(c) 2001, Mike Barkley
[last updated 02/06/02 - I use minimal HTML to maximize your download speed]

[ Internet searches on various combinations : WTC World Trade Center stair stairs stairwell stairwells stairway stairways B C D locked pinned jammed shut tower floor down bodies engineer engineers ; yield thousands of hits. Most are irrelevant, many are duplicates but some apparent duplicates, like those of Ms. Gillies, report nuances missed by the others.... ]

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Newsweek Commemorative Issue, Fall 2001, p. 65
Comment from Rudy Giuliani:

"There were people on the 104th floor who walked all the way down, if they were lucky enough to find the stairs."

[ Wow. Escaping certain death was a matter of luck, not public policy as reflected in building codes and safety standards? Tsk, tsk, Rudy....

12/19/01 - Today USA Today identified 4 people who escaped from above the impact point in the South Tower, 3 from the 84th floor and 1 from the 81st, via Stairway A, the farthest stairway from the impact point, see USA Today quotes far below...

Nobody took the initiative to notify 911 callers from above the impact point in Tower 2 that Stairway A though smoky was clear for evacuation if they moved quickly before the sheetrock burned through? ]
"I was on the 98th floor," says Kevin Dorrian, a carpenter leaning against a van on Franklin Street around 1:30 with some fellow union members. "I saw a friend of mine get blown out the window. He was right there, three feet from me. He was putting up blinds. I couldn't do nothing. I took the stairs down, past the fires...."
["...of Tower 2",
, inconsistent Dorrian stories, this other one has him at floor 75 when Tower #2 was hit, unless the 98th floor damage was the collateral damage from the Tower #1 strike as mentioned in the David Frank and similar accounts, below.... ]
"...south tower...Rooney...told his wife that he was trapped on the 105th floor of the burning building. He had made several attempts to escape first trying to run down the stairs, but he was beaten back around the 76th floor by the heat and smoke. Then he tried to access the observation deck just above his office, but he couldn't because the door was locked. "

[76? Wasn't that below either impact point? and locked?]

"Sun Jan 6, 7:06 PM ET
"Beverly Eckert, widow of Aon Co. employee Sean Rooney, who died in the World Trade Center attacks, attends a news conference challenging caps put on the amount of money that will be granted by the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2002, in New York. Families who accept funds from the fund forfeit their right to sue anyone but a terrorist organization over the attacks. (AP Photo/John-Marshall Mantel) ...." ]
"...Tower One...Leder and Forney...had faced their own ordeal. Heading downstairs, the two had hit a dead end at 72. The stairs just didn't go any farther, they said. Leder and Forney found a door to another stairwell, but it was locked.

"The situation was bad. "There were fires all over" the 72nd floor, Leder said. "No walls, wires everywhere." They found another staircase, but it was packed. Progress was slow. People would walk down five steps and then stop. "We were sweating like crazy," Forney said...." [locked?]

"...Things were tougher for Cary Sheih. When he reached the lower floors water started to pour into the stairwell. A pipe had burst, Sheih guessed. Water was up to his ankles. But he was close now, very close. Fifth floor, fourth.

""Then all of a sudden a loud boom, and the building began to shake unbearably again," he recalled. "People started falling as smoke started to rise. Emergency lights flickered and went out. I could hear the steel buckling. Rescuers below shouted for us to go back upstairs."

"Sheih returned to the sixth or seventh floor. A firefighter led him through the darkness to another stairwell...."

[more Forney stories below ]
[ see also L.A.Times Lipiak/Heinemann story below... ]

"...85th floor of One World Trade Center...As they descended into the breathable but intensely hot stairwells, Heineman's staff was stopped cold seven stories down, at a stairwell door that was locked. Forced out through the 78th floor's "sky lobby," where express elevators go to the main lobby, a building employee "didn't know" any other way down, said Heineman.

"Frantic, he discovered a second stairwell on the building's east side, and continued downward, only to be stopped by yet another locked door. This time, he said, someone had a key...."

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[ Then there's the issue of evacuation of disabled people, which has become of great importance to me since my wife wound up in a wheelchair from multiple sclerosis.

In its 10/01/01 issue People Magazine ran a story, p. 24, about Tina Hansen (or Hanson), who has had rheumatoid arthritis since age 3, uses a power wheelchair, and worked on the 68th floor of Tower 1. After the 1993 bombing, they (WTC?) bought her an evacuation chair, a sort of sling with rigid supports. Two men who apparently did not know her carried her down all 68 floors to safety. (see also, , about one of the men who rescued her, and about the other).

In Celebrity Worldwide, Inc.'s commemorative-style magazine, "Attack on America", issue 03, 2001, at an un-numbered page in a story "Friends Until The End, A Story of Undying Love," see also numerous web references ],

"...Abe Zelmanowitz and Ed friends...Abe, an Orthodox Jew, refused to leave the side of Ed [42], a Christian and a quadraplegic [sic], when their office on the 27th floor of the North tower....Ed told Abe that he couldn't leave the office. He was paralized [sic] from the neck down, and was struggling to breathe from a panic attack. He also felt that he would not be able to get down the stairs, even with assistance. Abe, 55, assured Ed's nurse that she should leave, and he would stay to help Ed. A fireman was already by their side, offering to lend a hand. The nurse made it out. The fireman, and Abe and Ed (who were both computer programmers for Blue Cross/Blue Shield) did not."

[ And there's the elevators. ]
Newsweek Commemorative Issue, Fall 2001, p. 96,

"The last time Cindy Guan's family spoke to her, she was trapped in an elevator on the 12th floor of Tower 2. She had been on her way up to her office on the 86th floor, where she worked....Guan's brother had phoned her as soon as he saw TV footage of the first plane crashing into tower 1. He called her again after seeing the second plane hit her building, only to find that she was still trapped on the same floor...."

[ and left there to die? see USA Today Elevator Repairman quotes below ]

[ There was some discussion in this bulletin board about various wacko methods to convey those trapped past the target floors, ];
11/03/01 Time, 9/24/01, p. 69, [ plus many web sites mentioning his name: ]
"Roko Camaj...Most days, he surveyed the surroundings from indoors, operating a remote-cleaning machine from the rooftop; but the windows on the 107th floor could not accommodate the machine, and he would attend to them manually, suspended from a harness....He called [his wife] at 9:14 a.m. last Tuesday from the 105th floor of the south tower. 'He told my mom he was with about 200 other people, and he was just waiting for the OK to head down,' says [his son] Vincent."

[ Waiting for the OK!?!

In the various web page photos, it looked like he had use of a fairly conventional window-washer's scaffold, as well as the sling, at least for the observation floor, but I would assume the equipment would have lost power by then. There are mentions that the doors to the roof were locked "for security reasons", [ LOCKED!! ] and various photos here and there of the roof showing the TV tower guy wires over the entire roof preventing helicopter landings (should any pilots brave the smoke) and any evacuation except by sling, etc. It also appeared from the videotape progressions that the only safe exterior passage past the impact floor was at the extreme northeast corner but that avenue did not remain open for long before those windows blew out. Did no one think to ensure Mr. Camaj had the tools to help himself and the others trapped to escape: auxiliary power for the equipment, a way to move the equipment to the only corner useable (assuming the equipment wasn't damaged), instructions to unlock the doors to the roof, to assist other trapped victims with helicopter slings, ground center communications that would guide his actions and suggest to him how quickly he'd have to move to save anybody? From the various web pages and other stories, it seems Mr. Camaj was a heroic figure in his own right. Were decisions made that inadvertently cheated him of the opportunity to make those heroic rescues, and save his own life as well? ]

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[ On the water in the stairwells in the lower third of the building, ] , John Labriola:
"WTC1....Around the 35th floor....A few floors lower water was flowing creating rapids down the stairs. This got worse as we got lower down...."

[ Also, Time special issue, without page numbers, week of 9/11, Nancy Gibbs' story, comments from Andy Perry, not a direct quote: ]
"...down 46 flights....The lights stayed on, but the lower stairs were filled with water from burst pipes and sprinklers."

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[ Same story, comments from Architect Bob Shelton, not a direct quote, ]
"...south tower..."You could hear the building cracking. It sounded like when you have a bunch of spaghetti, and you break it in half to boil it." Shelton knew that what he was hearing was bad. "It was structural failure," Shelton says. "Once a building like that is off center, that's it.""

[ Same story, from comments by Michael Otten: ]
"...south tower...44th floor...Otten and other groped through the dust to find a stairway, but the doors were locked. Finally they found a clearer passage, found a stairway they could get into and fled down to the street.

"Even as people streamed down the stairs, the cracks were appearing in the walls as the building shuddered and cringed. Steam pipes burst,...
[ see also,,8599,174655-3,00.html ]

and more comment at ]

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"The floors where the planes hit were engulfed in flames, fed by a full load of aviation fuel, but The New York Times reported that office workers on higher floors were able to use the stairwells that accessed the infernos. Thanks to city-enforced building codes, extra insulation in the walls kept the flames from the escape routes. "

[accessed !?!
and, by the way, as a State agency the Port Authority and thus the WTC was exempt from building codes, at least until the time of management turnover to Silverstein.... ]
"...Pushing frantically on the locked stairwell doors of the World Trade Center, Frank Joseph Doyle made a call to his wife, telling her that he and others were trapped and she should dial 911.

"The trader had made it down two floors from his 89th-floor office after two hijacked airplanes plowed into the twin towers. Now smoke was pouring in, and people were jumping to their deaths....

"...Keege Bruyette and Woods...89th floor of Tower 2... Ms. Chedel told her husband that he had to get out of Tower 2, which hadn't yet been hit, any way he could. She heard a muffled sound, like someone talking in the background, and her husband told her it was the speaker system.

""He told me the speaker said to not go down. Back in 1993, being in the building was the safest place," she said, referring to the terrorist bombing of the tower.

"But then the unthinkable happened again: Tower 2 was struck, and at 9:22 a.m., Mr. Doyle called her again, to tell her he loved her and their children.

""He said he went up to the roof and the doors [to outside] were locked, so he went down to Floor 87 and the doors were locked," she said.

"Trapped, he told her to call 911, which she did, telling the operator that "all these people are trapped."....
'...Frank Doyle...Keefe, Bruyette & Woods,...on the 87th floor of Tower Two when the plane hit. He called his wife, Kimmy, after seeing the first plane attack, Yannetti said. "He said it was the most distressing thing he had ever seen in his life," Yannetti said.

Half an hour later, he called his wife again, after the second plane hit. The doors to his floor were locked, he told her. "He said he didn't know what was going to happen, but he said that he loved her and he loved Zoe and he loved Garrett," Yannetti said, breaking into tears. "She wanted to stay on the phone with him, but he said, 'I've got to go now honey.'" - Indrani Sen"
"Vijay...Aon Insurance Company,...103rd floor of the Second World Trade Center Tower.

"Upon hearing of the first plane, Vijay and his colleagues decided to leave their building. They took the stairs from their floor (103rd floor) but the stairs met a dead-end on the 78th floor. They had to head to the 78th floor elevator lobby. While in the lobby waiting for the elevator with a whole bunch of people, the second plane hit their tower. The lights went out on the floor and many people were hurt, some killed. The emergency lights came on and people we checking to see who was OK.

"Vijay was apparently unhurt, just covered in dust. He then got a fire extinguisher to put out some of the fires that were on the floor but the fire extinguisher didn't work! Some people were then beginning to make their way down another set of stairs to safety but others who were badly hurt could not do so. One of those badly hurt was Vijay's boss and Vijay was trying to help him. Vijay told his colleagues that he would stay and help his boss take the stairs down.

"As a couple of his colleagues left the building having come down the stairwell, the building collapsed behind them. One of them recalled her last image of Vijay was of him placing his glasses into his shirt pocket and then doing the same with his boss's glasses. His willingness to help and his selflessness were evident right till the end...."
" close his son Jimmy had come to dying the morning of Sept. 11, when his Engine 5 left the scene of a stove fire to battle the worst inferno in American history. Jimmy fought the beast from the belly up. He was sent into the first tower hit, was slowed by a colleague's chest pains on the climb, and was finally ordered to retreat after Tower 2 collapsed.

"Jimmy figured he was a dead man running. At the fourth floor, with Tower 1 about to surrender and the stairwell exit locked, a dust-covered stranger pointed him toward a free door and - by a 45-second margin - the rest of his life."
From: Silvermoon (

" brother in law, Paul who worked (yes, past tense) on the 83rd floor of the first building that was hit.... and his co-workers were hanging around waiting for a meeting when the first plane hit their building. The other side of his floor (these floors are HUGE) was blown. He looked at his co-workers and just said GO! They ran to the stairs and made it down to the 70th floor... then the door was locked. (I am not sure what door and why there was one, I am reluctant to pry him for details he is still in shock, but I will ask him at some point). They found a maintenance guy who was able to unlock it and they continued down. Now mind you, even though he is a runner it still takes almost a minute to go from floor to floor...."
"Michael R Weholt (


"SPORTS ILLUSTRATED today and read about Jimmy Andruzzi and the other Number Fivers. Odd feeling of putting together the story from my view, from up here on 14th Street, and the story of the Number Fivers, as it happened down there at Ground Zero.

"Anyway, in the story, Andruzzi says: "We get to the fourth floor, and the door out of the stairwell to the lobby is locked."..."
"...Dan Baumbach ...80th floor of the WTC's North Tower...He and a few others immediately headed to the core of the building, where a stairwell ran near the elevators. "Fire already was spitting out there, so we found another stairwell and started down," he said. "But when we got to the 76th floor, there was a steel door. It was locked and people started to feel trapped. A couple of us tried to ram it in and that's how I dislocated my shoulder."

"When the door wouldn't budge, the group which Baumbach said had grown to 30 people retreated back to the 80th floor, found yet another exit and headed down again.

""This time we got to the 75th floor and we were met by a Port Authority building officer who told us to relax," Baumbach said. "He said he thought a helicopter had hit the building, so we figured, all right, it's not major. He told us we could stay and have water and someone would take care of us. Some people did, but when he said the stairs were open to the ground, the rest of us kept going. A few floors down we had to go through a corridor to another stairwell and that's when we saw the side walls and ceiling on fire. There weren't any sprinklers or alarms going, all we saw was one guy from that floor holding a fire hose, trying to put the blaze out.

""The more we pressed on, the more people were just feeling overwhelmed and they dropped out. They sat on the steps and waited for someone to come get them. It was horrible to see, but there was nothing to do. Smoke was coming in and then someone's cell phone rang. Someone called and told them the other tower had been hit by an airplane - same as ours - and that's when we all knew this was no accident."

"With 20 floors to go, Baumbach saw the first firemen come laboring up the stairs. "They were in all their gear," he said quietly. "They had oxygen tanks and axes and I remember they were all red-faced and sweating, but they just kept pressing on to help the people above . . ."

"When Baumbach and the knot of people behind him made it to ground level, they could not go through the doors because of the smoldering debris that was crashing down. They were sent down a stopped escalator to the underground Plaza Level and the WTC mall and that's where - an hour into their frantic flight - they found themselves wading through pitch black surroundings in a foot of water:..."
[note that these are all Tower One]

"...Dan Baumbach, 24, a software engineer from Merrick, was stunned to find that building officials in One World Trade Center were telling workers not to evacuate even after the first jet struck.

""You can try it, but it's at your own risk," he quoted one official as telling a group of 100 people on the 75th floor. Many chose to follow that advice; Baumbach continued his descent from the 80th floor and survived, but only after braving the debris that fell when the neighboring tower collapsed....

"Michael Cartier, 24, of Jackson Heights, said his sister Michelle, who worked in Tower One, told him that after the first plane struck, "'People began to evacuate, but an announcement over the intercom said everything was all right, no need to evacuate.'

""If this is true," Michael Cartier said, "they told people to go back to their desks. There should be an investigation."

"Officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the Trade Center, declined to discuss the evacuation. "I have no comment on anything relating to that incident," said Ernesto Butcher, the chief operating officer.

[ citing ]
[citing and reproducing story at]

"...Dan Baumbach, a software engineer who lives in Merrick, had an 80th-floor office at One World Trade Center, where he saw the flying debris and knew it was time to move.

"But heading down the stairs, he and four other co-workers suddenly came upon 100 others, who were told by a building official, "We'll get you out; be calm, just stay here."

""There was no way we were going to stay there," said Baumbach, 24, who was then warned: "You can try it, but it's at your own risk."

"Many stayed. Baumbach did not.

"At 10-story intervals, he had to walk through burning corridors. Bizarrely, no sprinklers or alarms had been activated. ...."

[ 10-story intervals? other facts on this page seem garbled, maybe this one is as well.... ]

"...Nicholas Scinicariello, 62, of Yorktown Heights, worked for the Port Authority on the 86th floor of Tower One.

""I saw the plane come in. My office faces north. I just finished my coffee and I heard my friend say, 'Oh no, oh no.' This plane was coming right at us, then it went up and hit the upper floors. I opened the door to my office. The fire alarms were all going off, the fire doors were jammed because the building had been wracked. I finally made it to one of the stairwells. The lights started to flicker on and off. The stairwells were flooded. Firemen were passing us on the way up." ...."
For the people on floors above the crash site, there was another critical factor: an ordinary fire would take two or three hours to burn through the gypsum wallboard around .the stairwells --but projectiles of plane wreckage almost certainly pierced through, letting in the fire and smoke. That trapped people on the upper floors.
"...each of the towers had 250 elevators but only three stairwells....

[no, that's 99 elevators and 3 stairwells....]

"...even though the stairwells were quite narrow...."
"...listen to the ordeal of a friend making her way out a building full of smoke, temperatures nothing she has ever felt before (she said it actually felt like her skin was melting), constantly seeing pieces of the building fall as they made their way down the stairwells, hearing screams as they passed the top floors, but too afraid to actually see if anyone needed help...." [ ?? ]
"87th floor of One World Trade Center...They began an odyssey down the crowded stairwell. At one point, they had go back upstairs to reach another stairwell because they couldn't get past a locked steel door."
"At 8:45 a.m., Walter Lipiak had just unlocked the door to Cosmos Service America on the 89th floor of the north tower. . . he gathered them up and herded them toward the stairwell, which was locked. Police arrived, unlocked the exit, and Lipiak's people joined what would become a throng on the route down.

"Four floors below, Geoffrey Heineman, managing partner of a law firm on the 85th floor of the north tower,...

"They tried getting out through the main lobby of the firm, but smoke had already filled it, so Heineman led the group back inside the offices, down a stairway at the other end, through the file room. The door was blocked by files that had fallen to the floor. They cleared them and walked out to the emergency stairs.

"They made it down to the 78th floor, where there's a "sky lobby," the usual point where people get express elevators to the ground floor. "We had to exit to the lobby," Heineman said. "There was smoke, people milling around. Then we switched to the stairwell at the other side of the lobby. And now it was very crowded."

"...Heineman's group continued its descent...

"The lower stairwell was thick with smoke. People labored to breathe and slowed. Others pushed past.

""When we got to the 50s, there were firemen walking up, carrying hoses, pushing past us," Heineman said. "After that, there were times you couldn't move. Nobody was moving. It was like bumper-to-bumper traffic. You would look down and see all the hands in the stairwell.

""Once in a while we would yell down, 'What's going on?' They would yell up, 'It's starting to move.' But often I wondered whether we would make it.

""Eventually, as we got closer, to about the 16th floor, it started to move. The last six floors, there was water pouring down the stairwells. We got to the mezzanine and had to walk down the escalators from there to the main lobby, which had 6 to 8 inches of water....

"It struck Heineman afterward that everything would have been worse an hour later. The offices, like his own, would have been filled. The stairways would have been impassable...."

[ Heineman story, also at ]
"...Sabrina... I am physically unharmed, except for the bottom of my feet which were all cut up since I lost my shoes. ... 89th Floor of 1 World Trade Center... A few minutes later the entire front of my office, where I was sitting, blew up and the entire building swayed back and forth. Flames, smoke, and debris from the ceiling covered the entrance of the office. There were four other people in my office at that time. Since we could not exit the normal way, the only other option was to use the emergency exit, which was located a few feet away and luckily had not yet gone up in flames.

"There was a problem, though. Because my company had never dreamed of anything of this magnitude happening, we used the narrow room where the exit was located as the Xerox room, in which were kept file cabinets about 9 feet high used to store supplies, etc. In the explosion, the cabinets fell over and the ceiling came down, blocking the exit door. I thought we were trapped and would burn right there.

"One of my co-workers, Frances, was in the Xerox room and was almost crushed by one of the cabinets. In a matter of seconds we were all in the room trying to lift the cabinets and open the exit door enough so that we could crawl through. It's true what they say about superhuman strength when the adrenaline is pumping. We finally did it.

"The entire floor was filled with smoke, and luckily the office two doors down was safe to go into. The five of us, could barely breathe due to all of the smoke we inhaled and were restlessly walking around the office, coughing, cursing, crying, yelling, trying to contact people we loved, holding each other. We had no idea what the hell was going on. We thought that perhaps a pipe had burst or something.

"We dialed for help, but when you dial 911 in the WTC (which, not so coincidentally was yesterday's date 9/11/01, EMERGENCY), you do not get the police, you get the WTC emergency line. They wouldn't tell us what happened. Someone from the office we crawled into had the bright idea of turning on the radio and that is when we learned what had happened.

"A plane intentionally crashed into 1 WTC - it crashed TWO floors above mine. We all stopped in our tracks at that moment, and I believe we all had the same thought: "Oh my god! I'm going to die." Well, I tried to call my mom, her boyfriend, my stepdad, a couple of friends and nothing went through. I called my aunt's job and finally got at least a machine.

"At that point I was hysterically crying and told her that the building was on fire, that I was going to die and to please tell my mom and sisters that I really love them. I was actually able to hear this message late last night when I got to my aunt's apartment. I couldn't believe the terror in my close to death.

"Anyway, a few minutes later we heard the radio announcer say that a second plane was heading straight for 2 WTC. A few seconds later our building once again swayed back and forth as the as result of the second plane crashing into 2 WTC. I hear now that it was 18 minutes between crashes. In those 18 minutes we heard no sirens, only the ones in the building when there's a fire, there was not one announcement from authorities at the WTC alerting us that there was an emergency situation and that we should evacuate, nothing. If we hadn't turned the radio on, we would not have known what the hell had happened. I was in such a rage.

"The hallways were filled with smoke and we couldn't find the staircases. Finally, about 5 minutes after the second crash, someone who worked for the Port Authority entered our office and directed us to the stairs with a flashlight. Meanwhile, we were getting soaked because the sprinkler system had turned on, people were falling because the debris from the ceiling was piled high, and a couple of people fainted.

"All five of us clung to each other and made it safely to the stairs. I think that the most terrifying part of this whole experience was the 45 or so minutes we were all walking down those 89 flights of stairs. I really doubted that we would make it out alive. There was a lot of blockage in the stairways. Every couple of minutes everyone would have to stop and move aside to let the firemen go up, someone would become fatigued and have to stop in the middle of going down, some of the stairwells were flooded, making everyone have to go down more slowly. It was a real nightmare. Frances and I became separated from our three co-workers. We were really trying to get down as fast as we possibly could.

"Finally, we got down, drenched. By this time I was shoeless, had to walk over all the broken glass and debris that was on the ground. ..."
"[same company/same floor]...Choked on the smoke, the Thor employees left the office. They made their way to a stairwell where a man unsuccessfully tried to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher. At the time, no one knew a jetliner had plowed into the floors above them. They walked calmly down nine flights of stairs to a door that connected to another stairwell. But that door was locked. "At times like these, people are in survivor mode, and you surpress your emotions," Gillies said.

They eventually found their way to another door and stairwell. Walking slowly - Gillies estimated it took an hour and 10 minutes to get down the stairs - ..."
[amplification of the Thor Tech stories above....]

"...By Christine Gillies-Dilouie...87th floor of the North Tower

"Our eyes started to burn and we were coughing. I asked Fred to get each of us a bottle of water stocked in the fridge. We placed wet napkins over our mouths to prevent smoke inhalation. The smoke was getting thicker as the fire started to creep further towards us.

""We've got to get out of here. Let's get to the stairwell," yelled Fred.

"All four of us fled the office's side door. Fortunately, the office had an alternate exit as the collapsed ceiling and fire blocked the main entrance. In the hallway, a brave man was fighting the fire with an extinguisher....

"Once in the stairwell, we hurried down the stairs quickly. Both Yvette and I were wearing clunky sandals, which slowed us down somewhat. Then, at the 78th floor we hit a dead end - a locked door.

"We banged on the door and yelled at the top of our lungs: "Open the door. Open the door."

"People behind us were queuing up shouting at us: "Open the door."

""We can't. It's locked," we yelled back.

"A large burly man grabbed a waist-high steel fire extinguisher and started ramming it repeatedly against the door. With all his might, he slammed the steel canister into the door in an attempt to break it down. Foam from the extinguisher sprayed all the people behind him. The door was so robust that he couldn't even make a dent in it. Then, he tried to smash in the wall next to the door so that we could crawl through a hole in the wall, but after a few attempts, it was clear that the concrete wall wasn't going to give either.


"Just as I started to panic over being trapped, a building maintenance worker with a walkie-talkie shouted: "We've got to go back up to get down."

"Everyone followed behind him, walking up the stairs to the 83rd floor and exiting the stairwell into an office. Half of the corridor was blocked by a caved-in wall and electrical fire. Another brave man was trying to extinguish the flames. As we scurried over the soaked carpet, past the flames, we felt the heat of the fire and the spray from the extinguisher. I remember wishing I hadn't worn a polyester shirt that day.

"Once in the second stairwell, the descent toward the lobby was fairly calm, but very slow. Many times, the line stood completely still. The further we got down, the worse the traffic became as dozens of people evacuated into the stairwell.

"For over an hour, we slowly moved down the stairs. Around the 40th floor, the smoke cleared significantly. People were composed, nervously joking with each other to pass the time and stay upbeat. It was very hot and sweaty.

"A couple of men told us of their experience during the tower's bombing last decade. Another woman from the 89th floor told us that the roof of her floor had also caved in, but all of her colleagues had escaped without harm.

"...We were asked to stand to the side and make way for injured people.

