battalion of the 
New York City Fire Department. I'm conducting an 
interview with Steven Wright of Ladder 16. 

Q. Steve, please give us anything you have about 
the events on September 11th. 

A. Sure. Okay. I remember being in quarters 
here when somebody said a plane crashed at the World 
Trade Center. We turned on the TV. We saw the hole in 
the building. We thought it was just somebody, a bad 
driver, a bad airplane driver or something went wrong. 
As we watched and we saw the second one hit the 
building, that's when we knew, we figured, everybody 
thought it was a terror assault. We had a bad feeling 
about this. So now the second plane hit and we get 
called, I think, on the fifth alarm for the second 
building. 

So we leave quarters. We go down. We're 
following 13, I guess, 22 and the 10th Battalion now. 
We get down West Street. We see all the smoke. When 
we report there, we park about, I guess, two blocks 
north of the walkway on West Street and we start 
walking down. There was a guy from 35 Truck, Shea. He 



S. WRIGHT 

borrowed one of our masks. I remember that. 

As we're walking down, we're watching. We 
see people jumping from the north building as we're 
walking under the overpass, the walkway. Then we 
reported to the staging area, which was directly across 
from the north tower, which was 2 World Financial 
Center, the Merrill Lynch Building. We were standing 
in the staging area at the apron of a loading dock that 
went underneath that building. The engine company was 
on the north side of the ramp. The truck company was 
on the south side of the ramp directly across from the 
north tower. They started upping it and about 20 feet 
was the ouija board, as they call it. Anyway, I 
remember standing there looking up and looking at the 
flames, seeing people jump. Again, it was about 20 
people that jumped while we were standing there. I 
remember being told as we were walking down there may 
be a report of a third plane coming in, and I didn't 
hear anything else about that. 

So they gave some assignments to engine 
companies and truck companies. 13 was the truck 
company directly ahead of us. They got the last 
assignment. I'm not sure which building they went 
into. But 16 was the last truck company there and we 



S. WRIGHT 

were waiting for the assignment. I remember standing 
like two, three feet away from the overhead doors that 
were open in that loading dock, and I had my bunker 
gear on with the tools on the side, mask on the side. 
I stayed close to the building because I was taking 
debris. I didn't know. 

So I guess it was after about ten minutes, 15 
minutes after 13 got their assignment, I remember 
looking around and I heard this sound and I looked up 
and it was the south tower crumbling, coming down. We 
all just took off, turned around and ran straight to 
the back of the loading dock underneath 2 World 
Financial Center. Moments went by. Smoke had come in 
the loading dock, a good amount at the beginning, but I 
had ended up in the back and it wasn't that bad back 
there. So then people were calling out to try to find 
other firefighters and stuff. I remember walking back 
in. I found all my guys except one. I couldn't find 
one. He went off and went out the back of the 
building. He made his way out the back. 

So we ended up, the rest of us, coming back 
out of the loading dock to the front of that building 
where we were standing and looking for people who were 
hurt and looking a little bit scarred but they were 



S. WRIGHT 

walking around. There was one EMS guy. He was about a 
400-pound guy. He was laying down on the ground. One 
of the guys found a gurney, I guess, his gurney that he 
had. There were about 15 of us there. We picked him 
up, put him on the gurney. My guys went to push him up 
the apron to the sidewalk, which was closer towards the 
north building, which didn't collapse yet, but my 
officer said, no, we're going to bring him back down 
the ramp to the back, to the loading dock, out the back 
of the building. That turned out to be a good move. 

So we went to the back, picked him up on top 
of the loading dock there in the back about four feet. 
Again, there were like 15 of us, so 400 pounds wasn't 
too bad. We found we had to go up like another two 
levels to get out the rear of the building that goes 
back towards the marina. So we found an elevator. Two 
of us got on the elevator. I was one of them and 
another fireman with this heavy guy, the EMS worker on 
the stretcher. The other guys walked up. The elevator 
went down. What a mistake! 

So now it was just me and another fireman. 
We were in the basement with this guy that's 400 pounds 
and the elevator wasn't working correctly. So good 
thing we got off. I remember we were looking for a 



S. WRIGHT 

stairwell so we could get this guy up, and I remember 
saying how did this happen, me and this other fireman 
with this 400-pound guy. We couldn't budge. We tried 
getting him up the stairs. It was like we got him up 
three stairs, let alone three floors. 

So I remember looking around for the 
stairwell and all of a sudden the building started 
rumbling and the lights went out for about ten 
seconds. I turned my light on and I'm just thinking, 
I'm hoping this building isn't collapsing. I thought 
it was the tower coming down across the highway, but I 
didn't know for sure. For about ten seconds the 
building rumbled and then it stopped, and I felt very 
relieved . 

I called for some more assistance to see if 
we could get this guy out, and then my officer was 
telling me, Steve, come on out of the basement because 
I think I smell something burning in this building much 
lower. So me and this other guy, that's when we tried 
to lift him up. We couldn't lift him up. So finally 
we got some help. Within a couple minutes we got some 
more help and we got him up, I think, 43, some guys. 
The north tower did come down. That's what made that 
building rumble like that. We came out the back. I 



S. WRIGHT 

don't have that EMS worker's name. The other fireman 
that was with me, he was all right. I met him the 
other day. His name is Gary. We put him on a PD boat 
and they took him to a hospital in Jersey or Staten 
Island . 

After the collapse, we were walking around. 
We started heading south, near the marina, and from 
there we started to help stretch a line from one of the 
boats for about two blocks. We stretched it and that 
took a little while. Then I remember we walked back up 
alongside of the marina. We headed north again. I 
don't know what street that is. I was with the 
officer. I was trying to find out who to report to, 
what was happening, and nobody had a clue. So it was 
like we were on our own. 

After that we waited there for a little while 
and then we made our way back into 2 World Financial 
Center where we came out. We went back through the 
back of the building, back through the loading dock, 
back out to the front, and we started climbing the 
metal, the debris field. We started looking for 
people. We didn't see anybody. Well, the people that 
we did see, they were crushed. So other than that, I 
really don't -- 



S. WRIGHT 

Q. When you were standing fast at the staging 
area, did you hear any Maydays or anything that would 
indicate the collapse, any warning signs of the 
collapse? 

A. No. I didn't notice any Maydays, not that I 
can remember. But I know there were two different 
channels, one for each tower. I think each tower had a 
different station. Anyway, it seemed to be a little 
foggy. 

Q. Did you see anything looking at the building 
that indicated -- 

A. No. I just remember seeing just the flames, 
and when I heard the noise, I was already looking 
away. But I remember talking to some other guys. They 
remembered seeing the floors being blown out, I guess, 
when each floor collapsed on each other. I didn't see 
that. I heard the sound. I looked up. I saw the 
building collapsing and just like being pulverized, the 
smoke, and I probably looked at it for about a second 
and I just took off, if a second. Once I saw that, I 
was like, whoa, get out of here. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Well, thank you, 
Steve. 

FIREFIGHTER WRIGHT: Okay. 



S. WRIGHT 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The time now is 
12:28 and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110282 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER VANDON WILLIAMS 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



V. WILLIAMS 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 11th, 2001. The time is 1:14 p.m. I'm 
Battalion Chief Robert Burns of the Safety Battalion, 
New York City Fire Department. I'm conducting an 
interview with -- 

FIREFIGHTER WILLIAMS: Firefighter Vandon 
Williams, Battalion 49. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: This is in regards to 
the events of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. If you would, just tell us in your own words 
what happened on that day. 

A. I was just finishing a 24-hour tour on the 
10th, which is my wedding anniversary. I was looking 
for my relief to come in at the time that the first 
plane hit the Tower 1. I watched it on television from 
our quarters here in Astoria. Then when the second 
tower was hit, the signal came in for us to proceed to 
a staging area by the Midtown Tunnel. 

So, knowing that I would not be relieved in 
time, I just decided that it was best that I go on and 
handle this event. I proceeded to the staging area at 
the Midtown Tunnel. We were there for, I guess, 
approximately 30, 35 minutes, until the Midtown Tunnel 
was cleared out, and then we proceeded through the 



V. WILLIAMS 

Midtown Tunnel to the west side, going down to the area 
of West Street and Vesey. 

Upon getting to the west side, we were able 
to park our apparatus, and I believe we might have had 
about ten to 15 units as a convoy from Queens. We 
proceeded and we parked our car about a block or two 
blocks north of Chambers and West Street, and we 
proceeded by foot toward the command post at Vesey and 
West. I got as far as a block north of Chambers and 
West and I was told by my Battalion Chief, Chief Mike 
Keenan, to make sure that all the units that were with 
us were accounted for and he proceeded to go toward the 
command post, and once I had checked everybody off that 
had come with us, then I would proceed down to the 
command post. 

So one block north of Chambers, I stopped and 
turned around and proceeded to count off the companies 
that came in. I guess I was doing that for about a 
good five or six minutes, about five minutes or so, and 
then I heard a rumbling. As I turned around, I saw 
people and some firefighters coming toward me and I 
looked up and I could actually see Tower No. 1 coming 
down. 

So at that time I tried to get myself as 



V. WILLIAMS 

close to -- there was a police tow truck on my side, 
looking at the Hudson River. There were two police tow 
trucks parked there. So I just covered, bent next to 
one of the tow trucks and bent my head down until the 
smoke cleared. For me the eerie thing was not hearing 
any communications on the radio, any transmissions, 
anything, until most of this acrid, black smoke had 
cleared away, and then I could hear the sounds of our 
pass alarms going off around. Once most of the black 
smoke had kind of lightenend up and we were still in a 
fog-type state or a fog-type atmosphere, I tried to 
proceed down toward Vesey and West, where my Battalion 
Chief Mike Keenan was. 

So I got to meet him. Around Murray and West 
we met up. We proceeded to set up a secondary command 
post at Chambers and West Street. That was the call 
that was given out to the units, that there would be a 
command post set up at Chambers and West. 

Then we proceeded down toward Vesey Street. 
We proceeded southbound on Vesey Street until we came 
to West and Vesey, and at that point Chief Keenan 
started to operate at the north side of 6 World Trade 
Center, the U.S. Customs Building. The pedestrian 
bridge at that point, that I could look at, was already 



V. WILLIAMS 

down and completely destroyed. I was standing on the 
north side of the pedestrian bridge listening to Chief 
Keenan as he went up and tried to get onto one of the 
levels that was still standing on the Customs Building, 
doing communications with him and finding out what 
companies that we had that were able to go forward and 
help with some of the extinguishment as far as an 
engine company and a truck. I don't know the names of 
the companies that helped us to go work at that, but 
there was a truck company and an engine company that 
were being put into action to work on the Customs 
Building. 

At that time I also met the 14th Division 
Chief, a Chief McNally, and for the most of my duration 
I was there operating with him doing communications on 
the tactical and the channel for the Chiefs, going 
between both of them to try to ascertain who we had, 
what we could find in that area. I believe I worked 
with Chief McNally for a couple of hours before I was 
released to go with Chief Keenan. 

We proceeded to go around the pedestrian 
building and try to go south toward the World Trade 
Center No. 1. In order to get there, we had to walk 
around the World Financial Center building, the 



V. WILLIAMS 

American Express Building, toward the water, which 
would be going west toward the Hudson River. We were 
able to walk around the building and come out around 
the Winter Garden building, and at that time we were 
now just looking at what was left of the World Trade 
Center No. 1. 

We proceeded to walk over some of the metal 
and steel beams and stuff and we were able to get to a 
point where we were high enough to see a couple of 
mounds of just twisted metal, and we stood there while 
there were groups of firefighters, I'm not sure what 
units they were, that were proceeding down the mound 
and trying to get up to the second level of the mound 
to start our searches. 

At that time I was able to see two 
civilians. One was standing up on the mound and 
firefighters were able to get to him and another one, 
and we were able to bring them out in the Stokes 
baskets down through the mound. It could have been an 
hour, hour and a half we were doing that before we were 
ordered to move away from that part of Tower No. 1 
because there was an imminent danger of collapse of 
World Trade Center No. 5 and 7. 

So he proceeded to take us from that area and 



V. WILLIAMS 

we proceeded back from that part of the World Trade 
Center No. 1, all units, Chief Keenan and I and some 
other Battalion Chiefs there. I know Battalion 46, 
Chief Turner was there. We operated also under the SOC 
command of Chief Seigel looking over those areas of 
Tower No. 1. Once they recalled us from that area, we 
proceeded back over to the area where we started at, 
Vesey and West. I was there approximately 15 hours. I 
left at 11:00 that evening. 

Part of my duties with the 49 and the 14th 
Division, I was also used to do logistics and command 
with Deputy Chief -- I don't want to say his name 
wrong. It will come to me. 

Well, I'll say this. This happened to be 
closer toward the evening. I guess it was close to 
about 4:00 or 5:00 o'clock, as it started turning more 
toward the sunset. We had been working on the north 
tower and we proceeded back over to West and Vesey. At 
that time I was able to see Chief Fellini talking with 
Chief McNally and other Chiefs on the scene that came 
in. But I was able to do liaison. I was there to set 
up for what other units that came in in the staging 
area and I worked as the aide that proceeded to tell 
what units would go in and what areas the Chiefs wanted 



V. WILLIAMS 

to work with. I can't think of that Chief's name, but 
I liaisoned with him. 

Before the night was over with, I was one of 
the firefighter liaison officers in the temporary 
Office of Emergency Management, and I worked with Chief 
Cantley, I think, if I'm not mistaken, in the OEM 
office from about 10:00 until midnight, and at that 
time they released the 49 Battalion to come back to 
Queens. Basically, that's what I did. 

Outside of seeing some carnage and being able 
to see at least us pull two civilians and bring them 
out, and they were alive when we brought them out, much 
of my recollection, outside of what I thought was 
papers and stuff coming out of Tower No. 1 while it was 
still up, I now realize there were some falling bodies 
just coming down. That's the extent of what I 
remember . 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay. Great, 
Vandon. Thanks for the interview. The time is 1:27 
p.m. 



File No. 9110283 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER FRANCIS NASH 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



2 
Nash 
BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 

December 11, 2001. The time is 11:13 a.m. I 

am Chief Robert Burns, Safety Battalion of 

the New York City Fire Department. I am 

conducting an interview with Firefighter 

Francis Nash, Engine 260, Firefighter First 

Grade, and this is in regard to the events of 

September 11, 2001. 

Q. If you could, in your own words, Frank, 

would you tell us what happened on that day. 

A. We were responding, Engine 260, to the 

World Trade Center, going through the Midtown 

Tunnel. We were heading south on the West Side 

Highway where we parked our rig and we proceeded to 

walk down West Side Highway to the World Trade 

Center. The number 2 World Trade Center was already 

collapsed as we were responding and as we were 

walking to the World Trade Center number 1, we were 

approximately 100 yards away when the building 

number 2 collapsed. 

At that time, we ran for safe cover. And 

that's the story. 

Q. You said you were 100 feet away. Do you 

know - - 



Nash 
A. I mean yards. 

Q. 100 yards. Do you know what direction you 
were in? 

A. We were north of the tower, by Barclay 
Street. Between Barclay and Vesey. Maybe a little 
more than 100 yards between there. Barclay and 
Vesey Street. 

Q. When the second tower came down, did you 
see anyone? Did you see any units? 

A. I saw people jumping out of the building. 
I didn't see any units. I saw, you know, when the 
building came down I was with other companies from 
the 45 Battalion and we were all retreating at the 
same time, and we got caught in the huge dust cloud 
for a few minutes, and then we went back to go look 
for companies until another chief told us to go 
back. 

When we went looking for companies, we saw some 
damaged rigs. I can't tell you which companies they 
were. Then we were ordered by a chief to leave the 
area. 

Q. You said you were there prior to the 
collapse. Did you hear any transmissions on 
someone's handy-talkie or any radios just prior to 



4 
Nash 
the collapse? 

A. No. I didn't have a department radio. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay. Thanks, 

Frank. That concludes our interview. It's 

11:16 a.m. 



File No. 9110284 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JAMES POWERS 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Powers 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today's date 
is December 11, 2001, and the time is 
11:25 a.m. This is Battalion Chief Dennis 
Kenahan from the Safety Battalion of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with James Powers, 
Firefighter First from Engine 35. The 
interview is taking place in the quarters of 
Engine 35. 

Q. James, just tell us the events as you 
remember them on September 11th. 

A. The morning of September 11th I arrived at 
Engine 35 to get into uniform to go to an 
educational day. Before I left, the TV showed us 
the first tower smoking and fire. We didn't even 
know what it was before I left to go to the Rock, 
Randall's Island. By the time I got to Randall's 
Island, the Lieutenant conducting educational day 
told us that a plane had hit the first tower and 
that we might be going back to our companies. He 
didn't know yet, but he was going to start 
educational proceedings. As soon as he said that, 
the second plane hit the second tower. Within 
minutes we were dispatched back to our companies. 



Powers 

I reported to Engine 35 and reported in to 
Lieutenant Whalen. Lieutenant Whalen put me in the 
Engine and said, "Right now you're going to be our 
fifth man in the engine." We took roll call of the 
units that had already been sent here as a staging 
area and within 15 minutes of being brought back, 
maybe even ten minutes of being brought back to the 
firehouse Engine 35 was dispatched to the World 
Trade Center. 

We were told by the dispatcher to use the West 
Side Highway and we went across 125th Street and we 
went down. Myself, firefighters Lowrey, Vanname, 
Fischer, and Keith Schroeder were on the rig with 
Lieutenant Whalen. We also had Lieutenant Patten 
and Battalion Chief Horan on 35 ' s rig. We reported 
in down at West Side Highway, West Street, right 
above Barclay Street, and we ran into battalion 
chiefs there. We had heard on the radio the first 
tower collapsed. We heard somebody on the 
department radio calling for help, saying he was 
trapped . 

We were told that we were going to be going 
into World Trade Center number 1, the north tower 
building, because it was still standing and there 



Powers 

was still fire. When we got to the battalion chiefs 
that were on West and, I believe, Barclay, they 
said, "Okay. Make sure you've got everything, your 
roll-ups. We're still going into this tower number 
1 or World Trade Center number 1." 

At that time there was heavy black smoke 
pumping from the top floors of the tower. You could 
see the collapse dust and stuff around the other 
buildings, and the top of the tower was just blazing 
black smoke. On our way to the building, we had 
just passed Vesey Street, we were near the 
pedestrian bridge when you heard the rumble and the 
roar of the building and at which point we all 
looked up. Nobody really moved for a second. The 
tower began to collapse and we all ran back up the 
West Side Highway. We ran with our gear still on. 
We dropped our folds, roll-ups and ran hard up West 
Street. 

I made it to, I believe, either Murray or Park 
Place, wherever the high school was, and the 
collapse, the dust and the debris had already caught 
up to me and was actually pushing me, and I dove 
into the left of that street, whether it was Murray 
or Park Place. I don't know where it was, but I 



Powers 

dove in there and somebody pulled me into the high 
school and when I got into the high school there 
were already firefighters and Police Officers in 
there. When I was there I realized that I didn't 
have any of the guys that I was with with me, so I 
went back out onto that street. But when I did, I 
was immediately lost in the black dust and I 
couldn't even see my way to get back into the 
building that I just came out of. I put my face 
piece on and started breathing the air, but I 
realized the face piece was contaminated and I was 
sucking some stuff in. 

I went onto the West Side Highway and slowly 
walked through the black and gray dust heading back 
towards where we were to see if anybody was still 
there, to see where everybody was. When I got back 
to where I think we were, which was below Vesey but 
above the pedestrian bridge, there was a couple of 
people just completely covered with dust and I just 
brushed them off and chased them back to go north on 
the West Side Highway. I did run into one of my 
guys, Keith Schroeder, and asked him where everybody 
was and he said he didn't know. He didn't know. 

We stayed together and then we saw Billy 



Powers 

Vanname, our chauffeur, and we asked him about our 
lieutenant, Lieutenant Whalen and also Lieutenant 
Hadden and Chief Horan, who had gone ahead of us 
towards the tower, and they were in front of us 
while we were walking towards it. 

We then found our Firefighters Fischer, Lowrey 
and our Lieutenant Whalen, and we started picking up 
our folds to go down towards fire. There was fire 
on the streets, there was fire in the cars. And 
then he realized the roll-ups were gonna do us no 
good, so we dropped our roll-ups and we started 
looking to help people and I was -- I had breathed 
in a whole bunch of stuff and I was starting to get 
dizzy and I could feel myself trying to breathe, but 
I couldn't get any air into where I was and I 
started getting lightheaded. 

We helped a couple more people back up the West 
Side Highway. We split up, I stayed with Billy 
Vanname. The other guys went down into underneath 
the pedestrian bridge with a line they had to try to 
put out fire. We then found Lieutenant Hadden and 
he told us that Chief Horan was okay. He told us 
the tower came down on top of guys in the hotel and 
we were gonna try to get to that. 



Powers 

Maybe 15 minutes later I was completely 
overcome by all the dust I had already breathed in 
and I could no longer operate and I was starting to 
pass out. I don't think I passed out. Somebody 
says I did. I was treated by a couple of EMT's and 
some firefighters and they took me back up the West 
Side Highway to near Murray Street and we were 
sitting there and then somebody said that there was 
a major gas leak in one of the buildings and we had 
to run from there, so everybody started running 
again. As I tried to run, I knew I could no longer 
run. So I was loaded onto a green golf cart and I 
was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital and I was in and 
out. I could breathe in, but I felt like I wasn't 
getting any air, and I was taken to St. Vincent's 
Hospital approximately 45 minutes to an hour after 
my arrival at the World Trade Center. 

Q. That's it? 

A. That's it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Thank you, 

Jimmy. The time now is 11:33 and this 

concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110286 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOSEPH SULLIVAN 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



J. SULLIVAN 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: The date is December 
11, 2001. The time is 1442 hours. This is 
Battalion Chief John Malkin of the safety 
battalion. 

I'm conducting an interview with firefighter 
6th Grade Joseph Sullivan, Engine 224. We are at 
the quarters of 224, and this interview is 
regarding the events of September 11, 2001, and 
following this is the interview. 
Q. Okay. 

A. Okay. We responded from quarters. The 
ticket came in at 8:54. We were going on the first 
alarm to the staging area by the Brooklyn Battery 
Tunnel. En route to the staging area, we were going 
down Columbia Street, saw the second plane strike the 
building and we went from being a, quote, good job or a 
rough job, or we were going to earn our money today. 

Some of the guys put it, to -- started 
realizing that it was a terrorist incident, that we 
were -- you know, we were in for more than we thought 
originally. 

We pulled into the staging area. We were 
there for maybe -- it's a little foggy. Maybe four, 
five minutes. I got all my gear set. 



J. SULLIVAN 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Then I remember getting sent in. The only -- 
the only other companies that I remember hearing over 
the radio besides us, there was a bunch of -- I 
remember hearing 202, 101, I'm pretty sure, and went 
through the tunnel. 

It was pretty slow go. I was sitting with my 
back to the lieutenant, and I remember seeing 
people out the window, seeing people in buses trying to 
use their cell phones being confused after seeing all 
the apparatus going by, not knowing what was going on. 
They were scared. One guy yelled up into the 
-- up to us, "Are we going to be able to get out of 
here?" We were nervous that maybe somebody was going 
to bomb the tunnel also. Eventually, we got out of the 
tunnel with a sigh of relief, started making our way 
down, going down West Street, see some stuff on the 
floor, pieces of bodies, bone, stuff like that. 

Really couldn't see up. The buildings are 
too tall. I saw one body. Most of it was just pieces 
of bodies. As we were riding in, we must have ran over 
some debris from the plane. We saw debris all over the 
floor. We saw a wheel. There was cars that were 
flattened. It was obvious that heavy things had fallen 



J. SULLIVAN 

on them, but the reason that I say that we ran over 
something is because we had pulled up -- I believe it 
was in front of the south tower, and Smitty was driving 
that day, the chauffeur. He didn't like where we were, 
and he shimmied up a little more. We saw tranny fluid 
on the floor, so Richie Saulle climbed underneath there 
with some putty, and I cut some chocks up, little 
splinters, and kind of plugged it up. 

