WTC: This Is Their Story - Part IV

I went to go look for Joe. There was a place for parking cars, park-and-ride, on the corner of Liberty Street. There were a couple of cars on fire. People were saying that they thought there might have been people in the cars, so I made my way over there...


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I went to go look for Joe. There was a place for parking cars, park-and-ride, on the corner of Liberty Street. There were a couple of cars on fire. People were saying that they thought there might have been people in the cars, so I made my way over there. Joe was coming down. We started checking cars. The debris coming down was tremendous. It was a tremendous amount of stuff falling, more so off Tower 2 than Tower 1. Building debris, plane parts, paper, a lot of coverings over the exterior.

Some stuff was sailing. Some of the covers came down, they floated. So actually if one was coming at you, you had some time to act. But then for the most part, some of them came down like dive bombers. I guess maybe the wind just caught them. One car in particular was really roaring. It looked like the door was open, like somebody had been driving it in and that was the car we were trying to make our way over to. It was right by the south tower pedestrian bridge that went across West Street. There was a concrete wall there. You couldn't climb over, you had to go around. When I went around, I was at Albany making my way to Cedar when a fireman came around the block from Cedar and said to me all EMS ambulances were going from the northbound lane into the southbound lane to continue north and they were bringing them down Liberty and lining them all up in here. That's why I put the TAC out of the way.

Then some kid yelled to me. He said we need an ambulance, we need an ambulance, we got somebody down. I walked back to Albany, grabbed the first EMS ambulance. The guy shot passed me. He stopped just before Cedar in front of 90 West. As I was walking back down, the guy says yeah, we had a fireman down and it turned out to be a guy from an engine company. Two or three guys had him and they were dragging him. It looked like something out of Vietnam, where you're looking for a sniper or something that's picking guys off.

We went over to the building at 90 West, which was under renovation. They had the scaffolding around all four sides of the building. We started CPR. The backboard came. We really weren't in too much of harm's way as far as debris coming down because we had the scaffolding over us protecting us, but we didn't know what else was happening.

They put him on a gurney and they got him in the ambulance. I got a paramedic off one of the private ambulances to jump in there with him. Then they took off for Bellevue Hospital.

Our gear was all over the place - masks, helmets, turnout coats. We tried to regroup. There was a bunch of about five or six people in the lobby. They had come out and asked if everybody was all right. I think they saw the look on our face. Now we realized that we had lost a guy, so some of us were kind of out of it. So they said, Can we get you a drink of water, can we do anything?

We went in the lobby to start getting dressed. I just was going to throw some water on my face and a guy says, Come on, I got a bathroom over here. It turns out we're on the second floor. When he got me in the elevator, he went up to the 13 floor, of all numbers to pick, and I was like, the heck with this, maybe just go down. I said let me just throw some water on my face.

Something was wrong. I wasn't having a heart attack or anything, I just didn't feel right. All of a sudden, there was like a rush of air. All the air left the building. You heard this explosion. There was a rumbling noise and the building we were in shook. All the ceiling tiles fell off. The lights went out. I thought the building collapsed. I thought the building had been hit by something. We proceeded to get out of the building. When we got down toward the lobby, it was on fire. They had made sort of a triage center right in front of 90 West, with all ambulances. It wasn't until maybe 10, 15 minutes later when I finally made my way out of the building that I realized that every ambulance they had parked there was destroyed, was on fire. Some were flipped over or on top of each other. There were at least a dozen of them. Any rig that was in the street was gone.

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