""Clear left. Clear left," shouted the people who escorted a couple of injured folks passed us in the stairwell....

"An abandoned wheelchair was left in the stair well. Down one floor ahead, I could see a woman who was being carried down the stairs by four other men. A man supported each of her four limbs and carried her very slowly; stopping for rests along the way. She told them to go ahead and leave her behind. They refused. I later found out that this woman got out of the building safely.

"We also encountered a couple of very overweight people who had trouble making it down the stairs. One obese man was being carried down the stairs by two strong men. I later learned that these men were from May Davis, the trading firm from our firm's floor.

"I overheard the May Davis guys encouraging the heavy man to keep moving. He was resting on the stairs.

""Aren't we safe here? Can't we just stay here," he puffed.

"Around the 45th floor, the smoke started to clear. The stairwells were hot and clammy, but everyone had removed the handkerchiefs from their faces. We started to feel safer. People entering the stairwell were nonchalantly conducting business and seemed annoyed by the interruption to their tight schedules....

"A lot of people in the stairwell were trying to use their cell phones. I kept trying to call Craig as Yvette tried to reach her sister and parents. We knew that our families would be worried about us and we wanted to let them know that we were OK.

"At the 30th floor, we were instructed to make way for the firefighters who were passing us up the stairs. About 20 firemen, fully dressed in 90-pound fire suits, and carrying tanks on their backs, pulled themselves up the stairs with the handrail. They were exhausted and drenched in sweat. We met eyes with many of them; thanking each one individually as they ascended. People in the stairwell broke into applause and cheered the men up the stairs.

"At the 20-something floor a tall, thin Hispanic man with a mustache, stood at the stairwell entrance, touching each person's shoulder.

""Take care. Be safe, now. God bless. Watch your step," he said to each person passing him. We thanked him and smiled.

""Come on. Why don't you come with us and get out of here," asked a man behind me.

""The Lord put some of us on this earth to watch over others. This is my duty, I guess," he replied with a warm smile.

"I later saw this selfless man's photo on a missing poster in Grand Central Station.

"As we neared the ground floor, the stairs were pooled with water as the sprinkler systems had been operating on the lower floors. The stairs were quite slippery and a couple of people lost their footing and fell down the stairs on their rear end.

"Finally, Yvette and I hoorayed over the sight of daylight at ground level. The stairwell exited at the main plaza where the copper globe fountain had been. I gasped with shock as I caught a glimpse of the unrecognizable area. It looked like a war zone covered in two feet of gray debris and dust.

""What the hell happened down here," I asked under my breath.

"A fireman standing at the top of the narrow escalator, directed us to walk down the stationary escalator and out through the mall. It was a longer route out of the Trade Center, but we trusted it was safer than exiting near the plaza area.

"The World Trade Center lobby was a mess. All of the windows were smashed and the signs hung crookedly from the ceiling. The lobby was floating in four inches of water. The ceiling sprinklers drenched us with cold water causing Yvette and I to scurry a little faster.

"Don't run. Don't run," the police yelled at everyone who was rushing along.

"Yvette and I held hands and walked quickly through the showering mall. We were soaked.

""Hey Christine," yelled my colleague Fred from over my left shoulder, "Looks like we made it."

"But before I could reply, a huge thunder and cracking erupted from behind us. Then, a strong wind swept toward us. People started to scream and run. Within seconds, the roof collapsed and debris fell all around us. Then blackness.

""Get down," I yelled at Yvette pulling her hand to the ground.

"We curled together in a fetal position, clinging to each other. I covered my head. Store windows smashed, roof chunks dropped and debris crashed around us. It felt like a tornado.

""This is it," I thought to myself, "This is where it ends for me. Is this all I get? 27 years? No fair."

"The first tower was collapsing, although we didn't know what was happening at the time.

"I prayed. I never pray. I pleaded with God to either take me quickly or let me survive unharmed. I didn't want any in-betweens. I feared being pinned down by a falling beam or getting badly injured and unable to move.

"It seemed like an eternity before the crashing stopped. When it did, there was dead silence followed by coughing and cries for help. I couldn't see anything. The smoke was so thick - it was difficult to breathe. I spat the dry grit from my mouth. It was pitch black. We sat in the cold water in the blackness and I could feel the cold water on my rear end.

""Are you OK," I asked Yvette.

""I think so. Are you," she said.

""Yes," I replied.

"I wondered how long we would wait before being rescued. Then I wondered if we would be rescued. Did anyone know to look for us?

""Help me. Hello? Help me. Is there anybody there," cried a woman in front of us.

""Yes. We're here, we're right next to you," I told her.

""Reach out to me. Where are you? Can you reach out to me," she yelled.

"We fumbled around with our hands extended until our arms touched. She crawled closer to us tripping over the debris that surrounded us.

"Many people were shouting to each other: "Hello? . . . Help . . . Hello?"

"In the darkness, the people responded to each other's cries, while panic, confusion and chaos grew with each second that passed. Everyone waited for the voice of authority, the voice of direction, someone who was coming to save us.

"A man next to us lit his cigarette lighter so that he could see. At least three people shouted simultaneously: "No. No. Put that out. There could be gas in here."

""Yvette, we've got to get out of here," I said, "Let's crawl."

"Determined not to lose each other in the dark, we formed a human chain on the ground with each person clutching the ankle of the person ahead. We crawled over the glass and debris toward a faint light that turned out to be the 1/9 subway entrance.

"We stood up, but were unsure of how much clearance we had to stand. A few people stood in the doorway looking for help. The smoke and dust was so thick that I couldn't see the faces of the people standing right in front of me - only featureless figures.

"When we realized that there was no exit through the subway, we turned to move in the opposite direction. We started walking very slowing, tripping over broken debris.

""My feet. Ouch. I can't walk, I have no shoes," cried Yvette.

"I heard a man in front of us and asked if he could carry my friend who had lost her shoes. He whipped off his laptop and tossed it to the ground. I felt the thud as it hit the ground and reached down to pick up his bag. He lifted Yvette to give her a piggyback.

""Girl, what have you been eatin'," he joked with her.

"A cluster of six or seven of us moved around in the dark. I don't think any of us knew where we were going. A few seconds later we heard a man's voice in the darkness . . . "Follow my voice. There is an exit over here. Follow my voice."

"We moved toward the man's voice; toward a hazy faint light. At the bottom on a small stairwell, two firefighters argued with each other over whether the exit was safe and clear or not.

""I just took a dozen people out this way five minutes ago," one fireman insisted as he gathered us together.

""Come on. Let's move," he shouted.

"Once we were outside,...
"...Yvette...87th floor to my office...a noise, It sounded like I was on the platform of a subway station and the train was coming full speed ahead. I remember thinking "What the hell is that" It was then that I heard a crash, the ceiling came down, and fire consumed parts of the office and the entire hallway. I was terrified. My boss Christine said "Yvette, get under the desk" to avoid the ceiling coming down on me, so I did. The fire was unreal and the smoke was getting thick...I could hardly breathe. I crawled over to my boss's cubicle to grab onto her and reached for my cell phone so I could call my sister. Christine grabbed a phone and called 911, she waited on hold then hung up. We could hear the sirens of the fire engine instantly after the crash. I looked out the window and saw streams of what I thought was water coming down, I later found out it was jet fuel. I was scared...I was confused. It felt like a dream, as if I was not even there. The service on my phone was down and Fred was calling out "who is here?" Christine answered for the both of us "Yvette and Christine are here, what do we do?" Fred came for us, grabbed bottled water out of the fridge, paper towels to cover our faces and led us out the side door to the stairs. We ran around the hallways looking for the sure where it was we followed some other people, some brave enough to stay behind and fight the fire. We made it to the stairs and proceeded down as fast as we could without panicking...after all we still had no clue what was going on. We reached the 78th floor stairwell and it was locked, a man tried to break it down with a fire extinguisher and failed, the door was metal and was impossible to break down, he then tried to bash in the wall next to the door to create a passageway to crawl through...again it wasn't going to happen. People yelled "Open the door" unaware that it was locked. We then had to be re-routed upstairs a level and find another stairwell. We were finally steadily moving down the stairs, and we were all calm. We joked and laughed, a man from the 88th floor told us that a plane had hit the building...we just assumed it was a small plane and that everything was going to be all right. We eventually got down about 40 flights of stairs and saw firefighters sweating carrying all their equipment and wearing their heavy coats. It was another relief to us. It was still a little smoky but we knew it was smokier upstairs so we gave them our bottled water and wished them well. They were all young, good-looking and so unbelievably brave. They smiled at us and looked so focused. They are my heroes! As they were going up, the last thing on our minds was that they may never come back down, but I don't believe they ever did. We talked some more on the stairs about the bomb in 1993, and conspiracy theorist on the stairs had there own conclusions about what was happening...but no one took it seriously. As we were approaching the plaza level of One World Trade Center, the firemen said "Just keep walking" and advised us not too look out the windows, and continue down the escalator...but of course we did. It was completely gray, glass was broken and debris was scattered through the plaza, what was usually filled with employee's, vendors, and tourists was completely empty and look like it had been deserted. The firemen insisted that we keep walking and we all cheered as we got to the mall level. The sprinklers sprayed us from above, "we made it" I remember Christine saying, with tears in her eyes...and we finally met up with Fred again, whom we had lost on the stairs. It was then that I heard that same terrible rumble, what a horrifying. Christine and I ran, the lights went out and you could not see a thing, Fred later said that he thought he had gone blind. We hit the floor. We held on to each other in a fetal position as a tidal wave of concrete dust, debris, and shattered glass, came flying all at once from behind, rolling over our backs for what seem like forever. I screamed "PLEASE GOD...PLEASE GOD" repeatedly. It was over, my shoes were gone, one of my shoes was blown off and I just sort of ditched the other. You could hear people calling for each other "Is anyone near me? Please reach for me" Christine then answered her "Yes! We're here, we're right next to you." and we reached for one wanted to leave anyone behind...we were a team that had a mission to help and to survive. Two World Trade Center had collapsed. We grabbed onto each other's ankles and crawled through the darkness, over the glass and debris. We didn't know where to go or what to do. It was impossible to breathe because of the concrete dust and we still could not see. I could hear a man calling out "over here" we crawled over to him toward a faint light that turned out to be the 1/9 subway entrance. We stood up. A few people stood in the doorway looking for help. We heard a fireman call out to us "Is anyone down here?" "Follow the light and I'll lead you out" we saw a faint light but it was difficult to see, it was like putting on your brights on an incredibly foggy day. You couldn't make out faces, you could just see figures and hear voices. I couldn't walk; I had no shoes on. A man, like an angel came over to us and offered to carry me on his back. Without complaint, without hesitation...only he did say "Damn girl, whatcha been eatin'" I responded by hitting him a number of times in the shoulder and laughing...he made me feel better. We reached the street level, ..."
[and on a whole bunch of other web sites....]

"...Adam Mayblum...[May Davis] 87th floor of 1 World Trade Center, AKA: Tower 1, AKA: the North Tower...when the first plane hit just a few stories above us...The building lurched violently and shook as if it were an earthquake. People screamed. I watched out my window as the building seemed to move 10 to 20 feet in each direction. It rumbled and shook long enough for me to get my wits about myself and grab a co-worker and seek shelter under a doorway. Light fixtures and parts of the ceiling collapsed. The kitchen was destroyed. We were certain that it was a bomb. We looked out the windows. Reams of paper were flying everywhere, like a ticker tape parade. I looked down at the street. I could see people in Battery Park City looking up. Smoke started billowing in through the holes in the ceiling. I believe that there were 13 of us.

"We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even a bonfire. The phones were working...and on my way out. I grabbed my laptop. Took off my tee shirt and ripped it into 3 pieces. Soaked it in water. Gave 2 pieces to my friends. Tied my piece around my face to act as an air filter. And we all started moving to the staircase. One of my dearest friends said that he was staying until the police or firemen came to get him. In the halls there were tiny fires and sparks. The ceiling had collapsed in the men's bathroom. It was gone along with anyone who may have been in there. We did not go in to look. We missed the staircase on the first run and had to double back. Once in the staircase we picked up fire extinguishers just incase. On the 85th floor a brave associate of mine and I headed back up to our office to drag out my partner who stayed behind. There was no air, just white smoke. We made the rounds through the office calling his name. No response. He must have succumbed to the smoke. We left defeated in our efforts and made our way back to the stairwell. We proceeded to the 78th floor where we had to change over to a different stairwell. 78 is the main junction to switch to the upper floors. I expected to see more people. There were some 50 to 60 more. Not enough. Wires and fires all over the place. Smoke too. A brave man was fighting a fire with the emergency hose. I stopped with to friends to make sure that everyone from our office was accounted for. We ushered them and confused people into the stairwell. In retrospect, I recall seeing Harry, my head trader, doing the same several yards behind me. I am only 35. I have known him for over 14 years. I headed into the stairwell with 2 friends.

"We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic. At least not overt panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones. Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was jammed. I heard that the Blackberry 2 way email devices worked perfectly. On the phones, 1 out of 20 dial attempts got through. I knew I could not reach my wife so I called my parents. I told them what happened and that we were all okay and on the way down. Soon, my sister in law reached me. I told her we were fine and moving down. I believe that was about the 65th floor. We were bored and nervous. I called my friend Angel in San Francisco. I knew he would be watching. He was amazed I was on the phone. He told me to get out that there was another plane on its way. I did not know what he was talking about. By now the second plane had struck Tower 2. We were so deep into the middle of our building that we did not hear or feel anything. We had no idea what was really going on. We kept making way for wounded to go down ahead of us. Not many of them, just a few. No one seemed seriously wounded. Just some cuts and scrapes. Everyone cooperated. Everyone was a hero yesterday. No questions asked. I had co-workers in another office on the 77th floor. I tried dozens of times to get them on their cell phones or office lines. It was futile. Later I found that they were alive. One of the many miracles on a day of tragedy.

"On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help. I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back. But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He hesitated, I don't know why. I said do you want to come or do you want us to send help for you. He chose for help. I told him he was on the 53rd floor in Stairwell A and that's what I would tell the rescue workers. He said okay and we left.

"On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were hysterical. I said relax, I'm fine. My father said get out, there is third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I couldn't move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC K-9 units without the dogs, anyone with a badge, started coming up as we were heading down. I stopped a lot of t hem and told them about the man on 53 and my friend on 87. I later felt terrible about this. They headed up to find those people and met death instead.

"On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details....

"On the 3r floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon itself. It was 10am now and that was Tower 2 collapsing next door. We did not know that. Someone had a flashlight. We passed it forward and left the stairwell and headed down a dark and cramped corridor to an exit. We could not see at all. I recommended that everyone place a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them and call out if they hit an obstacle so others would know to avoid it. They did. It worked perfectly. We reached another stairwell and saw a female officer emerge soaking wet and covered in soot. She said we could not go that way it was blocked. Go up to 4 and use the other exit. Just as we started up she said it was ok to go down instead. There was water everywhere. I called out for hands on shoulders again and she said that was a great idea. She stayed behind instructing people to do that. I do not know what happened to her.

"We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I commented to a friend that it must be under construction. Then we realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the fountain used to be....

"...we heard a rumble. We looked up and our building, Tower 1 collapsed. I did not note the time but I am told it was 10:30am. We had been out less than 15 minutes.

"...As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man on the 53rd floor. They helped him. He could barely move. My partner bravely/stupidly tested the elevator on the 52nd floor. He rode it down to the sky lobby on 44. The doors opened, it was fine. He rode it back up and got Harry and Victor. I don't yet know if anyone else joined them. Once on 44 they made their way back into the stairwell. Someplace around the 39th to 36th floors they felt the same rumble I felt on the 3rd floor. It was 10am and Tower 2 was coming down. They had about 30 minutes to get out. Victor said he could no longer move. They offered to have him lead on them. He said he couldn't do it. My partner hollered at him to sit on his butt and schooch down the steps. He said he was not capable of doing it. Harry told my partner to go ahead of them. Harry had once had a heart attack and was worried about this mans heart. It was his nature to be this way. He was/is one of the kindest people I know. He would not leave a man behind. My partner went ahead and made it out. He said he was out maybe 10 minutes before the building came down. This means that Harry had maybe 25 minutes to move Victor 36 floors.

"I guess they moved 1 floor every 1.5 minutes. Just a guess. This means Harry wad around the 20th floor when the building collapsed. As of now 12 of 13 people are accounted for. As of 6pm yesterday his wife had not heard from him. I fear that Harry is lost...."
[See also ]
[Mayblum explained....]

"Adam Mayblum enjoyed the storms that rumbled off the Atlantic.... 87th floor ...During the worst storms, the cords on his window shades would appear to sway a few inches, but it was an illusion. They actually hung straight, held steady by gravity. It was the tower that swayed, to absorb the weather.

"When Adam felt the first rumble Tuesday morning, he glanced at the cords. They were oscillating like a pendulum, 3 feet in either direction....Outside, pieces of paper fluttered through the air, "gently," he would say later, "on a breeze." He looked down at the tiny people staring up at him from 876 feet below and offered them a New York retort:

""What're you looking at?"

"They were looking at terrorists ripping apart the World Trade Center.....The confusion inside Adam's office at May Davis, where he is the managing director, lasted just seconds. He knew he needed to get out....He took off his Van Heusen dress shirt, then ripped his T-shirt into pieces, soaked the pieces in water and gave them to some of his 13 colleagues to cover their faces. Among them: Harry Ramos,... Adam....put his shirt back on, grabbed his laptop and raced for the stairs through bright white smoke. Sparks bit at his ankles. He missed the stairs on his first pass. It was the World Trade Center. No one took the stairs.

"After bolting two flights down, he realized that his partner and close friend, 46-year-old Hong Zhu, had been left behind. Adam went back upstairs and reached the office, now filled with smoke and burning jet fuel.

"There was no sign of Hong,... He didn't make it out through the smoke, Adam thought.

"He raced back down and made it to the 78th floor, a transfer lobby where one set of elevators and stairs ended and another began. He saw a stranger bravely staving off a wall of flames with a fire hose.

"People were collapsing from the stress. Others tried to give comfort, stuffing a shirt under the head of the fallen before racing for the stairs.

"Adam found Harry, wading into the pandemonium to help panicked workers into a safe stairwell. It was a reassuring sight, and a typical one....there is not one person, Adam said, who has ever said a bad thing about Harry...

"Adam found another stairwell and began walking down again. His heart was beating faster and faster, and the muscles in his calves were contracting in spasms.

"On the 53rd floor, Adam came across a heavyset man whose legs just wouldn't move anymore. The man was sitting on the stairs and said he needed help. Adam knew his bad back would make it hard to carry him, but he offered anyway. The man hesitated.

""Do you want to come, or do you want us to send help?" Adam shouted.

"The man asked Adam to send help. Adam said he would.

"The hijackers did not strike either tower with their wings level. Instead, they hit at an angle.

"Twelve employees of the American Bureau of Shipping, ..........were on the 91st floor of the north tower when the first plane hit almost exactly at their level.

"But they were on the northwest corner of the building. The bulk of the plane's fuselage entered the building about 100 feet south of them. The plane's left wing, banked toward the ground, wiped out the east side of the floor. But the plane's right wing, banked toward the sky, sliced through the office above them.

"George Sleigh ..."I heard this unusual sound. A roaring sound," he said. "As I looked up I saw the plane. I thought: 'This guy is really low.' "

"A wing flashed past his eyes, followed by the plane's smooth belly. Then the world caved in. Down the hall from ABS, an office was obliterated. Above them, Marsh USA Inc., an insurance and risk management firm that occupied the 93rd through 100th floors, was hit badly. It would later report as many as 400 workers missing.

"Sleigh, who occupied the easternmost desk in the ABS office, was buried under a pile of ceiling tiles and bookshelves. His colleagues were fine, as surprised they were still alive as they were that a plane had just crashed into their building. They dug Sleigh out, and they all escaped...

"Hong was alive.

"He had been behind Adam in the stairwell the whole time, but in the noise and the smoke and the sparks, Adam didn't know. They had apparently passed each other on stairwell A, Hong running down, Adam running up to rescue him.

"When Hong got to the 53rd floor, he came across Harry Ramos. Harry had stopped to help the heavyset man--the same man Adam met earlier. "I'll give you a hand," Hong said.

"Together, Harry and Hong helped the man down one more flight. They found an office, a securities firm, where the air-conditioning was working. While they tried to get a dose of cool air into the heavyset man's lungs, Hong found an elevator.

""No! No!" a Port Authority official screamed. "Don't take it!"

"Hong and Harry tried to send a magazine down in the elevator. In the confusion of the moment, they reasoned that if the elevator came back, and the magazine was still inside, it would be safe. That was what passed for logic at the time. They pressed the "down" button, but the doors didn't close. So Hong decided that he would be the guinea pig instead.

He stepped inside, and the doors closed behind him.

"In the center of each floor of the twin, 110-story towers at the World Trade Center, the hallways converged in a spot employees called the crossroads.

"The path down began at that spot. In many cases, escape depended on choices--left or right, up or down, stairwell A or B, stay or go.

"Roko Camaj, 61, had cleaned the windows of the World Trade Center since it opened in 1973. He was on the roof when the first plane struck, hanging the rigging for the machines that scrubbed the windows.

[Did he lock the doors behind him?]

He began racing down the stairs but was told on the 105th that he should return to the roof.

"He called his wife on his cell phone and told her he was heading up to wait for a helicopter. Then she heard a scream. The line went dead. She wouldn't hear from him again.

"Arlene Charles...American Building Maintenance employee, she had started her shift at 5:45 a.m., turning on the elevators that had been shut down for the night.

"Then, filling in for a vacationing co-worker, she headed to her assignment on the 78th-floor sky lobby and began saying "Good morning," in her Grenadan drawl, .......... The plane struck the north tower, just above her, about 15 minutes later.

"I squeezed between the desk, put my head down and put my jacket over my face," Charles said. "I was so scared to look up, but when I started peeking, I heard a lady screaming."

"It was Carmen Griffith. They had worked together for 20 ..........Griffith, who had been standing nearby when a glob of burning jet fuel burst through the elevator shafts, was crawling toward her. Charles looked at Griffith's hands pawing at the floor. Skin was peeling from her fingers.

"People sprinted past toward safety, but Charles refused to leave without her friend. With the help of an executive who stopped, she soaked Griffith with water from a nearby office, then picked her up and began a slow walk down 78 flights of stairs.

""She was crying," Charles said. "She was burning."

"Charles' walkie-talkie crackled with static and voices all the way down as other workers with radios urged them on.

""I'd say: 'I'm on the fortysomething floor, on the twentysomething floor,' " Charles said. "They said: 'Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!' But I said: 'I can't hurry. I have to help Carmen.' "

"Around the mid-40s, two men sprinted past them, then doubled back to help. Together, they made it out after 90 minutes, 15 minutes before the collapse, Griffith alive but with burns on 60% of her body.

"Adam was progressing steadily toward freedom, stopping occasionally to counsel people from his office, to usher a few of them into the line ahead of him.

"His cell phone rang. It was his parents, calling from Delray Beach, Fla. Adam was nervous but betrayed little of his fear. They were hysterical.

""Get out," his father said sternly.

""Relax," Adam said. "I'm fine."

"And he was, in a way. He wasn't hurt. He was making good progress. He felt oddly bored. He couldn't believe it himself. But he was.

"Harry and Hong, meanwhile, were in trouble.

"Hong took the elevator down to the 44th floor, the next transfer lobby. So far, so good. He pressed "52," went back up and collected Harry and the heavyset man.

"On 44--halfway down--Hong, Harry and the heavyset man got off the elevator and stumbled across the lobby toward the last bank of elevators that would take them all the way down.

"Hong pressed the "down" button again. Nothing. They would have to take the stairs.

"Harry and Hong each took an arm of the heavyset man and draped them over their shoulders. "One floor at a time," Hong said. "One step at a time."

"They had been trying to get out for an hour and five minutes. They were on the 39th floor when they felt the south tower collapse.

""We really have to move," Hong said.

"The rumbles of the collapsing tower next door seemed to sap the heavyset man of his last gasps of energy. He sat down again.

""I can't move my legs," he said. "I can't do it anymore."

"In both towers, the stairs were a lifeline that grew increasingly frayed as time passed.

"It takes a long time to walk down 90 flights of stairs.

""It was not designed for quick evacuation," said Thomas A. Humphreys, a Brown & Wood attorney who escaped once from the firm's 57th-floor offices after the 1993 car-bombing at the trade center, and then again Tuesday. "You had to get everyone in our building out in 90 minutes. That's tough."

"At first, even in the upper floors, the exodus was calm and orderly. Someone had time to break into a vending machine and pass out grape sodas. Someone made a joke about how the water from sprinklers and fire hoses was ruining their shoes.

""I was at the tail end of the crowd," said Humphreys. "You wait. People are orderly. It's crowded and it's slow. You go down a few steps and it would stop. Some of the stops were five minutes. You don't know why."

"As time passed, the stairs became increasingly crowded. Heat began to build, dust poured into the stairwells and the water was around their ankles.

"All the while, the building was coming apart. Walls creaked and then cracked.

""It seemed we were walking down very calm, very orderly . . and all of a sudden you felt like the ground was falling out from under you," said Claiborne Johnston, who escaped from the 64th floor of the south tower.

""You knew the structure had been altered severely, and the rest of the way down you could feel that."

"Veterans of the 1993 bombing knew that stairwell B--there were three in all, A, B and C--was the widest and could accommodate the most people.

"On most passes of most staircases, there was room for two people to stand side by side, but that didn't last long. From the top, the injured were being carried out, and those who could walk were forced to step aside.....

"Hong was screaming at the heavyset man to move.

""You don't have to move your legs!" Hong shouted, as Harry waited with him. "Just move your butt. Slide down, one at a time. He moved two steps, and that was it. He couldn't go on. 'Let's go!' I shouted."

"A firefighter ran up to them. Hong expected that he would join in to get the heavy man to move. Instead, the firefighter turned to Hong. The firefighter knew what they could not: For the stragglers, it was too late.

""Who the [expletive] are you, screaming at him to get out?" the firefighter shouted. "You get out!"