Q. Coming from where? Where was it coming from? 

A. From underneath the tranny pan. 

Q. From your rig? 

A. From our rig, yeah. So just quick tried to, 
like, patch it up. At that time, as far as I know, we 
didn't have any orders, as far as where to go. 

We went up there. Lieutenant DeSimone told 
us to get settled, get an extra cylinder ready, ready 
to grab your hose rollups, like that. There was a 
transmission. I didn't have a radio on at the time. 
I'm just going by what I heard going on around me, but 
I don't know who it was or exactly where it came from, 
if it came from the command center or not. 

Somebody had told us to move up towards Vesey 
Street, I guess in order to relay water, if it was 
needed. So we did so, and then Lieutenant DeSimone 



J. SULLIVAN 

asked us again to get our cylinders, hose rollups 
ready, and by the time we twisted and turned, the first 
building had come down, started to fall. 

People scattered. I was right next to 
Lieutenant DeSimone. We took a knee, masked up, 
covered over us. It was -- that lifted relatively 
quick, the first one. I don't know if it was because 
we were blocked by the north tower or some of the other 
buildings. That lifted relatively quickly. 

I went ahead and I started looking around. 
It looked just like snow, and I took my mask off, put 
my hood up over my face, and I went over by another 
member, Mike Hazel. He was giving blows of air. There 
were a couple of cops. There was a maintenance man. 
Turned out to be a maintenance man, afterwards we found 
out, from one of the buildings, so I was giving him a 
hand . 

We were doing that, and then we got oxygen 
off the rig and gave it to the maintenance man. We 
were looking out for Smitty, and for Stu Bailey. 
Smitty had run down the block. Stu Bailey had run down 
the block, and now we were looking for them to make 
sure that they were all right, because actually when 
the building had come down, on the angle that it was -- 



J. SULLIVAN 

the north tower was over here. You won't be able to 
get this on tape, but the north tower was kind of 
blocking the south tower. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Because of its natural angle. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Yeah. You could see it right there on the 
map, so here we are, yeah. 

Q. You guys were parked. Now, we are talking 
about the north tower shielding you from the south 
tower collapse? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. So where were you guys at that time? 

A. From the best of my knowledge, I'd say that 
we were up right around -- we were up right around 
here. 

Q. Okay. He's indicating with the rig, right? 

A. Yes. 

Q. The indication is that they're on West Street 
at the north foot bridge, so that would be just north 
of the first tower, the north tower. 

A. So we were still covered over, but it lifted 
relatively fast compared to the second one. 

Now, when it did collapse, I saw a chunk come 



J. SULLIVAN 

down. I thought it was a partial collapse, like maybe 
part of the fascia coming down, so we were actually 
looking, you know. It came down, and we were looking, 
and all of a sudden the cloud rushed. It was like 
whoa, but then a couple of seconds it overtook us. So 
we may have stopped then. A couple of other firemen 
came out. I don't want to curse, but for lack of a 
better word they were, mother ba, ba, ba, bouncing 
their helmets off the floor. 

Q. Where did they come out of? 

A. They were south of us. They were a little 
south of us. They came and they started moving up. 
One of the firemen -- I don't remember where he's 
from. He was a ladder, because I remember he had a red 
patch. He had a gash on his head. Triaged him, 
patched him up. 

A couple of other people -- like I said, we 
gave oxygen to the maintenance man. A couple of other 
people running around, dazed, grabbed them, checked 
them out. We were looking for Smitty. We were looking 
for Stuey. 

Q. Smittie and Stuey are guys from your company? 

A. Yes, yes. Yes, members of the company. 

Q. Where did they go? Where were they at this 



J. SULLIVAN 

time? 

A. They went north. They started moving up 
north. 

Q. When the building was coming down? 

A. When the building was coming down. So they 
went north, and Smitty had come back. We found him. 
Stuey later on had hooked up with another company, was 
coming around looking, see what he could do. 

After that, there was a lot of commotion. 
It's a little hazy. I remember somebody screaming and 
the second tower was coming down, the north tower, and 
that was coming down, and we just took off running. 
Actually, I still had my extra cylinder in my hand. I 
started running, felt it was slowing me down. 
Discarded that. 

I had a choice to go left on Vesey Street or 
to continue straight. As I turned, thinking about 
going left on Vesey, I decided not to, but I saw the 
cloud coming, pressed the face piece up against my 
face, turned on my air cylinder and started walking 
along the fence. I remember a chain link fence. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Started walking along the chain link fence. 
I didn't want to run because I know I depleted some of 



J. SULLIVAN 

my tank with the previous collapse and from giving air 
to people, so I just remember trying not to panic going 
at a hurried pace, but not running and sucking down my 
bottle. 

As I'm going, I heard somebody -- I remember 
somebody moaning or something like that, and I reached 
off the fence, and I went off the fence a little bit. 
I couldn't find anybody. I started going forward, and 
I bumped into another person, which turned out to be 
one of the guys from my company, Mike Hazel. I bumped 
into him. "Who's that?" He said, "It's Mike Hazel. 
Who's that?" I said, "It's Sully." Running out of 
air. Changed my tank out for me. He still had his 
extra cylinder. 
Q. Okay. 

A. Changed that along the fence, and as luck 
would have it, another member came by with a 
flashlight, and he was looking with the flashlight, and 
we walked out along the fence, kept going north till we 
were out of the cloud. 

This one was very thick, the second one, 
because I remember as I was walking, and I had the face 
piece cheated up against my face, I had knocked my 
helmet back trying to get it on, and I didn't get it on 



10 
J. SULLIVAN 



till right before I changed Mike's cylinder, but I 
wiped across my face piece, thinking that it was just 
ash, or dust on the face piece. When I wiped it clear, 
it was still black. It was still -- you couldn't see. 
It was pretty thick. 

As we walked out, started to dissipate. 
People -- somebody turned on a hydrant. People -- 
cops, everybody were diving into the hydrant, trying to 
wash their faces off, wash their mouths out. It was 
filthy, wretched water, but nobody cared. There was 
nurses and doctors coming around with eye wash. 

There was a transmission to go north. I 
remember a disturbance by the water. I saw a police 
officer come out to the street and start directing 
people away from the water, and it turned out there was 
a gas leak or something, but at the time we didn't know 
if it was a bomb or -- so we just kept getting orders 
to go north, go north, go north. 

Eventually we turned around, and we went 
north, settled and regrouped and worked our way down a 
little bit to investigate and see what was going on. 

As far as anybody that has passed or is 
missing that I saw -- the only person I thought I might 
have seen was Dennis Oberg. I thought I saw him. 



11 

J. SULLIVAN 



Q. Who's he? 

A. He was a probie in my class. 

Q. What company? 

A. Geez, I forget what company he's in. I 
really don't recall, Chief, I'm sorry. I thought I saw 
him after the second collapse. The first collapse 
rather. I'm sorry. But I can't guaranty that, but 
that was about it on -- I had seen Terry Rivera when we 
came in. He narrowly got away. He's in 10 truck. He 
was on the detail. I actually spoke to him the night 
before, because I had a friend that's in the academy 
being assigned there for his seven-week rotation. 

I spoke to him the night before, and as we 
were coming down West Street, I saw him, and it wound 
up that when the first building was coming down, I 
guess some of the other firemen -- this is the story 
he's telling me, that they thought it was debris coming 
down, and they ran into the lobby, and he drove 
underneath the rig, and the building came down and 
that's why he was alive, instead of going in, going 
under the rig. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Throughout the rest of the day, I was across 
the street from -- I'll show you on the map. Where the 



12 
J. SULLIVAN 



movie theatre is across the street from the telephone 
company. 

Q. This is the north tower. This is the south 
tower . 

A. South tower, and where would the telephone 
company be? That's it right there. 

Q. Okay. 

A. So I would imagine it's right around here is 
the movie theatre. 

Q. Indicating across West Street on the west 
side of West Street just north of Vesey. 

A. I was again with Mike Hazel. I stuck with 
him. He's one of the senior members. I stuck with him 
most of the day, and we were walking back towards where 
our captain was, because after the recall he had come 
in. This is later on in the day, and we heard a rumble 
that Building 7 was coming down, so we didn't know what 
to expect, so we wound up doing -- actually a broken 
window in the door of the theatre. There were two 
police officers actually walking next to us so I told 
them, I says, "Duck in there," and we both ducked in 
there, too, and it really didn't, you know, reach us. 

We came out and went down to see what we 
could do with helping with the stretch, because now by 



13 
J. SULLIVAN 



this time they were starting to draft, so I think it 
was -- I don't know what marine company was drafting, 
but it was 53 engine, into 84 engine, to us. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. The 224, because we actually -- when we were 
getting ordered up north, all of a sudden we started 
hearing 224, start water. That's why we wound up going 
down and investigating. 

Q. Right. 

A. Because the rig had to be okay, so we wanted 
to go down and man the rig. There was -- I remember 
there was really no pressure in the hydrants. 

Q. Right. Who was calling you to man -- to 
supply water? You don't know? 

A. I don't know. I don't know, to be honest 
with you, but I do know that the water pressure was 
terrible. The volume -- it looked like there was 
volume there. You turn on the hydrant, there was water 
flowing out, but, I mean, the hoses barely filled, you 
know, at any rate. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Then they started drafting later on in the 
afternoon, and the rest of the day we were pretty much 
by the rig. The rest of the night, I should say. 



14 
J. SULLIVAN 



I think we probably went home around eleven, 
started heading back towards the house, as far as I can 
remember . 

Q. Go back to when you took the position at the 
hydrant after you were first at the south tower and 
they told you go up north, you wound up somewhere north 
of the north tower by the foot bridge, right? 

A. We were by the hook. 

Q. Okay, you hooked up? 

A. As far as I can remember, yeah. 

Q. And then go over where the guys were again, 
what duties they performed, how long you were there, 
how long you operated there. What did you do there? 

A. Well, geez, let me think how long we were 
there. I had moved up. We were -- 

Q. Go ahead. 

A. It's hard with the time. We were helping the 
chauffeur to hook up. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I'm trying to think if -- 

Q. How long were you there when the south tower 
came down? 

A. How long were we there when the south tower 
came down? Maybe 15 minutes or so, maybe. 



15 
J. SULLIVAN 



Q. Okay, 15 minutes. You helped him hook up? 

A. We were helping him hook up. I remember 
actually I think the -- also the first -- the first 
place that we stopped we might have started to hook up 
also there. 

Q. Okay. 

A. And then had to pack it back up. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I remember for some reason we went with him 
when he moved. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. We were helping him. I remember helping 
Richie Saulle with trying to plug up the tranny pan. I 
remember Lieutenant DeSimone telling us to get an extra 
cylinder, get a hose rollup, and then he says we're 
going to go over and see what the story is. 

Q. Where were you now? You had moved up to the 
north part? 

A. We had -- I'm trying to think if it's after 
the first time or the second time we moved. I think 
that was actually after the first time we moved. 

Q. Okay. Did you get your rollup and your 
cylinder? 

A. Yes, we actually took the rollups off the 



16 
J. SULLIVAN 



rig, and we had -- 

Q. Did you walk up to the building any place to 
the south tower? Did you walk away from the rig? 

A. We started -- yeah, we walked away from the 
rig. We started walking towards the building, yes, 
okay. It was after the first time we moved that he -- 
what do you call it? That we started going towards the 
building, and that's whether they were ordered to move 
up. 

Q. So you put everything back on the rig? 

A. So I put the hose rollup back on the rig. 

Q. Right. 

A. I didn't put my cylinder back into the proper 
spot. I just stowed it, tossed it the rig. 

Q. Did you get back on the rig to ride up to the 
other spot? You walked up the other spot? 

A. Walked, walked. 

Q. Now, the rig goes up to West Street where you 
indicated north, somewhere in the vicinity of the north 
walk bridge? 

A. The north walk bridge. 

Q. You found the hydrant? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And then you said you helped the chauffeur 



17 
J. SULLIVAN 



hook up. 

A. Helped the chauffeur hook up. 

Q. And two guys went where? There was something 
about two of you fellows went -- 

A. When the building came down. 

Q. Now, how long were you there? You said 15 
minutes maybe? 

A. Maybe 15 minutes. I tell you the truth, it's 
very hazy. 

Q. So what happened in that 15 minutes? You 
just -- 

A. I tell you the truth, people jumping out of 
the buildings. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I tell you the truth, that was quite a shock, 
too. I mean, there we were, and out of the corner of 
my eye, I thought maybe it was a piece of debris 
falling down. It was a person jumping out of the 
window, and another one, another one, another one, and 
I don't know. It was pretty hazy as far as, like, how 
much time -- 

Q. Okay. 

A. -- was spent or what was going on, and again 
I didn't have a radio. 



18 
J. SULLIVAN 



Q. Right. 

A. So I couldn't really hear what was going on. 
I could only hear if I was next to somebody. 

Q. Right. 

A. You know. 

Q. Was your officer there with you? 

A. I remember Lieutenant DeSimone walking ahead 
of us towards the building. 

Q. Okay. 

A. This is when he was telling us to get ready, 
that we were going to go and see, you know, what the 
story was, what we could do. 

He was ahead of us. He was a good maybe 20, 
30 yards because he had told us to get our rollups and 
our cylinders, and he started walking up. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. As that's when we started walking towards 
him, towards the building, and he told us put our stuff 
back on and move up, and then we did it again. I 
grabbed the cylinder again. 

Q. After you relocated up to the north -- 

A. After we relocated again. 

Q. Took the stuff off, helped the chauffeur hook 
up. 



19 
J. SULLIVAN 



A. Yeah. 

Q. And then what do you remember? Did you go 
into the north tower? 

A. No, we didn't go into the north tower. 

Q. Did you go to the command post over there? 
Did you see Ganci at the command post on West Street? 

A. No, I didn't see Ganci. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I didn't see Ganci. I was -- most of the 
time, I was on the -- well -- 

Q. Go ahead. 

A. We're facing this way with the rig. 

Q. Okay. That's facing -- 

A. Most of the time I'm on the left side of the 
rig. 

Q. Okay. That's facing north on West Street, 
okay. 

A. So I really couldn't see too much of what was 
going on, because all the hydrants were on this side, 
so I was running around over there. 

Q. So while you were in that area, the south 
tower collapsed. 

A. The south tower collapsed, right. 

Q. It was a tremendous cloud -- 



20 



J. SULLIVAN 



that lasted for some period of time. 



A. Yes. 

Q. 

A. Yes. 

Q. 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, something 
like that. You used your mask intermittently. 

A. Yes. 

Q. Then that cleared. 

Then what did you do after that? There was a 
long period of time between the second building 
collapsing? 

A. Maybe 15, 20 minutes, and we were -- that's 
when we were helping the firemen that were coming that 
were from south of us that started moving up. 

Q. Okay. 

A. We were helping civilians, police officers. 

Q. Okay. 

A. And we were trying to get organized. We were 
looking for Smitty, make sure he's all right. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Stuey. 

Q. Where did they go again? 

A. They went up north. 

Q. They went up north because that cloud 



enveloped you guys? 



21 



J. SULLIVAN 



A. Because the cloud enveloped us. 

Q. They moved up north. They were looking for 
them, but at the same time you were helping civilians? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Okay. 

A. Kind of like -- 

Q. Yeah. 

A. You know. 

Q. Okay. 

A. New on the job. 

Q. Okay, all right. 

A. But, I mean, I tried to do the best that I 
could, as far as helping out. I didn't want to -- you 
know, I -- but I just remembered doing that, and I 
remember also at the same time looking up again. 

There was still people coming out of the 
north tower, jumping, and I remember one person in 
particular, if it really was a person. There was -- it 
was a guy who looked like he was standing in the window 
maybe, hanging on. I just remember seeing it looked 
like a white shirt up there, and thinking, don't jump, 
you know, they're going to get you. You know, they are 
going to get up there and get you. Didn't happen, but 
I don't know. 



22 
J. SULLIVAN 



I just remember after that one came down, 
there was just an order to move north, and so we moved 
north. People were trying to wash up again in the 
hydrants, and then there was the whole commotion by the 
waterfront, gas leak, a bomb, whatever, you know. We 
didn't know what was going on. 

There was also a transmission at some time. 
I don't remember if it was after the first tower came 
down. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Somebody said -- I don't know if it actually 
came over the radio or something. You heard a buzz 
about that there was another plane being tracked. I 
don't know if it was a military plane maybe somebody 
was tracking. 

Q. Right. 

A. Or they were talking about the plane in 
Philadelphia, and they didn't know where it was 
heading, but that was also -- caused a little bit of a 
commotion, too, so it was a mass exodus up forward 
north. People were trying to get settled, get 
reorganized. They had that whole thing with the gas. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. They pushed us farther north again, regroup, 



23 



J. SULLIVAN 



went to go see what we could do. We heard the 
transmission 224 start water. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Looked at each other, like, huh? We realized 
the rig was all right, didn't get crushed, and we 
wanted to go down there and man the rig. 

Q. You guys never got orders to go into the 
Tower 1, right? 

A. Not that I'm aware of that. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Not that I'm aware of. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I don't believe we had orders to go into 
either building. 

Q. Uh-huh. You didn't see command post or -- 
any chiefs you remember on West Street? You didn't 
see -- did you see the chaplain? Did you remember 
anybody? 

A. The only person I remember, really remember 
seeing a hundred percent -- 

Q. Yeah. 

A. --is Terry Rivera. I drove him to probie 
school every day. 

Q. Okay. 



24 
J. SULLIVAN 



A. And he was standing outside on West Street. 
He looked like he was looking for somebody. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. And as we were driving down West Street, I 
yelled out to him, and he didn't look like he heard 
me. When I spoke to him later, he did hear a voice. 
He didn't know it was me, though. He thought it was a 
truck calling him, but he was in and out of the south 
tower before it fell, and that was the only specific 
person that I remember. 

There was actually -- I think the Rescue 5. 
There was a rescue firefighter that actually rode the 
back of our rig through the tunnel to the trade 
center. I wasn't even aware that he was on the back of 
the rig. I didn't know until sometime after this 
happened, weeks, that he came out. I didn't even 
know. There was a lot of things going on, you know. 

Q. Where was the staging area on the Brooklyn 
side? Where did you respond to when you staged there? 

A. Geez. 

Q. Outside the Battery Tunnel was it? 

A. It was outside the Battery Tunnel. I think 
it was -- Hamilton Avenue? Let me think. 

Q. You were there when the second plane hit, you 



25 
J. SULLIVAN 



said? 

A. Yeah, we were coming down -- I believe it was 
Columbia Street, and I was with my back to the 
lieutenant, and the lieutenant had actually said, "Look 
out the window, look out the window." 

We didn't see the plane yet. Looking out the 
building, the smoke was already across the river. 
There was papers falling on the Brooklyn side already. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a plane 
coming, and I actually said to Mike Hazel, I said, 
"What is this guy going to do? Is he going to try to 
fly under the smoke?" 

I thought it was a regular pilot, just, you 
know, that he was going to have to divert his flight 
path because of this big, huge plume of smoke, and I'm 
saying to myself, why isn't he flying around the 
building on the windward side instead of, you know -- 
it looked like he was trying to duck under the smoke, 
but then he banked and hit the building, and that was 
that. 

Q. Well -- 

A. I mean, actually, the guys on the other side 
of the rig didn't believe me, because when this 



26 
J. SULLIVAN 



whole -- when this all started I was upstairs, and they 
said, "Hey, Joe, you know, a plane hit the World Trade 
Center," and being the Johnnie in the house, I thought 
they were pulling my leg. Get out of here, you know. 
Came downstairs and saw it on the news. 

My first thought was it was like what 
happened with the Empire State building. You always 
see these old, you know, newsreels or whatever. 
They're talking about the B-29 or B-17 that hit it. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. Oh, wow, you know, this is going to be 
trouble, but I thought it was an accident. Then on the 
way there, just, you know, stopped, turned into 
something totally different, and I don't know. 

Q. Okay. How did you guys get back to quarters 
late at night when you were finally relieved? 

A. Basically hitched a ride in an ambulance. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. We walked up north. We were trying to look 
for a bus to get back. Couldn't find a bus. I don't 
know what the story was, and we wound up flagging down 
-- what do you call it? 

Actually, it might be of some interest. 
There was a person that they -- really wouldn't be. 



27 
J. SULLIVAN 



They thought had been lost. 

Q. A fireman? 

A. A fireman, a lieutenant, actually, and our 
lieutenant saw him on the bridge, and he passed it 
along. I don't know what the story was with that, but 
probably really of no relevance, but yeah, we flagged 
down a volunteer ambulance. 

Q. Uh-huh. 

A. We were piled in. Just came home. 

Q. Okay. Anything else you remember? That's 
good . 

A. Nothing off the top, Chief. 

BATTALION CHIEF MALKIN: Okay. I thank the 

firefighter for the interview, Firefighter Joseph 

Sullivan. 

This concludes the interview at 1508 hours. 

That finishes it. 



File No. 9110287 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOSEPH MEOLA 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



J. MEOLA 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The date is 
December 11, 2001. The time is 2:53 p.m., and 
this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan from the 
safety battalion of the Fire Department of the 
City of New York. 

I'm conducting an interview with Joseph Meola 
in the quarters of Engine 96. 
Q. Joe, just tell us what you saw on September 



11. 



A. On September 11, approximately -- I'd say it 
was a little bit after nine, we responded on -- I was 
in Engine Company 91. Responded on the second fifth 
alarm to Tower 2. I went down with a Captain Montera 
and a Firefighter Brian Russo. 

We went in the RAC unit with the RAC unit guy 
whose name is - - I forget his name. He was in the RAC 
unit that day. 

We left quarters, went all the way down 
Second Avenue, eventually pulled onto Church Street 
outside Tower No. 1, World Trade Center No. 1. On foot 
we proceeded to Church and Liberty, where we tried to 
get a couple of extra masks. 

After not getting any extra masks off the 
rigs that we saw there, there were a couple of engine 



J. MEOLA 

companies, maybe Engine 207, 209. It was a 200 number, 
low 200 number. I don't remember. A couple of rigs 
there, low 200 numbers. 

We went into the quarters of 10 and 10. 
After we were in the quarters for approximately 30 
seconds -- it was a triage center at the time. After 
we left 10 and 10, as soon as we walked outside the 
door, a firefighter from an engine company 2 -- I 
believe it's 216, Danny Suhr, just outside 10 and 10' s 
quarters on Liberty Street, got hit by a jumper. 

They were pulling him away. I believe they 
got him into an ambulance, and they were yelling at us 
to get away, because jumpers were jumping from the 
south tower onto Liberty Street, and a few jumpers came 
close to us, but no -- we met up with another company, 
Engine 58, which is in our battalion, which was in the 
12th battalion. 

I believe they were on Liberty at the time. 
I don't know if they were going in the building. I 
don't remember, but they did make their way into the 
building before us, not building -- not Tower 2, but 
Tower 3. The Vista, Marriott. 

They made it into the Vista before us after 
-- later on. We met up with them on Liberty, talked 



J. MEOLA 

to the boss for a little while, talked to a couple of 
the guys, and we were avoiding lots of material that 
was falling from the building. 

We went under -- I believe it's 130 Liberty 
Street. The building -- I think that's the address, 
actually, 130. There was a scaffolding, and we went 
under the scaffolding there, and we made it to West. 
We made it to West Street, down to West Street, asking 
firefighters where the command post was. 

They showed us that the command post was 
located just outside the 2 World Financial Center in 
front of a garage, a parking garage. We made our way 
down that block and to the command post. 

At the command post was several other 
companies. I don't know what companies were there at 
the time. Several other companies, ESU police, several 
of the high chiefs -- Ganci, Burns, Donald Burns, 
Ganci. I remember seeing those two. I remember 
seeing -- I think it might have been Barbara. I'm not 
a hundred percent sure. I just -- there was a lot of 
chiefs at this command post. 

At that time, I believe it was -- I believe 
the chief was -- okay. At that time, I believe it was 
Chief Burns who explained to us that we were going to 



J. MEOLA 

go to -- we were going to go through the Vista, the 
Vista -- Marriott Vista, into 2 World Trade Center to a 
subbasement with an engineer that was at that post at 
the time, at the command post. 

