Thread: More 911 Calls September 11th
08-17-2006, 04:34 AM #1
More 911 Calls September 11th
NEW YORK (AP) - The calls, some only seconds in duration, evoked
the firefighters' unrelenting answer of the call to duty - and for
343 of them, to their death in the ruins of the World Trade Center.
In their own voices, heard for the first time, members of the
FDNY offered glimpses into the horror and heroism of Sept. 11 on
emergency call recordings released Wednesday. From a battalion
chief in the trade center lobby, to a lieutenant heading into the
raging fire from the 35th floor while surrounded by burned office
workers, to a Bronx firefighter waiting for approval before heading
to ground zero, the tapes offered a new perspective on that
All three of those firefighters were killed.
"Numerous burn injuries are coming down. I'm trying to send
them down. ... We're still heading up," said Capt. Patrick Brown,
moments before he was killed.
He was one of 19 dead firefighters whose voices were captured on
the 1,613 previously undisclosed emergency calls that followed the
worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil. The calls were released
after The New York Times and relatives of Sept. 11 victims sued to
The taped conversations released Wednesday demonstrated the
firefighters' unhesitating bravery amid the chaos and the carnage.
Within minutes of the first plane hitting at 8:46 a.m.,
firefighters - some off-duty, some even retired - began calling
dispatchers to volunteer their help. Lt. Timothy Higgins of
Brooklyn's Squad 252 called at 8:52 a.m.
"We're available for the trade center," he volunteered.
"OK, thanks," replied the dispatcher. Higgins, with five other
members of his squad, made the trip from Brooklyn to Manhattan. All
In the Bronx, Lt. Michael Healey called a dispatcher to make his
pitch for an assignment in lower Manhattan just before the second
"This is Mike Healey over in Squad 41," he said. "I was just
seeing if he could maybe possibly get us over there, so, just keep
us in mind, over into Manhattan."
"OK," the dispatcher said. They responded, with Healey and
five other squad members killed.
Devlin, in the lobby of the south tower, provided a glimpse of
the problems downstairs. Thirty-five floors above, fire Capt.
Patrick Brown reported a chaotic scene of civilians - some of them
burned - heading down the stairwell as the firefighters headed into
"Apparently it's above the 75th floor," Brown said in the
24-second exchange barely an hour before the north tower fell. "I
don't know if they got there yet. We're still heading up."
The same mix of concern and confusion was evident in other more
"One of the towers just collapsed," said an unidentified fire
lieutenant. "Everybody's got to be inside of it. ... There's got
to be thousands of the people inside it. One of the towers just
came down on top of EVERYBODY."
One off-duty worker was in tears when she called in to try to
report for duty.
"All those people - what about the EMTs and paramedics and
firefighters in there helping people get out?" she asked her
"I don't know, sweetie, I really don't know."
Family members, in a familiar tableau, again complained their
loved ones were betrayed by poor communication that could have
steered them outside before the buildings collapsed.
"We're still looking for information for how we can fix what
went wrong that day," said Aggie McCaffrey, whose firefighter
brother Orio Palmer was killed when the first tower collapsed.
Barbara Hetzel lost her son Thomas, of Ladder Co. 13. Although
she has listened to such tapes before, she said, it doesn't get
easier with time.
"It's even deeper and sadder," said Hetzel, who listened with
less than a dozen family members in a midtown Manhattan high-rise.
In March, the city released transcripts of 130 calls from people
trapped in the towers, including only the voices of operators and
other public employees. The callers' voices were cut out after city
attorneys argued that their pleas for help were too emotional and
intense to be publicized without their families' consent.
Thousands of pages of emergency workers' oral histories and
radio transmissions were released last August. Fire Commissioner
Nicholas Scoppetta ordered his department to search for additional
recordings when another tape turned up shortly after the March
The New York Times and family members sued for access to the
emergency calls and firefighters' oral histories. Attorneys said
they wanted to find out what happened in the towers after two
hijacked jetliners crashed into them and what dispatchers told
workers and rescuers.
One of the more poignant calls involved a 911 operator and
Melissa Doi, a manager for IQ Financial Systems. Doi, stranded on
the south tower's 83rd floor with five other people, stayed on the
line for more than 20 minutes.
The 32-year-old Doi died in the trade center. A portion of Doi's
end of the conversation was played for jurors in April at the trial
of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, but this was the first
time the operator's voice was heard.
The call ended with the operator hoping for the best when the
other end of the line went silent.
"Not dead, not dead," she said. "Not dead, they're snoring."
Associated Press Writers Amy Westfeldt, Verena Dobnik, Deepti
Hajela, Anita Chang, Meghan Barr, Tom Hays, Christie Hampton and
Sara Kugler contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Excerpts from latest batch of Sept. 11 emergency calls
By The Associated Press
New York City released 1,613 emergency phone calls made after
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
"We're in a state of confusion. We have no cell phone service
anywhere because of the disaster. ... Bring all the additional
handy talkies." - Battalion Chief Dennis Devlin, who died in the
"One of the towers just collapsed. Everybody's got to be inside
of it. ... There's got to be thousands of people inside it. One of
the towers just came down on top of EVERYBODY." - Unidentified
A conversation between an off-duty dispatcher and her
Supervisor: "Why are you crying, Carol?"
Dispatcher: "The World Trade Center collapsed."
Supervisor: "Everything is collapsed, baby."
Dispatcher: "All those people - what about the EMTs (emergency
medical technicians) and paramedics and firefighters in there
helping people get out?"
Supervisor: "I don't know, sweetie, I really don't know."
"Keep praying. They'll be in there soon. It takes a while to
get up those stairs ... It's going to be fine. It's going to be
fine." - Dispatcher to 9/11 victim Melissa Doi, who died on the
83rd floor of the south tower
"Well, a plane just crashed into it this morning, the other one
the same thing. OK? Why don't you just try to stay calm, try to
stay together. I'm going to try to get this to the radio people to
get somebody up to you." - Unidentified dispatcher to person in
the trade center
"We have six men here. Do you want us to find our way down
there? ... OK, we're going to try and respond down to the trade
center." - Fire Lt. Raymond Murphy, who died after volunteering
"Sir, did you find something and put it over your head? OK, did
you see any fire at this time? Sir ... OK, I want you to go on the
floor. Kneel on the floor. On the floor. Cover your head with a
cloth." - Unidentified dispatcher
"We got people jumping out of buildings. It is unreal. It is
absolutely unreal." - Unidentified emergency worker
"Ma'am, if you have to break a window, if you have to. If you
don't, don't break it. I'm gonna get somebody there to get you, OK?
... I'm not going to be able to call you back, we're very busy
right now. Everybody's calling me." - Unidentified dispatcher
"I'm on the 35th floor. ... Numerous burn injuries are coming
down. I'm trying to send them down. ... We're still heading up." -
Fire Capt. Patrick Brown, later killed in the trade center
"There's heavy smoke and flames, and the building management is
announcing that everything is all right, and it's not and they're
confused." - emergency operator, relaying call from the 82nd floor
of the south tower to another dispatcher
"Is there any towels in the area? Anything that you have handy.
Soak them with water. Lie on the floor. OK? Sir, try to calm
yourself down." - Unidentified emergency operator
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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