""I wanted to help," Hong said. "But at that moment, I didn't see how we could."

"Hong looked at Harry, who was still standing with the heavyset man.

""I'm coming down with you," Harry told the man. "I'm not going to leave."

""I left," Hong said. "Alone."

"Adam was nearing the bottom. Still trudging down the stairs, he told everyone around him to link hands. They ended up at a courtyard where a pleasant fountain had been just an hour earlier. Now it was a pile of ash, dust, gnarled metal and body parts....Adam, like many survivors, had grown weary of telling his story to his friends and relatives. So he sent them an e-mail describing the ordeal. And they sent the e-mail to their friends and relatives, who sent it to their friends and relatives.

[and it wound up being the most widely copied WTC survival story on the internet....]

"At 2:50 a.m. Saturday, his phone rang. The e-mail had made it to San Francisco, where it was read by someone who knew a woman in New York named Rebecca Ward--and knew that Rebecca's husband, a heavyset man, was missing. The San Francisco man got in touch with Rebecca Ward, who called Adam. The heavyset man was her husband, Victor.

"On Saturday afternoon, Rebecca Ward came to Owen May's house to learn how Victor was comforted in his last moments, how Harry refused to leave him behind.

"Harry's wife was walking around with a floor plan of the World Trade Center.

"She questioned everyone who had been inside the north tower, convinced that somehow, Harry--the only May Davis employee still missing--is alive.

"She developed a picture of his escape, learned that Harry was on 87 when the plane hit, that he stopped to help on 78, that he met up with Hong on 53.

"But as hard as she pushed, as many questions as she asked, the picture began to fade after that.

"And finally, on stairwell A of the 36th floor, it went dark..."
"... John Paul DeVito ...Harry Ramos...1 World Trade Center, lurched violently, like a ship in high seas. DeVito was nearly knocked off his chair. Ramos braced himself in a doorway.

"Lighting fixtures pulled loose from the ceiling, crashing on the floor. Papers flew. Smoke poured in through holes that suddenly opened overhead. Several employees screamed.

"DeVito and Ramos had no idea what had happened. A bomb, everybody guessed. One man rushed to the firm's south-facing windows and looked out, only to see a crowd gathering 87 floors below in Battery Park City, staring up at the tower.

"...their office at the May Davis Group, a small investment bank, was filling with smoke.

"...DeVito was trying to corral his 12 frightened employees, shouting that they had to walk down.

"Some thought they should stay. Others agreed to leave but wanted to gather their things. But which things? What to take down 87 floors?

"Some grabbed fire extinguishers. Some tried to pack up their desktop computers. Some ripped up their shirts to make face masks. DeVito found a gallon jug of water and helped people wet their makeshift bandannas. Then he decided to bring along the jug.

"Everybody made for the stairs except for Hong Zhu, an investment banker, who was frozen with fear. He told the others he would wait for help. Ramos cajoled him to the stairwell door.

"...He decided to take the lead in going down. The others formed a human chain behind him, each putting a hand on the shoulder of the person in front, and descended into the gathering smoke.

"Nine floors down, the stairwell ended. Emerging into a hallway to look for the next flight of stairs, the group saw wires dangling from cracked ceilings. Sparks popped. Small fires burned everywhere. Office workers were milling in confusion. The smoke was thickening.

"DeVito's...decided to herd his employees into the next stairwell. But some straggled, and Ramos was staying behind, directing confused strangers into the stairwell.

"More people were crowding into the stairwell, though they stopped to let burn victims pass. In the crush, the May Davis employees let go of each other, and DeVito soon realized he couldn't see everybody any more.....

"Below the 50th floor, the May Davis group spotted the first firefighters, rushing up the stairs lugging oxygen tanks and other heavy equipment....

""Do you want some water?" he asked, offering his jug.

""I don't need no water," one answered and kept going.

"Braunstein touched DeVito's arm. "John," he said, "this is a good sign. They wouldn't be sending these men up if it wasn't safe."

"Back on the 53rd floor, Zhu was trailing far behind. He saw his firm's head trader, Ramos, leaning over a very heavy man, named Victor, who seemed unable to move. Zhu stopped, wanting to help.

"Why don't you lean on both of our shoulders?" Zhu suggested. They helped Victor to his feet and struggled with him down one flight. Then Zhu saw that the elevator appeared to be working. They descended to the 44th floor. But there it stopped.

"They started struggling down the stairs again. When Ramos went ahead to scout, Victor cried out in fear. "Harry, please help," he begged.

""Don't worry, we're not leaving you," Ramos said. On the 39th floor, Ramos spotted an open door -- a credit union. They decided to go in and rest.

"...In the days since,...calling the city's hospitals and checking the lists of Trade Center survivors, trying to find Ramos."
"...John DeVito... eighty-seventh floor of Tower One ...May Davis...

"The room lurched right. I nearly fell off my chair, then clutched the desk as the room jolted left. An earthquake? A ceiling tile clattered onto my desk. Light fixtures dangled, wires spitting. "It's a bomb!" someone yelled.

"For a stunned moment we stared at one another. "I'll go check!" I ran into the corridor. Smoke. People peering from office doorways. I groped my way through the haze, past the elevators, down the hall to . . . I stopped.

"The rest of the corridor was gone. Where a row of doors had been, I found myself staring down into a hellhole of fire and twisted steel.

"Burning debris cascaded around me. Without thinking, I snatched a broken piece of wallboard and beat at the flames. It was a moment before sanity returned. I rushed back to my office, where others were doing futile things too: collecting files, packing up big desktop computers. Outside the window where I'd stood sipping coffee, things were falling. Papers, hunks of metal.

"Dust and smoke seeped from the ceiling. As chief operating officer I knew I should give some kind of direction, but what? Where to turn? I was a churchgoing man, but at that moment of fear and mounting chaos God seemed awfully far away. Was my duty to stay and safeguard company property? Strange how slow the mind is to grasp enormity . . .

"Adam Mayblum had kept his head and was ripping up his shirt, passing out strips to use as face masks. At last reality got through to me: Get your people out of this building...

"I grabbed a half-gallon bottle of water, got people to moisten their makeshift masks. Some of the staff still looked undecided. "Joanne! Sam! Everybody! Let's go! Leave everything!"

"In the corridor the smoke had grown thicker. "Not the elevators!" I shouted. Pressing the wet cloth over my nose, I led the way . . . right . . . then left . . . Where was the exit sign? I'd passed it a thousand times, scarcely seeing it—who takes stairs from the eighty-seventh floor? We were almost at the chasm where the hallway ended when I saw the sign glowing redly through the gloom. If the floor had fallen in a few yards nearer, there would have been no exit.

"The stairwell was filled with acrid smoke and fleeing people. Narrow . . . stay together . . . go single file. "Put your hand on my shoulder," I told Jason. "Everyone hold onto the one in front." The 14 of us formed a chain and started down. Eighty-sixth floor . . . eighty-fifth . . . Around us people were saying an airplane had struck the tower. It was incomprehensible. Yet there we were, struggling through the smoke, the ordinariness of the day torn asunder.

"At the seventy-eighth floor the stairway suddenly ended. Seventy-eight was a transfer floor. The stairway continued somewhere on the other side of an open area around the elevator banks. We stepped into a scene of pandemonium. In the choking dust hundreds of people milled, looking for an exit. From the ceiling exposed wires sent showers of sparks into the crowd. Small fires crept along the floor. There were screams, people crying, people praying....

"Thirty-fifth floor . . . thirty-fourth. I began to notice something I'd seen without taking it in. In that stairwell jammed with terrified people, there'd been no shoving. Wedged together in a narrow stairway of a burning building, no one pushed ahead of the slow movers. Over and over I'd witnessed just the opposite! The handicapped given precedence. Men stepping aside for women. The young giving place to the gray-haired. As injured and burn victims were carried past, everyone flattened against the wall, called encouragement, waited. Same too as the firefighters climbed up."..."
"Steve was on the 91st floor of World Trade Center One....

"He says, "it was then that I heard the roar of jet engines coming right at us. I have a vague recollection of a shadow crossing the blinds. And then one or two seconds after the roar came the impact. The whole building shook, moved, and oscillated. The interior wall and the ceiling at the east end of the office came in.

""My perception was that it came in at about the 93rd floor, right smack in the center of the north face. I knew it was a jet engine. I thought, ‘Oh s**t, someone’s lost control of a private Lear jet and crashed into us’. I had no idea of the size of the thing." It was 08.48.

"...on the 91st floor, Steve says, the 11 ABS employees had no idea what was going on outside. He thinks now it was one of the things that saved them. The mood was definitely not calm, but it was orderly, perhaps also because some had been through the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 when ABS had occupied a sparkling office on the 102nd floor of Two World Trade Center. "We started our routine, started checking who’s here...." ...

""People were getting fire extinguishers. Someone had the presence of mind to soak a big roll of paper towels." Everyone was safe, though George Sleigh, a phlegmatic Briton who is manager of ABS’ Technical Consistency Department, was "encased" in debris and had to be extricated from his cubicle. Steve went to check the fire exits. There were three of them. "The first, on the left, had a lot of water and debris. I went down the hall and turned right to the second fire stair. It was dark, worse than the first. And I have a clear feeling now that the two closest stairs were blocked above our floor. I thought ‘where the hell is the third fire stair’.

""The corridors to the east were impassable, and there was a lot of smoke. I finally found my way to the third fire stair. But I tripped on some gypsum board and fell. I slid down to the first landing and then round the corner and down to the second landing. Then I realized ‘it’s better here’." He went back to get the others.

""We started down. I remember very few people coming down from other floors. We stopped at around the 85th floor to take stock and to calm each other. That was much better. We realized the fire was above us and that it was clear below.We just had to get down."

"From then on, they moved quickly, their minds focussed entirely on getting out rather than on whatever might be happening above them. All the same, he says that emotionally he was "up and down like a yo-yo". "We were completely encased in tunnels. And then we would open a door onto a floor and there would be guys fighting a fire, and then we would open another door and there would be people just milling around. It frightened me, all these people just standing around. Maybe they had seen what happened to the second tower."

"They continued their way down, crossing floors to find new fire exits when the clog of people became too thick and the pace of descent too slow for comfort or when, as on the 78th floor, they ran into a locked fire door and had to retreat. By the 40s, they met the first firemen moving slowly up against the current.

""They were already beat after climbing 44 floors with heavy equipment. People were giving them water and encouragement. And those poor guys kept climbing up to do what they could do." Many would never make it out again. Steve and his companions kept going down, counting the floors until they reached what they imagined the sanctuary of the mezzanine. He still had no idea what had happened outside. It did not cross his mind that his ordeal might just be beginning.

""I was thinking ‘okay, great, we’re safe’. But outside I could see all this falling debris flying around. I thought ‘we’ve being coming down for an hour, what the hell is this’." By now, he had been paired with Ruth, who had sprained her ankle and had trouble getting down. They were ordered down to the lobby floor and directed across the plaza to an exit on the eastern side of the complex, Steve helping Ruth along under the drenching rain of the fire sprinklers. Seconds later, at 9.58, Two World Trade Center imploded.

""We were about 50 feet from the escalator up to Church St and I was saying to Ruth ‘we’re okay, we get up this escalator and we’re okay’, and then there was a big rumble and a huge roar and everybody shouted ‘run’ and then a huge wind came through there. I remember distinctly being lifted off my feet and blown down the hall,..."

"...Claire McIntyre - no relation - was checking her e-mail when she first heard the plane, writes Alison Bate.

""I was working at my computer and first heard this horrendous roar of a jet engine," she recalls. "I thought it couldn’t possibly be here this close. Then I saw the wing and tail of a plane." She jumped up screaming and ran out her office to alert the rest of the staff. “I thought: ‘Oh my God, all my people’. I ran out into the hallway and just screamed: ‘Everyone, get out now’."

"Then American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the building two story’s above her head, wiping out the 93rd floor offices of the world’s largest insurance broker Marsh & McLennan. At the end of last week there were still 700 Marsh employees missing. Claire had no idea at the time that it was a terrorist attack. "I thought it was an accident," she says.

"As all her 11 colleagues working in the office that day gathered in the reception area Claire had the presence of mind to grab her pocketbook and a flashlight before they started their long escape down 91 floors. "The first two flights were dark, with no emergency lights, and water was pouring down the stairs," says Claire. "We could barely see and I put my flashlight on. Then the emergency lights came on, and water was still flowing down."

"Fellow office worker Emma ‘Georgia’ Barnett slipped and slid down three flights of stairs. She got up but then tripped over a hose, damaging her knee, but carried on. Claire and four others crossed over to another stairwell that was moving faster and worked their way down floor by floor.

""In the 60s I was thinking: ‘How much more to go?’" says Claire. "I remember getting to 22 and saying: ‘Oh my God, we’re almost there’." When they emerged from the stairwell at the mezzanine level, and were greeted by emergency services people, who were rushing everybody out.

"Then came the worst part...."
Chess, now a Jersey City resident, was on the 85th floor around 8:45 a.m. when a hijacked plane struck the tower a couple floors above his office.
...... . . .
He and others from his office would soon discover, however, that the floor by the elevator bank had collapsed. The workers went scurrying for the stairwell, but it was pitch dark.

"The floor was on fire, pipes had burst, water was flowing all over the place, and there were fires in the walls. I grabbed a trading jacket to put over my mouth. It was pitch dark, but eventually we found the stairwell," Chess said.

It was probably best for the workers that they didn’t realize the extent of the damage, because it kept them fairly calm during their escape. In fact, it wasn’t until Chess was about 30 floors down the stairs when the real panic set in.

"The first 30 floors (down), it wasn’t bad," he said. "None of the floors above (the 85th floor) were getting out because there was no way down. That’s why people were jumping out windows."

"Older people were having a hard time getting down the stairs, and firefighters were busy racing up the stairwells with full gear, he said...."
"He said that the two towers have staircases in all four corners and were designed to be evacuated in an hour, but it appeared that since the planes crashed into the corners, escape was cut off for those on the floors above."

[4 corners??? is this uninformed pontificating ? all diagrams show the stairwells only in the core, see floor diagram references on ]
"People on floors as high as the 88th at the north tower, stepping over rubble, made the full trip to safety. In the packed stairwells, people stepped aside to let burn victims speed past. Firefighters rushed upward, assisting as they climbed.

...... . . .

At the north tower, the evacuation began after an explosion and rain of debris as low as the 88th floor, just below where the first jet slammed into the tower.

"Dorene Smith, a Port Authority executive assistant, had been standing at her desk with a colleague when parts of the ceiling caved in.

""We're going to be fine," they told each other as they grabbed their pocketbooks and moved through the rubble to the stairway.

"Confusion reigned for a few moments, and Smith called home to say she was trapped. Then someone led the way to an open stairway, and she sped through the stairwell.

...... . . .

Bill Saffran of Aon Corp. says his colleagues faithfully carried out the fire drills held every few months to plan their escape from the 103rd floor in the south tower. "They show us where the exit is, and you assume it goes down," he says.

"Saffran was not at the trade center Tuesday. But later, a woman who escaped told him that the plan developed a horrific problem. The designated exit stairwell came to a dead end on the 78th floor, where she and three other Aon employees were forced to exit into a lobby.

""There were tons of people," he quoted the woman as saying. "The elevators were still running, but they were overloaded, and then the second plane hit. Many people were thrown to the floor, injured."

"Saffran said only two of the four employees found the stairwell that continued down. Two did not. "One was badly injured," he says. "The other for some reason did not want to go down."

"Those two, he says, are now among the missing and presumed dead...."
"...Arturo Domingo of Morgan Stanley. The descent had been calm and orderly, much better than after the 1993 blast, he said. But when he reached the 44th floor, he said, a man with a megaphone told people there was no problem.

""His exact words were, `Our building is secure. You can go back to your floor. If you're a little winded, you can get a drink of water or coffee in the cafeteria,' " said Mr. Domingo. He and a group of other Morgan Stanley employees rode an elevator back up to the 60th floor and returned to their desks. "How stupid were we," he says.

"When the second plane smashed into his tower right above his floor, throwing a filing cabinet into his back, he headed for the exit again and passed the same man with the megaphone, now assuring people they would get out alive.

"Others who went back up or simply stayed were not so lucky. On a floor above where the plane hit, only a handful of workers had decided to leave before the building was struck, and dozens who stayed are believed to have perished.

"Bill Saffran of Aon Corp., says his colleagues faithfully carried out the fire drills held every few months to plan their escape from the 103rd floor in the south tower. "They show us where the exit is, and you assume it goes down," he says.

"Mr. Saffran was not at the trade center on Tuesday. But later, a woman who escaped told him that the plan developed a horrific problem. The designated exit stairwell came to a dead end on the 78th floor, where she and three other Aon employees were forced to exit into a lobby.

""There were tons of people," he said she told him. "The elevators were still running, but they were overloaded, and then the second plane hit. Many people were thrown to the floor, injured."

"Mr. Saffran said only two of the four employees found the stairwell that continued down. Two did not. "One was badly injured," he said. "The other for some reason did not want to go down."

"Those two, he says, are now among the missing and presumed dead. ..."
"Judy Colfer...55th floor of One World Trade Center....

""Get out! Get out! Get out now!" someone screamed.

"WTC guards escorted people to a door leading to a stairwell. It took a while to get the door open, but eventually Colfer and a couple dozen others huddled on a stairwell landing on the 55th floor....

"WTC guards told Colfer's group they had to move people on lower floors out first before they could get them down. Time seemed to stand still. So did they. They'd move three or four steps, then stop for five minutes. They were in the stairwell single file because police, firefighters and emergency technicians were heading up.

"The firefighters -- exhausted, sweating and breathing hard -- carried heavy gear including air tanks, sledgehammers and thermal imaging cameras, which Colfer's company happen to make. One firefighter, a lieutenant whose name she never learned, reached out and touched her arm.

""Lady, what floor did you come from?"

"She had moved one story at that point and was only on the 54th floor....

"Some 15 to 20 mintues later, though she admits time was difficult to gauge, Colfer made it to the 40th floor, still thinking: "I'm not getting out of here."...

"Colfer and others in the stairwell heard firefighters smashing steel doors floors below them. Doors to each floor were locked and firefighters needed to check each floor. They broke through one door, then smashed open the vending machine to get bottled water, which they handed to people in the stairwell.

""Pass it. Pass it. Pass it," the firefighters said.

"They gave them paper towels, too, and told them to wet the paper towels thenput them over their faces so they could breath amidst the smoke. The procession stopped for a time on the 40th floor as firefighters, police and emergency technicians carried down injured people -- a blind man with his seeing-eye dog, a pregnant woman, and two other bleeding and badly burned people. Single file, they continued to inch along.

""I thought I was never getting out of there," she said. "Finally, I got to the 10th level and I was thinking, 'I've made it this far!' "

"When the group reached the third floor, rescuers told them to be careful of the water. The sprinkler systems had been activated and gone haywire. Water was flowing out underneath the door into the stairwell and there weren't any safety strips on the painted steel stairs.

""When I got to the bottom, where the subway ran through the building, there was five inches of water on the floor," she said.

"Rescuers told Colfer and the others they were going to open a set of doors and then guide them through.

""They threw open the doors and it was dark, but you saw one small light," she said.

"Once her eyes were acclimated to the darkness, she saw concrete slabs where the walls were on the floor and that the concrete ceiling above had collapsed.

""It was like a bomb had exploded," she said. "I thought, this structure has this much damage and I'm on the bottom. What does the rest of the building look like?"

"Colfer and the others felt their way up a ramp, which brought them back up into the shopping mall level of the WTC building. At that point, the time for calm and order was over.

""We're going to throw these doors open and we want you to run!" rescuers told Colfer and the others.

""They threw open the doors and it was all this brightness and we did," she said. "We just ran."

"Colfer ran as fast as she could. She wasn't out of the building five minutes when One World Trade Center collapsed.... "
"My name is Roz;...One WTC, ... 88th floor....Silverstein Properties, Inc.,an explosion of great magnitude blew off the entrance door through which I had just previously walked. It knocked us both down in her cubicle. Sylvia tries to get up, because she is confused, and wants to see what is happening. I reached up and grab her clothes or hand (I’m not sure which), to pull her back down. Suddenly it calms. Everyone on the north side gathers. The room is now gray and dusty, dimly lit - most of the lights are destroyed. We gather to make sure everyone from our side is with us and okay, we turned to get the others, and we see Elaine walking toward us, her arms are spread, and she’s walking mummy-like. As she nears, we see that she is badly burned, from head to toe, her clothes are completely shredded around her, someone lets out a loud gasp, another takes his coat off and wraps it around Elaine, no words are being exchanged at the moment.

"We walk over to the south side to gather more individuals; they are walking toward us. I see John Griffin, you cannot miss him, since he is 6’6 - in height. He is passing out wet tissues for us to place over our noses. By the time everyone gathers, we are about 30 in number. We try to find an exit, but we are not sure where to go, it’s now about five minutes later. I took this opportunity to call my headquarters, ... I got Janet on the line, I say - Jan, we just had an explosion, tell Mr. Silverstein to get us out of here! - Janet tells me a plane hit the building, and asks me to hold the line. I say, "HOLD?!" I disconnect the line and yelled that a plane hit the building. By this time some are on their radios finding out what had happened, or how to proceed. I am beginning to feel panicked because they are taking too long to make a decision as to which direction to go out.

"Finally, we exit where the explosion blew off the door. There is glass everywhere, so we have to be very careful as we proceed and approach stairwell "B." Fortunately, the lights are intact, but there is water gushing down so we must be careful and hold on. As we descend, everyone is amazingly calm; some are holding each other’s hand when necessary. Sometimes people are crying, so you look up and let them know it’s going to be okay. As we come halfway into the forties, some can no longer go, the trek is too long; some are tired, old, asthmatic or over-weight. They opt to sit and wait. I look at them and keep going. The stairwell begins to get backed-up -- too many people coming from other offices. Our group decides to head over to stairwell "C". The door to exit stairwell "B" is locked. We now must go back up one flight of stairs and that door is unlocked, Thank God. As we descend stairwell "C", we see the firemen coming up in their heavy uniforms carrying oxygen tanks and other equipment. They ask us to stand on the right of the steps to allow them through, we oblige.

"We can start walking again, and we come upon a stairwell landing where someone has left bottled water, we pick them up, but as more firemen come we give it to them figuring they need it more. They thank us, they stop to drink the water, and some of them are sharing the water with their comrades,...They thank us for the water, and tell us to put our shoes on when we get to the Mezzanine...."
"...she hears an extremely loud crashing sound and the ceiling collapses right next to her in the kitchen. Turning around thinking it was the start of an earthquake, she starts screaming. She climbs over the remains of the ceiling and peers into the rest of the office. The office is completely destroyed, covered in massive clouds of smoke and dust; the building had just been hit by an airplane. The branch manager yelled at the top of his lungs, "Grab the evacuation kits and the fire extinguisher!! We are getting the hell out of here!!"

"In the few moments of panic, the group together to leave the office, the branch manager extinguishing the flames that lay between the front door and the door to the emergency staircase. They entered and started the long trek down the stairs to the lobby. The people in the staircase were unexplainably calm and orderly, steadfastly climbing down the 90 flights of stairs. After what seemed like 2 hours of walking, they finally reach the lobby. Totally oblivious to what was going on outside and at the sight of the blue skies outside the lobby, everyone let out a sigh of relief. Emergency staff started to direct everyone to the basement of the building when suddenly people started to scream, "RUN! RUN!"

Sheer panic and terror filled the people on the stairs as the blue outside was overcome by horrific clouds of pitch black. Yukiko and her co-workers started to race down the stairs, when a fireman directed them to a flight of stairs to exit the building. They reached the door to find it locked and started to pound on it. A person on the other side responded and opened the door and to their horror, it was another staircase. Miraculously, they were able to find an exit and had just escaped death by a matter of minutes. They were covered from head to toe with dust; in their ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Outside, rescuers gave them bottles of water to rinse themselves off. Later, reviewing the timeline of events, apparently the moment they escaped, it was not Two WTC, but One WTC that had collapsed. We cannot even begin to fathom the outcome if she had arrived to the lobby just minutes later than she did.
"Hanna,...said he and his fellow co-workers thought the terrorist act was a bomb explosion at first and saw debris falling by the windows.

"He said they made their way to the stairwell and found a door at floor 76 or 77 was locked. They then went back upstairs to an office that had clean air. From that office Hanna called his parents and said he had survived the crash and was trying to get out.

""You could see the fire right next to you," he said. "It was kind of nerve-racking. The mood was calm but upset. I saw not only the worst in people but the best in people. People were looking out for each other."

"Hanna and others eventually found a stairwell and began the hour long descent from the building.

"The media and other people have told Hanna that "right where we were was the cutoff. I didn't see too many people coming down behind us."

""80th floor," Dinse said. "I can't get over that. He wasn't supposed to make it out." [Tower 2 ?]
"At the office of Harris Beach, located on the 85th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, evacuation began as soon as a commercial airliner slammed into the building, about 15 minutes after the North Tower was hit with an identical attack.

"Hal M. Hirsch, a partner at Harris Beach since it merged with Gainsburg & Hirsch last month, said the most heroic escape was that of a firm secretary who has asthma.

""She passed out about 10 floors down," Mr. Hirsch said. "A construction worker picked her up and carried her all the way down the stairs."

"The yet-to-be-identified construction worker was one of a crew that had been remodeling the firm’s World Trade Center office space."
"Yin Liang...working for Lehman Brother's equities e-commerce website...on the 40th Floor in One World Trade Center...

"One guy starts walking fast to the fire emergency exit, we are trained in the building on how to respond to emergency situations like this, we all immediately started walking toward the fire emergency exits, I was in a hurry, not even picking up my bag. My teammates also started walking. Some people are still confused, they are still asking "What's going on ? What happened ? " We shouted back "Get out of the building NOW! ", At the time, there was no alarms, no flash lights. But we do feel something deadly wrong are happening to the building. This building sometime swings during heavy wind, but never like this.

