From the August 2002 Firehouse Magazine
Captain Chris Boyle Engine 94 - 18 years
Firehouse: Please describe what was happening when you came in on the recall.
Boyle: I got here probably about a quarter after 10. Everybody was starting to roll in. I was at home and I didn’t see the first one hit. I called Division 6. I asked if there was a recall. And they said no, stay by the phone. This is before the second one hit. The second one hit, and I just went in and got here like I said probably about a quarter after 10. Guys were starting to collect, I called the Division. I was able to get through once and they said everybody stay where they were, don’t come to the Division, don’t go downtown, just stay where you are right now.
Just before the first tower came down, I had one of the probies calling, making sure that we were getting everybody on the recall in case they didn’t see a TV.
Right after the first tower came down, Division 6 said come to the Division, we’re going to muster up there.
Firehouse: When you got to the firehouse, did you know that there was a recall? Did you hear on the radio?
Boyle: I was listening to the radio on the way down and they said there was a recall.
Firehouse: So you got in a couple of cars and went to Division 6?
Boyle: There were about 10 of us. When we got there, (Deputy) Chief (Tom) Fox was there and he said I need one officer and five firemen. Both Ladder 48 and I were one guy short.
So guys were starting to roll into the Division there and everybody was looking to fill out their roster of five guys. There was only one bus at the time and everybody wanted to be on it, so we were scrambling around trying to get a guy. Ended up I picked up Chris Delisio I think from 47 Truck. He ended up my fifth man. And right there who was collected the riding lists was a captain who was just promoted, Jimmy Rogers.
We grabbed some radios and anything else that was lying around. We didn’t think of goggles and stuff like that before we left, but we had oxygen bottles, blue gloves. There really wasn’t much. Chief Fox got on the bus with Sal Gigante, he’s an aide with the 6th Division – we started getting on the bus just after the second tower came down. We were there at the 6th Division when the second tower came down. It was just numbing. Everybody was just real quiet.
Firehouse: Was somebody listening to Manhattan or how did you know about it? How did you know the second tower came down?
Boyle: We saw it on TV. You had a sense of what was going on. They just had a bus, we’re going down. That’s all it was.
Firehouse: So was the bus filled up by then?
Boyle: Probably after about five or 10 minutes it was full. Chief Fox had said there’s going to be another bus, don’t worry, so guys weren’t panicky to get on it, but it ended up that was the only bus that left that day. It was one of those double buses, the articulated ones.
Firehouse: Did you have an escort?
Boyle: No, not initially. I think we headed for what was it the Third Avenue Bridge. I think it was the Third Avenue or Second Avenue Bridge and it was a total traffic jam because the bridge was closed. We were totally blocked. It ended up that a lot of the cars were firemen trying to get downtown, but Chief Fox and Gigante and another officer at the front of the bus moved a bunch of cars and we were on our way. As we got farther down south, everybody was heading north and we were in the one lane going down. We probably got down there about 11 o’clock because we left after the second tower came down.
We stopped at the Civic Center area there and we disembarked. And that’s where the dust was heavy. We got off the bus and there were some people handing out paper masks. We went up Park Row toward City Hall and we were carrying our bunker gear because we figured that we would get as close as we could before putting the boots on and everything, because it was kind of tough to walk around in. As we got to Park Row, we suited up, and we started heading toward what looked like a group of firemen gathering.