WTC: This Is Their Story - Part II

Then I responded. I took a couple of EMTs who were responding from here with us and we got right to West Broadway and Vesey, right by 7, when I heard another explosion. I looked up and I thought it was a secondary explosion in the north tower, but...


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Then I responded. I took a couple of EMTs who were responding from here with us and we got right to West Broadway and Vesey, right by 7, when I heard another explosion. I looked up and I thought it was a secondary explosion in the north tower, but things started to rain down, so we dove into a garage until things calmed down. I didn't realize it was a second plane until I got back into my car and I said I'd better get out of here, this isn't a good spot, and I headed back north, went down Chambers to West and drove down a couple of blocks and parked my car. And then I got to the command post and Pete and Dan were maybe inside the building. I didn't see them.

I got to the command post and then all of a sudden everybody started to come back to the command post. People were going to different spots and I was helping get the frequencies up working with Chief Galvin. We had sent them into the Marriott and communications were poor at that time. And so I took a walk into the lobby of the Marriott to get phone numbers from the lobby command post and the lobby desk. I remember talking to the companies that were there and assigning the companies, the command post companies, to help Chief Galvin. Things were hectic.

Firehouse: Do you know what company that was?

Cassano: I guess it was 13 Truck that was in there. Some of the others I don't remember exactly. I remember getting all the numbers and walking out of the Marriott, but on the Liberty Street side because there were some people jumping and some debris falling. I walked along Liberty back up to West and I met Commissioner Feehan and Commissioner (Lynn) Tierney there. They didn't know what was going on. I directed them to the command post. I told them to walk across the street because there was a lot of stuff raining down.

Then we got back to the command post and there were still plenty of companies at the command post, but some of the companies that were there originally before I left were sent into the Marriott, and I don't remember which companies they were, but I remember the roar of the south tower and we all dove into that garage that we had planned on as our safe area right from the beginning. And we stayed in there for a few minutes until it cleared up and then came outside again, and that's where I met Chief Ganci and Commissioner Feehan and I got the order to send everybody north and set up another command post. And we were moving people north and Pete and Bill started to go south. They had heard people were trapped, so they went south. I started to move people north, telling them of the orders that the chief of department gave us, move people north, go up north.

And then I realized that we still had plenty of people left in the north tower. We were trying to get Chief Ganci on the handie-talkie and I started making my way south to meet up with him, to go down there and help him command some of the operations down there. We had plenty of commanders going up north, so I said I'll walk south and meet up with him and maybe we can help out. So then I was just north of the north bridge and the north tower. And then I looked up and you didn't have to see it, you could hear the roar. It almost sounded like another plane was coming over. That's the kind of deafening roar it was.

I looked up and started running up north and I looked up again and I said well, I'm not outrunning this building. And there was a rig somewhere on West Street and I dove under this rig. I just hoped that that one made it. I was lucky there. I got hit with some debris underneath the rig and I was just hoping that this dust and dirt would stop because we didn't have much breath left, anybody that was there. Once the dust and debris stopped, I tried to get up. I couldn't get up. My back was banged up real good.

Firehouse: Can you remember which rig it was?

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