"The Long walk down WTC

"We get into the emergency stairs, I didn't see lots of people, and the building stopped shaking, we proceed calmly down the stairs, talking to each other, try to guess what had just happened, we behaved just like when we are having an ordinary "fire-drill", (thank GOD, we do get lots of "fire-drill" exercise once we moved to this building half year ago). Lots of people joined us from other floors. There are heavy smokes coming in from the 33-34th floor, we hesitated for a while, wandering if we should keep going down in the smoke, then we moved on, I covered my mouth and nose with a piece of facial tissue, we keep talking to each other, I guess there must be a fire going on at certain floors, we kept walking down the stairs, the smoke became more and more dense , one guy carried a coffee pot full of water and also have some paper towels in it, he give the wet towels to others, I also asked and got one wet paper towel, I used it to cover my mouth and nose again, at the time, I am thinking this man must be very calm and trained in handling emergencies, he not only carry his big backpack, also find time to go to the rest area, take the coffee pot and put the towels in it, then take the pot with him. The wet paper towel does make breathing a little bit easier, we continued walking down, fearing for the unknown. There are more and more people coming in from various floors, so the place became more crowed, we are walking down slower and slower but still very orderly and peacefully. I want to call my wife to tell her that we are in trouble and also want her to find out what had just happened, but there are no cell signals at all, so I stopped trying to call. Everyone is very curious on what just happened. Some people said it's a Boeing that hit the building, then later we got email messages via Blackberry pager informing us that a Boeing airplane just hit our building. We could not believe it, but it does make sense. We started guessing it must be some stupid navigational error made by an airplane. My regular pager still shows no news relating to this airplane hit. On the stair, We saw one man resting on the stairs, his cloth wet, he is sweaty, wet and unable to breathe, two of his female co-workers are trying to encourage him to keep walking down, ( Later I realized they must come from the upper floors, running very fast downstairs after the plane hits). On the way down, I tried again to call my wife via cell phone , but there is still no signal at all. More and more people joined us, the place is very crowed. When we reached around the 20th floor, people in the front are shouting back, "Stay on the right side, the firefighters are coming up", so we stopped, stayed on the right side, waiting for the fireman to come by. There are around 7-8 fireman came up, every fireman are fully loaded, carrying heavy steel equipment, water pipes and gas tanks, their face is very grim and serious, they are not young. Once the firemen passed by, we resumed walking, after another 2-3 minutes, More firemen coming up, they all carry heavy steel hammer and various heavy tools. They are sweaty, their breathing is very heavy. One lady asked which floor they are going, they are heading up to the 80th floor, She told them good luck. Every time when a batch of firemen coming up, one of us will shout to let the rest know they are coming up, so we can stay on the right hand side to let the firemen pass, Some firemen are unable to keep walking due to the extreme heavy load on their back. I heard one fireman telling another to slow down and come up when he catches his breath, Their face is deadly serious and brave, with lots of perspiration.

"We kept walking, on the 10th or 11th floor, a lots more people are coming into the stairs, we saw smokes coming in, the line is still very orderly, on the 3rd or 4th floor, we see water running on the stairs, some people in front of us took their shoes off, My shoes get wet and squeaky, so I took my shoe and sock off also, we kept walking, the movement is still very calm and orderly, once we reached the basement floor, there are more waters on the ground, more firemen are coming in, police officers are also standing near the stairs, asking every body to remain calm and walk orderly toward the building exit. We do remain very calm and orderly. The water are now almost one inch deep, they do not appear dirty, then I found out all the waters are coming from the ceiling sprinkers. I saw all the sprinklers on the basement ceiling are working, so we get pretty wet. There are lots of police officers directing us inside the world trade center basement, they asked us to walk orderly to exit the building. we reached the front gate of One World Trade Center ( where every morning I would swipe my WTC Access Card to go inside the building) are damaged, the ceilings are cracked and one piece of ceiling is down on the side already, the gates are broken apart, We pass the gate, the revolving doors are not damaged in the front are not damaged,they consists of three doors, now two door are being switched to the side, so we do not have to push the revolving door to go through it). We are now outside the One World Trade Center tower, but we are still inside the huge WTC Basement Complex.

"On the way out from the stair, I also hear the walls are cracking, pieces of walls are falling on my far right side, around 40-50 feet away, there is an escalator right in front of us, during a "regular day", we normally use that escalator to go up to the street level concourse, then go through the revolving door to go outside. So naturally some people turned to take that escalator, but the police officers directed us to keep going forward, ( Later from the TV, I understand if we were using that escalator, we will be hit by the falling debris once we reached outside the tower). so we walked passed the basement hallway, on the left side, there is a big GAP store, I looked inside the store, no one is there, the I saw and realized the entire basement is empty, there is an eerie calm, a deadly silence in the basement, except the police loud speaker, I paused, put my shoe back, the socks are wet, so I put them inside my pant pocket. There are nobody except ten or twenty police personnel and streams of people coming out from the building. We walked orderly, turning right to reach another escalator, the one that is near the HSBC Bank/Borders bookstore, the police officers then asked us to start running outside as fast as we can, I realized it must be a very serious situation, so I walked faster, then starts running. I saw there are lines of people waiting to get onto the escalator, Some of us decided to take the stairs along the escalator, we run upstairs, then one police officer, using a loud speaker, is telling us "Please walk up on Broadway, going north, please try to find a partner to stay together". I exited the building complex through the HSBC/Borders front gate,..."
"...11 September 2001 My name is John doe..." [is this fiction?]

"...a woman who sounded slightly hysterical. It was a black woman in a dark purple business suit, completely drenched, with no shoes and a large tear in one sleeve. She was explaining - in shrieks - to the leader of a fire company that was standing nearby that she had just come down from the 84th floor of 2[??] WTC. She worked for MetLife and had narrowly made it down the stairway alive. She’d had to change stairways at the 44th floor, and the stair she took down from there was completely dark, filled with smoke, and had water cascading down the shaft in such great quantities that she and the others descending with her more fell down the 44 floors of stairs than walked. Above 44 [84?] she said, it was an inferno, and no one could survive it...."
"...Craig Trykowski...working with 75 tradespersons and colleagues on interior construction for Lehman Brothers on the 34th floor of the north tower...

""We hit the stairwell; it was a mass panic." They headed down the stairs under seemingly normal conditions but when they got to about the 20th floor, a strong gas smell hit them and by the 17th floor the water pipes had broken and people were tripping on the stairs. "We didn't know what the gas smell was; I told people to put their hands over their mouths," he says. "When we got down was when we saw the smoke. All the glass was blown out in the building.""
Memories of the terrorist attack on the morning of September 11, 2001 from multiple sources known and unknown [is this fiction?]

Escape From The 80th Floor September 11, 2001

"80th floor of One World Trade Center...The doors slid open onto the 78th floor lobby and I along with other passengers moved onto the next level of elevator banks to get to floors 80 to 107. Those going to the 79th floor took an escalator.

"...when we heard the almost silent swoosh of wind, followed by a loud thunderous ka-boom, and the building shaking under our feet as if an earthquake had rippled by. Ceiling tiles fell....

"But the alarm didn’t go off immediately. Other than our own voices, it was amazingly quiet. We heard no screams or further explosions. The office did fill with smoke within a minute or two and our personnel headed for exits. A hallway wall that had been pushed in blocked the way out from the northeast hallway that led from the front door of our office. We believe now it may have been part of the plane that pushed the wall in. It would also account for why the elevators would have filled with flame and smoke so quickly....

"We exited into a stairwell and started what we thought was a long climb down 80 flights of stairs. We got only as far as the 77th floor when we came up against a locked door. As we discussed options, the smoke started to get thicker. I was incredulous and frustrated. How could a damn door be locked in what was meant to be an escape route? I used my scarf to cover my mouth and nose. I heard a commotion behind me and heard people saying someone with a key was coming through. We stepped aside our hopes rising. The key made no difference, the door was jammed shut.

"We were ushered into the Port Authority office on the 78th floor. There was no smoke here and we could breathe. We were told they were looking for another way out and we should go into any one of the empty conference rooms along the south west side of the building. We asked if we could turn on the TV and use the phones. I turned to look at the television to see the exterior of our building. I could hear that our building had been hit by a plane. No mention of a terrorist attack. As I turned to watch some of my fellow co-workers making phone calls, there was a second ka-boom, the building shook again and debris started hitting the windows.

"I thought some part of the plane or some part of the building that had been hit by the plane had exploded and debris was sliding down from the floors above us. I would later learn it was a second airplane diving into the other tower and it was debris from that explosion hitting the windows. I advised people to move back into the interior of the office and away from the windows. Thank God they never shattered. We left the TV and so never saw or heard any more about what was happening. It struck me later that at that moment I only had one fleeting thought that perhaps we were stuck on the 78th floor and I might not get out. I immediately dismissed that thought and just knew I wasn’t going to die there.

"Within 5 or 10 minutes we were advised that another route out had been found. I would learn later that another coincidence of the day was ending up in the Port Authority office as they had all the keys to all the stairwell doors. One of them would lead us out. We moved to the opposite side of the office forming a single file line....I expected to move immediately into a stairwell and was surprised that it was a hallway. As we turned the corner we entered a second hallway where one of the employees from the office we had just left was hosing down the ceiling above our heads. You could see where they had put out a fire and where it was starting up again. Ceiling tiles lay at our feet and smoke was still filtering through the gaping ceiling as we ducked down to get under wires hanging loosely from the ceiling and then ducked under the hose and sloshed our way to the stairwell. This is what I mean by the spirit of New Yorkers. It is because of the initiative of these Port Authority employees that we got out....

"We didn’t pass any other building personnel, firefighters or police. I assumed that the flames and smoke shooting down the shafts from the explosion of the plane’s fuel on impact had immediately knocked out all the elevators. I knew that the only method for getting up or down now was the stairs and 80 flights is a long way whether you’re going up or down.

"The calm of the people around us as we walked down was amazing. People who had been hurt or were having a problem getting down were being assisted at every point. When congestion slowed us to a stop no one shoved or made a scene we all waited patiently until we could move again. People passed information up and down the line to try and keep people informed about what was happening and those with blackberries sent as many emails as they could for folks around them as none of our cell phones worked.

"I was about a third of the way down and we had come to a point where we were stopped for a few minutes when I heard my name called out....I reached a stairwell landing and stepped aside to wait for Jo and Peter to catch up. I would later suspect that doing this saved my life.

"...We finally got out of the smoke when we hit the 35th floor. It felt great to breathe fresh air and lifted everyone's spirits. We had been walking down for a little over ˝ an hour at this point.... We could feel the heat in the stairwell....

"At this time, we also started running into building personnel. One young black man standing at the back of a stairwell landing advising everyone to be careful, hang onto the handrail, don’t slip because an injury would mean you’d have to be carried out. He told us that; "God loved us and would see us through this. He was with us and we would get out." We shared a smile....

"Around the 27th floor we ran into firefighters climbing up. I can't imagine what it must have been like to walk up that many flights with all the gear they had. They looked so winded at that point. I doubt that they made it out before the building collapsed and my prayers and thoughts are with them and their families now.

"By the 7th floor, the stairwells were flooding with water from what we assumed were the firefighting efforts or maybe building sprinklers that had gone off. I looked down at my feet and the water was ankle deep. The stairs became even more slippery and we clung to the handrails. I felt one moment of panic when I thought, "would these stairs hold up under all this human and water weight?"...

"We were feeling buoyant when we hit 3 and thought we're almost out of here. It had taken us a little over an hour to get this far. But the adventure it seems was far from over. At that point, as we learned later, building 2 collapsed and hit our building. Once again it felt like a bomb had gone off as the building shook again and there was this tremendous whoosh of air that almost knocked us off our feet. At that point the lights went out. We were pulled into some sort of vestibule until the air had calmed. Jo and I clung to each other until the noise from debris falling had stopped. Jo always reassuring me that we’d be ok, we’d get out. I believed her. I knew that by waiting for Jo and Pete I had just missed being on one of the lower floors now covered in debris.

"There was so much debris that our way out was blocked. I remember thinking there is no way I walked down 77 flights to die 3 floors from safety. There was a fireman on this floor with us. He advised us that he was going to look for another way out. Someone passed up a flashlight and he and another person moved through the vestibule and down a hallway. We heard there was no way out we’d have to go up.

"We formed a human chain each person hanging onto the person in front of them and in back of them. We climbed back up to 4. No way out. We were advised to climb another flight. I hung back and said no, it’s the wrong way, we have to go down not up. Then the news came up the line to turn around, come back to 3, a firefighter has found a way out. We clung to each other as we followed the person in front of us and moved toward the flashlight we could see ahead of us. The firefighter had punched a hole in the wall to get us out. We made our way out into the 3rd floor rotunda in the dark. We got our first glimpse of what looked like a war zone.

"We walked through ankle deep dust...

"We followed the directions of rescuers telling us to hug the wall and walk toward the flashlights. We were directed through a doorway that led into the outside plaza in front of the US Customs building. As we were directed to a stairwell leading to street level we climbed over girders and moved around office furniture and layers of office papers, twisted metal, broken glass and other debris. I remember thinking it was too much debris to be just from the top of our building....

Susan A. F.
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"...Tower 1...George Hessler, 42, was in his office on the 83rd floor of the World Trade Center when the first hijacked jetliner smashed into the building a few floors overhead.

"``It was like an earthquake,'' said Hessler, a 1977 graduate of Western Reserve Academy in Hudson.

"He grabbed his cellphone and daily planner and hurried toward a stairwell with his co-workers at Lava Trading, where he is a financial software salesman. Then terror struck again.

"``As we walked down the hallway, the end of the hall burst into flames,'' Hessler said, ``so we ran back the other way.''

"Hessler and his friends found another stairway and began trudging 80 floors to the street.

"Hessler's escape was thwarted at the 35th floor, when the growing exodus of office workers met firefighters heading up. Progress slowed to a crawl. Hessler searched the halls for a less-crowded stairwell.

"Fear didn't grip Hessler, though, until the lights went out and Tower 2 collapsed.

"``When we heard that rumbling, the building shook,'' said Hessler, who by that time had made it to the second floor.

"But the exit was blocked by debris. Water from broken pipes cascaded down the stairs. Dust was thick in the air.

"Hessler and his group retraced their steps to the fourth floor and found a stairwell that wasn't blocked.
"...Kaleb Northrup, who on Wednesday journaled his story. Permit me to read excerpts from it that give us a first hand account:

""We got to the World Trade Center at about 8:30am to prepare for our 9:00 o’clock presentation. . .nothing out of the ordinary there. We were issued photo ID’s at the security desk to gain access to the towers. I wondered whether I was supposed to save it or not for the next time I visited the WTC. John had gotten his laptop booted and the projector ready for the demo when out of the blue there was a large explosion and the building lurched to one side. My immediate thoughts were that it was either an earthquake, or another bomb in the basement. The building only swayed for a few seconds, as we were simply frozen waiting to see what was going to happen. The building stabilized, and we all quickly left the room and headed to the stairs. I made a point to go to the other side of the room to grab my laptop case and my suit jacket...I was sporting my spiffy new Italian suit that day, and wasn’t going to leave my jacket behind, or my laptop. Figured it would be days before any items left in the buildings would be returned.

""So, from the 63rd floor we joined the exodus out of the building. Everything was amazingly orderly, no one was hysterical or otherwise freaking out, although a few were trembling and crying a bit, but you can’t blame them for that. Thing was, we all figured that what ever had happened was over, and we were safe, although inconvenienced by having to climb down all those stairs to leave the building. The thought didn’t enter my mind that the actual structure of the building had been compromised. Had anyone understood exactly how grave our situation was, I don’t think we would have been quite as cool and collected as we were. On the way to the stairs we could see a lot of debris falling from above. We reasoned that it must have been a plane that hit the building above us, rather than anything that had occurred below us. Immediately upon entering the stairwell, there was a distinct stench that no one could recognize, figuring it was just some kind of smoke. I knew immediately what it was though, because I’ve smelled enough different fuels burning in my life to recognize that these had to be the fumes from the burning airplane fuel, which meant if nothing else, we were perhaps at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. I didn’t mention my analysis, figuring there was nothing we could do about it, and I didn’t want to give everybody a reason to panic. People coming in from the floors were bringing wet paper towels with them, so eventually we all were trying to breathe through them, which helped a bit.

""Somewhere around the 40th floor there was a guy in a wheelchair in the stairwell with a couple of people attending to him trying to figure out how to get him out of the building. A few floors later, a woman was being attended to for one reason or another, later. Things progressed fairly smoothly until we got into the low 30’s, then the descent slowed as we had reached the total maximum capacity of the stairs, and it was like stop-n-go traffic in Chicago the rest of the way down.

""On the 25th floor we were met by firefighters coming up the stairs. They were completely exhausted, not only from the climb but all the equipment they were carrying. The fire chief sat down on the stairs next to me, as I was standing on the platform at that floor, waiting for his men to break into the locked door to that floor. The firefighters wouldn’t say much, other than confirming that it was a plane that hit the building, and that we simply needed to continue down. When the men had opened the door, the chief got up and collected his equipment, but dropped a pry bar on his way to the door. I picked up the pry bar and shouted "Chief!" to get his attention, but he was already gone. One of the other firefighters took the pry bar, and probably 20 of them entered that floor. I think they must have been planning to use the elevators to go up higher.

""Somewhere around the 15th floor a water pipe must have burst in the building, the stairs became a waterfall, and women were being advised to put their shoes back on due to broken glass at the bottom. Eventually we made it to ground level. I will spare you the description of what I saw on the ground outside the building. It was like a scene out of a movie, or a war reel. I chose not to look at the scene for too long, and proceeded as directed by police to the basement level, which connected the towers to a mall on the other side of the street. The floor was covered in broken glass and debris, and a good 3 to 6 inches of water. We made our way to the mall, and back up and out the other side...."

[identical to the story from Matthew Clapp, at [athens]
"...Matthew Clapp." [identical to Kaleb Northrup story.., alumnus information suggests this is the credible version.]
"September 11, 2001

"...77th floor of the WTC Tower 1 when the first plane hit. I felt it and heard it and there was debris everywhere. There is several ways out of the building. One was blocked by debris. One was locked. Everyone from the floor gathered in the Port Authority office, that was coincidentally on our floor. They knew a plane had hit. We watched it on TV for a minute....Debris was hitting the windows and I had to go....I must stress that we didn't know what was going on until much later. We just thought some idiot in a Cesna hit our building. We started down the stairs. This took a long time, as they were crowded. There were no bodies strewn. No one was pushing or panicking (almost no-one). The second plane must have hit while we were in the stairwell, because no one knew about it. Over an hour later, we felt another shake like the first and everyone yelled and began to run. We were on the 6th floor and were able to get out. I was surprised at all the debris, not knowing it was the burning wreckage of tower 2....
-Mat Gard
"From: j_montev@y...
"Date: Mon Sep 17, 2001 5:25 pm
"Subject: Personal Account

"...this is a personal account of a friend of a friend's... very detailed... i take no responsibility for anything said in it or the authenticity or it, and if you have questions or comments, he has placed his contact info at the bottom... he authorizes forwarding in part or whole, so feel free...

"jay [ Monteverde ? ]

"...Permission is granted to reprint this in full or in part... Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Tower 1, 28th floor....a muffled rumbling sound permeated the walls of the seemingly rock solid building. A split second after I heard the noise, I felt it. I've never been in an earthquake, but I would imagine that it was a very similar sensation. The tremor shook me upright in my chair and rounded my eyes like dinner plates. What the hell was that?? Not another bomb...? I ran to the door and looked out into the sea of cubicles; a few frantic heads had emerged from within their cube walls. My eyes squinted to see out the thin, vertical windows on the opposite side of the room. I could see debris falling from above down to the streets below. UH oh... isn't that stuff going to hit someone down there? This was the most significant thing I had seen out those windows since my boss Amaury pointed out a window washer lowering himself past that very same window.

[ a person? not a machine? ]

"Then the entire tower began to sway. It was like a giant-sized teeter-totter, just not nearly as much fun as I would have imagined a giant teeter-totter would have been. It was reminiscent of the final climactic scene of Titanic where the ship took its final dive with a groan of twisting metal. I clutched the door frame that I was standing in with my left hand and hung on with all my might. Oh shit... today is the day that I'm going to die. And this is how it's going to happen. Please, not now... not today. I felt the adrenaline charging through my body and down my limbs light a freight train. Screams flooded the office space as we rode the giant beast for what seemed like an eternity; although in actuality was probably only 30 seconds. When the building finally stopped moving, I looked down at my right hand, still clutching my cup of coffee and shaking like a leaf. I had spilled coffee all over my hand and arm, so I wiped it on my shirt and set my cup back down on the table. In the room, dialogue was abundant:
""That must have been another bomb!"
""Whoa, that was crazy!"
""Maybe a helicopter or airplane hit the building..."
""They're saying we have to evacuate the building!!!"
"Upon hearing that, people began to make a mad dash for the doors. Should I get my bag? It's right here, but they always said that in times of evacuation, you should leave your stuff. We'll be back for it though, right? Amaury ran into the Blue Room and grabbed his bag and the company's digital camera. Following his cue, I grabbed my bag, slung it over my shoulder, and ran towards the doors that everyone else was running towards. Hey, where IS the stairwell? I had only been working at Empire for a month, and I remember thinking to myself that if there was a fire, I really wouldn't know where the exit was. I know the whereabouts of the express elevator, but not the stairs. As we burst through the heavy wooden doors, the hallway was filled with white smoke. It was straight out of the fire safety movies we had seen in school. Instinctively, we turned around to find another route, but the doors had slammed closed behind us and locked! One woman frantically rattled the doorknob in vain. I guess this lady doesn't remember that you need to use your key card to open these doors... I wagged my butt over the wall sensor panel, and the door unlocked with a small beep. I always kept my key card in my back pocket. It was a convenient place to keep it. Besides, I thought it was a pretty funny trick to be able to open a door with just your butt.

"Realizing that the smoky hallway was the only way to the stairwell and to safety, we followed the arrows on the red exit sign that was glowing in the haze like headlights in a fog bank. Apparently no one else knew where the stairs were either. Luckily, we found them quickly, entered the solid concrete....

[ concrete ? ]

....stairwell, and began our descent. It wasn't quite as smoky in there, but there was a slight haze. The square plastic sign on the wall read "28th Floor". This is going to be a long, long walk... The first four floors seemed to go by very quickly, but we hit a major bottleneck as we got close to the 24th. In fact, we came to a total standstill. I could see that the holdup was due to the fact that people from the 24th were trying to make their escape into the stairwell too. White smoke seeped in slowly through the open door, and it was getting harder to breathe in there by the minute. I looked around at the pure concrete surrounding us. God, we've got to get the hell out of here... if this place caves, we're in big trouble. I was counting the minutes.

"When we finally got to the door at the 24th, two women were holding the door open and screaming as they looked down the hall.

"Morbid curiosity got the best of me. I peeked my head through the door and saw that ceiling had caved in from the above floors. It looked like a tornado had come through the place. "Hey, maybe we should shut the door... we're letting smoke in!" I told the women, and I nudged them out of the way as I pushed the door shut. On the next floor, a few people were pouring bottles of water over a Latino man's head. He was gagging and coughing as if he couldn't breathe. "This guy's got asthma!" one of the men shouted as they tried to assist him. Some stopped to help, but we needed to keep the line moving as much as possible if we wanted to get out of here alive.

""EVERYONE MOVE TO YOUR RIGHT! BURN VICTIM COMING DOWN!" echoed from the stairs overhead. A fireman was coming down the stairs,....

[ how'd they get above him? ]

.....followed by a filthy looking woman. "Don't touch her, just move to your right," barked the fireman. Everyone squeezed against the wall as if she was contagious with the bubonic plague. As she passed me, I realized that she was not filthy; she had third degree burns all over her body. It reminded me of being a kid and getting Bazooka bubble gum on your face while blowing bubbles -- you try and peel the gum off your cheeks, but it just turns black with the dirt on your hands. You end up going home a sticky mess so your mother can scrub it off. It looked like she had quite a bubble gum mishap... except that I knew it wasn't gum. It was her charred skin peeling off her arms and face. Her right elbow was cherry red with a bloody abrasion about the size of a silver dollar. Jeez, I wonder what floor she was on... They rushed her straight down the stairs for immediate medical attention. Not far behind her was the asthma guy. It was good seeing that guy get some help... he looked terrified as he gasped for air like a fish out of water.

"The haze was getting thicker. I pulled my jacket out of my bag, wadded it up, and held it over my mouth. A gas mask it was not, but it would have to do. I looked back up the stairs at the others. No one else was covering their mouths. I couldn't believe it... How long until one of these people passes out from smoke inhalation? Amaury was close behind, and I flashed him a grin from behind my makeshift air filter. He grinned back. I was hoping to keep morale high, at least for myself. Am I getting dizzy? I can't tell. I sure hope not. Maybe I need some water. I pulled out one of the two bottles of spring water in my bag and gulped down a bit. That's a little better...

""GET TO YOUR RIGHT!" Everyone jumped to the right side of the stairwell like a bunch of trained dogs ready to please their master. Firemen in their full, clunky fire gear were coming up the stairs. They looked hot, sweaty, and exhausted. Some of them stopped shortly for a breather on the landing before continuing up the seemingly never-ending flight of stairs. 110 floors... I wonder how high they're going to go. I would never be able to do that job. Many people from the crowd cheered the firemen and shouted blessings as they walked by. It was nice to see that they were genuinely appreciated. Several of the firemen assured the frantic crowd that everything would be alright and that everyone would get out just fine. When asked, they told us that the smoke got thinner as you got lower, and it would get easier and easier to breathe during the descent. One firefighter on his way up the stairs screamed, "I NEED SOME WATER!!!" I grabbed one of the water bottles out of my bag and said, "Hey, here, take this one." He looked down at the water, grabbed the bottle with a giant glove-clad hand, took a swig, and tucked the bottle under his belt. "Thanks... let's go!" he said, before disappearing up around the twisting staircase. I would estimate that a total of fifty firemen passed by, all on their way up. Most of them probably never found their way back down.

"Further down the stairs, the same two women from before were opening another door, letting more smoke seep in. These women must be morons!!! They were greeted with a chorus of "Shut the damn door!" from everyone else in the stairwell. Jackasses. It had probably been around 15 or 20 minutes since we had entered the stairwell. Looking up, I noticed that by this point, everyone else was covering their mouths with their shirts, jackets, or whatever they could find. The plastic sign on the wall read, "9th Floor". I looked up at Amaury and tapped the sign optimistically. We're almost there!