We were getting our gear together. We were 
getting ready to walk across the street, and he told us 
to hold up. We didn't have our forcible entry tools. 
We were an engine company, didn't have any forcible 
entry tools. At that time he sent our chauffeur. He 
didn't send the chauffeur. I think the chauffeur went 
to the rig to get the entry tools, and that was the 
last I seen that chauffeur that -- until later on our 
chauffeur was -- did survive, but was hurt in the first 
building collapse, Tower No. 2. 

He held us there approximately within three 
minutes. As we are looking up at the building, what I 
saw was, it looked like the building was blowing out on 
all four sides. We actually heard the pops. Didn't 
realize it was the falling -- you know, you heard the 
pops of the building. You thought it was just blowing 
out . 

We turned -- I turned to take a look where to 
go, turned around. Several companies, myself and half 
of my company, ran into a parking garage at 2 -- I 



J. MEOLA 

believe it ' s 2 World Financial Center. We ran into the 
parking garage. 

As I ran into the parking garage, I turned 
around. I saw the whole side -- the side of the 
building falling into the street and the cloud of dust 
coming towards us. 

As we got to the back of the garage, the dust 
had entered the garage, and somebody had opened up the 
door that was ahead of us into a stairwell. We got to 
the stairwell. We got into the stairwell. We shut the 
door. There was already maybe 20 firemen in there 
already and officers in the stairwell for the financial 
center, and a couple of more guys banged on the door. 
We opened up the door. We pulled them in, got a little 
contaminated, but not bad at all, and we made 
ourselves -- after that we made ourselves up to the 1st 
Floor of the financial center. 

After that, we exited the rear of the 
financial center, and what you can see was -- I believe 
it's the little bay there. The North Cove Yacht Club 
coming out of the back there. We went right -- you 
could see the water of the yacht club. We worked our 
way around 2 World Financial Center, and it was pretty 
dark, dusty. 



J. MEOLA 

You couldn't -- your eyes were hurting. You 
couldn't breathe, but you tried to head for the water. 
I think I believe I ended up on North End Avenue, one 
block just short of the water, right on the water 
somewhere. 

After on North Avenue, I believe we went down 
Vesey Street -- Vesey or Murray. It's one of those 
two -- back towards West Street. I was with half -- 
maybe half the members of the company, three of four 
members of the company. The other three or four 
members, at that time we were -- we did not know where 
they went. We didn't know if they made it in the 
garage, they were still in the garage, if they were out 
on West Street. We got split up. 

As we worked our way back to Vesey towards 
West, we ran into several people that we knew. We 
tried to get people together. We were going back 
towards West and Vesey somewhere where we heard people 
screaming, "The second building is coming down. The 
second building is coming down." 

Within ten seconds, the second building 
started to drop. We ran up West. We made it up West 
maybe to Barclay or past the telephone company building 
up on West, past the telephone company building. We 



J. MEOLA 

didn't make it as far as Stuyvesant or where the other 
overpass is yet. We didn't make it up that far. I 
don't remember. Maybe Murray or Barclay on West. 

We took cover from the second cloud, smoke 
that engulfed us, and... 

Q. Did you have any warning that the second 
tower was coming down, via radio traffic or -- 

A. Radio traffic. Radio traffic on -- what you 
heard on the handy-talkies was you heard conflicting 
reports of guys saying hold in the first tower or -- 
and you heard other guys saying, "Get out. Evac the 
first tower. Evac. Evac the first tower." 

Also at the command post, when I was at the 
command post earlier, the radio traffic that you heard 
was Maydays. I didn't have a radio, but the -- several 
radios were on in that vicinity of bosses or control 
man or -- at the time in that -- and I believe the 
radio traffic was -- you heard several Maydays coming 
from -- I don't know if it's Tower 1 or Tower 2, 
Channel 1 or Channel 2. I believe we were on Channel 
2, and you heard Maydays on Channel 2 coming from 
rescue. I believe it was rescue companies. I'm not a 
hundred percent sure. My memory is just jogged on 
that. You heard Maydays. You did hear Maydays, 



J. MEOLA 

several Maydays. "We need water. Mayday. We need 
water. Mayday. We need water. We got no water," to 
that effect. I don't remember exactly, just -- that 
day is such a tough day. 

Coming back to Vesey and West on another 
communication after the first tower fell, Tower 2 fell, 
Tower 1, you heard guys -- firemen, chiefs, 
lieutenants, I don't know who -- yelling conflicting 
reports, some saying -- most saying, "Get the hell out 
of the tower. Get out of Tower 1. You know, Tower 2 
fell." 

I didn't realize the full Tower 2 fell until 
we went back to Vesey and West. At the time when I ran 
into the parking garage, I believe only half -- I 
thought only half the building fell down. I did not 
know the whole building came down, and when we got back 
there, I realized the whole tower was down, and that's 
what you were, like, the whole -- you know, you knew 
the other one was imminent. 

After that, we worked our way up West 
Street. I got -- I believe we met up with another two 
tour members of the company. I remember going to a 
hydrant, going to a rig, opening up a hydrant, 
everybody washing their face, their eyes out, trying to 



10 
J. MEOLA 



get their composure back together, and in -- we wanted 
to work our way down towards West and Vesey, and we got 
held up by one of our bosses, which said -- which told 
us to hold, to hold tight there and go back to the 
command post, which was now located somewhere up by 
Stuyvesant. I believe it was located by Stuyvesant 
High School. 

We went back there, washed up, cleaned up and 
I spent, you know, a part of the day there before 
returning back later on that afternoon to the site. 

I believe that's about it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Thank you, Joe. 

The time now is 3:08, and this concludes the 
interview. 



File No. 9110288 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM REYNOLDS 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Elizabeth F. Santamaria 



Reynolds 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today's date 
is December 11, 2001. The time is 1:59 p.m. 
This is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan from 
the Safety Battalion of the Fire Department 
of the City of New York. I'm conducting an 
interview with William Reynolds, Firefighter 
First Grade, from Engine 76, in the quarters 
of Engine 76. 

Q. William, just tell us the events as you 
recall them on September 11th. 

A. We arrived down through the West Side 
Highway, I honestly don't remember what street we 
had gotten off the rig, 76 Engine. Probably 
somewhere in the area of Murray and West or maybe 
something south of that like Vesey. At that time, 
the engine went off to places unknown and the 
company ended up down at 2 World Financial Center by 
the command post, waiting for an assignment. 

More companies arrived and so probably there 
was approximately 45 people there. I don't know the 
other companies that were there. I wasn't really 
paying attention. I did notice at the time I saw 
standing next to me Mayor Guiliani and the Police 
Commissioner, Chief Ganci and Chief Ray Downey. It 



Reynolds 

seemed like a decent amount of time that we were 
there and we as a group had become pretty distracted 
with the amount of people jumping down out of the 
north tower. It got to the point that we were 
talking about not looking at the people. So as a 
group we all turned our backs to them so we wouldn't 
have to look. Then the noise from the people 
hitting, it became so much that we ended up having 
to turn around and look again. This went on for a 
while and I remember the people that were hitting 
the awning over the doorway, they were blown to 
pieces. I remember saying, "I hope they don't hit 
that awning, because this way I don't have to see 
them blown to pieces." 

After a while, and I don't know how long it 
was, I was distracted by a large explosion from the 
south tower and it seemed like fire was shooting out 
a couple of hundred feet in each direction, then all 
of a sudden the top of the tower started coming down 
in a pancake. I remember my jaw dropping and just 
staring at it and Richard Banaciski, one of the 
firemen that was there, yelled "Run" and I turned 
and I started running into the parking garage of the 
Financial Center. 



Reynolds 

Q. Bill, just one question. The fire that 
you saw, where was the fire? Like up at the upper 
levels where it started collapsing? 

A. It appeared somewhere below that. Maybe 
twenty floors below the impact area of the plane. I 
saw it as fire and when I looked at it on television 
afterwards, it doesn't appear to show the fire. It 
shows a rush of smoke coming out below the area of 
the plane impact. 

The reason why I think the cameras didn't get 
that image is because they were a far distance away 
and maybe I saw the bottom side where the plane was 
and the smoke was up above it. 

So we ran into this parking garage, the parking 
garage was empty of cars and it was lit and I 
remember thinking, "I hope that this building 
doesn't fall down and crush the building that I'm 
in." And I remember saying, "I can't die today. My 
wife wouldn't accept this." 

So anyway, we made it to the back of the 
building and I remember looking over my shoulder as 
this wall of darkness came in. Luckily it was only 
just smoke. I was standing next to my Lieutenant in 
the engine, Lieutenant Farrington, and I had set my 



Reynolds 

mask down by the ramp at the entrance and I didn't 
have a mask. I said to him, "Frank, if the smoke 
gets bad, you're gonna have to share your mask with 
me." Then we continued back further. Frank found 
an exit and a security guard, we asked the security 
guard if that exits the building and he said, "Yes." 
I remember saying to him, "Are you absolutely sure?" 
He said, "Yes." So I said, "All right. Then get 
out of here. Go. " 

So all of a sudden Frank came out with a life 
saving rope, which I wasn't aware he had at the 
time, and he hooked it to the doorknob and we 
started walking back into the area where we just ran 
from and I heard people with masks on, the guys had 
masks on, I could hear them in all directions. So I 
followed behind Frank and I started talking out loud 
saying, "If anybody can't find the way out, we have 
a rope over here. He'll take you to the door." 
Some voices said, "Where?" I said, "I'll keep 
talking. Just come to my voice and there is a way 
out over here." 

Then I remember hearing somebody saying, "Oh, I 
have a door here." I said, "Well, if you have a 
door, then go out the door. But if anybody is lost, 



Reynolds 

just come over to my voice and there is a rope and 
you can follow it out." So then guys started 
showing up towards me. They put their hands on the 
rope and that's the last I saw of them. 

So after we were confident that there was no 
one left in the parking garage, Frank and I followed 
the rope back and we worked our way to the back 
door. When we got out, we were by the North Cove 
Yacht Harbor and we went out to the Hudson River. 
What I had forgotten to state previous to this, 
before the towers had fallen, two emergency service 
cops had come up to us in wired gear, carrying uzis 
and asked if we had seen any civilians. They said, 
"If you see any, come get us. Don't go near the 
civilians." At the time there were no civilians 
around, in my eye shot. 

I also remember, at that time, which I had also 
forgotten to state, that in the north tower there 
was a woman who may have been a security guard for 
the complex and she was just walking back and forth 
seeming to be oblivious of the people falling down, 
jumping down right on the other side of the glass. 
In hindsight, I would say she probably was in shock. 

There was also a Police Officer in there. He 



Reynolds 

just seemed to be just standing there not paying 
attention to what this woman was doing. Anyway, 
back to getting out to the water. 

We started regrouping as a company, verified we 
were present. We did not know at the time where 
George Rodriguez, our chauffeur, was. There was a 
lot of radio traffic. The Lieutenant was trying to 
find out where George was. After a short time we 
heard communication that George was fine. 

I remember then seeing a civilian, the first 
civilian that I saw, he was carrying a bag and I 
thought, you have to watch out for the civilians and 
I was thinking, maybe I should take his bag and 
throw it in the water, because I didn't know what it 
was. Then I thought maybe of throwing him in the 
water. Then I said, "No. He's walking south. I'll 
work north and get away from him." 

I remember discussing with other guys that 
maybe there is people around that would shoot us. 
Then we went over closer to the water and there was 
a barge there. I remember thinking, this might be 
an oil barge and there might be a bomb on it. So we 
started walking back towards West Street. Then I 
was thinking, we can't go close to the buildings 



Reynolds 

because if more planes come. So we kind of just all 
were walking around dazed and I ran into a Battalion 
Chief. I don't know who he was. I said to him, I 
said, "Chief, they're evacuating the other building; 
right?" He said, "No." 

Q. You're talking about the north tower now; 
right? 

A. Before the north tower fell. He said, 
"No." I said, "Why not? They blew up the other 
one." I thought they blew it up with a bomb. 

I said, "If they blew up the one, you know 
they're gonna blow up the other one." He said, "No, 
they're not." I said, "Well, you gotta tell them to 
evacuate it, because it's gonna fall down and you 
gotta get the guys out." Because I had felt there 
were hundreds of firemen who died in the first tower 
and thousands of people. He said, "I'm just the 
Battalion Chief. I can't order that." I remember 
looking at the radio on him and I said, "You got a 
fucking radio and you got a fucking mouth. Use the 
fucking things. Empty this fucking building." 
Again he said, "I'm just a Battalion Chief. I can't 
do that." 

So I walked back by the water. We were all 



Reynolds 

basically just somewhat in visual site of each 
other, us and 22 Truck, some of the guys from 22 
Truck. I had known, at that time, that all of the 
guys of the 22 truck had gotten out. We were 
walking around very numb. I knew I was in shock, 
but there was nothing I could do about it. 

So eventually this other chief came back and 
said, "They are evacuating this tower." I said, 
"Oh, that's great." And sometime after that I 
watched from the, I guess, by the Winter Garden 
area, I watched the north tower fall. It was 
expected so it wasn't as traumatic as the first one 
to me. Then that Battalion Chief came back again 
with his clip board and he said, "We need volunteers 
to go back in and check the perimeter for 
survivors." He emphasized that we didn't have to go 
in, but if we would he would appreciate it. 

So he took the names of us in 76 Engine and we 
went back in. I believe it was at Vesey Street we 
got up to about Washington and a Deputy Chief met us 
there and said that he wanted us to go back up West 
Street and regroup and we'd take it from there. 
Basically while we were in that area, Washington and 
Vesey, it was just everything burning on the ground 



10 

Reynolds 



and around us and the dust, and it was no apparent 
people laying around that was visible. So we walked 
up West and I think we got to the area of Stuyvesant 
High School and basically that's where I spent a 
good amount of time. I don't think anything much 
after that should be relevant, because I didn't come 
back down to that area again of the World Trade 
Center for many hours. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Okay. Thank 
you, Bill. I appreciate your cooperation. 



File No. 9110290 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER KENNETH ROGERS 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



K. ROGERS 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : December 10, 2001. 
The time is 10:48 a.m. This is Battalion Chief 
Dennis Kenahan of the Safety Battalion of the New 
York City Fire Department. I'm conducting an 
interview with Kenny Rogers, Firefighter first 
from Ladder 16 in the quarters of Ladder 16. 
Q. All right Kenny, please give me any 
information you have regarding the events of September 
11. 

A. At about a quarter to nine, high rise, Engine 
39 responded to the first plane crash into the World 
Trade Center. We turned on the TV and we were watching 
because it was newsworthy and we saw the second plane 
hit and almost immediately, we were told to respond 
down there. We had trouble getting out of quarters and 
we were delayed a bit and 13 and 22 in the Battalion 
were ahead of us, got ahead of us. I saw them pass us 
on the corner. We wound up following them down, 
downtown. Wound up on West Street going south and we 
followed them for as far as we could. We got down 
further than I thought we did, because we passed a lot 
of rigs and eventually we couldn't go any further. 

There we disembarked and we walked south. We 
went down to West Street, to the command post, and then 



K. ROGERS 

we passed in front of 2 World Financial Center, by a 
garage bay. We were just standing there and 13 and 22 
were there, a big group were sent in ahead of us. We 
should have been in their place but because we arrived 
a step behind them, they went in ahead of us. We just 
stood by and waited. I think we were waiting for 
another truck company to fill us out. We were going to 
get the next assignment. We sort of had the nod but we 
didn't have the wave yet. 

Watching the building, mostly the south 
tower. There were people jumping, someone said we are 
going to go a long way up, let's take off some of our 
gear. At first I didn't, but after a while I thought 
he was probably right because it was getting heavy. So 
I took off some stuff and he took off some stuff. Some 
other guys did. 

Meanwhile we were standing there with about 
five companies and we were just waiting for our 
assignment and then there was an explosion in the south 
tower, which according to this map, this exposure just 
blew out in flames. A lot of guys left at that point. 
I kept watching. Floor after floor after floor. One 
floor under another after another and when it hit about 
the fifth floor, I figured it was a bomb, because it 



K. ROGERS 

looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing. I 
was there in '93. 

I went down to the garage bay. Most guys 
were down already. The Lieutenant had been yelling at 
the command post, run, run, run. The only person I saw 
come in with us was a Chief and the rest of them didn't 
come in. The companies just scattered everywhere. I 
think we had maybe nine people with us and there had to 
be four in the beginning. All these other companies 
just scattered. We didn't know where they were. They 
didn't come down with us. We had two people, I think, 
from other companies, different companies. One guy was 
from a truck. I think the other another guy was Steve 
Wright. An injured person with us, a big fat guy and I 
found an ambulance cot at the bottom of that ramp. 

We put him on that. We moved a truck away 
from the loading bay, because it had the key in it. We 
put him up on the loading dock and then we put him into 
a freight elevator, but the Lieutenant said I don't 
want everyone on that elevator. We don't know how well 
it works. He turned out to be right. Because it 
didn't -- it malfunctioned. It went down instead of up 
and the guys were lucky to get off it. Steve Wright 
was on that elevator. Two people were on it, the guy 



K. ROGERS 

from the other company, Steve Wright, and the injured 
guy. The injured guy couldn't walk and he had a broken 
arm. 

The Lieutenant said okay, we are going to 
have to carry him up the stairs. I should say that he 
already had a roll call after the dust cleared. We 
were missing one guy. Then he had another roll call 
back by the stairwell, hoping the guy might be back by 
the stairwell, but he wasn't there either. 

We decided to carry this guy up the 
stairwell. One of the guys from the other company said 
there is a way out, out of the building, that goes out 
the back. We decided we were going to go that way. We 
tried to pick this guy up. The stairwell was narrow. 
We couldn't all get our hands on it. The guy was very 
big. Eventually we got him up several flights of 
stairs. We got him out the back of the building and we 
put him on a boat going over to New Jersey somewhere. 

Then we went back from North Cove harbor, we 
went back to the building and the second collapse 
occurred when -- the three of us were in the back of 
the building; myself, Oscar and Joe Petrich. There was 
a really heavy draft. My helmet just flew off into 
this black curtain of soot behind the building and on 



K. ROGERS 

the back of the building there was an overhang, so I 
didn't really want to go into either one of those 
places, but then I was worried about the glass flying 
around inside the building. So the thing to do, I 
figured, was to just stay where I was, where I had the 
most places to go and see what would happen. 

What happened was it subsided. I didn't have 
a turnout coat at this time. I didn't get cut up so it 
turned out to be the best thing to do was just to wait 
and see where the best place (inaudible). That's how 
it worked out for me with the second collapse. 

Then we went back into the building to find 
the Lieutenant. At this time, there was still lights 
in the stairwell. There was a lot of water running 
down the stairs, so we knew the building had some kind 
of damage. I went down to a lower level, which I 
hadn't been to before, below the loading bay, where we 
had been originally. There was no access in the 
loading bay anywhere else. It was just one level that 
went down. I was hoping there was, because I was 
hoping I could hide down there. 

Someone located him and yelled down the 
stairwell, we found him, we got him. So we went back, 
we all regrouped and then we went up the ramp to go out 



K. ROGERS 

to the front of the building where we had come in. We 
were looking for the guy we were missing. The 
Lieutenant and some people were off to the left and me 
and Joe Petrich went to the right of the bay to the 
left and we went up there. We kind of searched quite a 
bit of the building looking for people. We didn't see 
anybody except one guy with a camera. I don't know 
where he came from. He was taking a picture of the 
World Trade Center collapse I guess. He was okay 
though. 

When we left the building, then we saw a 
couple of other firemen starting to come in to search. 
We told them we have looked around already. We knew we 
were the first guys there because there was no foot 
prints in the dust or anything. There was a lot of 
dust in the exposure, blown in windows on that side of 
the building. 

After that, we went back into the building. 
We went out the back. We skirted North Cove harbor and 
we went to a street, which I guess was North End, and 
then we went to Vesey Street and we turned right. We 
ran into a guy. The Lieutenant asked him where is the 
command post. The guy said I'm it. So we figured the 
command post was in a lot of trouble, because we could 



K. ROGERS 

see them from where we had been in our staging area. 
Now there didn't seem to be a command post any more. 

Anyway, we found a place on Vesey, somebody 
forced their way into it. It was a place called 
Chevy's. We went in there. We were very happy to see 
people come in. We -- like 39 Engine, we heard them 
give a Mayday and they weren't responding to any radio 
transmissions so we thought they might be all dead. 

One of the guys came in from 39, a couple of 
guys came in and started wandering in and it was just 
good to see these guys were okay. We stayed there for 
a while. That was pretty much the events of that day 
for us. 

After that, we sort of went back to the 
school. We went into the school. There was another 
collapse of another building, but we were too far away 
to be affected by that. We went back to the rig and we 
washed the rig down. It turned out that -- 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Thank you Kenny. 

The time now is 11:13. This concludes the 

interview. 



File No. 9110291 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL BRODBECK 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



M. BRODBECK 2 

CHIEF KING: Today is December 10, 
2001. It's 1645 hours. This is Battalion 
Chief Steven King from Safety Battalion 
FDNY. I'm conducting an interview with 
Firefighter First Grade Michael Brodbeck 
from Engine Company 210. He was working a 
mutual in Ladder 1106 on September 11th as 
the can man. This interview is regarding 
the events of September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Okay, Mike. 

A. Right after the first plane hit the 
north tower, we were dispatched and we were first 
ticket. We jumped on the rig and started going 
over the Brooklyn Bridge. At this time we were 
still unaware it was actually a large plane until 
we got around three-quarters of the way over the 
Brooklyn Bridge and they confirmed it was a 
commercial airliner. The 2nd Battalion aide, I 
believe, was screaming on the radio about the 
jumpers up and down. 

I think we arrived down Cortlandt 
Street, which was facing Two World Trade, and 
pretty much the way you see that second plane hit 
on the videotape was the way we were facing that 



M. BRODBECK 3 

tower . 

As the second plane hit, the chauffeur, 
which was Artie Riccio, did a U turn around 
Century 21, which I believe is near One Liberty 
Plaza over there. We came around, and I think we 
came down Vesey Street, where our rig was. 

We grabbed our gear, carried extra 
cylinders. I had the can and had my hook. We 
walked around, I think down Vesey to West Street. 
We made a left and we came to the north tower. 
We proceeded to wait until jumpers were down. We 
went into the lobby. We arrived in the lobby, 
awaiting instruction. 

We awaited instruction from the chiefs. 
We went with I believe it was Chief Picciotto. I 
don't know if that's exactly him, but I think I 
recognized him. He was on the television and 
stuff. 

We went up to the mezzanine, and we 
took an elevator. The chief said that these 
elevators were all right. We took the elevator 
which I believe goes up to eight. We got off at 
eight and proceeded to walk up to 23. We stopped 
on 23, and then we went up to 25. Then we made 



M. BRODBECK 4 

our way back down. 

So we were either on 23 or 21. I don't 
know. I don't remember that. I think it was 23. 
The lieutenant gave us instructions to make a 
thorough search, pop all the doors, make sure 
everybody is out of the building. 

Me and the irons man went. I left my 
can and I took the Halligan. He had the router 
tool. We probably popped at least 10 or 15 doors 
making a search. 

Q. On what floor? 

A. On 23 or 21. I'm still confused about 
that. I believe it was 23. 

At this point after we made a thorough 
search, we located together via the stairwell. 
At that point, unbeknownst to us, the south tower 
fell. We didn't know that the south tower fell. 
I didn't have a radio because I had the can. But 
I heard there was a collapse in the north tower 
between the 68th and 70th floor. 

When we heard the evacuation, we 
started our way down. At this point we were 
still unaware that the other tower went down. We 
were in the stairwell. We all regrouped at the 



M. BRODBECK 5 

stairwell before the tower went down. When it 
went down, like everybody else says, it was like 
an earthquake. The building went six feet to the 
right, six feet to the left. 

We started to make our way down, a very 
slow process. Once the maydays kept coming over, 
guys were just stopping in the stairwell. At 
approximately the 18th floor, the other members 
of Ladder 110 started carrying a woman down in a 
chair. I was walking down with another woman I 
believe from 18 to like 12, and she went with two 
other members. I forget which engine company. 
They walked her down. 

