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At the staircase a Port Authority police captain was working, telling the people to go off to the left. I stayed there at the promenade level and told people to go to their right and walk, don't run, don't look up and they would almost be out. I wanted them to stay to their right, to look to their right, because a lot of people were jumping at that time, and if they looked straight, they would have seen it. Blood was splattering the windows looking toward West Street.
There was that glass canopy, people would hit that, making a loud sound, and then they were hitting the chief's car and making another loud sound. It was like boom, boom, boom. I was just trying to keep the people's minds off it. But the people were very orderly, they were coming down, nobody panicking. Everybody was orderly. The only problem we had was when a couple of the women came down without their heels on and when they reached that level there was water around, and they were stopping to put their heels back on. We said, move to the side when you put on your heels and let the other people go by, and they did it and everything was fine. I remember a blind fellow coming by me with a dog. I remember the dog coming down first with a couple of the people. I said to myself, where's the owner of that dog, and then the blind person came down. I said to myself, he doesn't have to worry about not looking up.
They passed by and we were telling people to stay to their right. Bobby said he was going to go to the third floor and tell people there to stay to their right because firemen had started going up the stairs and it would make it easier for them to go up. I remember seeing Ladder 2. I knew two guys on Ladder 2, Carl Molinaro and Mike Clark. They had been in Engine 160. Both did details there. I knew both of them. I saw 2 Truck go up the stairs.
Soon after that, Bobby asked me to go to the third floor to help him carry a woman down the stairs. She was a Spanish woman, I believe she was 42 and I know her name was Olivia. We carried her down and brought her to the concourse level. We moved her to the left as everybody was going toward the right. I took her pulse. It seemed to be a rapid pulse and she was hyperventilating. The Port Authority captain was there, trying to call for an ambulance, and they said that we'd have to bring the woman outside the building. I said to the woman, Olivia, we have too many people to help here, we don't have time to stop and carry you all the way out, you're going to have to get out yourself. Take it easy, breathe easy and walk with some of the other people out of here.
I went back to the staircase to assist the people coming down. At this point, I believe, Bobby La Rocca and the female captain took the woman out. I was operating at the staircase, telling people the same thing, when all of a sudden I heard a loud, loud screeching, twisting of metal. It seemed to me like six or seven trains pulling into a subway station at the same time. I was only a couple of feet from the metal door where the staircase was. I pulled the door shut and I got in the corner of the staircase. I remember I was hugging up against the standpipe that was there or some sort of pipe. I was in the corner.
I had my flashlight on. Everything went black. The air starting filling up with debris right away. I had my flashlight on the staircase, which was lined with people, the whole staircase, and I was just waiting for the debris to come down the interior steps and trap us there, not knowing what was collapsing. I was just waiting, thinking it's this building.
A minute or so went by, and the noise stopped. We were still alive, all the people in the staircase, and filled up with debris. It was tough breathing and my eyes I remember got scratchy right away from the glass particles that were flying around in the air. I could hear people screaming on the outside of the door. That's the area where we were just letting the people out into. I could hear people screaming.