""Watch out... there's some water down here, and it's slippery," said one of the men in front of me. The place was like a water park. Water was flowing down the stairs like an enormous cascading waterfall. Deep puddles formed on each of the landings on the way down. Wow, I'm glad I bought the shoes that were waterproof... who would have thought? I had it pretty easy. My socks were soaked, making that all-too-familiar "squish squish" sound when I walked.....Fortunately, my shoes held up like champs. Many of the women ended up having to take off their designer shoes to walk barefoot down the wet concrete stairs.

"The last stretch of floors went by rather quickly; 3rd... 2rd... 1st... Basement. We ended up in some weird storage closet with two WTC workers. "You went too far! The exits are on the 1st Floor," one of them yelled from behind the disheveled pipes and disarray. I noticed that the walls down here were heavily damaged. It was dark, damp, and it looked like the building really took quite a structural blow. It was pretty tough to backtrack against the steady flow of people coming down the stairs, but we managed to get back out to the ground level.

"I recognized the ground floor as being the familiar security lobby, except this time it was a scene from a Disney ride. Parts of the walls and ceilings had broken into pieces and fallen to the ground, and water covered the entire floor. Security was always very high in the lobby of the WTC; you needed an ID card to get anywhere past the first floor. The turnstiles had been opened to allow for an easy escape, and the revolving doors were similarly folded back. One woman that I worked with was having trouble walking on the slick floor, so she linked arms with mine and I helped her walk in her high heels. Nice fashion and all, but they're certainly not made for all-terrain use. As we moved through the folded revolving doors, we were drenched by the fire sprinklers showering water from the ceiling in the mall...."
[contact info missing....]
[ or now? ]
"Anger of survivors told to stay inside blazing towers"
Ed Vulliamy, New York
Sunday September 16, 2001
The Observer,6903,552730,00.html

[ From the thread in "freerepublic" that follows the copy of the article: ]

"...I have no sympathy for the Port Authority in this incident. I know someone who was in the first building when it was hit (he survived with no serious injuries), and because he was also there when the WTC was bombed in 1993 he had no intention of doing anything except evacuate. In 1993, his group actually walked down 73 floors and came to A LOCKED EMERGENCY EXIT, so as far as I am concerned the Port Authority deserves whaever it gets."
34 Posted on 09/18/2001 13:59:33 PDT by Alberta's Child

"One woman said that her employer ordered her back to her desk and she did not obey. She also went on to say that a few of the fire escape doors were locked when they tried to flee. I am thinking, from experience, that fire escape doors are locked to discourage smoking on the premises. But, whatever the cause and whatever that we were attacked...we still should question if someone died needlessly, always. "
37 Posted on 09/18/2001 14:17:22 PDT by Conservobabe
[ or now? ]
[quotes omitted - report of questioned validity regarding floors being designed to seal off from each other in case of emergency, followed by forum discussion]
"PETE RUSHING, WTC SURVIVOR: Yes; I work on the 80th floor.

"KING: Doing?

"RUSHING: I'm actually a proposal and contract manager for a company called The Beast.

"KING: The Beast; appropriate enough. What happened to you?

"RUSHING: When it first happened, I was actually at my desk. I got there around 7:30 that morning and I was working on a presentation for the CEO. And also, like Lou, felt a large vibration, and then ceiling tiles started coming down and it felt like an earthquake. That's the only way to describe it.

"KING: You went downstairs, too?

"RUSHING: Yes, I went immediately down the to local stairwell, and it was on fire. So then we went down to the other stairwell, got down to the 78th floor and the door was locked. So a few people panicked, I was just OK; you know, one more thing we got to get over now.

"So we went back up to the 79th floor. We had a TV available to us and we were able to find out that a plane hit, and terrorism. That's all we knew the whole way down..."
"...Yasana Mutuanot...was in the lobby of Tower One when she heard the first explosion. Thinking it was a bomb like the terrorist attack in 1993, she turned to run, looking over her shoulder as flames leaped from a freight elevator shaft cooking her back and legs and right cheek.

""It was a fireball with sand and heat, like a hurricane of fire," she said.

"The lobby windows shattered as she stumbled out of the building and fell. She could not regain her footing. Her husband, who had not yet entered the building, arrived at her side.

""I kept asking my husband, `Did I lose my foot? Did I lose my foot?' " she said.

"The foot was still attached, but the Achilles' tendon had been severed by debris. She hobbled away with her husband and eventually found an ambulance...."
"Blake Altshuler ...2 WTC...64th floor...Morgan Stanley...deafening blast and felt his building shudder. “It wasn’t the definitive Bruce Willis explosion, like you’d hear in ‘Die Hard’ o r something,” he recalls. “It was more like a really loud pop.”

"He didn’t have to be told twice. Without hesitation, he scooped up his book and cell phone, and darted for the stairs. In the stairwell, he says, people were walking calmly down the stairs in a double-file line, still oblivious to the gravity of the circumstances. A s they made their way down the stairs, a gentleman, who said he had a hernia, asked Altshuler to carry one of his two heavy bags. Altshuler took the bag, and the two men started chatting. It was from this conversation that Altshuler learned that a plane had crashed into the first tower. Still, the idea of a terrorist attack was the farthest thing from his mind. He thought the crash was simply a horrible accident. “La Guardia Airport is only 20 minutes away from Manhattan,” he says. “We always see planes flying over the Hudson River. ” "By the time he was about halfway to the bottom of the building, a voice came over the intercom informing the people in the stairwell that the emergency was contained in the first building, and that it was safe for them to return to their offices. Altshuler saw three or four people start back up the stairs, but most of the crowd stayed the path downward. “I heard a security guard, or someone saying, ‘Go back to work,’” Altshuler says. “I said, fuck this, I’m not going back up there. I’m taking the day off . ”....

"Altshuler had reached the third floor when the plane hit the second tower. People started to panic, and chaos ensued.

"“The stairwell started to heat up and smell like smoke. We thought there was a fire in the lobby, so people started running back up the stairs. We started hearing horrible noises, and it started smelling like burnt metal. People were screaming.”

"Fearing a fire below, some people stopped short on the stairs, thinking they should stay put and wait for firefighters to reach them. “People were screaming from above, saying, ‘Why are you stopping?’” Altshuler says. “I said to people, ‘We need to just get out.’” "In the end, the crowd collectively decided to continue downward. The stairs spit them onto a mezzanine above the lobby, which opens to a street-level plaza. “I remember looking out, I couldn’t recognize anything,” he says. “It was cloudy, there was debris everywhere. I just remember it being very eerie.” 'Outside the elevator, security guards met the descending throngs, but the guards seemed confused about where to send the fleeing workers. Finally, they were directed further down a set of disabled escalators to the basement mall below the World Trade Center. T h e panicked crowd flew down the escalator. A s Altshuler walked down the escalator (he was still carrying the heavy bag), he says, “I saw a bunch of shoes. People had just left their pumps and high heels behind. I even saw men’s shoes.”
"The crowd scurried through the mall until they reached a set of stairs leading up to the street. Outside, debris showered down from a darkened sky, and police officers frantically shouted for people to move underneath an overhang to dodge falling wreckage. “Once [the cops] saw a clearing in the sky, they said, ‘Everybody just start running!’” Altshuler says....'

Frank & Hingson story,
Source: Newyork Times: ]
"....When American Airlines Flight 11 struck about 20 floors above them, David Frank and Michael Hingson, salesmen for Quantum ATL, felt the building lurch violently.

"There was smoke in the hallways and unthinkable confusion. Mr. Frank, a salesman visiting from Los Angeles, joined Mr. Hingson and the customers and headed for the stairs. The door was blocked, but a building official with a towel covering his mouth and nose quickly pried it open.

Mr. Hingson, who is blind, followed his guide dog, Roselle. After about 40 flights down, the route became congested and nerves began to fray. Mr. Hingson found it hard to breathe because of the jet fumes. His dog was exhausted. Sounds of crying echoed in the stairwell. But there was no panic. People shared bottles of water, and when the first firefighters passed, the crowd cheered.

"At Mizuho Bank, preparations for a disaster like that on Sept. 11 were so thorough that employees had emergency escape packs -- with flashlights, masks and glow sticks -- strapped to their office chairs. The company held regular fire drills and Mr. Miller, a computer specialist for one of the bank's divisions, Mizuho Capital Markets, said company officials were running through the offices of the south tower within a minute of the strike at the north tower.

""They were saying, `It is a bomb! Get out!' " Mr. Miller said. "We have people who were in the building in 1993, so there is an undercurrent, an awareness of what this could be like. This time, nobody wanted to be trapped at the top."

But even the best-laid plans required improvisation. Mr. Miller said that when he reached the 55th floor or so, congestion in the stairwell was so great that the line had ground to a halt. At that point, he stepped out of the stairwell into some offices and heard the announcement saying it was safe to return to work.

"Mr. Miller said he saw his Japanese bosses turn back upstairs. Several co-workers considered doing the same, he said, but quickly changed their minds. As for himself, Mr. Miller said he was consumed with getting out of the building, especially after he heard some people near the window begin screaming that people were falling from the north tower.

""I was thinking that there is a real difference of opinion here about what my eyes are seeing and what the announcement was saying," he said.

"Mr. Miller asked a maintenance worker to direct him to another staircase, and by 9:25 a.m., he had made it out of the building. Judging by the jam in the first staircase, Mr. Miller said he was haunted by the question of how many people might not have made it to the lobby.

"Morgan Stanley had a fire plan, but Sean J. Pierce, who worked on the 73rd floor of the south tower, said routine fire drills were often not taken seriously, and until a few months ago, he did not even know where to find the stairway door.

"Mr. Pierce found the door during a recent dry run, when there was a small fire in the basement and the office was evacuated.

""There is a staircase, and it's kind of hidden," he said. "There was not even a knob on that door. It looked like a wall. It was a like a secret hallway. It looked like one of those things like in an old cartoon, when you push a book and the wall opens."

"On the 86th floor of the north tower, Louis G. Lesce, a consultant, was preparing to teach a career development course to some Port Authority employees. He was reviewing his notes in a large conference room when the first plane struck his building. Six people were there with him.

""I asked someone there, `Can you tell me the evacuation process?' and he just looked at me," Mr. Lesce said. "He had no clue."

"When Mr. Lesce opened the door, black smoke poured in. He and the others smashed windows to get some fresh air, and after calling his wife on the telephone, Mr. Lesce decided to stay put, along with the others.

""We were waiting for the smoke to clear, not knowing what the hell to do," he said. "And then someone came to the door and said, `Come on out and follow us.' "

"The procession to the stairwell and downstairs went without a glitch.

""Those people, I think they were security officers, were fabulous," he said. "They were glued to the ground. None of them tried to go ahead of us. They looked at you and watched you go. They said, `Single file and no talking.' It reminded me of grammar school."

"On the same floor, James Gartenberg, a real estate broker with the Julien Studley firm, was frantically making phone calls, eventually reaching a reporter at The New York Times. "The fire door is blocked," he said in one of several conversations. "It either closed from the force of the explosion or as a fire precaution. The elevators are completely blown out."

"Patricia Puma, who was working in the same office, said: "The wall in the ladies' room started to crack -- it looked like an earthquake. The noise and debris falling outside the building are frightening.

""It looked like the explosion came up through the elevator," said Ms. Puma, 33, of Staten Island. "It looks like the firewall came down and I believe the stairs are on the other side of it."

"Mr. Gartenberg said he and Ms. Puma considered climbing across the debris to reach the stairs, but "more debris fell, so we backed off."

"As he hung up for the last time, Mr. Gartenberg asked that his location be given to rescuers. "I'm not the easiest guy to reach," he said. "We need air."

"About a half-hour later, the building collapsed. The whereabouts of Mr. Gartenberg and Ms. Puma are unknown.,1597,314456-412,00.shtml
" Tower One.

"“It was more of a baloooooom…sounded like an explosion, then a series of other explosions like gas was being ignited,” Louis Lesce, an employment counselor, tells 48 Hours Correspondent Richard Schlesinger.

"“Outside the door, the entire ceiling just collapsed and things started hitting the window and the place started filling with smoke.”

"Lesce, who was working on the 86th Floor of Tower One, adds, “I don’t know what happened. I still don’t know what happened, but I got caught in two explosions.”

"He had just gotten to work when Flight 11 hit. “We thought it was a Piper Cub, you know, someone flown off course,: he recalls. “Could not think of a passenger… think of the people in the plane, no choice. That is to me, the saddest part of the whole story.”

"The end of Flight 11 was the beginning of terror for Lesce and so many others.

"Lesce and a group of six others gathered in a conference room. The billowing smoke made it hard to breath. They broke windows get some air, but quickly decided they had to escape.

"“We went into a stairwell, “ he says, “and I think the frightening thing there - frightening thing for me - was the sound of the siren. It was so loud and so close. This 'woo-ah, woo-ah'.”

"Once they got moving, the stairs were orderly - an eerie calmness. Lesce, who’s had a quadruple bypass, used his mind to help his body.

"“I remember going down, thinking of my fourth-grade teacher, Sister Thomas, who said ‘Hands on the rail, single file, and no talking Mr. Lesce,.’ “ he recalls.

"Lesce says he will never forget those coming up the stairs as he was going down.

"“I remember one fireman, he stopped on that stair with me. We were just eye to eye, “ he says. “I remember his eyes, they were blue. And he looked at me and he said, with his eyes, ‘I’m gonna do my job.’”

Lesci made it down the stairs and out, and then found himself alone.

"“I walk out - never ran in this whole thing, “ he says. “I was the last man on earth. Picture yourself standing in white ash, you have pockets of fire around you. Not a sound. No blue sky, no birds, no grass, nothing. And you see a fireman, and then you see some blue sky”.

"In the tumult, Lesce lost his briefcase. “I was to find ,” he says, “when I came home from the hospital, a message on the answering machine saying, ‘Hi, my name is Peter. I’m a survivor, I hope you’re a survivor, too. I have your briefcase.’ “

"This week, Lesce celebrated his birthday. “Sixty four years old…and still here,” ..."
"From Thu, 27 Sep 2001 09:58:01 -0400
"Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2001 09:58:01 -0400
"From: Bill Bumgarner
"[bbum: ...forwarded to me through the ex-NeXT list...]

"...David Frank...Quantum|ATL Solution Center about 2 months ago to meet with Mike Hingson our ATL VAR territory manager.... Ingram...78th floor of WTC #1....Our lives changed forever at 8:45.

"The explosion rocked the entire structure. Instantly, the windows just above us blew out and debris on fire tumbled past along with tens of thousands of 8 _" x 11" paper. I thought, "confetti". The "explosion" noise was bright, metallic and deafening.

"Simultaneously, the building groaned and leaned south dramatically in slow motion. Would the structure hold? I braced myself with my feet to keep from sliding. Then back we went in reverse. This time I braced with my hands. At this point, I don’t remember if we went back and forth again, but I do remember that the swaying stopped, and to my dismay, the structure sunk downward.

"Was it a terrorist attack? No. Probably an explosion in an office above connected to a gas leak. But, it’s too intense for that. But why would they attack the top of the tower?

"The building shuttered to a stop. I think it was Amy Phillips from Ingram, ran into Mike’s office, looked out the window and ran out. Mike moved to his desk and immediately got on the phone (to his wife). I ran to find the Ingram people. A smell of what I thought then was gasoline filled the air.

"I opened the suite door to the hallway to see all the Ingram people huddled together, lights overhead were out; building and ceiling materials on the floor; light on at the end of the corridor. Mark McClure looked at me with terror filled eyes. I pointed down the corridor and yelled, "GO!"

"Back into the suite and to Mike’s office. I went to the window, not without fear wondering...and looked up. Just above was a roar of orange light, black smoke, multicolored paper flying, burnt cinders accenting the sky and that smell of gas. Then my gaze fell on WTC #2. I observed a large black hole rimmed with fire and smoke! Only later Wednesday night did I understand this to be collateral damage from our explosion!

"In spite of my emotional reaction to the event up that point, my mind focused like a laser beam and I knew what I had to do. I turned to Mike and yelled, "We have to get out---NOW!"

"But, did we leave immediately. No! We gathered our things. I grabbed my computer bag by the handle and portfolio with the other hand. Mike strapped on his computer bag and reached for his beautiful yellow Lab guide dog, Roselle....

"Into the hallway corridor headed for the elevator, central corridor. I was immediately concerned. The smoke was heavy and filled with gas (jet fuel).

"Made it to the central elevator corridor. Not for a moment did we think the elevators were working. Lots of confusion. Lots of smoke. Lots of sunlight from the east window wall illuminating both. A white shirted WTC employee and a man in utility uniform where running around with rags over their mouths. I noticed that the inch thick dark green marble lining the elevator bank’s walls, had buckled and snapped. Major structural damage....

"Someone mentioned, I believe, that the stairwell was not passable. How would we get down? The man in the dark utility suit went to the stairwell, opened the door. And away we went on a 78 floor journey down a well lit and clear of debris, stairway. Escaping from the terrible fire above. It was about 8:55.

"Mike had me get in front of him, Roselle to his left. The first 20 or so floors went smoothly. No one in front of us! Just a few people in back. They were patient but we obviously slowed them down, so we let them pass.

"If I remember correctly, around the high 40’s low 50’s, we hit a traffic jam of people in the stairwell. I looked down. Hundreds of heads and feet below us. This was not good. And yet, we were very calm and all the people in the well were well behaved. But, what could go wrong in this space? Should we go onto another floor? The fire was above and could work itself lower. But what if the stairwell filled with smoke and gas? Where else could we go? Only down!

"Several people in line were clearly panicked, sobbing but staying in place. Others saw Mike and Roselle, asked if I was with them and began to call for others below to "move right" to make room for us to come down. What generosity of spirit! No one complained!

"Mike had his radio on and others mentioned that a plane had hit our building. That there were 2 planes(?). I thought "midair" which could explain what I saw. So, it was jet fuel after all. We certainly had inhaled a lot of it!

"Around the mid 40’s, I think, we heard voices from above yelling, "Move right. Burn victims coming down!"

"I caught my first glimpse of her on the staircase above me. She was in her late 20’s early 30’s. She turned the corner towards us. Two or three people behind her. She walked like a zombie. Eyes straight ahead. Expressionless. Clothes burned off of half her body. Third degree burns. Skin falling off her arms, neck and face. Her blond hair caked in gray slime. Fully ambulatory. Totally in shock. What appreciation I have for shock now!

"About 15 minutes later, a second woman came down. It was bizarre. She looked almost the same age, height, weight, hair color, burns, emotionless expression. Shock.

"As we got into the low 40’s the jet fuel got much more intense to the point where I thought we might pass out. People were clearly suffering the intense fumes and others were clearly beginning to panic. Roselle was not doing well panting heavily and we all needed water. Some people began passing small Poland Spring water bottles up to us from the floor below. This was a real relief. Roselle loved it. It cut some of the fuel taste burning our throats. It eased our sense of dehydration and smoke inhalation. Besides, it was wet.

"I opened the door to the 40’s floor and we momentarily stood in the doorway. I looked and saw no one on the floor. Smoke, and the smell of more jet fuel. We kept to the stairway.

"Today, I believe that when the aircraft hit the north face of the tower, it’s momentum, driven by the aircraft structure and fuel, vivisected the floor, slicing through the elevator shaft and effectively dumping fuel from the low 90’s all the way down to the bottom. That’s why we kept smelling fuel almost all the way down.

"Also, around the 40’s or maybe it was the high 30’s, we ran into our first real hero. A NYC fireman. He was coming up. Walking from the lobby on his way to the low 90’s and right into hell. Clothed in heavy fireman’s hat, fire retardant thigh length jacket and similar pants (called "bunker gear") yellow glow strips around the biceps, thighs, and hat. Heavy gloves.

"They were carrying an unbelievable array of equipment. Axes, picks, shovels, fire hoses, and oxygen tanks. It must have been in excess of 75lbs per man including clothing. Unbelievable!

"They were perspiring profusely, exhausted. And they had to go all the way to the 90’s---straight into hell! This was not lost on the crowd. We all broke out in applause at one point. It was a wonderful moment. Mike and I patted many on the back with a "God bless you".

"Forever, extremely polite. Constantly inquiring about our welfare.

"Fireman: "Are you alright" (to Mike)
"Mike: "I’m fine. Thank you."
"Fireman: "Are you with this guy" (pointing to Mike).
"Me: "Yes, I’m with Mike and we are OK, thank you".

"We had this conversation with virtually everyone of the 35 or 40 fireman that passed us.

"They are all gone now.

"We cannot praise this spirit enough.

"We finally got to the 2nd floor. I estimate the time to be about 9:35 or 9:40. Water was on the landing. I cautioned Mike. Roselle loved it---drank right from the floor and it perked her up. She was going to need the energy.

"As we got down to the very last landing, water had accumulated in the stairwell. We exited the stairwell into the World Trade Center #1 lobby.

"It was a war zone. I know this is an overused phrase. However, it really fit. There were pieces of debris: wall material, ceiling tiles, paper, and garbage all in a lake of water an ankle deep. Forward of us, I saw a torrential rainfall occurring over the exit turnstiles. I alerted Mike that he was about to get very wet but that there was no other danger.

"We went through the turnstiles. Police, WTC personnel in white shirts, black pants and security badges kept yelling, gesturing, "keep moving!" We are in the "rain" moving now through the eastern exit doors of the #1 into the in-door mall that attaches the two towers. More water and lots of noise!

"Left now and heading north. "Keep moving". Lights were on. Up some stairs. Down a dark narrow corridor. Light at the end. The sky!

"We were out!..."
"...Berry, 43, phoned his mother and his father from his office on the 89th floor of the south tower to assure them he was all right. He was talking with his wife when the second plane struck and the phone went dead....

Berry was in the World Trade Center when terrorists tried to blow it up in 1993. At that time, "the safest thing to do was to sit tight," and that experience may have led him to remain in the building too long, his father said. Authorities told family members that Berry made it down the stairway to the fifth floor, then died from asphyxiation.,10233,164564_180647-1,00.html
"Cynthia Robichaud...‘I heard the first explosion. Of course it was terrifying but everyone started helping each other down the stairs just like when the bomb hit the Center eight years ago, and there was a sense of camaraderie among us. I was on the 30th floor when the second plane hit our tower, and then complete terror struck. The lights went out and stair rail trying not to fall. I thank God I was already leaving the building when it began to collapse...."

"One Lehman Brothers employee, whose office was on the 38th floor, said, ‘...First, I heard a thunderous boom -- the feeling was like someone grabbing you by the shoulders and shaking you back and forth. Startled by this, I looked out the window and saw thousands of sheets of paper and large metal pieces raining down from above. I grabbed my wallet, keys and Palm Pilot and ran to the emergency stairwell. It took me 20 minutes to get down the stairs (they are only wide enough for two people abreast), and several times we had to stop.

"‘Around the 20th floor, we started seeing smoke. Just past the 9th floor, water started rushing down the stairs like a river and the temperature was rising due to the amount of people trying to get out. After exiting the stairs in the upper lobby of the building (while still inside), I looked out the large windows to see glass, debris and other burning ‘stuff’ showering down. Everyone was running towards a covered walkway that runs between the WTC and the World Financial Center (down the street)...."
"... the impact zones between Floors 94 and 99 in the north tower and Floors 78 and 84 in the south..."
"...John Kneeley, CEO of Martin Progressive was on the 77th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower....While Kneeley and his associates encountered very little smoke, he says it was strangely slow going in the stairwell.

""We’d go one flight down and wait for five minutes before things were moving again. Then we’d go half a flight and wait for five more minutes." Kneeley was never able to sort out why the stairwell descent was so stop and start — nor why they were walking in about two inches of water from around the seventh floor down....
"Shin Cho ...Bank of America office on the 81st floor of the World Trade Centre's north tower...As Mr Cho and others rushed to nearby floors to help people to the stairwell, he saw people panicking and insisting it was best to stay put. ''I told them they needed to evacuate immediately,'' he said. ''If they wouldn't move, what could I do? There were too many others to help.''

"... second hijacked passenger plane slammed into the south Trade Centre tower. Rattled momentarily, Mr Cho and other rescuers soldiered on, plunging into a stairwell slick with water and filled with smoke so dense he needed to breathe through a wet T-shirt. They stopped on each floor, kicking down doors and yelling for people to ''get the hell out''. Somewhere near the 70th floor he encountered two men frozen with fear in a lift that had stuck.

"The doors were half open and he told them: ''You have to get out. You can still make it if you take the stairs.'' An instant later, their faces twisted in horror as the cable snapped. Mr Cho watched as they disappeared down the lift shaft.

"On the 42nd floor, he met firemen weighed down by packs, axes, picks, hoses, and oxygen tanks but who nevertheless continued upwards to fight the blaze.

"An FBI agent told Mr Cho his job was done that he too needed to escape. Pumping with adrenaline, Mr Cho ignored the warning. Instead, he helped the agent clear floors. Then, at 9.50am, the south tower collapsed, taking thousands with it.

"When the FBI agent received a call saying their tower would soon also fall, Mr Cho joined the mad rush down the final 20 flights....
"...Paul Winn...Michael Seeling....Sun Microsystems...25th and 26th floors of the South Tower....

"...Avel Villanueva, on the other hand, was the last one out. A Xerox employee who worked on site at Sun, Villanueva, 44, was in the copy center on the 25th floor when he felt the impact. From a window, he saw the falling debris and the gaping hole near the top of the 110-story North Tower and realized that everyone needed to evacuate immediately.

"He made the rounds of the office, but some people tried to ignore him. ``People didn't believe it,'' he said. ``Then they would look at me and see the seriousness in my face.''

"A receptionist who had a bad leg got out first and chanced using the elevator to descend 25 floors. Villanueva picked up the phone and paged the office. ``This is not a drill. This is for real,'' Villanueva recalled saying. ``Please, with calmness, go to the nearest exit. This is not a drill. Get out!''

