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Hayden: Across the street. That's what I was concerned about, that the fire would jump the streets. We had exposure problems, so Bobby's function was just to contain the fire there. They had a big air shaft in there and he was able to get a line across the shaft and keep it in one wing of the building on the upper floors. And eventually it burned itself out.
There was a good fire condition. It was pouring smoke and fire out of there. We were going to a fourth-alarm fire there. If you had to really address this fire, you would be trying to handle it as a fourth alarmer and he had nowhere near that, so he did a good job with that. We also were doing searches along all the debris in front of the Marriott and out on West Street, the void searches.
Firehouse: Other people tell me that there were a lot of firefighters in the street who were visible, and they put out traffic cones to mark them off?
Hayden: Yeah. There was enough there and we were marking off. There were a lot of damaged apparatus there that were covered. We tried to get searches in those areas. By now, this is going on into the afternoon, and we were concerned about additional collapse, not only of the Marriott, because there was a good portion of the Marriott still standing, but also we were pretty sure that 7 World Trade Center would collapse. Early on, we saw a bulge in the southwest corner between floors 10 and 13, and we had put a transit on that and we were pretty sure she was going to collapse. You actually could see there was a visible bulge, it ran up about three floors. It came down about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, but by about 2 o'clock in the afternoon we realized this thing was going to collapse.
Firehouse: Was there heavy fire in there right away?
Hayden: No, not right away, and that's probably why it stood for so long because it took a while for that fire to develop. It was a heavy body of fire in there and then we didn't make any attempt to fight it. That was just one of those wars we were just going to lose. We were concerned about the collapse of a 47-story building there. We were worried about additional collapse there of what was remaining standing of the towers and the Marriott, so we started pulling the people back after a couple of hours of surface removal and searches along the surface of the debris. We started to pull guys back because we were concerned for their safety.
Firehouse: Jay Jonas told me that at one point, when he had finally made his way out of the debris, you were standing on top of a truck?
Hayden: Yes. It was covered in debris. I got on top of the rig only to establish a presence there. There was a lot of confusion, a lot of chaos. That was my command post in that sector. I stood on top of the rig and people could see who I was, that there was a chief in charge and that people could come to me and I'd give them assignments. It worked. I didn't realize it at the time, but it worked. People could point, there's the chief over there, rather than out of all this chaos and destruction, where was there a command post? You couldn't even make out West Street. So I saw the rig. I got on top of the rig and I stayed there. And eventually we got a bullhorn, a radio. I had a bullhorn and we were able to get some type of order in the assignments and what we were doing.
We tried to get some type of accountability. I gathered everybody around me. There were hundreds of guys and there was a lot of confusion. I had everybody take their helmets off for a moment of silence, and it calmed everybody down. Then, I said, please assist the chief officers in getting some accountability here. Whether you're on duty or off duty, give them your name, your unit, and give it in to the chiefs. The chiefs made up a list and I had started getting a list of who I had working on the site there, also. It was just an attempt to gain some kind of control.
Firehouse: So you were able to move forward a little bit at that point?