I picked up another civilian at 10. I 
walked her down. She was with two civilians. I 
walked her down. She was hyperventilating. She 
thought she was having a heart attack. So I put 
my mask on her, because the dust from the other 
tower was starting to come up into the other 
building. This was probably around like the 
sixth floor where the dust started getting bad. 
I gave her my mask from like ten down because she 
was just trying to catch her breath. 

We went down -- this was the B 



M. BRODBECK 6 

stairwell. We got down to the lobby. I was a 
little bit ahead of 110 while they were carrying 
the other woman down. When I got down to the 
lobby, I asked the woman if she was okay. The 
two civilians told me that they would take her. 
She went with the two civilians . 

I went and caught up with Ladder 110 
and walked out of the north tower, which I 
believe was at least 25 minutes just to get down 
from up there. We walked out into the street 
under the overpass, the northern walkway on West 
Street . 

We got out to one of the rigs and put 
our gear down. Lieutenant Wayne Mera -- at this 
point we still didn't know the other tower went 
down. The north tower is ahead of the south 
tower. So as we walked out, we're still pretty 
much clueless about the other tower going down. 

We made our way under that overpass. 
We stopped there. Lieutenant Mera said he didn't 
like this, where we were standing. We started to 
walk north on West Street. We probably got maybe 
50 yards, they were like two red lights, and we 
stopped again. We put all our equipment down. 



M. BRODBECK 7 

One guy took his mask off. 

At that point the north tower 
collapsed. From the time we walked out of the 
tower to this point had to be less than five 
minutes, maybe like three minutes by the time -- 
it happened very quickly. 

At that point we all pretty much 
scattered and ran. I ran north on West Street. 
I put my mask on. The vibra-alert was going off. 
I had no air left because I gave it to that woman 
on the walk down. 

The dust ball came down and hit us. I 
ran in complete darkness and wound up running 
face first into the building before the Verizon 
building on Vesey. I was actually trying to 
break through the glass. 

At the time I dislocated my shoulder. 
I was running. I dislocated my shoulder. I was 
trying to break through the glass with my left 
arm. Then the door flew open. I happened to be 
banging on the door. The door swung open and 
knocked me on my butt. 

Two firemen from 305 Engine dragged me 
in there, which I believe is Six World Trade in 



M. BRODBECK 8 

the customs building right there. It was either 
that or the telephone building. I'm not too 
sure. Two firemen dragged me in there. 

At that point I was trying to get in 
touch with my battalion to find out if those guys 
lived or whatever. We all met up at what I 
believe was West Street and Murray, that bridge 
that goes over, that other one. Near like 
Stuyvesant High School, we met up there. 

That was it pretty much, from collapse 
purposes. I don't know if you want me to go on. 

Q. Did you see anybody there, any specific 
individuals at any point? 

A. That ain't here no more? I walked out 
with someone from 65 Engine that I grew up with. 
I haven't seen him in two years. We happened to 
hit the lobby doors going out. 

On the way up we were with 21 Engine. 
A guy from 21, I played football with, he was 
with me going up. When we were coming out, they 
were ahead of us. I remember seeing Billy Burke, 
the captain who got killed. I think he went 
left, because they all went right with us. I 
assume he might have gone over to where the 



M. BRODBECK 9 

command post was or whatever. 

That's like the overview. When we 
first got to the front of the north tower, I was 
watching people jump. We were actually waiting 
to see if anybody was coming out of the building 
on the West Street side to make sure we weren't 
hit. 

Q. When you were on the 23rd floor doing a 
search, what were the conditions? 

A. Fine. Nothing up there. 

Q. No smoke? No sign of water flowing 
anywhere? 

A. No, not at all. 

Q. The stairwell dry? 

A. The stairwell was dry. No water. 

Q. Do you remember what stairwell you were 
in? 

A. I believe B. 

Q. B? 

A. We came down B. From what I 
understand, it was the only one that was not 
obstructed. It was a good thing we were going 
down B. When we were going up, there didn't seem 
to be that many firemen. I believe we were 



M. BRODBECK 10 

probably one of the first 15 units on the scene. 
We got there pretty quick. 

I happened to see that thing on CNN 
from 7 Engine. They were on 21. I didn't see 
them. I'm pretty sure it was 23 that we were on. 
There's a lot of doors. We popped a ton of 
doors, looking for people. 

To be honest with you, I remember 
looking out the window and seeing that command 
post on West Street, thinking it wasn't a good 
idea to be there. I've been on six years. When 
I looked down, it didn't seem like a real bright 
place to have one. Little things like that stuck 
out in my mind. When I looked out on that, I 
felt uncomfortable about that. 

We were so in the dark about the other 
tower going down, we walked out of the north 
tower and I looked south and I just saw the 
Marriott Hotel, the corner of it. I remember 
saying to myself the Marriott took a beating from 
all the debris falling. You just saw the corner 
of it from that angle coming back. 

So up until the point where the north 
tower went down, we didn't -- 



M. BRODBECK 11 

Q. You didn't notice that tower came down 
at all? 

A. We didn't know that at all. 

Q. You didn't feel that or hear that? 

A. Oh, no, we felt it. We were in the 
north tower, and we were in the stairwell. When 
that tower went down, our tower went six feet to 
the right, six feet to the left, and we felt the 
debris falling, but it felt like an earthquake. 
I've never been in a big collapse. I thought -- 

Q. You didn't know the tower came down? 

A. No. What I heard over the radio was 
that it was a collapse from the 68th through 70th 
floors. I thought that's what was -- that much 
of a rumble and everything else, you know. Until 
afterwards, like I said, I dislocated my 
shoulder . 

So after the collapse, after I left 
that building and I got back with 110, a doctor 
from Hazollah came over and put me in a sling. I 
stood on West Street for like an hour and a half 
fighting with the lieutenant not to get on the 
ambulance . 

Then the F-16 flew overhead, I 



M. BRODBECK 12 



^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^J They 
me to go. I didn't want to go, but I was useless 
anyway after that. I was taken to St. Vincent's 
Hospital. I was taken to Chelsea Piers first. 
They had triage, and they popped my shoulder back 
in. I was taken to St. Vincent's. 

I didn't get back to Brooklyn until 
6:00 or 7:00. I was taken to Metrotech. I was 
with John Feehan. They brought me back to the 
division, I was with him, and they brought us 
back to Metrotech. From Metrotech I just walked 
over to 110 and went to sleep. 

That's pretty much it. 
Q. Okay, Mike. 

CHIEF KING: The time is 1700 hours, 
and this interview is concluded 



File No. 9110292 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER STANLEY TROJANOWSKI 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



S. TROJANOWSKI 2 

CHIEF MALKIN: Today's date is December 
10th. It's 1813 hours this is Battalion 
Chief Malkin, Safety Battalion. I'm 
conducting an interview with firefighter 
Stanley Trojanowski, first grade, Engine 
238. We're at the quarters of 238. There's 
nobody else present in the room. This 
interview is related to the events of 
September 11th, and what follows is the 
interview. 

Q. You start out from in quarters. When 
did you get the run? 

A. We received the run a little after 
9:00. We responded on the fifth alarm to the 
initial building that was hit by the airplane. 
We made our way down Barclay Street. We tried to 
make a left-hand turn on West Side Highway or 
West Street, but it was all congested with 
traffic. So we left the rig on West Street. 
Actually I stayed with the rig on West, between 
Barclay and Vesey on West. 

The guys responded to the command post 
which is at Liberty Street and West, and I stayed 
with the rig. I hooked up, got a little bit of 



S. TROJANOWSKI 3 

pressure, just enough for an inch and 
three-quarter, which wasn't even sufficient 
because it read zero from the hydrant pressure on 
the gauge. I had a little bit of water. So I 
tried to be prepared there. 

That's it. Later on to see what was 
going on, I listened to the radio. I saw some 
people jumping eventually. First I thought it 
was debris from the airplane that hit or maybe 
from the building itself, or birds. Once the 
people got closer, I could see they were actual 
human beings. 

After the collapse of number Two World 
Trade Center, which I actually thought was a bomb 
that went off because the north tower was 
blocking my view, debris and everything started 
falling, people were running. I hid underneath 
the scaffolding on Barclay; I'm pretty much sure 
it was Barclay and West. 

Things cleared up a little. I started 
up the stair and tried to wash off anyone that 
was still trying to escape from the collapse and 
tried to help as many people as I could, this and 
that. 



S. TROJANOWSKI 4 

I tried to contact the company. I was 
pretty much sure I made contact. Someone 
responded. I remember hearing "Engine 238," but 
it sort of seemed like a response to my calling 
them. I heard everyone was supposedly all right, 
which wasn't true, which might not even been a 
response to my calls on the handy talky. 

The north tower came down, and I got 
hit with some debris. I remember getting banged 
up to the divider by the rig which was in the 
street. I made my way underneath the scaffolding 
again and just tried to outlast the collapse, 
which I thought was just another bomb going off. 

I'm trying to remember of anyone who's 
still missing or was missing that I had seen. I 
can't recall. 

Q. Did your unit come back, your guys come 
back to the rig at some time? 

A. After the second collapse I radioed 
again to see if they're okay. I had a response, 
or all I caught was part of a response. I 
thought it was them again. So I started looking 
around for them. I went to the north overpass. 

The response supposedly mentioned they 



S. TROJANOWSKI 5 

were at the north overpass. I looked around 
underneath the overpass, because it was partially 
collapsed on the south side, rigs sticking out on 
the north side, burning, this and that. No one 
there. 

I was trying to put out some fires. I 
used about 20 extinguishers. I tried to put out 
car fires there, and some of the rigs burning. I 
tried to keep it from escalating even worse just 
in case we had people trapped in there still 
alive so they don't burn to death. 

The debris on Vesey between Vesey and 
number Seven World Trade Center, three and a half 
was the seven, and a couple of civilians helped 
me stretch that. We had a little bit of water in 
the three and a half that was stretched from 
another company north of me on West Street. The 
tower ladder was in front of Six World Trade 
Center, I guess, because it was just north of the 
pedestrian bridge. We couldn't put it out. It 
was five or six stories high, the debris, I'm 
going to say. 

I helped tried to get a couple of 
firemen out of the debris and managed to work 



S. TROJANOWSKI 6 

with other firemen to get one fireman out. He 
was in cardiac arrest, bleeding. About five 
surgeons were dropped off in the area that came 
over to me, asking where they could respond, 
where they could help, this and that. 

I knew the command post on Liberty 
Street was annihilated or whatever you want to 
call it. One of them went with the ambulance 
with an unconscious fireman to the hospital. The 
other one -- I had no clue where the command post 
was because there's no way of getting through on 
the radio. 

Q. Right. 

A. There were all the important messages, 
maydays and everything. Unless you have a mayday 
I guess you don't want to interrupt important 
transmissions. So I just kept on looking for our 
guys, which took a while for me to find, a couple 
hours. I went all around. 

Q. You walked around looking for them? 

A. Yeah. I went and actually met up with 
some of the guys from our firehouse on Church 
Street. The last transmission I heard was north 
of the pedestrian overpass, the north overpass. 



S. TROJANOWSKI 7 

I walked around there for a while, asked the guys 
that I knew. They said they had seen two of our 
guys, so I knew at least two of the guys were 
alive. I just kept on looking. When we met up, 
we came back to West Street where my rig was just 
to see what I could do. 

There were a lot of things in between 
that come to my mind now. I helped them stretch 
a line from the rig north of me to the tower 
ladder. Everyone was doing what they could. 
Later on we helped a marine company, because we 
had no supply of water at all on the west side. 
So we helped the marine company with three and a 
half inch hose. We got them off other rigs. We 
supplied a pumper, I guess it would be, on North 
End Avenue. 

Q. Stretched a line from the marine 
company onto North End Avenue? 

A. North End Avenue. We managed to get a 
pumper that was still working. We drove it over 
there. A chauffeur from that company stayed with 
that. Actually he wasn't the chauffeur that 
responded with the company, but he was from that 
company and he was a chauffeur. 



S. TROJANOWSKI 8 

So he manned that rig while we helped 
to stretch a three and a half from that pumper to 
the other pumper which was closer to West. I was 
like in-line pumping to get some supply of water. 

Q. After the tower two went down, where 
were you after the first one went down? 

A. I was there the whole time. 

Q. Still up by Barclay Street? 

A. Yeah, at Barclay. That's where our rig 
was, on West between Vesey and Barclay; actually 
closer to Barclay, close to the corner. 

Q. Right. 

A. Because the hydrant I had was around 
the corner on Barclay. 

Q. Did you ever see the command post where 
Ganci was or the chaplain or anything? 

A. No. 

Q. After the first building went down, did 
you see companies, where they were, any 
particular firemen or companies, where they were 
working or anything like that? No, you were 
remote; right? At least a block away? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. Okay. 



S. TROJANOWSKI 9 

A. There were a lot of cops in the area. 

Q. Yeah. 

A. Scattering. 

Q. How did you wrap it up? Total debris, 
you were hooked up over here, you stretched all 
these lines? You worked there into the night, 
would you say? You worked there all day? 

A. Yeah, I was there. Yeah, I was there 
until Wednesday. I found our officer just south 
of the pedestrian north overpass. 

Q. Late in the day when you found him? 

A. Yeah. Actually someone else mentioned 
they found him late in the day. It was dark 
already. 

Q. Did 238 guys get together all at once 
or in dribs and drabs they got together or did 
you find each other at the scene? 

A. Yeah, we were looking for each other. 
Actually everybody was looking for each other, 
from what I heard. 

Q. How late did you stay at the scene? 

A. Until Wednesday. I got banged around a 
little when the second one came down, the north 
one. There was debris flying this and there. 



S. TROJANOWSKI 10 

I really don't like to talk about it 
much. 

CHIEF MALKIN: This concludes the 
interview with fireman Trojanowski, Engine 
238. I thank him for the interview. The 
time is now 1826 hours. 



File No. 9110293 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER DAVID KELNHOFER 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



D. KELNHOFER 

BATTALION CHIEF KING: Today's date is 
December 10th, 2001. The time is 1815 hours and this 
is Battalion Chief Stephen King, Safety Battalion, 
FDNY. I am conducting an interview with Firefighter 
David Kelnhofer from Engine 221, control man on 
September 11th, 2001. This interview is regarding the 
events of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. Okay, Dave. You can start whenever you 
want . 

A. Basically, we came to work that morning. 
Everything was normal. We saw on the TV that the first 
tower was hit. We normally go into Manhattan, so we 
started to get ready, figuring that we were going to 
get sent there. Then we saw the second plane had hit, 
and right after we saw that on the TV, we got the 
ticket over the computer to go to Manhattan. So we 
grabbed our stuff. Pauley Warhola, who was getting off 
the night before, had jumped on our rig as an extra 
man, as a fifth man. 

We went down. We were told to go over the 
Manhattan Bridge. We went over the Manhattan Bridge. 
We ended up parking the rig on Broadway close to Dey 
Street, I believe, looking at the map here, and we left 
the rig with the chauffeur there. Then we walked down 



D. KELNHOFER 

Dey Street, I believe, or Fulton, down Vesey. We were 
told to report to the command center by the World 
Financial Center on the opposite side of the Trade 
Center. We walked completely around and ended up right 
by the World Financial Center, I believe it was the 
first one, right in front of the north tower. 

We stopped there. We took our gear off to 
take a break while the captain went up to get an 
assignment from the command post. He went up to the 
command post, got an assignment, came back. We were 
supposed to go into the south tower, I believe. Just 
as we started to put our gear back on, the first tower 
collapsed . 

We ran down the loading ramp of the building, 
through the loading ramp, up the opposite side of the 
building, up the stairway. We tried to get out the 
stairway in the rear of the building. We were trapped 
there for a while and then finally it cleared a little 
bit. We made our way out of the building, across the 
courtyard and down towards the piers, through the 
marina and down towards the piers. 

Okay. Here is the building here, yes, the 
second World Financial Center. That's the building 
there. We made it through there. We ended up on the 



D. KELNHOFER 

piers with a group of, I guess, like 100 firemen. We 
stopped there for a minute. Then we regrouped. We got 
all our men together because we were separated a little 
bit. 

We started to make our way back down to the 
basement to recover some gear. We figured we'd go help 
in the rescue operation. Before we could do that, the 
second building came down. We ended up going back 
towards the pier, towards the water. We stood there 
for a little while, regrouped again. 

We left there, went back to the building, 
made our way into that basement with a search rope, 
recovered our gear, came back out, and then we were 
told to go on West Street to the new command post. We 
stood at West Street for a while for another 
assignment. That's basically it. 

Q. You didn't really see any guys, individuals 
you remember who might be missing? 

A. No, nothing like that. We went in front of 
the command post that everybody got killed at, but we 
were waiting. The captain went up to the command post 
to get the assignment. We kind of waited in the back. 
So I really didn't see anybody actually at the command 
post. We were on the other side of the street. 



D. KELNHOFER 

We had picked another guy up. I don't know 
whether he was lost or came in on his own. I don't 
remember his name. He stayed with us most of the time, 
until the collapse, he went to the pier, and then he 
ended up regrouping with somebody else, I don't know 
whether his own company or what. 

Q. Do you know his company? 

A. No. I'm not sure. 

Q. Sounds like a guy I talked to the other night 
from either 211 or 119. 

A. No. I would have remembered that. It 
definitely wasn't a company around the battalion here 
because I would have remembered that. But he was kind 
of lost, so he hooked up with us. The captain said 
"follow me" just so at least someone had a record of 
him being with somebody. The captain probably would 
remember. But after the first one collapsed and we ran 
through the building, we kind of lost him. 

Q. Okay. 

A. That's about it. We ended up staying at West 
Street for a while. They didn't have an assignment for 
us, so we worked our way back to Broadway. We found 
our rig. We didn't find our chauffeur. We found out 
later the chauffeur was hurt in the collapse, that he 



D. KELNHOFER 

was taken in an ambulance. So we had gotten back on 
our rig and we ended up doing a four-pumper relay. 
Q. Who was your chauffeur? 

A. Warren Monroe. He was hurt. He'll be out on 
three-quarters. He's still in therapy. 

We ended up getting our pumper back, getting 
it operational, and we were doing a four-pumper relay 
to a tower ladder and a hand line into the Trade 
Center. They were doing a rescue operation and a tower 
ladder operation. So we were working both of those. I 
was working I think it was Squad 44 rig. I'm pretty 
sure that's what it was. I was working that rig. One 
of our chauffeurs that came afterwards took our rig, 
and then there were two other pumpers, 290 and somebody 
else down the road. Because the hydrants were so far 
away, we had four pumpers feeding the tower ladder and 
the rescue hand line. 

We stayed there until about 8:00, 9:00 
o'clock in the morning, and then we worked our way back 
to the firehouse. That's about it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KING: All right, Dave. 
Thank you. The time is 1821 hours and this interview 
is concluded. 



File No. 9110294 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOSEPH RAE 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



J. RAE 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 10th, 2001. The time is 2:30 p.m. I am 
Battalion Chief Robert Burns, Safety Battalion, New 
York City Fire Department. I am conducting an 
interview with - - 

FIREFIGHTER RAE: Joseph Rae, Engine 255. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: This is in regards to 
the events of September 11th, 2001. 

Q. If you could tell us in your own words, Joe, 
what happened. 

A. Myself, Steve Altini from 24 Engine and Craig 
Monahan from 5 Truck took Craig's truck into the Trade 
Center. We came through the Battery Tunnel. We drove 
north on West to about I'd say 90 West is the building 
where we pulled over and there's green scaffolding 
there. We pulled over. We got out of the pickup. 
Steve Altini went to 10 and 10 to get gear. Me and 
Craig Monahan got out of the rig. We put our gear on 
and we started walking north on West Street. 

As we kept approaching towards the Trade 
Center, there were all the rigs parked left and right. 
We went under the first pedestrian bridge, which would 
be about Liberty Street. We knew they were riding 
heavy, the engines and trucks, because we were looking 



J. RAE 

for masks and tools and there were no masks. Even the 
four-man engines didn't have any masks in them, and I 
knew they were riding heavy because it was change of 
tours. 

When we got about, I would say, the Vista 
Hotel, right there, we saw the 1st Battalion parked 
there and we saw I think it was 10 Truck. I'm not too 
sure. There was a truck parked there. We kept 
walking. We got to about, I would say, probably around 
the second pedestrian bridge, over there, where we 
encountered Rescue 1, the 2nd Battalion, we saw 5 
Truck, we saw 3 Truck, I think 1 Engine was there, too, 
and in front of that was 18 Engine, which was towards 
the south. That's where we found our masks. We took 
the masks out of 18 Engine. 

We put the masks on. We started walking 
north to just about the second footbridge, which would 
be 6 World Trade, and all of a sudden we heard the 
explosion and the building started to come down and I 
ran up -- 

Q. Which tower? 

A. 2 World Trade Center started to collapse. We 
ran and I dove under a rig and I lost sight of Craig 
Monahan. I don't know where he went. I dove under a 



J. RAE 

rig. I'm not sure what the number was, but I dove 
under a rig. It came down. I got back up. After 
about ten minutes, it cleared. There was a hose line 
in the street. We were hosing each other off. 

I met up with Craig Monahan again and he said 
come on, come on, let's take 5 Truck's rig because 
there's guys on 6 World Trade, on the Customs Building, 
there's a little balcony there. So we moved the 
tiller. He told me turn the wheel all the way to the 
right. We backed the rig up. We put the rig up. We 
put the ladder up. There was a couple of Port 
Authority cops, a couple of firemen, I'm not too sure 
from where. 

We got up the pedestal, and then the second 
one came down, and once it started to come down, we 
ran. I ran up north towards about Vesey Street where 
12 Truck was parked on the corner of Vesey on, it would 
be the east side of the street. I dove under there and 
then the Trade Center, the second one came down. That 
would be 1 World Trade came down. We climbed out of 
there and we started walking back to see where all the 
collapses were. 

What I forgot to mention was, when we were 
walking north before the first collapse, I actually saw 



J. RAE 

that command post. I saw Chief Ganci. There were I'd 
say about maybe eight people there. I saw Chief 
Ganci. I saw Chief Feehan. The two of them were 
there. They were actually moving the command post back 
a little ways because they were moving it with maybe 
his driver or something. But they were all standing 
there and they were trying to push the thing back. 

After the first collapse, I didn't see the 
command post after that. After the second one 
collapsed, I crawled out of 12 Truck and we started 
back to see if we could find anybody because it was 
only me - - I lost sight of Craig Monahan after the 
second collapse. It was only me and two or three Port 
Authority cops and a civilian. That was all that was 
left that I saw from where I was standing, which would 
be the second footbridge by 6 World Trade, north. 
There was nobody else standing after that. 

So then we went back. We got through, and I 
met with Ray Reilly, who was a Lieutenant in 248, and 
we were trying to get up onto 6 World Trade because 
there was a guy on the top floor of 6 World Trade 
hanging out the window. So I tried to move 12 Truck. 
I couldn't get 12 Truck started. It wouldn't move. 
Then all of a sudden the chauffeur came and moved it, 



J. RAE 

but they still couldn't get it. They still couldn't 
get him. 

So we took the portable ladder off of 24 
Engine's rig, put it up there, and we started up, where 
I met with my captain and a couple of guys from 255 up 
there, and we took a window and we went inside of 6 
World Trade Center. They were carrying out the guy 
from Rescue 1. I don't know his name. But they were 
carrying him out. We helped them carry him out, and 
then we stretched a hand line into 6 World Trade Center 
to about the 4th floor to knock down some fire. Then 
we went back down and we were knocking all the car 
fires down and we were just looking for people. 

We scuttled back towards what would be like 
where the Winter Garden is, over there, and that's 
where I met up with the rest of the guys from 255 and 
Ladder 157, and we started digging and we found Chief 
Ganci and Chief Feehan there. Then after that we just 
kept just digging for people, you know, for the 
brothers. 