"Just before he left, he ran around and made one last check, ensuring everyone was gone. He heard a radio report about a plane hitting the building but nothing about terrorists. He grabbed his shoulder bag and glasses and headed to the stairwell, which was getting crowded by then.

"...the convoy of people, growing into the thousands as workers from other floors also fled, remained calm, descending double-file.

"There was an eerie silence. ``We all kind of looked at each other and just kept walking down,'' Seeling said.

"After about 15 minutes, Seeling, Winn and their colleagues neared the bottom. A voice came over the loudspeaker, warning of an isolated fire in the North Tower. The safest place to be was back in their offices, it said.

"But no one seemed to take the advice. Hundreds of people flowed out of the stairwell and into the mezzanine, familiar to tourists as the place where they could take an elevator to the observation deck.

"The second-story glass-enclosed lobby offered a view of the outside, and screams of horror erupted as people saw bodies falling from the sky.....

"Port Authority police officers blocked the exit doors to the outside courtyard between the two towers because of falling debris, directing the crowd down one of two escalators that led to an underground shopping mall.

"Seeling trekked through the mall, up another set of escalators and out to the street. Winn took a back-door stairwell to a parking lot behind the South Tower....

"...9:03 a.m.

"At that moment, Villanueva was at the 19th floor, only six flights down from Sun's offices. People began to panic, he said.

"``Every time I saw someone stop to sit down and take a breather, I told them to get up and move,'' Villanueva said.

"Some 30 minutes later, he got outside and looked up...."
"Court Officer Edward Kennedy was leading a woman to safety out of the north tower of the World Trade Center when the south tower went down. "The aftershock just took her whole body. All I had left was her arm," said Officer Kennedy. "One minute she was there and the next she was gone."...

"...The force of the collapse of the south tower threw Court Officers Teddy Leotsakos, Joe Ranauro and Ty Bacon into the basement of the north tower.

""We were evacuating people out of there and then we heard the rumbling," said Officer Ranauro.

""The windows started to buckle and then the wind just picked us up and blew us into the building," Officer Leotsakos said. "You couldn't see an inch in front of your face."

"Rescue personnel broke through the wall of an adjacent Borders Bookstore to extract people from the basement just before the collapse of the north tower.

"Officer Bacon was trying to evacuate a young girl who had burns on about 60 percent of her body when they were blown into the building's basement.

""When we got there there was a bunch of severely injured people, but she was the one in the most critical condition," said Officer Bacon. "Somebody yelled 'Get down' and there was this big rush of air and we were pushed inside."....
"...Joel Simon...Serko & Simon...said six of the firm's 21 staff members were in the 33rd floor office at the time of the attack, and all of them escaped - arriving at the ground floor of the building after about an hour on the staircase...."
"...Joseph Lacomare...One World Trade Center...working on a contract with the New York Port Authority

.........70th floor ...Concrete and debris rained past his window. Ceiling tiles started dropping.

""There were no words exchanged at the beginning, just people screaming and looks of terror," he said. "Everything was falling down around you. ... You didn't know if the thing was going to fall down or if it was going to crack open and you'd see the sky."

"People headed for the stairwells, which were wide enough for four

[four ?]

people standing shoulder-to-shoulder. The path narrowed around the 40th floor to two rows heading down and two rows of firefighters heading up - sweat pouring off their faces, bodies laboring under the weight of oxygen tanks and fire-proof jackets, axes and hoses in their hands. On some landings he saw them resting, catching their breath before pushing on. People were sobbing and crying. He saw the wounded carried down, some terribly burned, "skin just falling off their bones."

"He'd been in the stairwell for 15 minutes when the entire building shook from another tremendous explosion. A Boeing 767 had crashed in Two World Trade Center. In the stairwell, Lacomare saw cracks form in the walls.

"Conditions worsened as they neared the ground. Water poured down the stairs from fire extinguishers and burst pipes. Smoke collected around the landings. What had been a relatively calm evacuation became urgent....

"About 9:30 a.m., Lacomare reached the lobby. The revolving doors were crushed, so were the adjoining doors. He took an escalator to another exit...."
"Dr. 59 was attending a meeting in the South tower of the WTC when American flight 77 slammed into the North tower next door. Dr. 59 led two people to safety down stairwell "D" some 85 floors...."

[Stairwell "D" ? Did the South Tower have 4 stairwells vs. the 3 for the North Tower? In general, Dr. 59's website is constructed in such a fashion as to make me question anything he might have to has since disappeared. ]
The Story of an Unidentified Person Who Survived from Tower One-Unproven!

"I am forwarding an email sent to me by a friend circulated to her by a relative. who works for Bank of America and was in their 71st story office in World Trade Center (I) at that horrible moment: ...loud explosion, which was immediately followed by tremendous building sways and vibrations. As I was thrown out of my chair, I immediately thought that this was an earthquake, but still thinking rationally, I thought that it was abnormal since there are no earthquakes in NYC, especially of this magnitude. I remember thinking that the building felt like it was going to collapse from this initial explosion.

"As I picked myself up and ran to the emergency staircase located in the core of the huge building, I saw through the east facing windows debris and fireballs falling from the top of the building. The building had stabilized by the time I reached the stairwell, and evacuation had commenced quickly but calmly. Not knowing the gravity of what was happening above us, people had started pouring into the stairwell from the hallways of the different floors. I saw a coworker from my floor (72nd), and we held and consoled each other. There were no public announcements in the stairwell, but the evacuation seemed to be going smoothly, there were no more explosions as far as we could tell, no smoke coming up the stairwell, and the building had stopped swaying. We all felt like we were out of imminent danger.

As we started to make it down the stairwell, people started chatting and gathering their composures. I heard some people who had been there in '93 telling others that this was a piece of cake since the stairwell was dark and full of smoke in '93. Others were joking about how Mr. Silverstein, who had just recently taken control of the complex, must be fuming at what was happening.

"...There was no smoke at all in the stairwell, but there was a strange peculiar smell, which I later remembered it smelling like how it does when one boards an aircraft. I later found out that this was jet fuel.

"Soon we heard shouts from the people above us to keep to the right. I started seeing blind people, those with difficulty moving, asthmatics and injured people filing down to our left. People were burned so badly that I won't go into describing it. People kept filing down orderly and calmly, but stunned. Sometime around the 30th or 40th floor, we passed the first firefighters coming up the stairs. They reassured people that we were safe and that we would all get out fine. By this point, they were already absolutely breathless, but still pushing upward, slowly and unyieldingly, one step at a time. I could only imagine how tired they were, carrying their axes, hoses and heavy outfits and climbing up all those stairs. Young men started offering the firemen to carry up their gear for a few flights, but they all refused. EACH and EVERY ONE of them....

"We continued down the stairwell, slowly and at times completely stalled. The smell of jet fuel had gotten so unbearable that people began covering their mouths and noses with anything that they could find - ties, shirts, handkerchiefs. Every few floors, emergency crew were passing out water and sodas from the vending machines that they had split open from the hallways. I had no idea how much time had passed by as I...didn't have my mobile phone with me. Around the 20th or 15th floor, the emergency crew began diverting the people in our stairwell to a different stairwell. They led us out of our stairwell, across the hallway where I saw exhausted firemen and emergency crew sitting on the floor trying to catch their breaths. I began to think why? What's going on? This whole operation looked very confusing. Nobody was giving us any indication as to what was going on. The wait in the hallway to get to the other staircase was excruciatingly long as we had to wait and merge with the people who were coming down the staircase into which we were filing. Why had they diverted us?

"As we started to get down to the lower floors, water started to pour down from behind us. I figured that a water pipe had burst or that it was water coming down from the rescue on the higher floors. At this moment for the first time since the initial explosion, a sense of panic began to grip me. Only floor 7, then 6. A few more to go, and I would be free. I couldn't wait. It didn't matter that the water was ankle deep. I was a few floors from the ground. Floor ,,,,4,,,,then all of a sudden, a loud boom, and the building began to shake unbearably again. People started falling down the stairwell as smoke started to rise from the bottom. The emergency lights flickered and then went out. The building was still shaking, and I could hear the steel buckling. rescuers below us shouted for us to go back up the stairs. At this moment, I was choking and shaking tremendously. I managed to climb back up to the 6th or 7th floor and opened the door to that floor. The water had already risen to my ankles, and the floor was completely dark. A fireman led us with his flashlights to another staircase by the voices of another fireman who was guiding him through the darkness. We finally made it across that floor to the other stairwell where we were greeted by the other fireman and told to hold. The look on that fireman's face said it all. He said something under his lips to our fireman indicating the severity of the situation. With the image of the firemen communicating to each other and hindsight, I believe that the fireman had whispered to the other one that Building Two had collapsed.

"After a few minutes of huddling by the stairwell on the 6th floor, we were given the green light to run for our lives. I made it down six flights with a few other people and came out onto the mezzanine level of our building. I don't know what I was expecting to see when I got out of the stairwell, but I was not ready for this apocalyptic scene. It was completely covered in white dust and smoke. My initial reaction was that I couldn't believe that one plane, albeit a 767, 80 floors above our head caused all this damage on the ground floor - inside. I covered my head and ran towards the huge opening in the north side of the building through which we were being evacuated. As I approached this threshold, the firemen yelled to us to get over to the wall of the building quickly. Debris was still raining from all sides of the building. We could see the other firefighters who were outside standing underneath the cantilevered parts of the black immigration building (4 and/or 5 WTC). At their cue, we ran from our building to the outside world and back underneath the immigration building. I was completely disoriented, coughing, and looking at the strange new landscape at the WTC plaza - burning trees, wreckage, fireballs and dust, nothing short of a nuclear winter. I climbed over huge pieces of steel wreckage and made my way through to the skybridge leading to 7 WTC (building 3 to collapse). From there, I descended the escalators down to the street level onto Vesey Street and trotted to safety onto Church Street...."

[identified as
"ElizabethTooley, Eyewitness account (1 of 2)
Submitted By: CarolDcunha Relation: Self Date: 9/28/2001 8:38:43 AM
Status: Survivor

at ]
".Jim O' investigator in the Port Authority's office of the inspector general, which was located on the 77th floor of Tower One...."It took us an hour to get down the stairwell, especially because the lower third got clogged with people," he said,..."And once I got out on the bottom floor, I knew something else was wrong.

""I walked out through where the plate glass windows and the entrance off West Street used to be,...."
".... Joe Lyons...second tower, 61st floor,... "[We were instructed] to remain calm, to assemble and await instructions. Shortly after, we were told to evacuate and people headed for the stairs. I went to go down the stairs like everyone else, but it was really crowded. So I went back to my desk and collected my day planner and stuff and returned to the stairwell. It had cleared out a bit so I got in the stairwell.

""Pretty much people were two by two on every other stair. They went down in an orderly way. People for the most part were calm. Still, we didn't know what had happened.

""When we got down to the 52nd floor, we came to a stop when we heard the intercom. 'Damage was sustained in Building One. Building Two is a secure building.' At that point everyone stopped in their tracks. There was a gentleman passing paper towels for people to wipe their brows. It was pretty hot in the stairwells. There were even a few people who tried to turn around and walk back upstairs, but they were greeted with a mass of people and they couldn't move upwards. Everyone was still stopped.

""That was when our building was hit. The building shook; we heard an explosion. There was screaming in the stairwell, but people resumed their descent. It was still orderly. It was really amazing. Only now we went down with a little more motivation. There was no pushing, no shoving. If people saw someone who looked as if they might have issues, people stopped and said, 'Hey, are your OK'? or 'Do you need help'?

""Somewhere in the 40s we saw a wall in the stairwell that was buckling in. It had sustained damage. When we started to get down in the teens, that's when the stairwell started to have smoke in it.

""On the way down, I didn't see firemen going up or people coming out from other floors to go down. When we got to the bottom, we were met by World Trade Center Security [personnel] who were directing us through the mall. As we got closer and closer to the exit out of Tower One, we started to see firemen and policemen showing great concern that we get out of the building. 'Hey, you've got to get moving.'

""For the most part, people were pretty calm. We exited through Tower One...."
"...Tyler Nichols... 61st floor of the World Trade Center Tower 2 ...When he reached the 15th floor level in the stairwell, the second jet struck the building he was leaving high above them. He and others thought bombs had gone off. At that point they didn't know jets had crashed into the two buildings. "The building really shook and shuddered and the water pipes in the stairwells burst and they started smoking and that's when I didn't know if we'd make it out," he said...."
"Tom Elliott...Aon Corp., an insurance brokerage firm, on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center's other, south tower..... a bright flash of light startled him, and a rumble shook the structure. Flames appeared to be crawling up the outside of the building, along with dark smoke and debris, burning paper and ash.

"Mr. Elliott could feel heat coming through the windows. As far as he knew, it was his building, not the other tower, that was aflame. Oddly, no alarms were going off. The building emergency system was broadcasting no warning.

""I don't know what's happening, but I think I need to be out of here," he remembers thinking.

"...Elliott and two others headed down the building stairwell, a narrow beige corridor with a yellow stripe painted down the middle of concrete steps. They ran into a few other people as they descended, but there still hadn't been any announcements, and the absence of other escapees was making them feel as if they had prematurely panicked.

"Then, as they reached the 70th floor, they heard an announcement: The building was secure. No one needed to evacuate.

"One woman in the small group said to Elliott, "Do you want to believe them? Let's go!"

"They had descended three more floors when United Airlines Flight 175 slammed into their own south tower...

" first he and those around him thought an explosion had come from below. An incredible noise - he calls it an "exploding sound" - shook the building, and a tornado of hot air and smoke and ceiling tiles and bits of drywall came flying up the stairwell.

""In front of me, the wall split from the bottom up," he says.

"In a flash of panic, people began fleeing higher into the building. Then a few men began working on the crowd, calming people down, saying that downstairs was the only way out.

"As they descended, a few other survivors stumbled into the corridor. A construction painter, his white T-shirt covered in blood, was helped downstairs by others. But the stairwell was still far from jammed with evacuees.

"Elliott assumed his was one of the final groups descending. They saw only two firemen going up. They told them there had been an explosion near the 60th floor.

"At 9:40 a.m., just short of an hour after he first fled his office, Elliott finally made it out of the World Trade Center...."
"...Another face in the minds of Baptist missionaries belongs to Todd. When the D'Amicos met him, he was distraught. He and a co-worker had been on the 87th floor of the World Trade Center when it was struck by a commercial jetliner. While Todd was anxious to get to the stairwell to start their flight from the building, his co-worker despaired and decided to jump from a window to the ground. Todd struggled with his friend and suffered deep scratches from the nails of his friend's fingers. In the end, Todd lost his battle with his friend and saw him jump to his death..."

"...By Stewart Huntington...World Trade Center's south tower. My father and uncle worked on the 94th floor...Fiduciary Trust International, the investment bank...From survivors we know that Ben made it down at least as far as the 40th floor...."
"...Brian Kelly....independent consultant for Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in Tower One...31st Floor...Except for the debris outside floating down, everything else RETURNED TO NORMAL. I want to stress that. The lights were still on. The computer was not only on, but I still had full network connectivity to the offsite data center. The alarm did not go off (and wouldn’t for nearly fifteen minutes). So my colleagues stared at each other and immediately began to speculate on what had just happened. We knew that we’d have to evacuate. But none of us was in any particular hurry. We literally did that, for nearly five minutes, until someone said "there’s smoke in the hallway!" NO-BRAINER!!!!! LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!!!!

"So we all headed for the staircase. The walk down the relatively narrow stairs, no more than three abreast, was orderly and cooperative. There was GREAT concern ­ but little panic. Ignorance is bliss. None of us knew how truly dangerous the situation was. Around the twentieth floor we walked past a man in a wheelchair.

Two people were with him, waiting for the bulk of people to escape before struggling to get him downstairs. I’m certain that none of them made it. Three or four policeman went past us. A fireman went past us. People had to step aside to let him by, wearing full gear and oxygen. I myself boomed in a loud voice to those above me "MAKE ROOM FOR THE FIREMAN!!" I remember his face. Our bodies collided as he squeezed past me. He was almost certainly a casualty.

It took almost twenty minutes to descend from the 31st Floor...."
'...John Cerqueira...Network Plus...81st floor of World Trade Center Tower Number One.

"...Chris Young was in the elevator coming down from 99th floor... .......Tom Shugrue and Scott Fox...meeting on the 34th floor of Tower Number Two....North Carolinans.

[John] "All of a sudden you hear the jarring of the building," John said. "It sounded just like a million slamming doors and then you heard things falling afterwards. And uh, we didn't know what it was and I thought it was a bomb. One of the guys there is from San Francisco and he told us to get out in the hallway cause he thought it was an earthquake, and we tried to go out in the hallway and it was just smoke coming from everywhere. The walls had fallen down and people were screaming. I went to this maintenance area, it was I guess the IT people in that floor and they said a plane had hit the building. I thought it was an accident and I was thinking about these poor people that were in this plane and we were just standing there and people were saying we would be safe if we stayed there. Then five seconds later they said, 'we're really not safe here, we have to go.' And someone said the stairwells are open so we went down the stairwell and I went from the 81st floor to 67th floor in a second."

[Chris] ""I get very close to the bottom and I feel this very violent shaking of the elevator and a lot of dust blows into the elevator," Chris said. "One of the light fixtures sort of fell from the ceiling but hung by wires. Eventually a lot of water started leaking into the elevator as well. Of course, I pushed all the emergency buttons, there's alarms going off everywhere."

[Scott] ""I knew something was wrong immediately," Scott said. "I didn't know what was wrong. I mean, we heard a massive explosion. We were right in a corner office that was glassed in."

[Tom] ""So after the explosion, we saw a tremendous amount of debris falling from above. There was papers, shrapnel, there was pieces of file cabinets," Tom said. "At that point we knew there had been an explosion right above us. The first thing I did, there were four-- four people in my office. I said, let's move away from the window in case it breaks and lets move to the center of the building."...

[Chris] "As Tower One burned Chris Young struggled to get the elevator door open. "It was about 15 minutes before anyone responds to the emergency call in the elevator. And a voice does come on and all it'll tell me is that it is an emergency situation and that I should remain calm and that help would be there soon. It's another 5 minutes or so and there is another mild shaking. And of course I have no clue what any of these shakings are the whole time I'm in the elevator."

"That second shaking was United Flight 175 crashing into Tower Two....

[John] " Tower One, John Cerqueira and his co-workers struggled to find their way out of the building. "Then I saw my boss, Mike McFantie [Benfante ?], and Drew Adams and there were down there and they were helping people out and telling people that the stairways are open. And I didn't want to leave without them so I stayed around with them and Mike ran upstairs cause he hear people in the hallway upstairs. I took a fire extinguisher and went up there and there was an office full of people and they were just standing there. There were people on the phones and freaking out and I told them that they needed to get out of there. Then people were standing around this other, this lady and she was in a wheelchair, a motorized wheelchair and we got the special, it was like a stretcher slash stroller type thing we strapped her into that. We started to go down the stairwell. By that time people were already in the stairwell and it was pretty well packed, so you just couldn't go down. So we go down a few flights and stop for a while and then another few flights and stop."

[Chris] " the elevator, Chris Young tried to get help. "The power has still stayed on during all of this, another 10 minutes goes by and I have at this point, during my time in there, tried to open the doors myself. They won't open they're held shut. And uh, Another 10 minutes goes by and the power goes out in the elevator and the emergency lights come on. And the only thing-- I couldn't raise anyone, I couldn't call anyone to get them to speak to me anymore. The only thing I could do was to push this alarm button that would make an alarm, it was the only thing I could do. I would do 313, which is SOS. I would do shave-and-a-haircuts."

[Tom] " Tower Two, Tom Shugrue and Scott Fox started to work their way down from the 34th floor, not realizing that only Tower One was on fire at that time. "I said to them, 'let's not take an elevator,' but most people knew because again we thought it was our building, not to take an elevator," Tom said. "So people were going down the fire-- I mean, the stairwell. And then I was thinking of going down the stairwell myself, and then I realized that there may be some people behind that might not be aware of the proper thing to do. So that's the crisis of two minds. The one mind says to flee and the other mind says service-- purpose of helping others."

[Sott] ""There were 3 to 4 people a step on the way down," Scott said. "You know, people with different speeds, old people, young people. There were people in wheelchairs being helped down. It was a snails pace out of there, but people were very, very calm."

[John] ""Nobody was really panicking; we were just sort of hanging out," John said. "And Mike and I stopped at one of the floors and I called my dad. I just told him, dad I'm in the building, I'm fine I'm coming out in 10 minutes, I'll be out in a second. And he was like, okay, very calmly, and I went back and got down to maybe 44 and the fireman started coming up and that's when we started seeing smoke coming from down there and the doors from the stairways were blowing open from the draft from the windows that were broken. And that's when I figured out that probably something wasn't right; that it wasn't just up top there was something from the bottom happening. The fireman looked so scared; it was kind of disheartening, it was kind of scary. When you see the guys that are supposed to help and they're freaking out and they're passing out in the hallways because they're carrying this equipment up 50 flights of stairs and they're passing out and they're giving them oxygen."

"And when John, his boss and the woman they were carrying reached the fifth floor, more problems. "It was pitch black, and we just had one flashlight guiding us and we walked in water from the sprinklers and we had to go single file. So the fireman tried to lead us out one way and we couldn't go out that way. They said it's blocked; we have to go another way. So we all turned around and went single file to another exit and we couldn't get out that way and when the fireman asked another one 'what are we going to do?' And the other one said, 'I don't know. I have no idea.' And that was another little twinge of fear right there."

[Tom] "Finding the street also became a challenge for Tom and Scott as they became separated. "When you go down that stairwell, it doesn't take you to the street, it takes you to the train station which is a tremendous concourse, like a shopping center." Tom said. "Down there people felt somewhat secure, maybe almost that bunker mentality. And then I had lost one of my young men who had only been to New York one other time. He left the building before I did, so when he got to the bottom, I lost him. And so I was looking for him. And though it is somewhat secure at the bottom, there is still chaos with people moving.

[Scott] "You know, I was almost inclined to follow the crowd, and a lot of people went towards the subway and I started towards the subway cause that was the way we'd come in that morning on the Q train," Scott said. "I forget names of the subways, but I headed that way when about 15 or 20 steps down and thought, I just saw the light of day out a door, why would I go down. So I turned reverse ground back up the steps went out a door, but people weren't going outside because debris was falling. I thought the subway would not be safe, so I looked up once I got outside to see if anything major was coming at me, you know coming to the ground, nothing was coming down. Myself and about 5 other people said hey it's clear. We took off and ran about 2 blocks across the concourse between the two trade centers....

[John] "...firefighters leading John's group finally found their way out, and John couldn't believe what he saw when he entered the lobby area. "The lobby was blown away," John said. "It was all ash and burned and the elevators were blown out the turnstiles that you walk through to get to the elevators were blown out of the wall. The windows were shattered and the frames of the windows were shattered and we walked outside and it looks like it snowed there was so much there. We carried the lady towards an ambulance and we put her in the ambulance and we were telling them that she can't walk, this is why we were carrying her and here she was not hurt, she's just already handicapped."

[Chris] "...By 10:15...Chris Young from Durham had been trapped inside the express elevator of Tower Number One for nearly and hour and a half. Several attempts to pry open the doors failed, and Chris has no idea what was going on or how close the building was to collapsing. "For some reason I decided I'd try the doors again. I go to one door-- there are doors on both sides of these elevators-- I go to one door, I open it up and there's just a steel wall there. And so I actually take the time to shut it back up, because that's the only thing that's kept a lot of dust from coming in, as much as what's coming in, I wanted to keep them shut. I go to the other door, and I open it up and I'd been right there at the lobby the whole time."

""And I didn't see anyone at all in there and I sort ran to my left and I could see two firefighters who were standing at the very edge of the building, the one with the blown out windows," Chris said. "And I yelled to them and they motioned me over. One of the firefighters sort of grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out and we got a few yards away. I turned around to look up at the building....

[John] "John Cerqueira had also just come out of the lobby of tower one and realized he wasn't much safer on the street....
"...NCSU alum... Cerqueira was "a little tardy" for work at Network Plus' offices on the 81st floor of the 110-story tower on Sept. 11. He was preparing to meet with some clients later in the morning and headed to the bathroom to put on a tie.

At 8:45, the relative calm of his normal routine was shattered.

"I thought it was a bomb," Cerqueira said....

"..."I saw the bathroom starting to come down, and I thought we were going to get buried," Cerqueira said. "And then it stopped, and it was just shaking for a little bit."

"Once the ceiling's fall was halted, Cerqueira and his co-workers returned to their offices, trying to decide what to do next. He eventually went to a maintenance area where he knew no one.

""They said, 'We're going to be safe in here,'" Cerqueira said. "And then they said, 'All right, we're not going to be safe in here. We've definitely got to haul ass.'"

"The party made its way to the stairwell and began the long descent out of the tower. The people trapped on the floors above Cerqueira didn't have that option. No one working above the 81st floor escaped.

"Cerqueira moved down the stairs as quickly as he could, but before he had gone far, he spotted his boss, Michael Benfante. The two began helping people when they arrived at the 68th floor and spotted a woman in a wheelchair.

""I was saying to my roommate I can't imagine him not having helped that lady," Brame said. "He's always doing the right thing."

"For Cerqueira, there was no choice about what he should do, but in the back of his mind, he could hear his mother urging him to move on.

""My mother always said, 'If there's ever a fire, if there's ever anything, don't be a hero. Just get your ass out of there and go,'" Cerqueira said.

"But Cerqueira and Benfante decided they couldn't leave the woman alone. The two transferred her to an emergency stretcher and started carrying her down the stairs.

"The stairwell was choked with people, moving the best they could toward the ground. Cerqueira and Benfante would go down a few flights of stairs and pause, allowing the crowd to dissipate before they moved on.

"At the time, Cerqueira didn't think he was in imminent danger.

""It's the World Trade Center, for God sakes," Cerqueira said. "We were thinking nothing can hurt that."

"Around the 40th floor, Cerqueira called his father, who immediately got on the phone with Cerqueira's mother. Anna Maria Cerqueira was working at home when she got the call.

""It was a parent's worst nightmare," Cerqueira said. "Every parent can relate, moms, dads. We have loads of friends, and everyone was crying because it's just unimaginable to have something happen to one of your children."

