We continue to present the extraordinary stories of those FDNY firefighters who were on the scene and operating in different areas before, during and after the collapse of the World Trade Center's 110-story twin towers following the terrorist attack on 9/11. The interviews were conducted by Harvey...
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Then you'd would work your way up all the way up onto the pile onto the north tower, which was a big irregular pile, but you'd work your way up and then around. They had ladders strung and across all these little voids. Eventually, they put plywood on them. There was rope tied from beam to beam to piece of debris so you could sort of hold onto the rope as a handrail and walk on the ladders until we get to the top of that pile of the north tower, and that's where there was like the top of a stairway. That's where they were all working.
The first night I went up there, I relieved the commander of the 9th Battalion, Joe Nardone. A couple of rescue officers, a couple of rescue firemen, Rescue 1, Rescue 4, and they were digging and they had firemen there.
But now back to the top of that tower that second day, when we were at the top of that large pile, there was always a SOC operation, although there were other guys up there helping occasionally too. West Central Command we were talking to, what we were doing, what we were finding, what we needed, more tools, more bottles, more of this, more of that. Another company was sending Rescue 4 down, sending Rescue 3 up, and they would all come up there. They were digging by hand with these little garden spades, halligans and things like that. You could barely use shovels there. They were digging, digging, digging, and they would uncover a turnout coat and they would start digging around that. Eventually, that stuff got moved and the whole pile went down too, but most of the time you were digging in a hole. There was smoke coming up from everywhere so they were sticking lines in holes to keep the smoke from coming up right where we were working.