Sept. 11, 2001 – or now known to many as just 9/11 – is a date which will be remembered long after most of us reading this are gone. The worst terrorist attack to strike the United States occurred when two hijacked commercial passenger jetliners crashed into the upper floors of New York City’s...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
The tip of Manhattan is protected by Battalion 1, under the command of the deputy chief of the First Division. Battalion 1 is comprised of four engines and three trucks that respond from four firehouses in the oldest section of lower Manhattan.
Engine 6, “The Tigers,” are named for the “Tammany Tiger,” a symbol of “Boss” William Tweed, whose Tammany Hall politics in the late 1800s are well known in the history of the city’s corruption scandals.
The “Ten House” housing Engine 10 and Ladder 10 is across the street from the site of the south tower of the World Trade Center complex. This is one of only two firehouses of the 220 in the FDNY that house engine and ladder companies with the same numbers (Engine 52 and Ladder 52 are housed together in the Bronx).
Engine 7, Tower Ladder 1 and the 1st Battalion share a firehouse called “Stately Duane Manor” on Duane Street a few blocks the from City Hall. Tower Ladder 1 was the first ladder company in the city to receive an aerial platform in 1964. The company was routinely special-called all over the city to operate with its platform. Today, the city operates 62 tower ladders out of 143 ladder companies citywide.
Engine 4 and Tower Ladder 15, “Wall Street,” are housed in a firehouse located in a high-rise building on South Street facing the East River. The firehouse was built within the high-rise when the developer used the existing firehouse location for an outdoor plaza and swapped the space. This is one of three firehouses located within high-rise structures in Manhattan.
On the request for three alarms to the World Trade Center, four engine companies, three ladder companies, two battalion chiefs, a squad company and a rescue company under the command of a deputy chief would normally respond on the first alarm. On the working fire signal of 10-75, an additional ladder responds as the rapid intervention company, or FAST (Firefighter Assist and Search Team) truck.
On the second alarm, an additional four engine companies, two ladder companies, two battalion chiefs and several special units respond. Among these units are the field communications unit, safety battalion, marine company (fireboat), tactical support unit, special operations battalion, satellite hose unit with an additional engine company, and a recuperation and care (RAC) unit. On the third alarm, four additional engine companies, one ladder company, a battalion chief and the mask service unit respond.
Pfiefer arrived at the west-side entrance to 1 World Trade Center. Entering the tower he walked to the fire command station located in the northwest corner of the lobby. Many of the large windows in the lobby were broken, and pieces of marble in the elevator lobbies were cracked or had fallen from the impact of the jet between the 96th and the 103rd floors. Pfiefer was advised that numerous people were trapped in nearly 25 elevators, the highest was at the 71st floor. The elevators were not working. Apparently, jet fuel had poured down the elevator shafts. Some of the elevators were on fire. Signs of smoke and fire damage were visible at some elevators. Many of the elevator doors were missing.
Deputy Chief Pete Hayden of the 1st Division arrived minutes after Pfiefer. The 1st Division is responsible for everything from the lower tip of Manhattan to 34th Street. Hayden wanted to identify the problems confronting the FDNY. He asked about the elevators, identifying the attack stairs, and inquired about the status of the evacuations. He also wanted to know what assignments were given out. A Port Authority supervisor asked whether the other tower should be evacuated. Hayden told him evacuate the entire complex.
Chief of Department Peter Ganci witnessed the aftermath of the first jet to attack the towers from his office window at FDNY Headquarters in Brooklyn. Ganci responded with the Chief of Operations Daniel Nigro. While still enroute, Ganci requested two more alarms for a total of five alarms to respond to 1 World Trade Center. Smoke and fire were visible from ten floors. Ganci told Nigro, “This is going to be the worst day of our lives.”