"When John Cerqueira finally reached the bottom floor, he found a strange world, completely different from the one he entered earlier in the day. The lobby had been destroyed, and outside, the only things that were audible were sirens and fire whistles.

"Cerqueira and Benfante moved the woman they took down 68 flights of stairs into an ambulance...."

"... "There are so many people in there that did so much," Cerqueira said. "One of my co-workers kicked down a door because the women's bathroom was locked, and there were women in there...."
"...On the eighty-first floor, in an office overlooking the Statue of Liberty, Michael Benfante ’87, a branch manager at Network Plus, was drinking a cup of coffee when he heard one of his sales representatives scream, “Oh, my God!” Then he heard the explosion and suddenly flames were shooting by his window and debris was falling from somewhere above. After gathering his twenty-eight reps together in the center of the office and seeing that the elevators outside had blown in, Benfante ordered everyone to head for the stairwell. At the eightieth floor Benfante and another man paused to try to free two men trapped in an elevator. Using a chair leg, they tried to work the men free, but after several minutes Benfante left them with the lever and kept going. At the sixty-eighth floor he noticed three women standing behind some glass doors. When he went over to ask why they weren’t leaving, he saw that beside them was a woman in a motorized wheelchair. Grabbing an emergency wheelchair nearby, Benfante, who’d played football and rugby at Brown, strapped her into it, and aided by one of his sales reps, John Cerqueira, began carrying her down the stairwell. When they stopped to rest on the fifty-fifth floor, they found a working telephone and called their families....

"... Helped occasionally by other people heading downstairs in the first tower, Benfante, Cerqueira, and the woman in the wheelchair, meanwhile, had made it almost to the fortieth floor. Firefighters working their way upward told them they could drop the woman off at a first-aid station on the twenty-first floor.

"No, the woman said to the two men, “Take me out of here.”

"Downward they continued. By the time they reached the fifth floor, the masses of people leaving the building had come to a standstill. Slogging through ankle-deep water, Benfante and Cerqueira turned and hauled the woman, whose name they still did not know, through smoky offices, looking for a way out. They ran into more firefighters, who helped them search. Eventually Benfante, Cerqueira, and the woman made their way down to the ground floor, where EMTs took the woman from them. When Benfante and Cerqueira emerged from the building, they realized it had taken them one hour and fifteen minutes to get out of the tower. What they did not realize was that the south tower had already collapsed....

"...Michael Benfante, meanwhile, has found new office space in Manhattan, and on September 17 he began trying to reestablish a normal routine. A reporter from People contacted him to say that the woman he had carried down all those stairs was named Tina Hansen, and she was grateful to him and John Cerqueira for saving her life...."
"Mike Curci, 40, worked on the 69th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center as an accounting supervisor in the controller's department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Curci was sitting at his desk on the south side of Tower One as the first hijacked plane hit the north side. A loud noise followed by the shaking of the tower stirred Curci and his co-workers to head toward a stairway for evacuation. Curci stopped though to help a wheelchair-bound co-worker from his wheelchair into an evacuation chair. Evacuation chairs are specially designed chairs to help get disabled people down the stairs in the event of an emergency. According to the Home News Tribune, the special evacuation chairs were placed in the WTC after the bombing in 1993. It took about an hour and a half to get down 69 floors as Curci and fellow co-workers helped guide and carry the special evacuation chair down to the lobby. By the time they made it outside, Tower Two had collapsed. They continued walking 6 more blocks to shelter, still carrying their disabled co-worker...."
"...Anthony “Tony” Pecora.

"On September 11, Mr. Pecora, 36, an accountant and 15-year employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and eight colleagues carried co-worker John Abruzzo, a quadriplegic, down 69 floors to safety.

"The group had been at work at the Port Authority, which took up the whole 69th floor of Tower 1, when they felt the building sway. Mr. Abruzzo, 41, a resident of Queens, N.Y., who had been in the World Trade Center at the time of the 1993 bombing, immediately understood the need to vacate the building. As a result of the 1993 incident, the World Trade Center had been equipped with specially designed “evacuation” chairs for wheelchairbound employees. Their design resembled giant baby strollers.

"With Mr. Abruzzo seated in the chair, four men at a time took turns carrying him down the stairs. The trip from the 69th floor to the street took 80 minutes.

"Around the 21st floor, the group heard via a firefighter’s radio that the South Tower had fallen. One floor below that, the group encountered firefighters who suggested they take over Mr. Abruzzo’s evacuation. Against the firefighters’ advice, the group continued their descent together.

"The men carrying Mr. Abruzzo, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 250 pounds, were accompanied by two women co-workers who carried their briefcases and jackets. At one point, the colleagues switched their descent from the B stairwell to the C stairwell because of smoke and 115-de- gree heat.

"At times the women would go ahead to ascertain the conditions awaiting them. Again, on the 10th floor, firefighters wanted to turn Mr. Abruzzo’s evacuation over to emergency service personnel.

"“John, we’re going to get you out of here,” Mr. Pecora recalled telling Mr. Abruzzo as he related the story to those gathered at The Chelsea.

"Less than 10 minutes after the group exited the building, Tower 1 collapsed.

"Prior to September 11, Mr. Pecora and Mr. Abruzzo hadn’t been more than casual professional colleagues. Their office has been temporarily relocated to Jersey City.

"In addition to losing his wheelchair, Mr. Abruzzo’s handicappedequipped van, which was parked outside the building, was crushed in the collapse of the tower.
"...Bucknell...Roland Capone '66 was on the 102nd floor of the second tower when the first was hit. Having lost a leg in Vietnam, he started a slow and miraculous journey down the stairs to safety, helping others along the way. When he reached the 59th floor, the second plane hit, throwing him against the wall. He continued, barely exiting the building as it collapsed...."
"... Chaplain Ron Alter ... Another one of the co-workers came in limping with a cast on his foot and leg. He told me he sprained his ankle going down the steps and also got to the bottom, just as the building collapsed around him...."
"...An interview with the Venerable James A. Hanisian, Archdeacon and Chief of Staff

"...I sat down with this guy who became my "buddy." Tim's story was that he was on the 86th floor of the second tower, when the plane hit the first tower. They started to evacuate, but after going down a dozen flights they were instructed that it was only the first tower that had been hit and that they could go back. So he was opening the door on the 74th floor at the exact moment that the second plane crashed into the 74th floor. He actually saw the wing before the explosion. He was splashed with jet fuel, but the explosion blew him back into the stairwell, saving his life. With other people helping him, because he was blinded by the jet fuel, he ran down 74 flights of stairs. A medic was lavaging his eyes when the first building fell. He heard "run," so he got up and ran. Now, Tim said that he and his wife, Irene, had tried for eight years to have a child and finally had a little girl named Maria. As he ran, it was pitch black, darker than night, and he tripped over something and fell and just laid there crying "I just want to hug Maria, God, I just want to hug Maria." (Maria was safe in a day-care-center in Brooklyn.) A hand reached out of the dark and said, "Come here," and pulled him into a stairwell, where he fell and broke his ankle, and that is when the second building fell. At St. Vincent's, they splinted his ankle, took X-rays and gave them to him along with some pain pills and told him to go home. Now, his wife, Irene, worked at Park Ave and 48th St., about 38 blocks north or where he was, and with no public transportation operating, she ran all the way to the hospital. I saw their reunion. They hugged, and then she collapsed. Tim was told that she'd had a heart attack. So there he was, hurt, his wife taken to another part of the hospital, filthy with dust and pieces of building in his hair, and he kept telling his story over and over again...."
"...of my sister and brother-in-law’s close friends were in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. One was Paul Carris.. Paul was on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. He helped a co-worker escape from the wreckage. ...Paul shared the following testimonial that was written by the woman he helped escape from the tower...— Lynn Lickers, Daily Sentinel marketing director ....

"...on the 71st floor, northeastern corner of 1 World Trade Center. Since my office was located along the windows, I immediately moved to the center of the floor and was facing east. To my horror I saw smoke, flames and debris shooting down from above us. I felt the building shudder. Suspecting that a small plane might have slammed into the building, and trying to ignore the pounding of my heart, I started to move. I knew instinctively that I had exceeded the number of racing heartbeats permitted before my defibrillator would issue a jolt of electricity. It went off almost immediately and I desperately tried to fight off the terror I felt and remain calm so as to avoid another jolt. I doubled over and immediately several people came to my aid. While one of them was on the telephone trying to reach our medical department, the director of my division came hustling down the hallway demanding that everyone vacate the building....

"I heard a gentleman say to the others who were hesitantly trying to determine whether they should stay to assist me that they should leave because "he had me." I was sitting in a chair desperately trying to maintain control and stay calm in order to prevent my defibrillator from going off. Here I was with a bad heart, bad lungs, swollen heavy legs and the speed of a snail, at best. I knew that I was going to have to be exceptionally strong in order to be able to walk all the way down to the street. All I could think of was, "God, if this is the way you wish me to die, then Thy will be done, but please no pain." It was only then that I looked up into the face of a 6-foot, slender, young man whom I’d never met and what the man said to me was, "stay calm, and get up, we are going to walk out of this building together." He said it with such confidence that I immediately felt such a sense of comfort as to enable me to move my heavy legs, and head toward the doors with him. When I asked his name he softly replied, "Paul Carris." I told him mine, and said to him that he might not understand, but that he was my angel for the day. He simply smiled. Paul led me into the stairwell of the 71st floor and instructed me to take hold of the railing with my right hand. He placed his right hand under my left arm and we started down the stairs. As we descended he would let me rest on each floor and let others behind us pass. My breathing was labored and I was having trouble walking, but Paul firmly pressed us along. I watched in horror as a woman I knew who worked on the 88th floor came crashing past us going down the stairs. She passed us in a flash but not fast enough for us not to notice that all of the skin on her back had been burnt off, and had rolled up to her neck like some macabre necklace. I pray that she’s alive and getting well. I began to realize that we were in an extremely life-threatening situation.

"Several times others stopped on their cascading journey down the stairwell to ask if he needed help with me. They rounded up a facemask and supplied us with water before continuing down. When Paul asked some firemen to supply me with some air, they did so and I was so thankful for the warmth and generosity of people who knew they were in danger but were still willing to help in spite of it.

"We were on the 40th floor (I think) when some firemen and police officers moved us to another stairwell since the one we were in was too congested. As we walked across the hallways to get to the south side stairwell, the stench of jet fuel permeated the air, and a ceiling down one of the corridors had collapsed. Once within the stairwell, Paul allowed me to rest for a while, and then we proceeded downward once more. My air passages were becoming constricted, and he encouraged me to breathe as fully and deeply as I could, yet taking slow and even breaths. He kept wetting my facemask to cool the air that I was breathing, and I felt my lungs relax and knew that I could take another step.

"Somewhere along the descent below the 30th floor, we felt more than heard another loud boom along with a terrific wind blast, which made the building shake. Firemen began running up the stairs with more urgency, and I felt my defibrillator jolting at my heart. Paul drew me into him, in order to ensure that I did not lose my footing and fall since there were people trying to rush past us. He talked to me very quietly about remaining calm, but I could feel his fingers tighten ever so lightly around my arm. One of Paul’s co-workers tried to start a conversation about the cause of the loud blast, and out of the corner of my eye I could see him shaking his head, telling him not to say anything that I might overhear. In my terror I thought that it was our building going down, but later learned about the evil that befell 2 WTC.

"As we approached the 20th floor some firemen came running down the stairs yelling for us to "move, move, keep moving." If there is such a thing as controlled terror then that’s what I felt. I knew that we were in danger but I didn’t really believe that we would die in the building. I could now feel the urgency in Paul’s steps, and we were no longer stopping for me to rest. My left knee buckled and I was no longer able to bend it, and now my right leg became totally numb.

"I saw the glimmer of gold on Paul’s left hand as he reached over to shield me from people rushing past us and I realized for the first time that he was wearing a wedding band. He was married and I suspected had a family. I asked him to leave me behind and save himself since he had a family and I was moving much too slowly. My words fell on deaf ears, as he instructed me to swing my left leg forward and drop my right foot to the next step. He assured me that he would never let me fall. At this point it felt as if we were floating down the stairs. When we arrived on the 10th floor Paul began counting down the floors, encouraging me by telling me how well I had done coming all the way from the 71st floor. Now, we could smell and see smoke and dust rising from the floors beneath us, and the trip became more arduous and even more urgent. The staircase was now filling with water and I could feel it dropping on us from above. My heart was thundering in my chest and I could barely fathom our success at arriving on the first floor.

"When Paul opened that door and pulled me into the lobby of our building, I was totally unprepared for what I saw even, though I now fully realized that the building was under attack. There was broken marble and glass everywhere. What was once an atmosphere of sophistication was now rubble and ruin. I could hear water running like a gentle fall amidst the chaos and ruin. I had noticed on our way down the stairs that some of the women had taken off their shoes and left them in the stairwell on their hurried journey downward. Now I could hear cries of pain as they stepped on the glass with their bare feet. The saddest and most poignant memory was that of seeing people turn to the left as we came out into the lobby. Turning left was choosing death since it led into the concourse of the building, and some of my fellow victims did so.

"Paul urged us to the right, leading us out onto West Street. I could barely sustain my body on legs that had every muscle screaming in agony, yet numb at the same time. I looked at him with what I know was some assortment of both relief and terror at realizing that we had made it out of the building but were now standing almost alone at the base of a building, which he knew to be unsafe, since he kept urging me to move so that we were out of its path. It was much later before my mind would let me accept that we had to stumble over some of the bodies of those who had perished before us. We turned and headed toward Vesey Street with me leaning heavily against him in order to support myself. It struck me as odd, when I saw someone taking our picture as we struggled down the street. Maybe looking at the emergence of one woman with a bad heart, bad lungs, swollen malfunctioning legs, a small cut on her right leg, and the imprint of an angel’s fingerprints on her left arm, and one man with not an apparent scratch anywhere on his body was of interest to him. I could not understand how he could be interested in us while all around us there was such carnage.

"Paul led me to an ambulance, which was parked on Vesey Street, where a paramedic placed an oxygen mask over my face. Less than a minute had gone by before a fireman came running up to the ambulance yelling about the ground beginning to shake and the buildings around us probably collapsing. Paul immediately took the oxygen mask off of my face and urged me up Vesey Street toward the Hudson River - him, walking tall, and me leaning, limping and struggling. As we moved toward the next block west of West Street, I heard this loud rumbling noise and when I looked back, I saw what used to be a place that I had always been in awe of and which some of us knew as well as our homes, come crumbling to the earth. We ran and made it to the corner of a building as debris, dust and smoke came crashing behind and past us...

"A fireman yelled for us to get into the building on the corner that had just shielded us from the collapse of Tower One. As we got in, emergency workers followed us and began to set up a triage station for the injured rescue personnel. Men and women were running about taking care of their comrades and trying to get mud and dirt out of eyes, ears and mouths. Someone strapped an oxygen mask around my nose and I was breathing much more comfortably. Paul went over to get us some water and it was then that I realized that he was beginning to feel the effects of what he had just accomplished. No words passed between us but he looked into my eyes and I into his and I laced my fingers through his and I watched in the most comforting moment as the tears fell gently from the corners of his eyes. I have never been as moved as I was by anything as I was by that moment. But it was not over. ...

"After about 10 minutes a fire marshal came running into the building screaming that the gas lines were exploding and that we had to get out immediately. We found out later that there was a secondary collapse of Tower One. Gurneys began to roll, people began to move outward to the street where several ambulances were waiting for broken bodies. Paul and I were standing in the street uncertain about where to go. We were the only two civilians there as far as I could tell. A woman urged us to an ambulance where a man was already strapped in and in a flash we were moving down the street amid a second storm of dust and debris. ..."

"...It had taken us about 90 minutes to descend to safety and I would later learn that based on the timing, we were probably two of the last people, if not the last, to come out of the building before it collapsed. Thank you, Paul. You’ll stay in my heart forever. I am forever grateful. ..."
"Ken McLellan . . . My Account-... I worked in One World Trade Center on the 35th floor as an attorney in the Law Office of John P. Healy, in-house counsel for Kemper Insurance Company. ...

"...I heard a horrible whooshing sound. The sound was not like the familiar sound a plane makes when it's coming in for a landing. It was the sound of a plane or some type of aircraft traveling a full speed. This sound lasted for about two seconds. I will carry the memory of that sound to my grave.

"Immediately, there was an explosion and the whole building moved. I almost fell out of my chair. I felt like I was on a boat. My heart started racing. "What the f**k was that?", I thought to myself. Then, I smelled jet fuel. I thought that a helicopter had hit the building.

"It was apparent that we had to leave immediately, but there were no P.A. announcements or fire alarms. I grabbed my cell phone and headed for the fire stair, which was already full of people. People were not panicking, because there was no indication of the magnitude of the disaster. In fact, before I got out of the stairwell, I thought, "I will need to run over to Court and explain what's going on," as I had a Court appearance scheduled.

"One of the secretaries in the office, Janet, a woman in her early 60's was in poor health. She had recently been released from the hospital. She is a diabetic and has kidney problems. I and three other workers from my office went down the stairs slowly with her, so it took about 45 minutes to get out of the building...."

"Anastasia Rene wrote:

"...I was on the 70th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center looking out of the window during a staff meeting when I heard the first crash and saw papers, debris and flames shooting out of the other building. I and the people who were also in the meeting immediately got up, grabbed our purses and other belongings , and made our way to the middle of the floor. Once we did a headcount we began immediately descending the stairs.

"While going down the stairs we were told to take elevators from 59 to 44. The 44th floor is a skylobby, so there were several hundred people there. I was on that floor when the plane hit my building. The building swayed about two feet, then righted itself [it normally does that, though not as severely obviously, even when there is a windstorm]. Once everyone stopped screaming and picked up their shoes [many people were knocked out of their shoes upon impact], we calmly began descending the stairs. Yes, people were crying but my group was in no imminent danger so we just briskly moved down as quickly as possible. I even made a few jokes on the way down to lighten the mood: I told the group to begin counting down floors as though it were New Year's Eve, which we actually did. During the first incident in 1993, it was much more frightening to descend the stairs since the smoke was billowing up, and the stairs were pitch black. It took almost 3 hours to get down at that time. This time, the first plane hit at 8:48, I exited the building at 9:25, and my building fell at 10:00. If I had not left immediately I likely would have perished, and the fact that the bomb happened in '93 saved many, many lives...."
"...Narrator: ... At 9:30, they emerged from the cramped stairwell to a horrifying scene. Some of the elevators had become fireballs, melted beyond recognition.

Sue [ Zupnik ] : It was all warped. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it...."
"From the newsroom of The Star-Ledger, Newark, New Jersey, Monday, October 2, 2001 ....

"by Bob Braun

"...Susan Zupnik has been deaf Since birth. Despite that, the systems designer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey...

"She and Carl Andreasen, 37, another deaf employee of the Port Authority, escaped together. They helped each other flee from a cafeteria on the 43rd floor of the North Tower.

"They were to meet there for breakfast. When the first plane hit, Zupnik was about to sit down with a bagel and cup of coffee. Andreasen was nearby. All they knew was that they felt a shock and a swaying they never sensed before.

""Suddenly, my face was thrown against a window," says Zupnik.

"She then saw debris falling down outside the windows. People were screaming around her, but she could hear nothing. She just knew something terrible had happened.

""I threw my bagel on the floor and ran out," she says. She found her friend and they guided each other to a stairwell.

"Zupnik had an AOL Mobile Communicator, a device she purchased only months earlier. It allows her to send and receive messages. She wrote to a friend, Lynne Jacob, an administrator at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, that something was wrong. Then she received a news bulletin over the pager -- a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

"As she slowly made her way down the stairs, the communicator buzzed constantly. Friends from all over the world -- in California and Maryland and Ireland and South Africa and England -- were asking whether she was safe.

""I'm on the 26th floor," she punched on the tiny keyboard to answer one concerned note. Moments later, she would type, "I'm on the 23rd floor."

""I had to keep reminding her to stop sending messages and get out," says Andreasen,....

"At the concourse level, they were doused by sprinklers. They looked carefully around them, learning what they could from what they saw.

"Sheetrock fell from the walls," says Andreasen. "Elevator doors were melted and twisted. I knew there must be a terrible fire in the elevator shafts."

"Finally outside, they looked up at the fire. By this time, a second plane had hit, but they didn't know. "Police ran at us, shouting," she says. "We didn't know what they were saying, but we knew they wanted us to get away."...

""I used to tease Susan about her pager," says Andreasen, also a computer specialist. "I thought it was a waste of money. But I just bought one."..."
"... Jim Wardle... construction management consultant ... 72nd floor of the North tower, Tower One... The really scary part was how much the building moved, and kept moving, for a long time before re-stabilizing.... People on the floor were a little confused, should we stay there or start to evacuate? The Floor Wardens, with their red hats, had not yet mobilized to give us instructions. They probably would have suggested we stay in the hall and wait for an announcement....

"My survivor instinct kicked in....As we made our way down, we saw a couple of people sitting in wheelchairs on stair landings. Co-workers stood beside them as they waited for the stairs to clear so they could begin their one-step-at-a-time descent.

"Not knowing the fate of the building, I surely could have carried one of them to safety but never once did I nor anyone else suspect that the building would collapse - of course we were all going to make it out. I do not know if any of them made it.

"...When we were almost all the way down we came upon a floor that had water pouring out from a ruptured pipe. This caused a waterfall all the rest of the way down, there were several inches of water on the floor, but it was passable and did not slow us up much. Somehow I had the presence of mind to take off my shoes and socks to get better footing...
"........Bill Forney III survived last month's terrorist attack on One World Trade Center, where he worked on the 85th floor.

"Forney was working in his SMW Trading Co. Inc. offices that fateful morning when the jet hit the north tower. In what was the first time he thought he was going to die, the tower shook "furiously, lurching back and forth with sickening vengeance, and there was a high-pitched screaming noise and severe change in air pressure."

"But the shaking stopped, and the 17 people in the office stared at each other in disbelief, unsure of what had just happened until their boss said he had seen the jet approach and collide with the tower just a few floors above. After about five minutes of indecision and an attempt to account for a missing co-worker, they headed down a stairwell, lit and still relatively uncrowded.

"Forney describes the descent as "incredibly orderly," slowed occasionally as the workers moved to one side to make room for wounded people coming down or firefighters coming up. At another point, when a jammed door blocked their route,

[ is that different from the one on 72 ? ]

they had to go up a flight to switch stairwells. ..."
"...Bill Forney ’96... 85th floor of One World Trade Center. An employee of SMW Trading Co., sitting in the center of the office with his back to the windows. He was stretching and sighing after having completed his reports when suddenly a “horrific” explosion rumbled through the building. The air pressure dropped, and a high-pitched noise pierced the office. A “ghostly” column of air shot through the room, whipped up papers and slammed doors shut.

"Then the building started to yaw. The structure moved back and forth about 10 times, throwing Forney to the floor. “It scared me to the point that I thought I was going to die,” he recalled. “I remember looking up and asking myself, ‘When are the floors above us coming down?’”

"When the swaying stopped, a silence ensued. The workers began speculating that it was a bomb, but Forney’s boss spoke up and said he had seen a commercial jet crash into the building just two stories above them.

"The 17 employees of SMW stood in shock. They didn’t know what to do, and many wanted to remain in the building. But Forney and his friend Rob decided it was time to leave, and the rest followed. Forney took his trading jacket and a bottle of water in case of fires and smoke. As he was leaving, he went to look for a missing co-worker named Marvin. Deciding to look for Marvin in the restroom, Forney entered a dark hallway where he saw three smoldering fire and debris. Marvin was nowhere in sight, which led Forney to believe that he had left the building before the attack.

"Forney returned to his office and joined his co-workers as they walked down the stairwell. Several stories below, Forney and Rob each picked up a fire extinguisher and lugged them along as they kept up a slow, steady pace. On the 72nd floor, the stairwell came to a halt, and they had to go into a hall to get to another exit. The hallway had fires in the wall, wires hanging from the ceiling and debris on the floor. Forney covered his face and tried not to look. “I thought all it would take is one little spark and it would blow up in my face,” Forney said.

"When they reached the 50th floor, they heard someone yell, “Move to the right.” A man with a bloody face and bandage on his head walked by, followed by a woman who was hyperventilating.

"“Everyone was calm, orderly and supportive,” Forney noted. “No one took advantage of the path they cleared. We felt there was no immediate danger. We didn’t know the severity of the situation.”

"By the 49th floor, Forney was sweating profusely. He unbuttoned his shirt and left the fire extinguisher behind. He repeatedly tried to use his cellular phone, but to no avail.

"A few floors further down, Forney began to see firefighters heading up the stairs, and at the 30th floor, the firefighters had set up camp to tend to the injured.

"At the 20th floor, Forney and Rob saw a middle-aged woman named Juliette who was out of breath and struggling with the stairs. The two offered to help her. Rob, carrying her purse, led the way while Forney escorted her from behind. They proceeded at a snail’s pace, letting others who were moving more quickly pass by them.

"After about an hour of maneuvering the stairwells, Forney and his group reached the lobby, but the unnerving sight of the outside world brought no reassurance. “On the ground you saw black, some metal objects, but a lot of stuff was smoldering,” Forney said. “I remember seeing a leg, but I didn’t see the body.”

"Firefighters led the group to the escalators and down into the underground system of the World Trade Center. The normally active tunnels were abandoned, and the automatic sprinklers had created deep puddles of water. An eerie sense of danger permeated the place, Forney recalled.

"They continued walking slowly toward the street level. Suddenly, Forney heard a rumbling and thought it was water rushing through the tunnel. “It grew louder, and I realized it was people running and screaming and yelling, ‘Everybody run!’ When the underground went black, Forney took some steps, and heard someone else yell, “Everybody dive!” Forney found a cubbyhole and curled up, closed his eyes and prayed to God that he wouldn’t die. Two World Trade Center, the second building hit by a plane, was collapsing, only minutes after Forney had left the lobby.

"“The blast was like a hurricane,” Forney said. “For the second time in an hour, I thought I was going to die.”

