source: New York Timesnote: Some formatting errors via translation from PDF.
There were some units there, along with a
Battalion Chief and I gave them some instructions as to
what to try to do. And while I was still in that
immediate area, the south tower, 2 World Trade Center,
there was what appeared to be at first an explosion.
It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all
four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then
there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could
see the beginning of the collapse.
At that time I started walking back up
towards Vesey Street. I heard three explosions,
and then we heard like groaning and grinding, and
tower two started to come down. To the
firefighters and the cops that I was standing
there with started running northbound on West
Street and we made a left on Vesey and ran again
towards North End Avenue where we were having EMS
triage, and we stopped over there.
At that time we
proceeded into the middle of West Street directly
underneath the north tower. At that time, I had a very
tight feeling in my stomach, just experiencing what I
went through with 2 World Trade Center, being that
close. I didn't feel at ease at all.
I was watching the fire,
watching the people jump and hearing a noise and
looking up and seeing -- it actually looked --
the lowest floor of fire in the south tower
actually looked like someone had planted
explosives around it because the whole bottom I
could see -- I could see two sides of it and the
other side -- it just looked like that floor blew
The first plane had hit. We pulled
up in front, and we headed inside toward the
lobby. On the way inside you saw the usual stuff
like everyone else saw, things falling and stuff
Tower one now comes down. Same thing
but this time some of us take off straight down
West Street, because we realized later on,
subconsciously we wanted to be near buildings.
We all thought it was secondary explosives or
more planes or whatever.
So when that one went down. I thought the
plane was exploding, or another plane hit. I had no
idea it was coming down. But I couldn't see it gone,
because I couldn't see it really in the first place
with all the smoke.
Anyway, with that I was listening, and
there was an incredibly loud rumbling. I never
got to look up. People started running for the
entrances to the parking garages. They started
running for the entrances. I started running
without ever looking up.
THE BEST CAN REMEMBER WE WERE JUST
OPERATING THERE TRYING TO HELP OUT AND DO THE
BEST WE COULD THEN WE HEARD LOUD EXPLOSION OR
WHAT SOUNDED LIKE LOUD EXPLOSION AND LOOKED UP
AND SAW TOWER TWO START COMING DOWN CRAZY
I'm just standing under the first
pedestrian bridge near Vesey Street, and I see my old fire
company 131, I see 101 from my battalion, a couple of the
companies there. IÌm over there standing and someone starts
yelling: There's an explosion. All of a sudden you could hear
some weird sound like crumbling. All of a sudden everybody starts
I DIDNT KNOW IF IT WAS AN EXPLOSION DIDNT
KNOW IT WAS COLLAPSE AT THAT POINT THOUGHT
IT WAS AN EXPLOSION OR SECONDARY DEVICE
BOMB THE JET PLANE EXPLODING WHATEVER
HAD RIO CLUE WHAT WA GOING ON NEVER
TURNED AROUND BECAUSE SOUND CAME FROM SOMEWHERE THAT
NEVER HEARD BEFORE SOME PEOPLE COMPARED IT WITH AN
AIRPLANE IT WAS THE WORST SOUND OF ROLLING SOUND
NOT THUNDER CANT EXPLAIN IT WHAT IT WAS ALL
KNOW IS AND FORCE STARTED TO COME HIT ME IN MY
BACK CANT EXPLAIN IT YOU HAD TO BE THERE ALL
KNOW IS HAD TO RUN BECAUSE THOUGHT THERE WAS AN
The second building came down.
It was weird how it started to come
down. It looked like it was a timed explosion,
but I guess it was just the floors starting to
pancake one on top of the other.
Q. This is the first building collapsing?
At that point I looked back and most of the
people who were triaged in that area with the triage
tags on them got up and ran. I took a quick glance at
the building and while I didn't see it falling, I saw a
large section of it blasting out, which led me to
believe it was just an explosion. I thought it was a
secondary device, but I knew that we had to go.
I was going to run down
further into the bay, and then -- I don't know. It's
very strange, but in the loading dock, right against
the wall very close to the door was a white van, and it
was just parked there, and I said, "All right. We are
going to grab refuge behind this van."
We went to the back of the van, and we got
down on the ground, and we heard this huge, thunderous,
loud sound, and then it was completely dark and
Everybody's heads were all popping up now.
Everybody is digging out, so I ran into a couple of
firefighters and I said, "Well, you know, what the hell
happened?" Some kind of an explosion, he goes, and
that's what I thought it was, because it was like
coming at you sideways, so we looked out, and we're
getting the people out, and as we are getting people
out through this debris onto West Street, I'm looking
at the medical treatment area, and all the fire
apparatus, and all the ambulances were on fire, and
nobody is around. You know, where is everybody?
In that process of him trying to
explain to me to pull my ambulance over, I heard
a loud bang. We looked up, and we just saw the
building starting to collapse. I looked over and
started to scream at my partner, which he was
inside the vehicle.
The next thing I
knew, you started hearing more explosions. I
guess this is when the second tower started
The next thing I heard was Pete say what the
fuck is this? And as my eyes traveled up the building,
and I was looking at the south tower, somewhere about
halfway up, my initial reaction was there was a
secondary explosion, and the entire floor area, a ring
right around the building blew out. I later realized
that the building had started to collapse already and
this was the air being compressed and that is the floor
that let go. And as my eyes traveled further up the
building, I realized that this building was collapsing
and I turned around and most everybody was ahead of me
running for the garage, and I remember thinking I
looked at this thing a little bit too long and I might
not make this garage. But I did.
The next thing I know, we heard a
little bit of a rumbling, and then white powder came
from the first collapsed building. I thought it was an
explosion initially. We got hit with the powder. We
tried to run. We got hit with the powder. It took a
few minutes to clear.