Actually, it all happened so fast. They say 
it took like 40 minutes between or whatever. Still it 
was just very fast the way everything went. Then I was 
there until 9:00, 9:30 at night. I got there about, 



J. RAE 

I'd say, right before the first collapse, enough time 
for me to get out of the truck, walk north with my gear 
on, right under the footbridge, right to about here, to 
about right in front of the 6 World Financial Center, 
when No. 2 World Trade Center came down. That was it. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Okay. Thanks, Joe. 
That concludes our interview. It's 2:37 p.m. 



File No. 9110295 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER CHRISTOPHER FENYO 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Nancy Francis 



C. FENYO 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Today's date is 
December 11, 2001. The time is 12:31. This is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the Safety Battalion 
of the Fire Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with Christopher Fenyo of 
Engine 35 in the quarters of Engine 35. 

Q. Chris, just tell us what you saw on September 
11th. 

A. This is Firefighter 6th Grade Christopher 
Fenyo. I live at North Moore and Greenwich Street. On 
the morning of September 11, I had dropped my 
girlfriend off at the subway at Chambers and walked 
home, and at a quarter to 9:00 I was in the elevator of 
my building when the first plane hit. I didn't hear 
anything. We face north. 

When I got into the apartment, I heard FD 
going down the West Side Highway. I pretty much 
figured the only ones that go down the West Side 
Highway are probably rescue, so I took a look out the 
window to see if they were going to a job nearby. I 
saw a few hundred people standing in Greenwich Street 
pointing up, so I figured there was a job and I'd go 
buff it out. I still had no idea. 

So I took the elevator down. I walked out 



C. FENYO 

onto Greenwich Street and I looked up and saw the north 
tower, this is about maybe five to 9:00. I ran back 
into my apartment, up ten flights of stairs, grabbed my 
backup gear and started running down Greenwich Street. 
At this point there were about ten floors of fire and 
my first thought was I have no idea how we're going to 
put this out. I got about three blocks running flat 
out and I saw a guy on a motorcycle and we both had the 
same idea. He told me to jump on. He drove me down to 
Vesey and West. 

At the corner of Vesey and West, I went up to 
the first Battalion Chief I saw and asked him what I 
should do. He said to stand fast at the manpower pool 
and he pointed to a spot about 100 feet away from him 
where there were some men gathering. 

As rigs came down the West Side Highway, I 
kept going up to them asking if there was an extra 
helmet. I finally got some luck with Engine 39. They 
were already in the building, so I was with the 
chauffeur, Arthur, for that time being. 

There was an explosion at the top of the 
Trade Center and a piece of Trade Center flew across 
the West Side Highway and hit the Financial Center, and 
Arthur went to hook up with another chauffeur to the 



C. FENYO 

Financial Center. His rig was parked in the southbound 
lanes of the West Side Highway just north of the north 
pedestrian bridge. 

At this point a Battalion Chief looked at me, 
saw 39 on my helmet and told me to move my rig in front 
of 1 World Trade Center to supply water to the 
standpipe. I said yes, sir, but I didn't want to move 
the rig. Even though I wasn't 39, I probably could 
have moved the rig. I back-pedaled, looked around the 
rig to see Arthur. As I was coming back to the front 
of the rig, the Battalion Chief, I guess he got a 
little impatient. He jumped in the rig and moved it 
himself over to in front of 1 World Trade Center. 

About 30 seconds later, Arthur came back and 
looked at me and said where the hell is the rig? I 
said it's across the street. At that point the rig was 
essentially in a hailstorm of glass. There were bodies 
hitting the canopy of the Marriott at that point, I 
guess, right between 1 and 3 World Trade, or actually 
that was the canopy of 1 World Trade. He saw the 
situation, saw we weren't going to be able to hook up 
without getting hurt, so we ran across the West Side 
Highway, jumped in the rig, and we pulled it back 
across the highway to the southbound side just north of 



C. FENYO 

the pedestrian bridge, as it was before, only now the 
rig was facing north. 

When I stepped off the rig, probably about 20 
after, 25 after 9:00, I ran into George Reese of 80 
Engine, who was also off duty. He was responding into 
his second job when he came up from the subway. He had 
gone to the quarters at 10 and 10 and gotten gear. At 
that point I told Arthur that I had met someone from my 
company and that I was going to go with him. He said 
be safe, and I went off with George Reese to the 
command post on the loading dock between 3 and 2 World 
Financial Center, just underneath the Winter Garden, 
where Chief Ganci had his command post at the top of 
the ramp. 

We were there for about ten minutes. George 
went off to talk to the Chiefs to find out what we 
could do. I was standing there alone. There were 
several companies down the ramp behind me. One of them 
I believe was 76 Engine, there was 211 Engine, about 
50, 60 men, various states of dress. 

About a couple minutes after George came back 
to me is when the south tower from our perspective 
exploded from about midway up the building. We all 
turned and ran into the garage. At that point I banked 



C. FENYO 

down to the floor. We were trapped for a little while 
in there. We went off to the right. There's a big, 
big loading dock underneath there. You could probably 
fit three or four tractor-trailers with the doors 
closed . 

We ran off into a dead end, realized it. At 
that point the smoke had gotten down to the floor and 
someone, who I found out later was the engine officer 
from 76 Engine, had put down a search rope. A lot of 
us got out through the staircase by that rope. At that 
point we discovered that we were inside a fire 
staircase with all metal doors, metal frames, opening 
outward, and none of us had tools. There were a lot of 
calls down to go get tools. But at some point there 
was a facilities guy there from the Financial Center 
who had a key. He let us out on the water side of 2 
World Financial in between 2 and the Winter Garden. 

At that point there was a lot of confusion. 
There was heavy ash in the air and on the ground. We 
made our way over towards the river. At that point 
there were a lot of guys cut up, some broken bones, a 
lot of civilians getting on the ferries. We helped 
some of the civilians get on the ferries. 

At that point a debate began to rage because 



C. FENYO 

the perception was that the building looked like it had 
been taken out with charges. We had really no concept 
of the damage on the east side of 2 World Trade Center 
at that point, and at that point many people had felt 
that possibly explosives had taken out 2 World Trade, 
and officers were gathering companies together and the 
officers were debating whether or not to go immediately 
back in or to see what was going to happen with 1 World 
Trade at that point. The debate ended pretty quickly 
because 1 World Trade came down. 

At that point we ran up through Battery Park, 
through the north part of Battery Park, where I lost 
George because I stopped to pick up a civilian who had 
sprained her ankle and wasn't able to run. At that 
point, after carrying her up to Chambers Street and the 
water, her friends assisted her, I believe, onto a 
ferry at that point. But we were out of the danger of 
the collapse of 1 World Trade. 

I made my way around to Stuyvesant High 
School. I still wasn't able to find George. I learned 
later on that he was all right. He had hooked up with 
another company and they had gone back and started 
working on Vesey near the Customs Building. I made my 
way with 211 Engine and a couple of other folks. We 



C. FENYO 

essentially just picked gear from here and there, 
picked up masks, picked up gloves, picked up bottles, 
tools, and we worked the rest of the night. That's 
pretty much it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Okay. The time now 
is 12:39 and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110296 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER FRANK MACCHIA 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The time is 10:53 

a.m., and this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan, 

safety battalion of the Fire Department of the 

City of New York. 

I'm conducting an interview with Frank 

Macchia, firefighter 1st, from Ladder 43 in the 

quarters of Ladder 43. 

Q. Frank, just explain to us what you saw on 
September 11. 

A. After arriving on the Westside Highway, what 
I know to be the collapse, after the collapse of the 
south tower, Ladder 43 and myself were in a position 
approximately between north of Vesey Street on West 
Street when Tower No. 1 collapsed. 

At that point, once we had donned our masks 
and retreated to Barclay Street to allow some dust to 
settle, to make sure that we weren't caught in any 
debris, and then advanced out to the corner of West 
Street and Vesey Street. 

At that point, myself, Firefighter Suden, 
Firefighter Regan were ordered by the chief to place 
into operation a pumper to extinguish Fire Department 
vehicles and to make searches of those vehicles. We 
did so and operated that line for approximately 30 to 



Macchia 

45 minutes, simultaneously searching any rigs that we 
extinguished, mostly Fire Department vehicles. 

Twelve truck was not on fire. We searched 
that rig, Haz-Mat, both Haz-Mat rigs, 132 truck and a 
few rigs that were underneath the pedestrian bridge 
south of Vesey Street. 

Q. Were all the searches negative? 
A. All the searches were negative except for a 
Police Department vehicle where we extricated a Police 
Department -- I'm guessing a plainclothes detective or 
plainclothes officer. 

At that point, after approximately 45 
minutes, myself and Firefighter Long following 
Lieutenant Rohan, John Colon and Firefighter 
Frederickson up a ladder onto the mezzanine of World 
Trade Center No. 6, U.S. Customs building. 

We transported stretchers, a power saw and a 
few Stokes baskets up that ladder by orders of a 
chief -- at this time, I don't recall his name -- and 
proceeded to search in that building, and those 
searches were positive. 

We did find a battalion chief and his aide 
just inside World Trade Center No. 6. At that point, 
myself and Firefighter Long, along with -- there were a 



Macchia 

couple of other firemen up there, a chief. We operated 
with him, searched into the World Trade Center No. 6 
building. 

Q. The members you found, were they alive or -- 
A. Dead. Two -- I don't know the names. A 
chief that we had pulled, that was alive, who was -- 
looked -- appeared to be disoriented, not -- at the 
time didn't seem like he was injured in any major way. 

We removed him from World Trade Center No. 6, 
took him to the north end of that mezzanine, where 
someone had got the bucket of 12 truck into operation, 
and we put him in the bucket, and he was removed to the 
street. I recall the name Rappe. I'm not sure if it 
was him, though. Maybe it's just the chief that I saw 
there that day, but from the back of his coat that's 
one of the names I remember. 

We then moved into World Trade Center No. 6 
with the chief. I believe that Firefighter Long can 
recall what battalion we were with. We operated with 
him for about a half an hour, searching in there. 

We then left that building on our own back 
down onto the West Street side, helping extricate and 
operate more hose lines and doing other searches of 
rigs for the time frame, I can't recall, and then made 



Macchia 

our way underneath that pedestrian bridge, the north 
bridge, underneath that north bridge after we had 
spent, I guess, between operating the line and 
searching that World Trade Center No. 6, has to have 
been almost two hours gone by now, listening, hearing 
the Ladder 6 Maydays throughout, went back down via the 
12 truck basket down to the street underneath the foot 
bridge and tried to make our way up to where the rest 
of our members were operating in that separate 
stairwell. 

And that's what we did the entire day. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : Thanks a lot, 
Frank, for all your help. 

The time now is 10:58, and this concludes the 
interview. 



File No. 9110297 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER DEAN NELIGAN 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Today's date is 
December 11, 2001. The time is 12:07 p.m. I'm 
Chief Robert Burns, New York City Fire Department, 
conducting an interview with -- 

FIREFIGHTER NELIGAN: Firefighter Dean 
Neligan, Engine 262. 

Q. This is in regards to the events of September 
11, 2001. 

If you would, Dean, just tell us in your own 
words what happened that day. 

A. Well, about at 8:45 that morning, the first 
plane hit the trade center, which came on the TV. We 
were all in the kitchen. We being located in Long 
Island City, we knew we'd be going over to Manhattan, 
whether to the trade center or relocation, so we more 
or less got ready to go. 

I believe at 9:02 we got a ticket in, which 
sent us to the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel, so we 
proceeded to the Midtown Tunnel. 

In the process of going to the Midtown 
Tunnel, the second plane hit, which we were not aware 
of. There was no communication on the rig of a second 
plane hitting the second tower. 

We actually were at our staging area for what 



Neligan 

seemed to be 30 to 40 minutes waiting for them to close 
down the Midtown Tunnel and the Westside Highway, 
apparently set up a route for us to proceed through. 
We were probably about a dozen rigs, all from the Long 
Island City area. 

As we started going through -- as we actually 
staged there, then we heard word that the Pentagon was 
hit, and there was a second plane that hit the second 
tower . 

As we started through the tunnel, is 
apparently when the first tower came down, because we 
heard a chauffeur in his rig saying there's been a 
collapse. He was stuck in his rig. He didn't say it 
was the tower that came down. I assumed it was some 
sort of facade that came down, not realizing it was the 
whole tower. 

We then proceeded to go through the tunnel, 
made our way to the Westside Highway, one rig after the 
other. We parked on the Westside Highway. We 
proceeded down the Westside Highway towards the towers, 
not knowing the first tower was down. 

We made it to Vesey and West and more or less 
paused there looking for some sort of direction, 
because there was no command post. There was nobody 



Neligan 

more or less giving directions on where to go, what to 
do. 

At that point, I looked up. I saw the second 
tower. I said to one of the brothers with me, that 
it's so smoky, you can't even see the first tower, not 
even knowing the first tower was down to the ground. 

From our angle, the second tower was closest 
to us, so between the tower being behind that one and 
the smoke, I just assumed you couldn't see it from the 
smoke. 

As we were staged at Vesey and West is when 
the second tower began to come down. At that point, I 
thought it was just the top of the building coming 
down, the antenna. Didn't make a move initially. Then 
everybody started making a move for safety. I 
proceeded to follow. 

I was able to duck in behind an ESU unit, 
which was about 20 or 30 yards back down the Westside 
Highway, got behind that, was involved in the coverage 
and the darkness, which seemed about five to six, seven 
minutes, and then the area cleared. 

There was a parking lot on the right of us 
that was about 20 cars on fire. We stretched a line 
off of 220 's rig, which was parked right there and 



Neligan 

proceeded to operate trying to put out the car fires 
because of the tremendous amount of black smoke that 
was coming back towards us at the Westside Highway. 

We operated there for about an hour, 
hour-and-a-half with whatever little water we could get 
and no tools. 

At that point, we then proceeded back to our 
rig, which was back at the walkway further east behind 
us, and then more or less we just stayed there for many 
hours waiting for instructions. 

Q. When you were there, when the second tower 
came down, did you see any rigs that you could identify 
or any people? 

A. Not offhand. There were rigs parked one 
after the other along the Westside Highway, and where I 
ducked in was near this ESL) unit, police vehicle, and 
then 220' s rig happened to be there that we could 
stretch a line off. 

First I found my officer. Then we proceeded 
to find two other members from our unit, which were a 
little further back, and then we started operating at 
the -- in the lot with the car fires. 

BATTALION CHIEF BURNS: Thanks, Dean. That 

concludes our interview. It's 2:12 p.m. 



File No. 9110298 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM VAN NAME 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : The date is December 
11, 2001. The time is 11:57, and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan from the safety 
battalion of the Fire Department of the City of 
New York. 

I'm conducting an interview with William 
VanName, firefighter 1st, from Engine 35, and the 
interview is taking place in the quarters of 
Engine 35. 

Q. William, please tell us the events of 
September 11 as you recall them. 

A. On September 11, we were at educational day 
at Randall's Island. The entire company was out of 
service. 

We were notified that a plane hit the World 
Trade Center, to stand by, and then the instructor came 
in and said another plane had hit the tower. We are on 
total recall. Go back to your company and man your 
rigs. 

So we did. We got back to 35 engine's 
quarters. We were told to wait there for six engines 
to arrive. We were the staging area for six engines, 
some from the Bronx and some from north Manhattan. 
Five engines showed. We were waiting for 83 engine, 



VanName 

which didn't show up. They were on their way down West 
Street, halfway down at 50 something street. The 
dispatcher returned them to our quarters when they 
arrived here. 

Then we all went in a convoy down West Street 
to the World Trade Center. Driving down West Street, 
we observed the towers, both on fire. Both were still 
standing. By the time we arrived down the end of West 
Street, around Chambers or so, one tower had 
collapsed. I believe it was -- 
Q. The south tower? 

A. -- the south tower. We gave a 1084. We got 
up to -- we were on West Street between Vesey and 
Murray, where the rig was positioned. We took all our 
gear. Everybody that was on the rig -- there was five 
men on the rig and two on the back step at that time. 

We manned all our gear. We went down. We 
started walking down West Street towards the World 
Trade Center. When we got to between Vesey and the 
pedestrian overpass, the north pedestrian overpass, we 
heard a fantastic rumble. Everybody looked up, and as 
we observed it, the second tower started to collapse. 

The time frame of that, I'm not sure. It was 
probably between 10:10 and 10:30, somewhere around 



VanName 

there. 

As we observed the tower falling, most people 
stood there and watched for a couple of seconds, and 
then as the cloud of smoke and the debris started 
coming at us, we all dropped our equipment and gear and 
we ran for shelter down West Street north on West 
Street. 

We ended up in the high school on the west 
side. We stayed there for a few moments until we could 
get our company together and the lieutenant can make 
sure he had the roll call and everybody was present. 

We started heading down towards World Trade 
Center again, and we had assisted and helped with EMS 
and helped the brothers -- police, firemen, 
civilians -- to the ambulances and take them out of the 
immediate area. 

At that time we were separated. Our company 
was separated. I ended up staying with Firefighter Jim 
Powers. He was overcome by the smoke cloud and 
debris. He went down. He became light-headed, and he 
fainted. I got EMS to assist there. They treated him, 
and they felt he should go to the hospital. 

I was with him at that time. We got on a 
bus. We went to St. Vincent's. He was admitted. We 



VanName 

stayed there for two hours under observation. He was 
released. We immediately came back to where our rig 
was positioned on West Street, and we found our 
company, and after that the lieutenant said we were on 
standby. 

I was notified that our two chiefs from the 
12th Battalion were missing, and -- could you stop it 
for a minute, please? 

(Recess taken. ) 
A. Also while we were responding down West 
Street to the World Trade Center, we heard a Mayday 
given by, I believe, an engine company chauffeur that 
was trapped in the collapse inside the rig. 

As we arrived at the staging area, we also 
saw the dust cloud and the debris that had already been 
from the first tower on the ground. That's it. 

BATTALION CHIEF KENAHAN : All right, thank 
you very much. That's fine. 



File No. 9110300 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER STEVEN KLEE 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



S. KLEE 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The date is December 
10, 2001, and the time is 3:15 p.m. This 
is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of the 
Safety Battalion of the Fire Department of 
the City of New York. I'm conducting an 
interview with Steven Klee, firefighter 
first from Ladder 22. We're in the quarters 
of Engine 76 to conduct this interview. 
Q. Steve, please tell me what you remember 
from September 11th. 

A. I remember responding. I was the 
chauffeur of 22. I got to the scene. I pulled 
in. I drove down Columbus Avenue down to 24th, 
then to West Side Highway. West Side Highway we 
took all the way down. I remember pulling in 
behind 25 Truck. Then I remember 2 Truck pulling 
in behind us. 

We got off the rig, grabbed our 
equipment, gear, cylinders, whatever, and started 
walking towards the towers, initially walked past 
the command post and then walked back to the 
command post, stood at the command post I believe 
which was across from one for about maybe five 
minutes. Then the lieutenant said, "All right, 



S. KLEE 3 

we ' re going in. " 

We walked down West Street on I guess 
it would be the -- that would be West; right? 
Yeah, west side of West Street down to I guess 
the south pedestrian bridge, walked underneath 
that across and shimmied our way -- or not 
shimmied. How would I describe that? Ran into 
the hotel. 

In the hotel we were told we were going 
to get our orders from there. The lieutenant 
said take a blow, just relax, take our stuff off. 
We took our stuff off. Probably about maybe 
another five minutes after that, we got geared up 
and he said, "All right, we're going." I didn't 
ask the officer exactly where we were going. We 
just started walking. 

We headed towards tower one or into the 
hotel into tower one, passed Deputy Chief Galvin 
on the way in. He was with somebody else. I 
don't really remember the chiefs. He just told 
us we were going to the 75th floor. 

We got into tower one, made the turn 
into tower one started heading I guess either 
towards the elevators or the escalator. That's 



S. KLEE 4 

when we heard a rumbling. I dove for a wall and 
it got pitch-black. 

I just basically rode it out until 
after the sound and -- how would you describe 
that one? After the (inaudible) stopped. I 
don't know what the heck happened then, how best 
to describe it. I got up. I thought I was by 
myself, and I then just started calling out for 
the rest of the company. 

I found the four other guys. We got 
out towards the entrance of one onto West Street. 
We couldn't find the lieutenant, so I told the 
four of them if they go outside I'll go back in 
and look for the lieutenant. 

Four of the guys went out. I came back 
in to look for the lieutenant. I was searching 
for him. I was trying to get him on the radio. 
I couldn't get anybody on the radio. I kept 
going back and forth. I was grabbing civilians, 
bringing them to the front, going back in, 
looking around, bringing civilians back out. 

I was bringing some civilians out, and 
that's when debris started falling and hitting 
the ground. I brought them back in, gave an 



S. KLEE 5 

urgent, saying I need help in getting the 
civilians out, because I couldn't go out the 
hotel. There was no hotel entrance anymore. I 
couldn't go out through the food mall or whatever 
because that was completely caved in. 

I was giving an urgent. Somebody 
answered me. I told them what it was, and then 
they didn't answer, they didn't come back. All 
of a sudden I went back to the main entrance and 
I saw a bunch of firemen. So I figured they came 
in to help me, but it wasn't that. They were 
coming from upstairs. 

I asked did they see my lieutenant. 
They said no. That company I remember was 
actually 7 Engine, I believe. They were coming 
down. I think they were missing their control 
man at the time. 

I searched for the lieutenant, looked 
under the debris and everything, couldn't find 
him. I said he must be out because I should have 
been able to see him. 

That's when I got out. I believe I 
remember seeing Feehan. I believe he was by the 
entrance of one. I walked across the street to a 



S. KLEE 6 

command post, which when I got there, there 
really was nobody there anymore. 

I remember talking to a four-star 
chief, telling him what happened. All he kept 
telling me was we're going north, we're going 
north. I said, "I can't find my lieutenant. I'm 
22 chauffeur." I said, "I can't find my 
lieutenant." He said, "We're going north. I'm 
sending everybody north." So I said all right. 

That's when I left and I started 
walking up the street, trying to find the 
rendezvous or whatever what the heck would you 
call it? What do you call it? 
Q. The staging area? 
A. Staging area. I went up there. I 
spoke to a couple of chiefs up on West Side 
Highway and West Street. They said, yeah, guys 
are going to the water. 

So I went back down to Vesey, tried to 
get to the water. I guess I got behind the 
American Express building. That's when one came 
down. After everything calmed down from that and 
I finally made it to the water, talked to the 
field comm., told him who I was missing. Our can 



S. KLEE 7 

man showed up there. So then I only had to find 
four more guys. 

I asked them have you seen the 
lieutenant? I went to West Street. I walked up. 
That's basically where I saw the rest of our guys 
there. 

Q. Before the second tower came down, did 
you notice anything, a sign that it might be 
coming down or anything like that or did you hear 
anybody give any warning on the radios or 
anything like that? 

A. No, I was just trying to find out -- 
no, there was no -- it was still dusty out there, 
and you really couldn't see. I didn't even 
realize that two came down. I thought another 
bomb or a plane hit the building. That's what I 
thought it was. When I got out, debris and paper 
was all over. Like I said, I didn't realize what 
happened until after one came down and I put 
together what happened when we were in one lobby. 

Q. Okay. That's it. 

A. I think so, yeah. Quick and easy. 

Q. Thank you, Steve. I appreciate your 
cooperation. 



S. KLEE 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 3:24 
p.m., and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110301 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER KEVIN McGOVERN 
Interview Date: December 11, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



K. McGOVERN 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time is 10:24 a.m., 
and this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan 
of the New York City department Safety 
Battalion. I'm conducting an interview with 
Kevin McGovern, firefighter first from 
Engine 53, in the quarters of Engine 53. 
Q. Kevin, please tell us the events of 
September 11th as you remember them. 

A. I was working my second day tour. We 
were in the kitchen, and we saw the first plane, 
watching TV. Of course the news came on that a 
plane had hit one of the towers of the World 
Trade Center. So we were watching TV, monitoring 
the radio. 

Then there was another explosion in the 
other tower. That's when we got called down 
there. It was the second fifth alarm when the 
second plane hit, and we got sent down to the 
Trade Center. We were assigned to tower two, 
which was the south tower of the World Trade 
Center . 

We got down there pretty fast. It must 
have taken only ten minutes to get there. Once 
we got to the West Side Highway, it was kind of 



K. McGOVERN 3 

empty and we just flew right down there. We 
parked the rig on West Street approximately 
between Murray and Vesey. 