I made it up onto the -- I guess you
call it the concourse level, the mezzanine level,
and onto the foot bridge when I started to
hear -- I thought I heard an explosion of some
sort, but I kind of dismissed it. I figured, ah,
it's just something burning upstairs. I really
didn't think of what was going on.
We were in the
process of getting some rigs moved when I turned,
as I heard a tremendous roar, explosion, and saw
that the first of the two towers was starting to
Then we heard a rumble, some twisting metal, we looked up in the air, and to be
totally honest, at first, I don't know exactly...but it looked to me just like an explosion. It
didn't look like the building was coming down, it looked like just one floor had blown
completely outside of it. I was sitting there looking at it. I just never thought they would
ever come down, so I didn't think they were coming down. I just froze and stood there
looking at it.
After that I
heard this huge explosion, I thought it was a boiler exploding or something. Next thing
you know this huge cloud of smoke is coming at us, so we're running. Everyone is,
firemen, PD, everyone is running away from the World Trade Center, up Vessey Street.
This is North End, we was running around Vessey and around North end to get away
from the first smoke.
I looked up, and the
building exploded, the building that we were very
close to, which was one tower. The whole top
came off like a volcano.
I was in the back waiting, you
know, so we could wait for patients and I was hooking up the regulator to the O-2, when I
hear people screaming and a loud explosion, and I heard like "ssssssssss..." the dust like
"sssssssss..." So I come out of the bus, and I look and I see a big cloud of dust and
THEN THAVS WHEN KEPT ON WALKING
CLOSE TO THE SOUTH TOWER AND THAVS WHENTHAT
HOWDID YOU KNOWTHAT IT WAS COMING
THAT NOISE IT WAS NOISE
WHAT DID YOU HEAR WHATDID YOU SEE
IT WAS A FRIGGING NOISE AT FIRST I
THOUGHT IT WAS DO YOU EVER SEE PROFESSIONAL
DEMOLITION WHERE THEY SET THE CHARGES ON CERTAIN
FLOORS AND THEN YOU HEAR POP POP POP POP
POP THAVS EXACTLY WHAT BECAUSE THOUGHT
IT WASTHAT WHEN HEARD THAT FRIGGING NOISE
THAVS WHEN SAWTHE BUILDING COMING DOWN
I started to treat
patients on my own when I heard the explosion from up
above. I looked up, I saw smoke and flame and then I
saw the top tower tilt, start to twist and lean.
tower started -- there was a big explosion that I
heard and someone screamed that it was coming down
and I looked away and I saw all the windows
domino -- you know, dominoeing up and then come
down. We were right in front of 6, so we started
running and how are you going to outrun the World
Trade Center? So we threw our tools and I dove
under a rig.
So we just ran as a unit to the overpass
again, and we took a look up, and it was like one -- it
was like, holy shit. It was like -- because it was
like -- I guess the building was kind of -- I don't
remember specifically, but I remember it was, like, we
got to get out of here. So I think that the building
was really kind of starting to melt. We were -- like,
the melt down was beginning. The collapse hadn't
begun, but it was not a fire any more up there. It was
like -- it was like that -- like smoke explosion on a
tremendous scale going on up there.
Still in the hallway, we heard a big
shake in the building. It's my belief that was
the tower two coming down. I'm not positive, but
you could definitely feel an incredible shake.
Although debris fell around us, the
main structure felt as if -- we were lucky. When
it sounded like the explosion stopped, the steel
hitting, when it all seemed to stop, this just
like a fire storm of wind and material, a
sandstorm kind of, just came and wailed by,
really flew past us quick.
As I said that and he turned around, all this
black smoke started filling and I looked at the
building and it started vibrating. So I was almost
next to the cemetery at that time. I was on the side
of the church. I looked and all this debris just
started exploding everywhere, and I turned around to
run and I didn't see the patient anymore, and myself
and the FBI guy just started going down that block.
We knew something had happened. I
don't think we realized like the whole thing had
come down, because we didn't even know -- she had
said that something had collapsed, there was some
kind of explosion, I don't know. We just got
out, we stopped, and all of a sudden people just
started coming out, all covered in the ash.
I d i d n ' t want to take
one because they had a couple of f i r e t r u c k s t h a t
were hanging out r i g h t i n f r o n t of him. I d o n ' t
know what f i r e t r u c k s they were, but they looked
kind of beaten up from t h e explosion.
but for some reason I thought
that when I looked in the direction of the Trade Center
before it came down, before No. 2 came down, that I saw
low-level flashes. In my conversation with Lieutenant
Evangelista, never mentioning this to him, he
questioned me and asked me if I saw low-level flashes
in front of the building, and I agreed with him because
I thought -- at that time I didn't know what it was. I
mean, it could have been as a result of the building
collapsing, things exploding, but I saw a flash flash
flash and then it looked like the building came down.
Then there was another it sounded like
an explosion and heavy white powder, papers,
flying everywhere. We sat put there for a few
minutes. It kind of dissipated.
We looked up at the building straight up, we
were that close. All we saw was a puff of smoke coming
from about 2 thirds of the way up. Some people thought
it was an explosion. I don't think I remember that. I
remember seeing, it looked like sparkling around one
specific layer of the building. I assume now that that
was either windows starting to collapse like tinsel or
something. Then the building started to come down. My
initial reaction was that this was exactly the way it
looks when they show you those implosions on TV. I
would have to say for three or four seconds anyway,
maybe longer. I was just watching. It was interesting
to watch, but the thing that woke everybody up was the
cloud of black material. It reminded me of the 10
commandments when the green clouds come down on the
street. The black cloud was coming down faster than
the building, so whatever was coming down was going to
hit the street and it was pretty far out. You knew it
wasn't coming right down. Judging from where people
were jumping before that, this cloud was out much