Then we walked down to where the 
command post was set up, which was in front of an 
underground garage entrance in front of Two World 
Financial Center. So we reported in to the 
command post on West Street and kind of just 
waited there, awaiting our orders. 

We were just standing there watching 
people jump out of the -- we were opposite the 
north tower, so we just kind of stood there. 
There was a lot of jumpers coming from the north 
tower on the West Street side. 

I really don't know how long we were 
there, maybe ten minutes. To be honest with you, 
I couldn't even recall what other companies were 
around us, but there were several other companies 
with us, mostly engine companies. 

With all the jumpers and stuff, I just 
put my head down and stopped watching the 
jumpers. I waited there, waiting to see what 
they were going to do with us . 

A chief came over to my lieutenant, 



K. McGOVERN 4 

Lieutenant Dorritie, and told us to move some 
rigs to make a lane for ambulances coming south 
on West Street. He wanted us to go back north on 
West Street, back towards where we had our rigs, 
and just ensure that there was a lane for 
ambulances to get down West Street. 

So he said leave all our equipment 
there at the command post, which we did. We left 
our hoses, took our masks off, and walked north 
on West Street. We only had needed to move I 
think two rigs, because they were blocking the 
lane. It really didn't take long. It took maybe 
15 minutes to take care of that. We made the 
lane for the ambulances, and then we headed back 
towards the command post. 

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 . 

At this point we were right before the 



K. McGOVERN 5 

command post. I was only a few yards in front of 
the command post, but there was a fence between 
the area for the Winter Garden atrium and where 
the command post was. Lieutenant Dorritie was in 
front of me and two firefighters, Firefighter 
Cachia and Firefighter Giaconelli, were in front 
of me. Two other firefighters from my company 
were behind me, Firefighter Catalano and 
Firefighter Schofield. They were two new guys on 
rotation in the firehouse. 

When I saw the thing collapse and 
people running towards me, I just turned and 
looked for the quickest place to get cover. 
Initially I thought of ducking under the 
pedestrian bridge that goes over West Street on 
the north side, but I decided that wasn't going 
to be safe. 

So I just ran right into the Winter 
Garden atrium. A lot of people were running in 
that way. So I kind of just ran in there. I ran 
inside and realized it was an atrium, so I had to 
get out of there in case some debris had come 
through the atrium. 

So we went through the atrium and made 



K. McGOVERN 6 

a right, once we got inside which there was -- so 
now we're heading north within this building. 
There was an exit that led out to Vesey Street. 
This is where I ran into Firefighter Catalano, 
who is one of the guys that was walking behind 
me, and I was asking him did he see Firefighter 
Schofield. He said no. I was worried about 
Schof ield. 

We came out onto Vesey Street, and we 
were walking around Vesey Street. A bunch of 
other firemen, a bunch of civilians had gone the 
same route, through the Winter Garden and made a 
right and north onto Vesey Street. 

So there were a bunch of ambulances 
lined up on Vesey Street, and me and Mike were 
walking west of Vesey, away from the cloud on 
West Street, and we noticed Schofield in one of 
the ambulances . 

We found out how he was doing. He was 
hyperventilating. He was taking oxygen inside 
the ambulance. We stayed with him for a while, 
made sure he was all right. He said he was 
feeling better after he took some oxygen. He 
said he was going to come with us. So he got out 



K. McGOVERN 7 

of the ambulance and walked with us west on 
Vesey . 

We came out onto North End Avenue. 
Here I ran into another fireman that was covered 
in soot, and we stayed with him. He was choking 
on I guess the dust and stuff. He almost sounded 
like a cat with a hairball. He was just trying 
to get the stuff out, clear his own throat. I 
stayed with him and was encouraging him to cough. 
He was able to get some air, he was saying, but 
he was trying to get this stuff out of his 
throat . 

We stayed with him, and we led him to 
an ambulance on North End Avenue. I told him to 
try and get some oxygen. We kind of left him 
with an ambulance on North End Avenue. 

There was another ambulance there. 
There was an EMT inside the ambulance, and she 
was really kind of freaking out. She was very 
emotional. We stayed with her, calmed her down, 
made sure she got some oxygen. 

There was a big cloud on West Street, 
so we decided to go north on North End Avenue and 
go up a block and around. We were going to walk 



K. McGOVERN 8 

back down West Street, approach it from the 
north. So we went up North End Avenue and made a 
right on Murray street. 

I was with the two rotation guys, Mike 
Catalano and Dan Schofield. They were pretty 
shook up. Dan was still kind of breathing heavy 
and hyperventilating a little bit. He said he 
needed to call his wife. He called his wife. We 
ended up near Stuyvesant High School. I think 
that's on Murray Street. So he made a call. 

I said, "Okay, I'm going to go back 
down." They were kind of hesitant, so I said, 
"Look, you guys stay up here at Stuyvesant High 
School. I'm going to head back down." 

I started walking south on West Street 
again. I probably got just before Vesey Street 
when the north tower collapsed. Again, I just 
turned around and looked to see a place where I 
could get some cover. There was a big open lot 
between Murray and Vesey, so that was all wide 
open . 

So I ran north back up towards 
Stuyvesant High School. Basically I got to the 
high school just as the cloud hit. I went inside 



K. McGOVERN 9 

the high school. I was in there only about a 
minute, kind of let the cloud pass, gave it about 
a minute. 

I didn't run into the two firemen, 
Catalano and Schofield, again. I assumed they 
were safe inside the high school, Stuyvesant High 
School, because that's where I had left them, 
right outside. I just assumed they got some 
cover inside, which they did, I found out later. 

So I stayed in the high school about a 
minute, let the cloud pass, the initial cloud. I 
left the high school. I went back onto West 
Street, started walking south again. There was a 
big cloud out there. Everything was covered in 
dust. I just headed south on West Street again 
through all this debris, past all the rigs. I 
just made my way south again back towards the 
site, back towards the Trade Center. 

There wasn't really a lot of people 
around. It was kind of eerie. It was almost 
like a ghost town with the cloud and everything. 
I guess I got to Vesey Street and I ran into some 
other guys. I ran into a guy from 43 Truck. He 
said that he had seen my lieutenant on Vesey, 



K. McGOVERN 10 

towards the water, towards North End Avenue. 

So I walked up there. I wanted to let 
my officer know. We had tried earlier to get 
through on the radio to notify my officer that we 
were all together, me and the two other guys, and 
that we were safe up on North End Avenue, but we 
couldn't get through. 

Like I said, one of the guys from 43 
Truck said my officer was out on Vesey Street. 
Somebody had to move that rig, which was actually 
a pretty good move. From where the rig was on 
West Street, somebody had taken it down Vesey all 
the way down to the water. 

Q. That was your rig? 
A. Yeah, our rig. 

By the time I got down there, I looked 
for my officer, who I ended up running into, to 
let him know we were all safe. I let him know 
the two other guys were up by Stuyvesant High 
School, they were okay. So we regrouped by where 
our rig was, by the water on Vesey Street. 

I think it was the marine unit, 
Firefighter, that had pulled up to a pier there 
and stretched a line to feed our rig with water. 



K. McGOVERN 11 

So we regrouped there. 

I think at that point -- a lot of this 
is murky. Sometimes I think I don't know what 
came first. I think at that point we went up 
North End Avenue. We went up to Stuyvesant High 
School to hook up with the two other guys. 
That's basically where a staging area was 
starting to form up there, on West Street. 

So myself, the lieutenant, the two 
other guys that the lieutenant was with, I had 
found out that they had ran through the garage 
where the command post was. Since we were 
walking behind them, our quickest route was to 
run through the Winter Garden. So we got 
separated that way. 

Like I said, there was this fence there 
between the Winter Garden and where the garage 
was. They were south of the fence, so they ran 
through the garage. We were north of the fence, 
so our best route was through the Winter Garden. 
That's how we got separated. 

As I said, I regrouped with the 
lieutenant and the two guys that ran through the 
garage on Vesey near where our rig was. We 



K. McGOVERN 12 

walked up to Stuyvesant, hooked up with the other 
guys, stayed at the staging area for a while. 

Basically we just worked our way south 
again on West Street. I think we went back to 
the rig once and then we walked over to the site 
and started a search at that point. 

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. 



K. McGOVERN 13 

There was a whole bunch of firemen on 
Vesey Street, and that's where we were, on Vesey, 
just waiting to go back in and start searching 
again. But that didn't come for a few hours. It 
didn't come until after Seven World Trade Center 
had come down. 

Then we went back, did a little more 
searching, and then we ended up taking up. I 
think we took up around 9, 9:30 at night and 
caught a ride back to the firehouse. 

Q. Did you hear any maydays before the 
collapse or right after the collapse, either 
collapse? 

A. Not really. I didn't have a radio. 
Like I said, everything was kind of foggy. It 
was kind of a weird scene. So there may have 
been maydays . Probably not having a radio I 
didn't take notice of them. I didn't hear any 
radio traffic at all, basically. 

Q. Is there anything else? 

A. No, that's it. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 10:42, 

and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110302 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER RICHARD BOERI 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



R. BOERI 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time is 2:05 p.m., 
and this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan 
of the Safety Battalion of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with Richard Boeri 
of Engine 44. 

Q. Richard, just explain in your own words 
what happened on September 11th. 

A. I was minimum manning that day, 
overtime. At 9:08 the call came in. I was 
control man. We ended up going out of quarters, 
going down Second Avenue down to about 59th 
Street, across the West Side Highway and down. 

I believe we parked the rig 
approximately, I think it was Murray Street or 
Barclay and West, and we proceeded to go down to 
the command post, which was I believe across from 
One World Trade Center or the north tower. 

I think we were there for about five 
minutes. They said, "Put your gear down. You're 
going to walk up about 80 flights of stairs, " 
because the elevators were out. So we put our 
masks down, rollups and everything. 

I think we saw like 18 people jump. 



R. BOERI 3 

Then one of the officers there said, "Turn 
around, concentrate on who you can save. You 
can't save those people anymore." I don't recall 
who that was. 

There was a chaplain behind us. It 
wasn't Father Judge, but one of the guys knew 
him. He said a little prayer for us. 

So I went through the guys from there. 
I saw the chief's aide, and I talked to him for a 
little bit. It had to be about 20 minutes later 
when they sent us down to approximately Cedar 
Street and West Street. They were there, two or 
three rigs blocking the West Side Highway coming 
from the south. So we were sent with 53 Engine 
to move those rigs out of the way. 

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. So our initial 



R. BOERI 4 

thing was myself and Eddie Kennedy would move the 
rig away from West Street to let the companies 
come up from the south. Also they told us to 
bring ambulances up Washington Street, which is 
on the south side of the south tower there. 

Bobby Reeg, the nozzle man, he was 
checking rigs up the West Side Highway for an 
extinguisher for the car fire along with Matt 
Shannon. So they were looking I guess -- right 
in front of the Vista Hotel. 

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. Now, we ran I guess on 
the east side of West Side Highway -- we ran 
across to -- the east side, we ran to the west 
side of that highway, down towards Albany. 

At the southwest corner there were a 
few parked cars. I saw Eddie Kennedy lose his 



R. BOERI 5 

helmet and dive under a car. I saw a building -- 
I believe it's at the corner of West and 
Albany -- and I was going to try to go for the 
building. 

Once all the debris and everything 
caught up, I was pushed over a four foot fence. 
The next thing, I woke up, I was spitting 
everything out of my mouth, and it was just 
black, silent. 

When I came to, I heard a civilian 
yelling on my left. So I found my helmet next to 
me, picked myself up. I found the civilian, who 
was over by the building. Make it Park Place, I 
guess? I can't tell what building that is. 
Anyway, it's right on Albany and West Street. 

So I walked the civilian back. I 
walked back to where my company was. Where I 
last knew, Albany and West, where I found the 
officer and Eddie Kennedy. I passed the civilian 
off to someone else who was there. 

I was with Eddie Kennedy and the 
officer when Dr. Kelly showed up, her and another 
guy I believe from 4 Truck, I want to say. I'm 
not sure. I had cut my head. My whole face was 



R. BOERI 6 

full of blood. I was talking to them. I was 
okay. 

We were trying to radio Matt Shannon, 
who was our backup man. He had the radio. He 
said he knew where Bobby Reeg was, because Matt 
was just going for the river up by the marina 
there. 

Dr. Kelly said, "Come with me. We'll 
wash you up. You're hurt." So I told the 
officer I'm going with him, which we proceeded to 
go to Albany Street, I guess, half a block to a 
parking garage, which is in the Hudson View West, 
in the Hudson Tower here. 

In there they had a guy on the back 
board, Kevin Shea, who I guess he was hurt before 
the collapse because there was something -- they 
had him on a back board and everything. 

I was there when they went to try to 
find a gurney or stretcher to get him to an 
ambulance, because they told us the whole 
southern section you couldn't get to an ambulance 
or anything. 

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



R. BOERI 7 

north tower came down. We stayed in the garage. 
There was another chief there. He covered Kevin 
Shea when all the dust came into the whole 
garage, all the debris and everything, all the 
dust didn't get into his spot because he was all 
strapped down. He had a dislocated hip or 
something. He kept repeating the same questions 
about 15 times over and over. 

We knew we had to get him out. We got 
to 4 Truck on I guess it was West End Avenue over 
here one block west of West Side Highway. They 
got an ambulance, which we threw him in the 
ambulance and we drove straight toward West 
Street. 

(Interruption. ) 
A. So we got the ambulance, and we drove 
straight west on Albany Street all the way to the 
river. We broke through the chain fence on the 
esplanade there where the police boat pulled up. 
At that point is where we proceeded to hand Kevin 
over on the back board over the side railing and 
into a police boat. 

A few minutes later I ended up going on 
a police boat also across to Jersey to Hoboken, 



R. BOERI 8 

where I was there until about 11:00 at night 
because they wouldn't let us back. While we were 
there, we made phone calls back and found out 
where everybody was from our point of view. 
In general that's it. 
Q. Thank you very much, Rich. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 2:12, 
and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 911030? 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER GEORGE KOZLOWSKI 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Elisabeth F. Nason 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: The time is 1620 
hours. This is Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of 
the Fire Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with GEORGE KOZLOWSKI of 
Ladder 20. He is assigned to Ladder 20 of the New 
York City Fire Department. The interview is 
taking place in the quarters of Ladder 20 in the 
office's quarters regarding the events of 
September 11, 2001. 

Q. Fireman KOZLOWSKI, tell me what happened on 
September 11. 

A. We just got relieved after 0900, Fireman 
Escofrery and myself. We saw the plane coming over, 
sort of over quarters and then the initial crash. We 
heard the initial crash. 20 truck and squad 18 took 
off right away and Kenny and I, we were just standing 
there and Timmy Haskell with squad was there also and 
he was going down there, so they grabbed -- can I say 
the bread truck, their other rig. 

Kenny and I got redressed and Timmy Haskell, 
same thing and we took off in their hazmat spare rig, 
the hazmat rig. Approaching there we could see the 
tower, where the plane hit. We pulled up alongside 
squad 18 's rig and just before 20 's rig, at that point 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

we were looking up and we saw the people jumping 
already. We thought it was parts of the building 
coming down, but it was jumpers. We must have seen, 
while we were standing outside at that point -- because 
we were looking on our rig for any tool that we could 
find. We didn't have radios. I think Timmy Haskell 
had a radio, but I will get back to that. 

So we got a couple of tools, I think two axes 
and a halogen, but no -- there was no radio around. As 
we went inside on the West Street side of the north 
tower into the lobby, I can't remember the companies 
really. There was a bunch of companies standing fast. 
I just can't picture it right now. We were right by 
the command post. I did see Ganci, Chief Hayden, 
Feehan, Von Essen, who else, the aide, who was it, 
Kevin Wa, I think it was Kevin Wa, the aide. 

We first initially, we wanted to tell 
somebody that we were there, so they knew we were 
there. We tried to get Chief Hayden because he knew 
us. We knew us while he was at Division 1 anyway. I 
think Kenny got -- did tell him. 

At that point we were just standing fast. We 
didn't want to go roam off far away because we didn't 
have a radio. At that point we heard more jumpers 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

hitting the outside awning. We thought it was stuff, 
but man, the sound of those bodies crashing down was 
unbelievable. I mean a giant thump. 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. 

We went back closer to the command post and 
at that point there were more jumpers and there were 
body parts flying into the lobby. At that point, they 
started to move the command post, because all that shit 
was just flying in, I mean, you know, chunks. 

Kenny and I -- I forgot who asked us -- it 
was one of the officers. At that point there were a 
lot of people coming down from the lobby, the loge 
area, and they were asking us to tell the people to 
keep moving, move, move. So he goes why don't you take 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

a walk up to the third floor, the third floor through 
the B stairwell. He goes people are -- you know how 
narrow those stairwells are. As big as that building 
is . 

There was a lot of water coming down from the 
stairs. Lot of people were panicking, so we kept 
pushing them out, pushed them to that second floor 
lobby and then it was getting pretty bad out there, 
because I couldn't tell you what side, I guess the jet 
fuel and everything that was flying down was really 
kicking up on the outside. We let them know too, and 
we were afraid, because those big plate windows, we 
wanted to get the people away from there in case it 
blew and that's eventually what happened. Thank god 
Kenny and I, we closed off that door so nobody could go 
down there any more. 

At that point, we were -- I can't remember 
how long we were on that third floor pushing the people 
through. That's when we felt a big giant tremble, like 
a mini earthquake. That was the south tower 
collapsing. We didn't see it but we really felt it. 
All the lights shut down, the emergency lights on the 
stairwell and everything. People were starting to 
really panic. 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

Then there was another small explosion on 
that second floor. I guess it was that plate windows, 
everything going. That's when we encountered 5 
Engine. They were coming down from the fourth floor or 
whatever. I didn't see their officer. I might have, 
but it was dark at that point too, and then -- let's 
see -- there were a couple of other probies there. I 
think they were probies, because you know, you look, 
but it was mostly 5 Engine there working on -- to find 
another -- not a stairwell, an exit to go out. 

Luckily a person was coming down. I don't 
know from what floor but on the third floor encountered 
us. He says no, I know another exit down this way. 
Well. That was the only other door that we could get 
out. It was lucky, because a lot of the other people 
-- because it was pitch black now. So Kenny -- well 
we all lined up. It was not like a long walk, but a 
good enough walk to get to the other exit. It was good 
that guy found it, because I think we would have got 
stuck. That he knew about it, because I don't think we 
would have found it. 

Okay, so then we made a line and we pushed 
the people not to go through that third floor door and 
we just told the people which way to go. Then we had 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

flashlights. Other people had flashlights so everyone 
made it and we kept pushing people through, go, go, 
move, move. There was one guy, we thought he was 
having a heart attack. We got him up and we put him on 
a chair. He was pretty heavy set. So I think it was 
one of the guys from 5 Engine that said keep going. I 
will stay here with him and try to get him out. 

So we just kept going, moved more through, 
went downstairs, got through -- it wasn't the main 
lobby where the command post was. We made it through 
that way. Got downstairs, and there was like a -- it 
was like a giant courtyard or something and somebody 
out there was a black Battalion Chief. I forgot his 
name. Another guy that says no, no, keep going through 
here. I don't even know what building it was that was 
adjacent to the Trade Center right there. It was 
closer to the West Street side. 

At that point, there were more jumpers in 
that courtyard and more -- there was quite a bit more 
debris from the building, falling from the upper 
floors. So we set up like a -- one guy stayed where 
the people were coming through and another guy ran over 
to the -- where that other building was or something. 

Couple of us would look to see if anything is 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

falling and then tell the people run, run, run and then 
wait to see if anything else fell. Luckily not too 
many things fell. It was good hooking up like that to 
make sure. 

At that point, all the people that were with 
us or whatever, there were quite a few. That was it. 
So at that point, I think the Chief says hang out here 
in case some other people come back. I know there was 
a proby with us, Escofrery, and another guy. 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. 



G. KOZLOWSKI 

Kenny made it and those other guys made it around this 
bend here. I was like the last guy and I just turned 
around and I just sort of ffffffff, I just did a fetal 
position. I crawled down and held -- thank god -- that 
helmet saved my life: I just held onto it and the 
impact, I closed my eyes -- just the impact, I could 
just feel shit hitting me, flying. 

I think something fell on my back that 
protected me from some of the other stuff that fell. 
Luckily a couple of things hit my helmet. Then it was 
just that impact and I was in a fetal position, just 
holding my helmet, shaking. Then this big gust came 
and I just went flying, maybe 30, 40 feet. Tumbling. 

I got up, got on my hands and knees because 
all of the white shit was all over me. I just kept 
crawling. My ears were like deaf, you know, when you 
hear a giant firecracker or something. I went 
crawling, spitting that shit out, and I couldn't see 
anything because everything was white. I just kept 
crawling. I tried to yell out Kenny, Kenny Escofrery, 
but everything was so muffled. I didn't know what else 
was going to happen. I just tried to fucking get out 
of there. 

Then I saw flashing lights. I said oh, man, 



10 
G. KOZLOWSKI 



at least there is something there. At this point I 
didn't even know -- I thought it was like a part of 
the building collapsing. I got up to the car and it 
was like a Suburban and the lights were still on and it 
was running. I got in there, opened the door, there 
was nobody in there. At first I was just going to get 
in the Suburban and wait it off or something, wait 
until it cleared off. I said I'm getting my ass out of 
here. I don't know what's going to happen. 

So I kept crawling and I saw another flashing 
light and I was yelling out Kenny, Kenny, hey, anybody 
out there, help. That's when I heard Kenny. He 
already was walking back to see where I was. We met 
up. He goes let's go, let's go. Because we were dying 
of thirst now too from swallowing that shit. 

Then it started clearing up a little. We 
were on the West Street side. That was it. We just 
kept walking and just walking, trying to find some 
water. We saw some other trucks there. I forgot what 
companies. They weren't affected with it, but it was 
mostly everything was covered white. 

We made it to the street. There was a cop 
there with an open hydrant, washing everybody down. 
She was very nice. She said kneel down, because we 



11 

G. KOZLOWSKI 



were covered in shit. We made it. We were on West 
Street. Got some water. We were just sitting there 
wanting to catch our breath. We were looking at this 
shit and saying, "oh, my god," I wonder where' s our 
guys? 

Took a little rest there and we started 
walking back to ask people if they saw 20 or 55 or 
squad. That's initially A truck or something. A truck 
made it out, because they know our guys. That's why. 
At this point we saw -- oh, god -- we didn't catch up 
with anybody that saw 20. 

We waited there. We said let's hold off. 
Maybe some other companies will come out and we will 
ask them. Maybe -- like the first, second, third due 
companies that would know anybody if they did see 20, 
because initially they probably all showed up 
together. They might have been on the same floor or 
they passed them on the stairwell. 

Hung out there for quite sometime. Just 
hoping somebody saw them or -- so at this point Kenny 
and I said we can't -- let's walk back to A truck. 
Maybe they know something. We got back to A truck and 

-- were they back already? There were a bunch of guys 
there already that got called for a recall. There were 



12 
G. KOZLOWSKI 



some officers that retired that came down to help out. 
Lieutenant Woods, remember Woodsy? He was there. | 



Then a couple of the guys from A truck came 
back and they didn't -- they said they did see them on 
the stairwell. After that they lost them, before, 
because they were making their way down from the 30th 
floor or something. They saw 20 on the 35th floor or 
something. 28th floor or something. They weren't 
sure. I'm trying to -- 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Okay. 

Q. I have a couple of maybe clarifying points. 
Nothing -- when you said you responded with the red 
truck and you parked near squad 18 and Ladder 20, do 
you know where that location was? 

A. The Vesey Street. Do you know where that -- 

Q. Where the north walkway was? 

A. Yes. 

Q. That aide you said was Wah, Chris Wah, the 
Division 1 aide? 

A. Yes , yes . 

Q. When you said you met 5 Engine, originally 
you said you went to the B staircase, was that there 



13 
G. KOZLOWSKI 



where 5 was, the B staircase? 

A. Yes , yes . 

Q. When you were escorting people out of the 
stairway from the third floor to the second floor that 
was also the B staircase? 

A. Uh-huh. It might have been -- no, that was 
the B. That was the B. 

Q. No Fire Department personnel came out, all 
civilians, other than 5 Engine? 

A. What I saw. Yes. Because they were behind 
us. We had to keep walking in front and these guys 
would stay by the door. 

Q. No other Fire Department units passed you? 

A. No. 

Q. That you know of? 

A. Yes. Because there were a lot of probies 
there, so I didn't know what companies. 

Q. When this guy directed you to the other exit 
down the hallway, that exit wasn't marked or anything, 
was it, like C exit? 

A. It was pitch dark. 

Q. It was basically a mezzanine type exit, a 
little wider staircase maybe? 

A. No, I wouldn't say it was wider. 



14 
G. KOZLOWSKI 



Q. The two of you and basically 5 Engine? 

A. Right. 

Q. When you finally did get out, you headed 
towards West Street? 

A. Uh-huh. 

Q. That same corner that you turned was with the 
walkway? 

A. No, no, that wasn't a walkway. 

Q. When you left -- 

A. Okay, we went to the north walkway, so we 
were going opposite, we were opposite of that walkway. 
We were away from that walkway. 

Q. You headed back maybe towards Church Street? 

A. Yes, maybe, probably, yes. 

Q. When you came out, maybe you were on Vesey 
and made your way up to Church? 

A. I don't think it was Vesey, because it was 
all big like courtyards that we made our -- there was a 
loading dock that we went down. 

Q. Could it have been Barclay maybe? 

A. I don't know, maybe. We were going opposite. 

Q. You were east of where you were before? 

A. Right. We weren't close to that -- the 
walkway. We went way around. 



15 
G. KOZLOWSKI 



Q. When you walked back towards West Street, did 
you happen to see any apparatus maybe destroyed? 

A. No, not at this point. They were all by the 
walkway. 

Q. The only ones that you can remember are 18 
and 2 0? 

A. When we pulled up? 

Q. Right. 

A. Yes, 55. 

Q. You saw 55 Engine? 

A. I think so, because they were usually right 
there too. 

Q. They would have been parked in front? 

A. Yes. They would have been on West too. You 
know, when we do respond there, that's where we always 
park, right there. 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: If you have nothing 

else that concludes the interview. Thank you. 



File No. 9110309 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER ANTHONY SALERNO 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: The date is December 
10, 2001. The time is eleven o'clock in the 
morning . 

This is Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of the 
Fire Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with Anthony Salerno, 
fireman 1st grade, of Engine Company 24 of the 
Fire Department of the City of New York. 

The interview is taking place at the quarters 
of Engine 24 regarding the events of September 11, 
2001. 

Q. Fireman Salerno, could you please tell me 
what happened to you on September 11? 

A. On September 11, I was on my way into the 
city. Being on vacation, I had just come back from a 
road trip. I was going to come in in the morning and 
bullshit with the guys. 

I had not known at the point when I woke up 
that the buildings were attacked. On my way in, I 
noticed the trade center on fire, turned on 1010, and 
listened to the thing on my way in. 

On my way in, the recall, the active recall, 
was engaged. I had gotten to the firehouse probably 
around ten after nine, was on the phone with Mike 



A. SALERNO 

Paolone. He was the --he was working in Queens. He 
had told me to look across, look at the television. I 
saw the first building come down. 

At that point, I noticed a bunch of guys 
coming into the firehouse -- Captain Varriale coming 
in, Billy McCarthy, Frankie McCutchen, Chris McArdle. 
We all had come in, and we were all ready to go down to 
the trade center, knowing that both companies and the 
battalion were down there. 

We left the firehouse probably around a 
quarter after nine with two volunteers. One, a 
volunteer fireman, his first name was Tony. The second 
guy was a construction worker whose brother had been 
working at the trade center on the 110th Floor, I 
believe. 

We got down to -- we got down as far as West 
Broadway and Chambers Street. At West Broadway and 
Chambers, we drove down with Captain Varriale in his 
pickup. We took some tools that we had grabbed out of 
the firehouse and some EMS supplies. 

We got down to West Broadway and Chambers. 
We parked the rig. We walked down as far as West 
Broadway, and I would say Barclay and came back up, 
noticing that there was nothing but three blocks of 



A. SALERNO 

fire from Barclay down to Vesey, which would bring you 
to the north tower of the trade center. 

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 ran up West Broadway past Chambers, 
regrouped when the dust settled, and there was a 



A. SALERNO 

command post that was established at the time. I 
remember seeing Chief Daly and another chief -- I don't 
remember his name -- coming down to West Broadway and 
Barclay and setting up a command post. 

I remember finding Engine Company 6's rig, 
stripping that rig of fittings and hose to hook up to 
anybody else. I remember at that time also they were 
worried about Building 7 because when the second tower 
came down, they were worried about parts of -- 
actually, when the first tower came down, they were 
worried about parts of Building 7 collapsing, so I 
remember getting into Building 7 and searching. 

I got separated from the crew that I had gone 
down with, because I stayed at the pump panel. They 
had gone around the West Street side of the building 
and into the rubble. 

I hooked up with a Lieutenant Ryan from 15 
engine and Richie Cipoletti from Engine Company 55. We 
hooked up with as many people as we could. 

We went to the command post, the true command 
post, which was set up at that day on Broadway and 
Chambers. We ended up getting assigned to a Staten 
Island firehouse engine company. We manned a hose line 
across the street from Tower 1 or what was remaining of 



A. SALERNO 

it, and I remember that building taking off in fire, so 
there was really nothing we could do with our one hand 
line. 

I remember coming out of the building now 
because they were afraid of Building 7 coming down, and 
all the other buildings around it getting knocked 
down. So they took us out of the building. 

I remember Building 7 coming down, again, 
with dust clouds, getting separated momentarily. I 
remember Staten Island companies all over the place. I 
remember a Brooklyn company coming, a Brooklyn engine 
company coming in, when I was still hooked up on West 
Broadway and Warren. 

I don't remember the company's name, but it 
definitely was a Brooklyn company. I used their rig 
for parts also, and after the second building had come 
down, they had left their rig and was part of the 
command post on West Broadway and Barclay. 

After that I stayed with the Staten Island 
company for quite awhile. We ended up working with 
some Brooklyn truck companies, and some Staten Island 
engine companies, a Brooklyn chief, just going through 
the various buildings after the building had gone down 
to see if anybody was still in there or if we could do 



A. SALERNO 

anything, putting out various little fires that were 
about from the rubble, and got back to my firehouse 
probably around 11:30, 12 o'clock, September 11 night, 
back to the quarters of Engine Company 24 and Ladder 
5. 

And that's what I did that day. 

Q. Good. And you couldn't remember any of the 
numbers of the Brooklyn companies, right? 

A. No, I couldn't remember the Brooklyn 
companies . 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Thank for you the 

interview, and that's it. 



File No. 9110310 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER CHARLES GAFFNEY 
Interview Date: December 10, 2001 



Transcribed by Maureen McCormick 



BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: The date is December 
10, 2001. The time is 10:30 in the morning, and 
this is Battalion Chief Ronald H. Kemly of the 
Fire Department of the City of New York. 

I am conducting an interview with the 
following: Firefighter CHARLES GAFFNEY, fireman 
1st grade, assigned to Engine 24, Fire Department 
of the City of New York. 

The interview is taking place at the quarters 
of Engine 24 in the engine office regarding the 
events of September 11, 2001. 

Q. Fireman Gaffney, could you please tell me in 
your own words what happened on September 11 and your 
experience? 

A. I just got relieved by a probie, one of the 
seven-week probies in Ladder 5, about 8:30. Sitting in 
the kitchen, tones went off. It was for the trade 
center. A plane hit the trade center. 

I thought it was an accident, and I turned on 
New York 1, and I could see the hole in the building. 
Myself, couple of other guys that just got off crossed 
the street. We looked down the block, saw the trade 
center and we said, "Oh, we better get down there." 
Myself, Lieutenant Giammona, Jimmy Miller, Jimmy 



C. GAFFNEY 

Esposito got dressed, and we started down there. 

On our way, Chief Prunty came by. He got 
dressed and came down with us. We walked down to 
Varrick Street. An off-duty firefighter pulled over 
with a pickup truck. We got in the back. We headed 
down there. 

On our way down there, he told us that a 
second plane --he heard on the radio that a second 
plane had just hit the other tower. So we were all 
discussing -- not panicking but discussing, you know, 
what's going on here. It kind of dawned on us that it 
was a terrorist attack at that point. 

He drove us down there and dropped us off on 
Vesey Street right by Tower 7, and we proceeded into 
Tower 1 around the corner. We saw Engine 24 parked on 
the corner. We stowed our shoes that we were carrying 
with us at Engine 24. 

We went into the Tower 1 lobby, and I noticed 
the command post was already set up, saw Commissioner 
Von Essen there in the lobby, and Battalion Chief 
McGovern. We went to Battalion Chief McGovern. 
Lieutenant Giammona told him, "Make us a unit. Put us 
to work. We're here." He said, "Okay." 

Lieutenant Giammona got a radio from 



C. GAFFNEY 

somewhere, and they made us Ladder 5-B, and we met 9 
truck on their way up the stairs. We met 9 truck on 
the way up the stairs, and there was another engine 
company. I don't remember what engine company it was, 
but I grabbed -- they were all carrying extra bottles, 
and since we had no masks or no equipment, we grabbed 
their extra gear and helped them. Me and Jimmy, Jimmy 
Esposito, grabbed roll-ups and a bottle and carried it 
upstairs for these guys, because they were 
overburdened . 

We walked up. We got up to about the 10th 
Floor, and there was a chief on the floor who told 
us -- I don't know what chief it was. I don't know who 
he was. He said guys are already working their way 
down. He wanted us to start working our way up 
searching floors, going in on each floor, walking 
around the perimeter of the building, looking to see if 
anybody was on the floors, panicking, or trapped or 
whatever. So me and Esposito started doing that. 

Vinnie Giammona, he flew up the stairs in 
front of us. Lieutenant Giammona, I should say. He 
had a radio. He went up the stairs. We lost track of 
him as we were searching the lower floors. 

We made our way up to about the 21st Floor. 



C. GAFFNEY 

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 remember seeing Faust, Battalion 28, on the 
10th Floor in a doorway, and he was directing guys 
down. He must have been waiting for Chief McGovern, 
who had gone up ahead of us. I think he was on the 
24th Floor. I left out -- I thought I heard -- I heard 
a radio transmission, and I thought it was Lieutenant 



C. GAFFNEY 

Giammona, that he was on the 44th Floor, something 
about an elevator. I'm not sure if there were people 
in the elevator or he found an elevator that was 
working, but he was trying to get through a message. 
It was his voice. It was unmistakable, that he had an 
elevator on the 44th Floor. 

I do remember seeing Chief McGovern when we 
were on 20 or so go past me on his way up, and on the 
way down I saw his aide, Faust, and I said to Faust, 

"Come on, get out of here. They are ordering us out. 
Let's get out." He said he was waiting for the chief, 
and then when we got down, when we finally got down to 
the bottom, the lobby was a mess. It wasn't like a 
clear run out of the building. 

I went out the same way I came in, so I knew 
where I was going. There was a pile of crap in the 
lobby, marble, Sheetrock, all that stuff. It was 
smoky, hazy, and when I got out in the street, it was a 
cloud. I had no idea what time it was, how long I was 
in there. 

I remember running north at first under a 
scaffolding that was up and looking to my left, which 
was west, and I could see, so I ran west, and as I was 
running west, there were a bunch of firefighters in the 



C. GAFFNEY 

street. I remember guys screaming, "It's coming down," 
so I was, like, running for my life. 

When I got -- I ran as far as the water, and 
then I started running north when I got to the water, a 
little park. That was Vesey Street, I guess, I took to 
the water. I started running north, and that pier, 
whatever that one -- whatever you want to call that 
ended, so you had to run back east to get further 
north . 

By that time, the second building had already 
come down. I was shedding gear as I was running, so I 
went back for my gear, so that I could go back and look 
for people, because I wasn't sure where the guys I had 
gone down with were. We all disbursed, so I was 
looking for Jimmy Miller, and Jimmy Esposito and Vinnie 
Giammona. I don't know when I met up with them again, 
but I think it was on West Street, maybe a couple of 
blocks north of Vesey. 

I remember running into John Ottrando, who 
was the engine chauffeur, when I ran out of the 
building. When I started running west, I remember 
seeing him, and he was covered in white, and I told him 
to run. I don't know which way he ran. I think he ran 
north as I was running west, and then little by little, 



C. GAFFNEY 

you know, started running into people, and that was 
really all, and then we started going back looking for 
people. 

Q. I have a few questions, if you are finished. 

A. Yeah. There are things I don't remember, 
like parts I'm sure I'm forgetting, but I think about 
things sometimes when I'm home or alone or something 
and something will pop in my head, and I said, wow, I 
forgot that even happened. 

Q. Great. I mean not great that you remember 
stuff like that, but you did a pretty good job here. 
You were with those three guys, Lieutenant 
Giammona, Miller and Esposito -- 

A. Right. 

Q. -- originally? 

A. When I got on -- I left this out. When we 
got in the back of this guy's pickup truck, Chief 
Prunty was with us on Varrick Street. 

Q. Right. 

A. Another SUV of some type pulled up, and he 
said --he must have been an off-duty firefighter, too, 
because he said to Chief Prunty, "Chief, get in with 
us." One of the guys got out and went in the back and 
let the chief in the front seat. They followed the 



C. GAFFNEY 

truck we were in, the pickup truck we were in. They 
followed us, and the chief got out, and he came in the 
lobby with us . 

Then Chief Prunty I never saw again that 
day. I don't know when he went to the command. I saw 
him go to the command post. I don't know where he was 
assigned to go, you know, what he was doing. 

Nine truck we were with on the way up the 
stairs, and we were carrying their bottles and their 
roll-ups, whoever 's roll-ups they had. They had 
roll-ups with them. It must have been an engine with 
them. I'm not sure if it was 33. 

I remember seeing the guys from 65 out in the 
street after we got out, like, whoever the officer was 
on 65 that day. It was his radio we were listening to 
to get out of the building. I remember seeing them in 
the street later, and we were all glad to see one 
another that we got out. 

Like I said, when everyone started running 
down the stairs, firemen --it was all firemen. Nobody 
knew where -- everybody ran in separate directions, and 
there was an ironworker in the lobby -- I remember 
that -- directing people out of the building, telling 
them not to walk, to run, because there was stuff 



10 

C. GAFFNEY 



falling . 

I'd say there's a lot -- there are so many 
things -- like, on our way in, we had to avoid jumpers 
or bodies coming down. I remember seeing one about 20 
feet away from me as we were approaching the end of the 
scaffolding before we went into Tower 1, and then as we 
got there, one landed five feet from me. 

Then one guy stood and looked up, and it was 
like being in the military. He'd say, "Okay, come on. 
Oh, hold up. Something is coming down. Hold up. All 
right, come on. Come on," and it was bodies that were 
coming down. 

Q. When you say you went to the command post, 
you said Tower 1, is that the north tower? 

A. Yes. 

Q. So you were operating basically from West 
Street? 

A. At the time, I didn't know that. I found all 
that out later, which tower -- 

Q. Okay? 

A. -- which tower we were in and whatever. 

Q. All right. So that was where you saw the 
commissioner, McGovern -- 

A. Yes. 



11 

C. GAFFNEY 



Q. --in that lobby? 

A. There was a bunch -- there was a command post 
set up in that lobby, but when I had come back down, 
they weren't in that lobby any more. That lobby was 
pretty much destroyed, and there was nobody in there. 

Q. Okay. So you hooked up with 9 truck. I 
mean, you weren't ordered to, but you hooked -- do you 
know which staircase it was, A, B, whatever, something 
like that? 

A. I'm pretty sure it was B. I'm not positive, 
but I'm pretty sure it was B. I know I came down the 
B, so I'm pretty sure it was the B I went up, because I 
used that as a reference for getting out. I knew I 
came up that way, so I knew my way down with that 
staircase. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I remember being on about the 13th Floor and 
opening the door. I heard a door being forced from the 
outside of the stairway. A company was trying to get 
in, so I went and opened the door for them, and that 
was the A stairway, I believe, but I can't tell you 
what company it was. I don't remember. 

It was -- we were kind of like in a hurry. I 
just popped the door, let those guys in, and continued 



12 

C. GAFFNEY 



searching the floor. 

Q. Okay. And the stairway that you saw 65, that 
was B? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And Faust and McGovern, you figure were B, 
the B staircase? 

A. Yes, it was the staircase I was in. That was 
B. I saw McGovern on there. I saw Faust. He was 
standing on the 10th Floor. I don't know --he was 
standing in the doorway. 

Q. Okay. 

A. He was, like, telling people, okay -- no, he 
was, like, reassuring civilians, I guess, on their way 
out, and then when I was on my way down, it was only 
firemen, so I said to him, "Come on, Faust, get out. 
They are ordering us out. Get out." He said, "I'm 
going to wait for the chief." 

Q. Okay. You came out the same way? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And -- 

A. As I came out of the stairs -- 

Q. -- you were running? 

A. I remember making a right, climbing over a 
pile of crap, and there was glass, thick glass, 



13 
C. GAFFNEY 



everywhere. It was like running on ice, you know, 
glass on top of glass sliding around. 

I remember an ironworker being in the lobby, 
and I ran into the ironworker later. I wound up 
knowing him, but I didn't realize who he was at the 
time. 

Q. Okay. If you saw Otto, who was with 24 -- 
did you see any other rigs in the street at any time, 
whether they were crushed or the way in? 

A. On the way in, I saw Squad 18 's rig was right 
in front, I think. 

Q. In front of the tower or in front of the 
hotel? 

A. In front of the tower. 

Q. Okay. 

A. In front of Tower 1. I think Lieutenant 
Giammona grabbed a mask out of there. 

Q. Okay. 

A. We went to 24 first on the way in, and there 
were no masks left or anything. 

Q. Where was he parked? 

A. He was on the corner --he was on West Street 
facing south right off Vesey, and then it's the same 
place he was parked for the first trade center. That 



14 
C. GAFFNEY 



sticks in my mind. 

I was at that one, too, in '93, and Otto was 
driving also, and he parked in the same spot for both 
incidents . 

Q. Okay. Now, when you were running out and 
everything, you didn't happen to notice any of the 
other front pieces, who they were? 

A. What do you mean? The guys I was running 
with? 

Q. Yes, or when you came back, did you see any 
other apparatus crushed or 6 -- 

A. I remember the civilians in the street, like 
they were in the lobby, like, pooling in the lobby 
instead of going out of the building. 

I guess they were having a hard time getting 
over the debris and stuff, but coming down the stairs, 
there were no civilians in the stairway. 

Q. Okay. 

A. As I came out, Otto was standing in the 
middle of West Street at Vesey by the island. He was 
covered in white. He said he had --he dove behind a 
wall or something and just got covered with the cloud. 
He was in shock. 

Q. Okay. If you have nothing else, this 



15 
C. GAFFNEY 



concludes the interview. Thank you very much. 

A. Thank you. I mean, that's all I can 
remember. I mean, I remember seeing people in the 
street not that were in the building. I remember 
seeing companies, like, standing watching. 

Q. Well, can you remember who they were? 

A. I saw -- 

Q. And where they were? 

A. I saw one of the guys from 55 engine on the 
opposite side of West Street at Vesey standing -- 33 
engine was on that corner on Vesey facing east, I guess 
on the west side of West Street. 

Q. And this is after the collapses or before? 

A. This was after the first one, which I didn't 
even realize was a collapse until I got down to the 
street, but before the second. 

Q. Okay, so they were on Vesey and West? 

A. Right. They were on Vesey actually facing 
east . 

Q. Anybody else? 

A. I remember running into guys from 8 truck who 
were coming from company medical. They were -- they 
sent them back from the medical office. 

Q. You don't know where you met them? 



16 
C. GAFFNEY 



A. I met them by the water. I met them by the 
water. I met -- there were also two guys from 55 
engine. I don't think they were working. Paddy 
Schuppel and Pete Metzger. I don't know if they were 
working or not, but I met them by the water. I don't 
think they were working. They must have come later. 
They were clean . 

Q. Okay. If there is nothing else, we can 
conclude the interview. 

A. I think that's about all I can remember right 
now. 

Q. You can keep going as long as you want. 

A. No, that's all I can remember really. 

BATTALION CHIEF KEMLY: Okay, thank you very 

much . 



File No. 9110314 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL PALONE 
Interview Date: December 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



M. PALONE 2 

CHIEF KEMLY: Today's date is December 
12, 2001. The time is 1515. This is 
Battalion Chief Ronald Kemly of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. I'm 
conducting an interview with the following 
individual: Michael Palone, fireman first 
grade, Engine Company 24 of the Fire 
Department of the City of New York. The 
interview is taking place in the office of 
Engine Company 5 regarding the events of 
September 11th, 2001. 
Q. Fireman Palone, please tell me what 

happened in your own words on September 11th, 

2001. 

A. On September 11th after the two planes 

hit the World Trade Center, I heard about the 

recall over the phone and headed into the city. 

When I arrived at the firehouse, a bunch of guys 

were getting into Captain Variale's pickup truck. 

I grabbed my stuff, jumped in the back of the 

pickup truck and went down Seventh Avenue down to 

the site. 

As we got down to the site, there were 

also two car fires. We tried extinguishing car 



M. PALONE 3 

fires on the way down. We had a problem with the 
water pressure. There was no water pressure out 
of the hydrants. We tried hooking up to a 
pumper, basically trying to put out the car 
fires, not too much success because of the water 
problem. 

We went into World Trade Seven to try 
and get their standpipe system to possibly use 
their water off their tank on the roof. Then 
from there we met a bunch of people outside of 5, 
hooked up with Darren Lebow and Kevin -- what's 
Kevin's last name that used to work there? 

Anyway, I hooked up with a couple of 
guys and went into the basement of five, got 
right next to the collapse, searched for people, 
searched through the cars in the bottom of five, 
couldn't find anybody. I went back up to the 
street level and ended up going around to the 
front of five where 5 Truck, 24 Engine was and 
went up onto the mezzanine into the building 
there and searched through there for a while. We 
were ordered out of there. We came out of there. 

We went back down and hooked up with 
Craig Monahan, I believe, Jeff Anstead, myself, 



M. PALONE 4 

Bobby Beddia and went from where we were on West 
Street under the walkway bridge. That would put 
us in between the two walkway bridges and across 
the pile of rubble into I believe it was the B 
stairway, where they were searching for Ladder 6. 

We hooked up with a guy from rescue who 
was lowering down a civilian and tied the rope 
off from him. A guy from rescue in the top of 
the staircase lowered the civilian down and then 
slid down himself and then went down those 
stairs. 

They were getting the woman Sylvia out, 
basically helped carry her out on the stretcher. 
6 came out somewhere there when we were there. 6 
Truck came out. We were there for a while trying 
to get Battalion Chief Prunty, who was trapped 
under the steel in the bottom of the staircase. 

There were a couple of other companies 
down there; I'm not sure who. We were down there 
for a while until we were ordered off, because 
they were worried about Seven coming down. We 
ended up coming out of there and going off the 
rubble and then over towards the marina, cleaning 
up our eyes and just basically getting ourselves 



M. PALONE 



back together until we went back to the 
firehouse. I don't really know times. 

Q. Just a couple quick questions. Darren 
Lebow -- 

A. 5 Truck. 

Q. He was from 5 Truck? 

A. Yeah. 

Q. You operated with him for quite -- 

A. Right. When we went down into the 
bottom of five, we got right next to the bottom 
of the collapse, and we were in there pretty 
close. Kevin Anderson was with us. It was me, 
Lebow, Kevin Anderson. 

We basically grabbed any tools we could 
out of a Port Authority suburban that was down 
there. Anything that we thought we could use we 
grabbed and tried to do whatever we could. 

Q. But it was just the three of you at 
that point? 

A. It was the three of us at that point. 
Then when we came back up, we hooked up -- I 
think 5 Truck was there with the captain of 5 and 
the rest of 5 Truck and then hooked up with 
Monahan and Beddia and Anstead and then actually 



M. PALONE 6 

went over to that B stairway. 

Q. You saw 5 and 24 's rigs? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Where were they located? 

A. 5's ladder was going up to Five World. 
I believe that was five world, and 24 Engine was 
just behind them. 

Q. On what street? 

A. On West Street. 

Q. When you say the chief ordered you 
out -- you didn't say chief. You said somebody 
ordered you out of the building. 

A. Yeah. 

Q. Do you know who that was? 

A. I think it might have been Blaich. I'm 
not sure. It was a division chief who was 
ordering us out for a while. 

Q. When you said you hooked up with 
Monahan, Beddia and all of those guys, those are 
the members of Engine 24 and Ladder 5, just to 
clarify that? 

A. Yes. 

Q. And the guy from rescue that was going 
down, do you know what rescue it was? 



M. PALONE "i 

A. I don't know what rescue it was. I 
think it might have been -- I'm not sure. I 
don't know. 

Q. Okay. 

A. He was up above us. He was looking to 
tie the rope off, I tied it off to the banister, 
and Jeff Anstead was with me. He went up to see 
if he could help him, but it was up there and 
everything was a little compromised. He didn't 
know what he was stepping on and everything else. 
It was just a little unstable. 

Q. Okay. If you have nothing else, this 
will conclude the interview. 

A. That's it. 

Q. Okay. Thank you. 



File No. 9110317 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER GEORGE RODRIGUEZ 
Interview Date: December 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



G. RODRIGUEZ 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time is 11:01 a.m., 
and this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan 
of the New York City Fire Department, Safety 
Battalion. I'm conducting an interview with 
George Rodriguez, firefighter first grade of 
Ladder 22, in the quarters of Ladder 22. 
Q. George, just tell us the events as you 
recall them on September 11th. 

A. On September 11th we weren't dispatched 
to go down to the World Trade Center until the 
second plane hit the building. We responded by 
getting on the West Side Highway at 96th Street 
and subsequently went southbound until we reached 
the towers. 

I was assigned to Ladder Company 22, 
but I'm a recent transfer from the engine. I 
happen to be an engine company chauffeur and was 
assigned to drive Engine 76 that day. 

En route we met up with Ladder Company 
25 on the West Side Highway. We traveled 
southbound together and arrived at the towers at 
approximately the same time. 

Upon arrival I dropped off the members 
of my company, which was Engine 76 that day, on 



G. RODRIGUEZ 3 

Vesey and West. They proceeded with their 
equipment to the command post, and I proceeded to 
go east on Vesey to seek out a source of water 
and/or to assist any other chauffeurs I saw down 
there. 

I first parked my apparatus 
approximately 75 feet east of West Street on 
Vesey. I sized up the situation. Pretty much 
all the hydrants in the area were taken. 

At that point I grabbed some standpipe 
tools from my apparatus, and I proceeded to walk 
east on Vesey to assist any other chauffeurs as 
necessary. Pretty much all of that was being 
done. 

I remember at that point looking up at 
the towers. The operation was growing in size. 
Many civilians were coming out the windows or 
being blown out the windows. 

As much as I didn't want to, I went up 
on the concourse in between the north and south 
towers to actually see if there was any help I 
could render to anyone; there wasn't. 

I came back down to the street. I met 
up with Commissioner Von Essen at that time. I 



G. RODRIGUEZ 4 

told the Commissioner what I saw on the 
concourse. His response is not that important. 

So I proceeded to get back into my rig 
and drive down Vesey. I took a L) turn and I came 
back. I saw the maintenance crew to Seven World 
Trade Center standing there watching the 
building. I gathered them up and asked them if 
they had fire pumps in the building. They did. 

I had a Siamese directly across 
Washington Street on Vesey going into the towers, 
so I used the maintenance men and an engine 
company chauffeur from 26 Engine named Mike 
Incantalupo. I used him to hook up a source of 
water from their fire pumps to my rig and into 
the World Trade Center, which the Siamese was 
located right below Six World Trade Center, the 
U.S. Customs building. 

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 



G. RODRIGUEZ 5 

because of the pancake, the energy came out first 
and then the actual debris started coming. 

So we all ran. Myself and the 
chauffeur of 26 Engine grabbed about 30 civilians 
as well as the maintenance men, and we put them 
all in the basement of Seven World Trade Center. 
At that point all power was off in the buildings. 
The only means of egress was out onto Washington 
Street, which was totally covered with debris and 
ash. You couldn't get out the door. There was 
no means of egress from that particular point in 
the basement. 

So I gave a mayday. I heard a lot of 
other maydays on the radio; I couldn't even 
pinpoint to you which ones. I gave a mayday: 
"Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is Engine 76 
chauffeur to command post. I'm trapped in the 
basement of Seven World Trade Center with 
approximately 30 civilians and another fireman." 
I got no answer, but I figured guys were in much 
worse situations, so I just shut up on the radio 
and listened. 

Two of the civilians didn't want to 
stay in the basement. They wanted to get out 



G. RODRIGUEZ 6 

because it was a smoke condition down there and a 
lot of ash. You couldn't really breathe that 
well, but it was much better than outside. 

We tried to block the door so they 
wouldn't go out. The situation wasn't going to 
get good with that, so I stepped aside, let them 
run out. Unfortunately for them they ran to the 
left, which happened to be right towards Vesey 
Street, which was the wrong way to go. I never 
saw those two again. 

It seemed like an eternity. As it 
started lifting, myself and the chauffeur of 26 

Engine removed all the civilians to the right 
down Washington Street towards Barclay and 
evacuated them from the area. 

At that point we still were hearing 
maydays over the radio from right in our area, 
from Vesey and Washington. So we made our way 
down to try and see if we can help another 
fireman. Actually the mayday was coming from -- 
I'm not sure if it was Vesey and Washington. 
There was a bridge there going from the Trade 
Center to seven world, and it was right under 
that area we were hearing the maydays from. 



G. RODRIGUEZ 7 

So we went down Washington, took a 
left, which is east on Vesey, and we started 
looking for this guy that was in trouble. No 
luck in finding him. 

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. 

We rolled on the ground. We kind of 
got separated. I had my mask on. 

Q. You had your face piece on too? 
A. No. I just had the mask on and the 
cylinder turned on. The other chauffeur didn't, 
so when we got separated he was in a real bad 
way. 

I looked up. That was it. I didn't 
really realize I was alive until I started 
hearing him call my name. I searched around for 
him. I donned my face piece. I searched around 



G. RODRIGUEZ 8 

for him, found him, buddy- breathed with him. I 
took him down Washington, east on Barclay, north 
on whatever street that is and put him in an 
ambulance. 

At that point I went back and I started 
searching for my company, which I thought both 
companies were gone because they had gone into 
the command post. After the second collapse 
there wasn't really much chatter on the radio. 
So the silence was actually the worst part of it 
all, you know? 

Basically that's it. I really can't 
recall which companies I saw going into the 
buildings. 

Q. Okay. 

A. I saw companies going up on to the 
concourse. That's where a lot of civilians were 
coming and hitting the ground like water 
balloons. Prior to the collapses we grabbed a 
couple civilians out of there. 

It was so crazy at that moment. There 
was just no answers on the radio. You just did 
all you could. My rig was gone. I thought my 
companies were gone. I knew a lot of other 



G. RODRIGUEZ 9 

companies were gone. You just picked an area and 
started digging. 

You actually had to pass over seriously 
injured people to help more seriously injured 
people. That was insane in itself. The 
conception of that is crazy. 

Q. Were you able to meet up with your 
company later or not? 

A. The first person I saw was Chief 
McNally. I guess whatever situation he had been 
involved with, as soon as the situation got to a 
point where he could make it towards the 
buildings again, he came back in. He could 
barely even talk because of everything that was 
going on, myself included. 

I heard Chief Harten from the 10th 
Battalion on the radio trying to get in touch 
with McNally, and McNally 's radio died. So I 
said, "Don't worry, Chief, I'll send it for you." 
I couldn't get Harten either on the radio. The 
reason I know them, because they were both 
battalion chiefs here. 

I told Chief McNally, "I'll go over 
there and I'll go personally deliver your 



G. RODRIGUEZ 10 

message." I went over and I did that. On the 
way we had helped a couple people out. On the 
way to go deliver the chief's message, I ran into 
my engine officer, Frank Farrington. 

At that point we started to try and get 
a head count, all right, what have we got, who's 
alive, who's not alive. Let's start with our 
company, we'll group up, we'll go and get whoever 
is there. 

There was a lot of firemen. The 
firemen that were remaining after the collapses 
were trying to regroup with their guys and then 
go back and help other people. That's pretty 
much what I found. 

It turned out that all the guys in the 
engine that day made it. Then we started hearing 
the different truck names, they made it, and the 
only one in question at that point was Chief 
Picciotto and his aide, Gary Sheridan. 

Then we got the orders that we were 
going to regroup. Bring out another command 
post. I'm not sure exactly where it was. It was 
probably north on the West Side Highway. Way 
north on the West Side Highway, they got another 



G. RODRIGUEZ 11 

command post ready. They had a full recall. I 
met up with my company, and I came back and we 
started searching for people. 

That's pretty much my whole account of 
the situation. 

Q. All right. Thanks a lot, George. 
A. Thank you, Chief. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 11:13, 
and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110318 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER FERNANDO CAMACHO 
Interview Date: December 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



F. CAMACHO 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time is 11:17 a.m., 
and this is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan, 
Safety Battalion of the Fire Department of 
the City of New York. I am conducting an 
interview with Fernando Camacho of Ladder 
22, in the quarters of Ladder 22. 
Q. Fernando, describe the events as you 
recall them on September 11th. 

A. 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. Chief Picciotto came down, 
called the dispatcher and went out on his way 
down. 

Approximately 15 minutes later, both 
the engine and the truck, we got our tickets to 
go down to the World Trade Center. It took us 
about maybe 20 minutes to get there. We came out 
of our truck prepared to receive our orders, 
walked down to the command post which was across 
the street on the West Side Highway. It was 
across the street from the north tower. We 



F. CAMACHO 3 

waited there approximately about 15 minutes for 
our orders. 

After we waited for a while, we were 
told to go into the lobby of the Vista Hotel. We 
proceeded along the right side of the highway, 
basically the same side of the command post, down 
to the south pedestrian bridge, under the 
pedestrian bridge, to avoid being hit by bodies 
and debris going down. 

We came in through the corner of 
Liberty and the West Side Highway into the Vista 
Hotel. There was a setup, a small command post 
or small gathering of firefighters there with a 
couple of chiefs. I can't tell who they were. I 
don't remember that. 

We were in there approximately another 
ten minutes. Lieutenant Riley came back from 
talking to the chief, and we were assigned to go 
to the 75th floor. We got our equipment together 
and started walking up. Ladder 25 had gone ahead 
of us about five minutes before we got assigned 
to go to the 75th floor. 

We went across the lobby of the hotel, 
going north, and we exited and made a right going 



F. CAMACHO 4 

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. 

As I looked straight ahead of me, I saw 
total darkness. Everything was coming our way 
like a wave. 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. 

Then total quiet. You couldn't 



F. CAMACHO 5 

breathe. You couldn't see anything. None of the 
equipment worked. My face piece was gone, 
flashlight, helmet. There were about maybe five 
or six civilians around us. We tried to get them 
out, as we tried to make our way out. 

We did a perimeter search. Everything 
behind us was blocked and to our sides. We came 
back out basically through the same way we came 
into the building. We were facing the West Side 
Highway now, but there was a hole in the side of 
the building. So that's how we found our way 
out . 

The only thing I know is that it was 
the roof, the OV and myself that got out. I had 
the can. Lieutenant Riley and the chauffeur we 
couldn't find. We didn't know if they were 
trapped or they made their way out in some other 
fashion. We found out later that they did make 
their way out, through another exit or behind us. 

The West Side Highway was still pretty 
clear. There wasn't a lot of debris in front of 
us. We made our way north underneath the 
pedestrian bridge that's to the north. As we 
approached the rig again, I was being tended by 



F. CAMACHO 6 

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. 

Basically that's it. We ran and we 
went into the high school that's I believe 
somewhere -- 

Q. On Chambers. 

A. Chambers, yeah. It might be Chambers, 



F. CAMACHO 7 

a little further up from Chambers Street. We 
came back out after the cloud passed us and 
started helping out people that couldn't breathe 
or were injured. 

That's basically the bulk of the 
information I can give. 

Q. Fine. Let me get one thing straight. 
From the time you noticed the leaning to the time 
of it coming down, are we talking about seconds 
here? 

A. No more than three, four seconds. 

Q. All right. Thank you for all your 
help, Fernando. 

A. No problem. 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 11:27, 

and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110319 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOHN MALLEY 
Interview Date: December 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



J. MALLEY 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: It's December 12th, 
2001. The time is 11:31 a.m., and this is 
Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan, Safety 
Battalion of the Fire Department of the City 
of New York. I'm conducting an interview 
with Firefighter John Malley of Ladder 22, 
in the quarters of Ladder 22. 
Q. John, just tell us the events as you 
recall them on September 11th. 

A. We responded on the second fifth alarm, 
work our way down. The streets were kind of 
cleared, and the police had everything opened. 
We got there pretty fast; I don't know how fast, 
but record time to get all the way down there 
from here. 

We pulled up on West Street, maybe a 
block away from the north tower, maybe half a 
block; I'm not sure. We grabbed our gear and 
worked our way down. We were right under the 
north tower when we realized people were jumping 
right very close to us. So we had to run across 
the street to avoid being hit by debris and 
people. 

As we're halfway across the street, we 



J. MALLEY 3 

hear on the radio about an urgent message or a 
mayday message about a third plane en route. So 
we kind of froze there. We said now what do we 
do? Do we go back into the building or take 
cover under where the command post was in the 
garages. 

So the men went to the garage, and the 
officer went to the command post. We stood there 
and watched everybody jumping and waiting for our 
assignments, for our officer to come back. 

People started to jump with such a -- 
it was maybe one jumper every five seconds at one 
point, every ten seconds. Then they just started 
jumping like one every one second, two seconds. 
There were people just coming down like it was 
raining people. 

One of the officers -- I don't remember 
who -- said that's it, we've got to do something. 
Truck companies on the left, engine companies on 
the right, we'll start going single file. We 
can't wait any longer. 

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 



J. MALLEY 4 

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. 

We proceeded to hug the west side of 
West Street to avoid any debris. We went from 
the north walkway to the south walkway pedestrian 
bridge, where we went from the pedestrian bridge 
one at a time, ran into the Liberty entrance of 
the Vista Hotel. 

At that point we were just mulling 
around in the lobby, waiting for our assignments. 
I believe I might have seen the guys from 25. I 
was kind of shocked, so I don't really know who I 
was talking to. 

I was dreading walking up the stairs. 
I was worried about having to hump those stairs, 
because my heart was already racing about 150 
beats a minute. It was racing, and I knew that 
claiming those stairs were going to make it 
almost unbearable. 

We proceeded. We got our assignment to 
work the 75th floor and above of the south tower. 
We proceeded through. We went north through the 



J. MALLEY 5 

Vista Hotel lobby into the atrium, I believe, of 
the north tower, made a right turn, proceeded 
east in the atrium, preparing to go through 
revolving doors into -- I don't know because it 
was pitch-black. We were walking into darkness. 

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 



J. MALLEY 6 

alive at that point, because it was just an 
incredible amount of debris falling around us. 

Although I was relatively unhurt -- it 
was miraculous. I couldn't believe I was still 
alive, with the amount of debris that came down. 
At that point I was amazed I was still alive. 
When I stood up, I thought I was going to drown 
in the dust, because I didn't know the dust was 
coming because it was pitch-black. 

Then I went to put on my mask to don 
the face piece. I don't know if my face was so 
covered with dust or the mask was covered with 
dust, but it was pretty useless. 

I hopped up when I could. I heard one 
of my members calling Ladder 22 to have a roll 
call. So we pretty much were scurrying around in 
the dark, we found each other, everybody but the 
lieutenant. We couldn't find the lieutenant. We 
had all five members. 

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 



J. MALLEY 7 

know, we just realized we had to get the heck out 
of there. 

We still couldn't breathe. There was 
still heavy dust. So we started to make our way 
out. We said let's dig our way out and then 
we'll come back for the lieutenant. 

As I started to proceed in the 
direction I felt was the way I came in, I felt 
wind, so I walked towards the wind. The guys I 
was with were getting further away, and I was 
trying to explain to them that it's this way. I 
said, "It's this way. It's this way. I can feel 
the wind." They were saying, "No, no. It's this 
way." So I continued on my own. 

I met a civilian. The civilian asked 
me what he should do. I said, "Stay with me. 
I'm going to walk into the wind, and we'll get 
out of here." I continued to walk, and then I 
realized that I was about a foot away from a fire 
truck. I felt I must be outside now, although I 
wasn't a hundred percent sure because I could 
have been in a garage. I don't know because it 
was still completely dark. 

As I was at the fire truck, I heard my 



J. MALLEY 8 

lieutenant calling me, so I answered him. I 
relayed to him that everybody was okay and we 
were working our way outside. He said he's on 
his way outside, that we would meet outside. 

That's when I realized I was outside, 
because something landed right behind me. It 
sounded like a body. The same sound that I heard 
before when the bodies were landing was similar 
to the sound that I just heard. 

Then it occurred to me that I was in 
harm's way right now, because I'm underneath this 
thing and I could get hit and not know because I 
can't see it coming. So I decided to run what I 
thought was west. It turns out it was. I ran 
across the street. I was tripping over people 
and hoses and everything. 

I worked my way up to that green fence. 
There was a green fence. I had worked my way 
back into the Vista Hotel, and that's how I got 
out. I could start to see daylight north. So I 
started walking towards the daylight. The first 
time I stopped I was under the north foot bridge. 

While I was standing there, things 
started to clear up. One of the chiefs that I 



J. MALLEY 9 

know, Chief McNally, told me to stand post on 
Vesey and West Street and try to get everybody I 
could to go north to get away from the collapse 
zone. 

So while I was standing there, EMS 
workers started to try to clean me up because I 
was completely covered in dust. My eyes were 
almost sealed shut with the dust. 

While I was there I saw a few guys, 
Kevin Gorman and Camacho. I told them we have to 
work our way north from here. I don't know where 
the other guys were. 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. 



J. MALLEY 10 

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. 

That's pretty much it. Then we worked 
our way north to the command post. We were 
relieved there by the guys that were on the 
recall. They started taking our masks and gear 
and everything. 

I was so covered with insulation dust 
and everything, I was itching like crazy. I 
hosed myself off on West Street. It wasn't doing 
anything, so we all got together at that point. 
We were standing at the command post, wherever it 
was, north of the Trade Center. 

At that point the lieutenant said he 
was going to go let them know that all our 
members were accounted for. We told him that we 
were going to try to find a local firehouse to go 
shower off. 

That was it . 
Q. Okay, John. Thank you very much. 



J. MALLEY 11 

CHIEF KENAHAN: The time now is 11:45, 
and this concludes the interview. 



File No. 9110321 



WORLD TRADE CENTER TASK FORCE INTERVIEW 
FIREFIGHTER JOHN BREEN 
Interview Date: December 12, 2001 



Transcribed by Laurie A. Collins 



J. BREEN 2 

CHIEF KENAHAN: Today's date is 
December 12th, 2001. The time is 3:17 p.m. 
This is Battalion Chief Dennis Kenahan of 
the Safety Battalion of the Fire Department 
of the City of New York. I'm conducting an 
interview with John Breen, firefighter 
fourth grade from Engine 74. The interview 
is taking place in the quarters of Engine 
74. 

Q. John, just tell us the events of 
September 11th. 

A. On that morning we got the run -- after 
the second building was hit, that's when we got 
the run. It was after 9:00. It came over the 
voice alarm. The whole battalion was called to 
go. us, 25 Truck, 47 Engine, 76 and 22 and 35 
and 40 I believe were the companies that I heard 
over the voice alarm to respond. 

We went down the West Side Highway. We 
had a clear go all the way down. It was no 
problem as far as traffic going down that way. 
We pulled up on the West Side Highway. We were 
on West Street. Where we parked I believe was 
Vesey Street. I probably will tell you about 



J. BREEN 3 

that later on. I'm almost positive it was Vesey 
Street where we parked our rig. 

As we parked there, one of the other 
trucks I noticed that was there was 25 Truck. I 
believe Joe Collins from 25 Truck. I believe 
that was who he was. He was riding extra for 25. 
I heard he was supposed to go to a detail to 76 
and 22. 

I was just talking to one of the 
details that's working here today. He's from 25. 
He said Joe Collins was riding extra. He came 
over to our rig, and he was asking for a mask, 
and he was given our chauffeur's mask. 

Myself, Lieutenant Nichols, Jeff 
Johnson, Pat Carey and Ruben Correa were walking 
down West Side to West Street underneath the 
pedestrian bridge. We were walking towards the 
Marriott Hotel. I was told by Lieutenant Nichols 
that dispatch called him over the radio and we 
were told to report to the Marriott Hotel, the 
old Vista Hotel, which is Three World Trade 
Center . 

As we were walking underneath, we 
didn't see any bodies falling out. We did see 



J. BREEN 4 

one body on the ground, and that's when the 
lieutenant told us to walk as far away from the 
building as we could and just to keep our heads 
up for any falling bodies. 

We walked into the lobby of the 
Marriott. The only other company I saw that I 
knew down there at the time that I know was 47 
Engine. The chief that was working there that 
morning, I wish I knew who he was -- I really 
don't know -- at the command center. I really 
don't know what his name was, but he was telling 
us to -- the engines to line up on one side and 
the trucks on the other side. 

We were told first we were going to go 
into the south tower. Then there was a report of 
people stuck or possible hotel guests still up in 
the Marriott. A couple of units were told to go 
up there. 

The companies I do know that went up 
there with us is 74 Engine, 54 Engine, 11 Truck 
and I believe, but I am not positive, 23 Engine. 
We were told to go up to the 22nd floor. We took 
the elevator up to the 18th floor. We walked up 
four flights of stairs to the top floor. 



J. BREEN 5 

Up on the top floor, it was a pool, 
spa, gym equipment, saunas. It was just a 
workout area and a spa area with a couple of 
office spaces. We did see part of - - I didn't 
see it, but Jeff Johnson told me later on he did 
see part of the landing gear actually fell right 
through the roof and it was in one of the 
Jacuzzis in another room. 

There was nobody up there. We did a 
search up there. There was no fire up there 
either, no bodies to report. We were going to 
take an elevator down. I don't believe there was 
an elevator on 22. We walked down one flight. 

We went down the south stairwell. We 
walked it down one flight to the 21st floor. We 
went to the elevator, which is more -- from the 
south stairwell, we walked a little bit north 
down the hallway, waiting for the elevator. 
There was about 20 of us. Again, this was 54 
Engine, 74, 11 Truck and I believe 23 Engine. 

As we were waiting for the elevator to 
take us down, it was running a little too slow or 
stuck on one of the floors. My lieutenant, 
Lieutenant Nichols, said we're better off walking 



J. BREEN 6 

down. We were going to go down I believe to the 
lobby, and I think we were going to go to the 
south tower, which is I believe connected, 
somehow connected to the Marriott. 

We started walking down the hallway 
towards the south stairwell. It was my company 
that was leading the way. Pat Carey I believe 
was in front, Jeff Johnson, Lieutenant Nichols, 
myself, Ruben Correa, then the other companies. 

As we were walking, that's when the 
south tower came down. Pretty much we just stood 
where we were. There was nowhere we could go. 
We were just stuck in this hallway. 

Pretty much when all was said and done, 
we gathered ourselves. We were doing a head 
count as far as my company, and we noticed that 
we were calling for Ruben and Ruben was behind me 
in the hallway. Him and the other companies were 
behind us. I was about ten feet away in the 
hallway from being one of the missing. As far as 
we turned around and we looked, that side of the 
hallway was all covered in debris and rubble. 
All the lights were out. There were no lights. 
We had to use flashlights. 



J. BREEN 7 

So it was just basically four of us 
that got out. The chauffeur, by the way, was 
back at the rig. The chauffeur d