"When Forney first opened his eyes, he couldn’t see through the darkness. He, Rob and Juliette saw a glimmer of light. It was a fireman with a floodlight. They formed a human chain and followed the firefighter for about 80 yards to a broken escalator that deposited them onto the street...."
"Marvin W. Pickrum,...85th floor inside Tower One....It felt like the building leaned, like standing with your back to the waves in the ocean."

"...SMW Trading Company. He still didn't know what was going on outside when his knees suddenly buckled. He only saw the clear blue skies out the window.

""But when I turned around all I saw was the fire and smoke," he recalled. "I saw a silhouette of my own body and my arms were singed. I got a full breath of air, then..."

"His mind immediately reverted back to his military training. He saw people scrambling around as though someone bombed the World Trade Center again....

""Let's go, let's go!" Pickrum began yelling. "Where's the stairway?"

"Now it was a matter of survival. Pickrum was heading down the stairway before he realized that some of his co-workers might still be on the 85th floor. He turned around to head back upstairs to find smoke in the stairwell above him.

""All kinds of different things were going through my mind," he said. "I started thinking everybody I worked with must be dead and I didn'tnotice any smoke in the stairway down below me, so..."

"Pickrum only wanted to stay alive. That meant having to scramble down 85 flights of stairs to get out of the building. He figured he was somewhere between the 77th and 78th floors when he needed to find another way out of the building. By this time he needed another breath of fresh air, but the exit doors were locked from the inside.

""I couldn't breathe," Pickrum continued to explain. "I went down to where the smoke was not as thick and finally somebody opened the door."

"He managed to get another fresh breath of oxygen into his lungs. He saw another group of people inside. That is when Pickrum first found outwhat had happened.

""One guy had already taken control and told us that an airplane hit the building. Then we headed into another open stairway on the other side of the floor. That's when I found out everybody from the 85th floor was okay," Pickrum said.

"Pickrum was relieved when he was able to meet up with some of his co-workers as they proceeded down the stairs. The further down they would get without any sign of smoke the more confident Pickrum began to feel about getting out alive.

""Everybody was concerned," Pickrum said, "but some were still talking and even joking with each other in the stairway."

"At about 10 a.m., however, the South Tower suddenly collapsed next door. By this time Pickrum and the others were on the verge of panic. They were trapped on the fourth floor.

""It felt like an earthquake," Pickrum recalled, adding, "That's when the lights suddenly went out. There was smoke above us and below us, so we go through the exit door into this hallway, but..."

"The hallway was on fire, too. The flames were hot, so hot that it would eventually cause the North Tower to finally collapse as well. Pickrum had no idea that the South Tower had just collapsed, though, because no one could see what was going on outside.

""I'm right in the middle of this fire and, you know, the heat and smoke were so hot that you couldn't breathe," Pickrum says. "I even started to panic at that point."

"Pickrum was prepared to take his chances by leaping out the window. There was no other way to escape from the fire. There was no other way to get some air into his smoke-filled lungs. He didn't want to die, but he and the others were now trapped inside the building.

"At some point Pickrum made the decision to jump. "I decided that I'm not going to be burned alive," he recalled.

"He was now beyond desperate. It was a miracle he had made it down this far. Then, just as everything seemed hopeless, Pickrum saw the miraculous images of firefighters coming in with flashlights and water hoses. That was the only thing that stopped him from going out the window.

""I can't emphasize enough how much credit to give to those firefighters for saving our lives," says Pickrum. "My heart goes out to all of them and their families."

"Once they made it outside,..."
"By saving woman, rescuers saved themselves

"©New York Times

"© St. Petersburg Times,
"published September 30, 2001

"NEW YORK -- The six firefighters would have moved faster if they hadn't stopped to help a weary woman trying to flee. They would have moved slower if they hadn't been able to coax her along, telling her that if she wanted to see her children and grandchildren again, she had to keep moving down the stairs.

"It was that precise intersection of rescuers and rescued, that destined bit of timing, not a few seconds less or more, that let them all survive inside a twisted stairwell of the World Trade Center when the north tower crashed down on them. The woman and the firefighters, in the actions they took, saved one another.

"...six men of Ladder Company 6... a group of men and one woman trapped for three hours inside a sliver of stairs, lucky enough to be between the second and fourth floors, for there were no longer any floors above them, and beneath them was impassable debris. But they kept their wits until the sun shone through and they climbed out.

""There's no reason we should be alive," firefighter Matt Komorowski said....morning of the 11th, six men were on duty -- Mike Meldrum, Komorowski, Bill Butler, Tom Falco, Sal D'Agostino and the captain, John Jonas.

"...The men, each carrying about 100 pounds of gear, entered Stairway B and climbed. People descending cheered them on.

"Jonas figured the fire had probably spread as low as the 80th floor. He had to pace his men or they would be too spent to help. Every 8 or 10 floors they rested.

"When they reached the 27th floor, the entire building shook. The other tower had collapsed.

""Okay, if that building can go," the captain announced, "this building can go. It's time to head down."

"Descending, Butler noticed a man who he thought looked Middle Eastern, clutching a stuffed animal, possibly a lion. Police officers grabbed him, handcuffed him, and hustled him down the stairs. The stuffed lion fell on the ground.

"Somewhere around the 14th or 15th floor, they encountered a middle-aged woman. Her name was Josephine Harris. She worked for the Port Authority and had been walking down from the 73rd floor. She was exhausted. Butler folded her arm around his neck and began moving.

""I could hear the clock ticking in the back of my head," Jonas said. "I'm thinking, "C'mon, c'mon. We've got to keep moving."'

"They wouldn't think of abandoning Harris. But they recognized that she was slowing them down. Others were passing them and moving out of sight.

"Harris collapsed nearing the fourth floor. Butler asked her about her family. She told him she had grown children and grandchildren. Butler said, "Your grandchildren and your kids want to see you at home. You've got to pick up the pace here." Falco lifted her from the other side.

"Jonas scoured the fourth floor for a chair to carry her in. Neither the nearby swiveling receptionist's chair nor some couches would work. He returned to the stairwell.

"Komorowski was last in line. He felt an incredible rush of wind.

"He urged everyone to move faster.

"And then the tower collapsed.

""Everything starts heaving," Jonas said. "Unbelievable noise. Everything flying around. Tremendous dust clouds. I'm thinking, "I can't believe this is how it ends for me.' "

"Komorowski was hurled two flights and found himself in front of the others.

"The men were spread out in the stairwell between the second and fourth floors. Four other rescue workers were trapped as well: two firefighters, a Port Authority police officer and a Fire Department chief, Rich Picciotta. They had cuts and bruises. They were caked with dust.

"Butler opened his eyes and saw something "rise out of the dust like the blob coming out of the water in a horror movie." It was Harris.

"All 11 of them were alive.

"They assumed that just a part of the tower had collapsed. Butler thought it was a bomb that had exploded inside the stuffed lion.

"Two of them pried open the second-floor door. All they could see was debris. They realized that if they had been going a little faster, they would have been below the second floor. If they had been slower, they would have been above the fifth floor, where the stairwell was severed. At the time of the collapse, as far as anyone knows, people higher and lower did not live.

"The men put a harness on Harris and slid her down to the third-floor landing, where they congregated. Jonas ordered radios and flashlights turned off. He and the chief kept theirs on. They had to save the batteries for the next day, or the day after.

"They sent out Maydays on the radios. No response. Wasn't anyone else alive?

"Finally, after about 30 minutes, they got a response from a fire team. Where were they?

"Jonas told them they were in the north tower's Stairway B.

""I got some strange responses," he said. "Like, "Where's the north tower?' I'm thinking, "We're in trouble, they don't know where the north tower is.' "

"The men radioed that the crew should enter the front door of the north tower. They did not realize that there no longer was a front door. Or a north tower.

"They contemplated escape routes. They saw an elevator shaft. They could lower themselves down it by rope, but if it was blocked at the bottom, there was no getting back up. "It was an option," Jonas said. "But it was an option for a day or two later."

"Behind a door on the third floor was a fire sprinkler room. They would have water.

"After several hours, the smoke and dust began to clear. Then something eerie occurred. A shaft of sunlight shone down on them. It dawned on them that 106 floors had been above them and now there was just sky.

"They waited. Through holes in the side of the stairwell, they saw a firefighter about 70 yards away. A rope was tied round Picciotta, fitted with a hitch that would lock if he fell, and he inched his way to the firefighter. The others followed. Jonas stayed with Harris until rescuers from Ladder Company 43 got in.

After Jonas left, they took Harris out in a rescue basket.

"...Somewhere in the ruins was their flattened fire truck.

"They had cornea abrasions and cuts; one man had a separated shoulder, another a sprained foot.

"...They still can't be sure why what happened happened, only that it did. "It was a freak of timing," Jonas said. "We know the people below us didn't fare well. Above, to my knowledge, none got out. God gave us the courage and strength to save her, and unknowingly, we were saving ourselves."
"...NY Port Authority Police Officer David Lim...I ran up the stairs and I got to the 27th floor.

"I stopped to help a person in a motorized wheelchair, and as soon as I got to him, the fire department came up and I told them, and they said they would get him out of his chair and carry him down. They had to rest first because they also had to run up 27 flights. ..."

"We break into an office to bring him more fresh air which was better than the hallway....

"I get up to the 44th floor eventually, and we are getting the people down the staircase and making sure people are not going down the express elevators. The 44th floor is a sky lobby.

"If you are looking at the building, especially at the second plane hitting…the angle, in one of the pictures you'll see it, you'll know what I mean, you see two bands that go around the building. One for the 44th sky lobby, and one for the 78th sky lobby.

"I'm on the 44th floor of building number one, the first building that's hit. I turn around, and the second plane hits the second building.

"All of a sudden a fireball comes towards my window. It blows out the window and knocks us on our butt. I'm with a couple of firemen and two other people.

"So we get up and run down the staircase and get to the 21st floor and pick up some more people that are hurt. They are making a make-shift stretcher and I say there's no time for that.

"I say, "Let's go, let's go, let's go!" So everybody starts going down, and we get down to the fifth floor and there's this other woman that's hurt and I stop to help her, and we get down to the fourth floor and the building falls down on us.

"At this point, of course, I feel like I'm going to die. It's like an avalanche of rocks coming down on us. We covered up the best we could. And then when everything stopped, we assessed our position.

"There were some minor injuries relatively speaking, we had some concussions, some fractured bones, nothing serious. We radioed for help.

"Then we started smelling smoke and fire. I said, "Whoa." It smelled like jet fuel. I worked at the JFK airport for a few years and I know what jet fuel is. So now we got to start going up.

"We don't know what is up, but we have to go up because going down is bad now. So, with the fire chief that's with me, six firemen and a civilian, [we] move further up, the staircase was a little unstable, [but] we didn't have a choice.

"AC Team: You then had to go up rather than down because you could smell smoke and fire?

"Officer Lim: Yes. Because of the jet fuel from the plane that had crashed into the building.

"AC Team: What floor were you on when you changed direction and had to go back up?

"Officer Lim: Fourth floor. That's where I was when the building fell. Now after the building fell, we are sitting there calling for help, we realized that is not a good place to be. We had to start looking for something upstairs.

"We go up and then when we get to the sixth floor we noticed, "What the heck is that?" It looks like a spotlight. It's the sun. We're now staying on what is now the top of the World Trade Center, on the sixth floor!

"I said, "Whoa!," if we're a minute slower, or a minute faster, you and I are not having this conversation, you know what I mean?

"AC Team: Yes.

"Officer Lim: Then we now got to wait until the rescuers come. They finally came after 4 or 5 hours. And now even then, once they come, they threw us ropes. And we had to climb down, and they sent two guys back up to us to sit with the injured female, Josephine Harris.

"AC Team: So you were waiting 4 to 5 hours after both buildings had collapsed? How did you manage to survive after both buildings collapse?

"Officer Lim: Divine intervention, I don't know. I'm sure somewhere along the line, some structural engineer will have some kind of theory on how it happened.

"AC Team: What were you clinging on to?

"Officer Lim: Staircase. What was left of the staircase.

"AC Team: What floor approximately where you on?

"Officer Lim: Now it's fourth and fifth floor, and something left of third and second floor. Not much. We had enough for us.

"AC Team: You and your colleagues were clinging onto a piece of the staircase?

"Officer Lim: We were sitting on them, we're not hanging from them like in a movie. We were sitting on them, very gently of course. It was harrowing to say the least. But I won't make this any bigger than it is. We're just on the staircase.

"AC Team: Who else was with you?

"Officer Lim: Six firefighters from Ladder Company 6 New York, and Josephine Harris, a civilian. Finally the rescuers come, we give them our position and they still have a hard time getting to us but they find us eventually. They throw us ropes. We climb down, then we have to cross the debris field. [where there were] small fires, exploding ammo (US Customs armory), electrical wires and gaping holes.

"We tried to get out one way, and there's fire and you can't get through. That was the way they came in, and we had to double back and make it through this crater that's there now and up the other side and we eventually got out.

"AC Team: What was it like sitting on that staircase for 4 or 5 hours? Was there intense heat?

"Officer Lim: No, there wasn't that much intense heat [where we were but we were covered with debris]. The only reason I know it was 4 or 5 hours is because someone told me. We were not looking at our watches, we were kind of all in shock, you know.

"We had one guy who had a concussion, Mike. We kept him awake, which is protocol when someone has a concussion. Other than that we had some small conversations on how we were going to get out of there in case rescuers couldn't find us.

"I got my cell phone to work. I called my wife. Then I gave my phone to the firemen so they could call their families, just in case, God forbid.

"AC Team: In your particular job as a police officer at the World Trade Center, you were very well prepared for disaster. Did you ever imagine something like this would happen?

"Officer Lim: The scene was both surreal and horrific. I have been a police officer for almost 22 years and have never seen such devastation. This made WTC/1993 look like a firecracker in comparison.

"The reason I am prepared for stuff like this, I have very good training from Sergeant McLaughlin. He was one of the guys that helped to train me in this emergency type stuff. He's in the hospital right now unfortunately and going into major surgery tomorrow. He was also trapped and they got him out.

"It was training that got me through this, that, and luck, of course.

"AC Team: I understand that you have a trained explosive detector dog?

"Officer Lim: Yes, my dog Sirius. Who I unfortunately had to leave behind. My explosive detector dog was 4-1/2 years old.

"AC Team: Has the dog been found?

"Officer Lim: No, I don't expect him to be found. I understand, I don't want anyone looking for him, but just want to say that while they are searching [for victims], if they find a dog, that's my dog. Of course, he's a dog, and I have to put it all into perspective and I do now, but it still doesn't make me feel any better.

"AC Team: We are very honored to talk with you. You are one of our heroes and one of the fortunate ones to survive.

"Officer Lim: That's the wild part of it. I'm fairly whole. Outside of bumps, bruises, a mild concussion, my back, other than that, I'm relatively whole. That's part of the miracle...."
"...Clifford Gallant...89th floor...[tower 2]..."I was in the stairwell, on the 55th floor, when they said the building was secure," Gallant said. "When I was on the 54th floor, the building was hit. It shook a lot and a big crack formed down the wall . . . People were moving very quickly, and some were having a hard time. There was a lot of crying and nerves."
[ this entire web site is a bit bizarre, perhaps impairing the credibility of the following. Is it fiction? Doesn't seem like it, nothing seems to contradict other accounts.. may be a compilation rather than a complete fabrication....]


"I received this from a friend yesterday (full email attached; names deleted) about a personal escape from Tower I. This has not published anywhere -- it is a personal account of a friend of my friend. I've deleted names because I'm sure these people don't need any more trouble than they've already got and I just think putting their names on a public website could invite trouble for them....

"...Corky Adams

"...85th floor of One WTC, where my company, [snip], has its offices. I begin preparing reports for another day of trading at the NYMEX,... horrific explosion. An immediate change in the air pressure. A ghostly column of air shoots like a canon into the office. The front door slams shut. Papers are whipped into the air. I m thrown off my chair and to the ground. My boss jumps out of his office a second prior to the explosion. He had watched, in horrific disbelief, the entire event as the plane narrowly missed the empire state building and set a direct course for our building. The explosion sends the tower shaking furiously, lurching back and forth with sickening vengeance for maybe five or ten seconds. I think we may die. The building may topple over, or crumble. Finally it stops. The building is still standing. Everybody stares at each other, no idea of what happened or what to say. Speculations about an explosion, a bomb. No, it was a plane, our boss says. A commercial jet.

"{Losing track of time}: I immediately walk to the door. Someone screams not to open the door; the hallway is on fire. Curious, R--- and I touch the door and the handle. It s cool. I open the door, slowly, cautiously, to see what s out there. It s pitch black out there, except for the office light, still on, shining off of the billowing smoke in the hall. The smell is horrible. This is no ordinary smoke. It smells of metal, jet fuel, of rancid concrete, of things unspeakable. I close the door. People are still numb, shocked, confused. O--- was the first to say it; he was getting the hell outta there. I'm with you man. I open the door again. The smoke is thinner. I see an orange glow outside the door, a fire smoldering around the corner. I hear guys in another office yelling for help or something, too scared to open their door. Nobody knows where the stairs are, not even them.

"Back into the office, to grab some stuff. The black [---] jacket I wear to the trading floor. It s full of pick cards, order tickets, my empty water bottle, Ice gum, a calculator, a pen, a halls cough drop, and trading analyzers. I put on my jacket. I decide to fill up my water bottle. O--- waits for me, ready to bolt. Almost everybody wants to leave now.

"M---!. Where is he? When did he leave? Where did he go? Is he in the bathroom? The bathroom! Someone check the bathroom. I walk into the hallway, inhaling the noxious stench, and I walk down the hall. To the left, another hallway, three small fires burning, debris everywhere, lights out. In front of me, another office, another man peering out, more terrified people. To the right, another hallway, the bathroom, and the stairwell. I open the bathroom door, everything in pristine condition. Like nothing happened. I call out for M----, no answer. He's not in the bathroom. We head down the stairs.

"We move fast. Not a lot of people in the stairs yet. At 81, O--- stops to help some guy break out some fire extinguishers. We each grab an extinguisher. We get to 72. People are coming back up the stairs. What's the problem? The door several platforms down is pinned shut.

[ pinned? Is that different from locked? ]

People come back upstairs from below. We walk out into the hall to find another stairwell. This floor had damage. Wires and debris everywhere. A wall blown down into the hallway. Some fires smoldering in the rubble. I cover my face and try not to look. Afraid of another explosion. We find another stairwell at the other end of the hall.

"In the next stairwell, there are more people. The descent gets slower....

"At about 65, ...We stop on a large platform. I notice a woman rocking back and forth directly behind me. She was barefoot, holding her shoes. She asks me for a swig of water, and uses it to wet her shirt and cover her mouth against the sickening stench. She anxiously, nervously tells me that she has two children, and she has to get downstairs. We start moving again. She picks her way down quickly, passing people where she can. She makes good progress. She's polite. She's frantic....

"At 50, cell phone service still out. A man with blood covering half of his face and a bandage on his head walking down the stairs. Others pass with him, obviously in pain. People move to the right and let them pass. Everybody is calm, orderly, supportive. Nobody takes advantage of the path they clear. Such calm, such unselfishness in the face of tragedy. Quiet adrenalin. Rumors of a second plane. People are making jokes to ease the strain.

"We carry the fire extinguishers all the way down to the 49th floor. I'm sweating like crazy, shirt untucked, unbuttoned, I'm wearing my jacket, still carrying the fire extinguisher.

"At 45, cell phones still not working. I see a firefighter heading up the stairs. A reassuring presence, giving words of encouragement. At 35, more firefighters, serious equipment in their hands, on their backs. At 30, the door to that floor is open, firefighters have set up base camp, they've dropped their stuff, tended to some injured people. They've secured all the floors below them. They're working their way up, trying to save the people above us. At 25, a man with a cane struggles down the stairs, another man is helping him down. After we pass these men, things start moving. Maybe he was the bottleneck. We stop less frequently now.

"At 20, a woman, J---, is struggling to get down, tired and out of breath. We offer water and help, she accepts. We wait a few seconds for her to rest. O--- takes her purse, which is heavy, and her jacket. O--- walks in front of her, I walk behind. We tell people to pass us on our left.

"Floor 15, then 10, and then 5. At 2, some light. Outside light. Close to home free. We finally exit the stairwell, into the lobby, street level, facing east, and facing a courtyard I don t really recognize. It must be in the middle of the World Trade Center complex. In the courtyard I recognize colors. Green from a small tree, gray from buildings. Blue sky, somewhere. Black, too. Black stuff on the green, and black stuff on the ground, small puffs of smoke. It must be debris from wreckage. What looks like a person's leg. I can't focus, my mind is wandering. I don't want to look.

"Firefighters lead us to the escalators. They don't work, there's debris on them that we climb over. We go down slowly. A few people complain we are walking too slowly. What if you needed help? I ask. That keeps them quiet.

"We get down to the lower level, to the glass doors separating One World Trade Center from the shops underground. The glass is all blasted out. Firefighters are showing us the way out, through the doors. An eerie situation underground. The sprinklers are on. People are worried about their clothes. Shops are empty, deserted. Some lights above are still on. Some aren't. Water collecting in puddles on the ground. Ceiling tiles here and there. A usually noisy, active underground is virtually silent. Firefighters are calling out to us to keep moving.

We pass a sandwich shop, Banana Republic, Gap, entrance to Two World Trade Center. The firefighters lead us northeast, around a corner. We stop. J--- wants to rest. The firefighters urge us forward. J--- wants a swig of water. Just then, I hear a faint noise behind us, it sounds like water rumbling. No, it s people screaming, they are running, a mad fury, a tidal wave before the crescendo. What are they running from?

Someone yells to start running. We start running. Part of the underground goes black. Like someone flicks off the switch. We take 3 or 4 steps; O--- slips and falls sideways to his left. People yell for us to get down. We dive to the ground. The blast is like a hurricane. I find a small corner; I ball up as fast as I can. I cover my head with both arms. I grimace, mouth open, teeth clinched. For the second time in an hour, I think I m about to die. Things pelting me: shards of glass, pieces of debris. I wait for something to sever me in two, and then the chaos subsides. Much later, I find out the blast was 2WTC coming down.

"I open my eyes. I ve gone blind. Pitch black. Maybe I didn't open my eyes. I close them tight, then open them again. Nothingness. I take a breath. Metal, ash, concrete. I cough, and breathe again. More ash. With each breath I take, it s more painful. I call out for O--- and J---, she answers, he doesn t. I call out again. I fear something happened to him. I call out again. Finally, a cough, and a faint response. They re both alive. A few seconds pass. Somebody steps on me. What's that down there? A person, dude. Oh, sorry. I gather my wits, and try to get my bearings after being stepped on.

"Then, a glimmer of light from behind. A fireman's floodlight. It s hard to see anything at all. The air is thick with dust and ash. I begin to see silhouettes of people, I see the man who stepped on me, that's cool man. I see things blown all around us. I carefully stand up. I see O--- hunched over on the ground. He coughs some more stuff up and spits it out. O--- slowly stands. The fireman starts to walk by. Others are following. I pull J--- to her feet. I don t want the fireman to get away. He s not walking fast, but it gets dark quickly without the light. I grab for O---'s hand. The group of us develop a human chain. We follow the fireman. Another floodlight turns on in front of us.

"Without the firemen's lights, we know we would be crawling, in total, pitch black. It would take forever without their help. We navigate slowly in the direction we had originally intended. B---? O---, is that you? It's J---, one of our firm's partners, in from Chicago, caught underground with us. J--- joins our group; he knows the underground and its shops well. We walk slowly, about eighty yards. We see light, it's natural light, we walk towards it. It s upstairs, the street level. We see another escalator, we walk to it, it has more debris on it. We walk up it. We get to the top, doors in front of us to the right. Broken glass. Debris. A large rug, or mat, it's blocking the entrance, but only slightly. We ll have to walk over it, through the broken glass door, to the outside. We re almost outside. We carefully step over the rug. We're outside...."
"...Inside the North Tower, there was the same stairwell exodus, though the intensity was perhaps tenfold, even among those who were as yet unaware of exactly what had happened. Bomb? Earthquake? Their building was on fire, and shaking. Fire marshals were on the stairwells, urging people to walk on the right and keep moving. People were fainting, collapsing, being passed along overhead so they wouldn't slow the escape too much. ...

"...Scott Pasquini ....saw a man who seemed to have created a makeshift parachute; it slowed him down for about 10 stories, then fell apart and he accelerated and was lost...."
"...Ciara Linnane, 37, an Irish foreign correspondent, was in tower one ...By the 30th floor it was incredibly slow. It took about half an hour to get to the 20th because so many people were piling from the other offices. You could see the walls of the corridors buckling....
"Sixty-one floors..., Joy Shepard... Morgan Stanley ...Desperate to get out but weakened by fear and fatigue, Joy and the others cascaded down floor after floor, past discarded shoes and handbags, ignoring the heat and smoke as best they could...."
"...Jerry Winhoven ...South sessions at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter...recess...stayed behind on the 61st floor to check e-mail on a terminal next to the classroom. ...

"Winhoven described the chaos. "There was nothing but papers and documents," flying through the air, he said. "You could literally stick your head through the window. It looked like a bird's-eye view of a ticker tape parade. It was just amazing."

"Winhoven didn't stay long. Smelling what seemed like natural gas, he grabbed his bag and headed for the stairwell. One of the first ones to hit the stairs, Winhoven made it to the 40th floor before the stairwell became crowded with people going down.

"That's when he heard the announcement.

""We got to about the 30th floor and they said 'We are secure. There was something that happened with the other building'" But Winhoven felt he had already come too far to go back in. "I was more than half way down," he said. "I wasn't going to stick around."

"Ten stories down, just after Winhoven passed the 20th floor, the building shuddered...."Then it was just chaos," said Winhoven. "It felt like an earthquake. At that point, everybody just ran for it." Co-workers who made it out of the building later told him they felt the impact just above them and that the wall had cracked under the strain, loosing steam into the stairwell....."
"...Brian St Clair....Kemper....36th floor...One World Trade Center


"The noise is loud and distant but ominous. The buildings are designed to sway in high winds but this felt like a giant fist of God had slammed us to the side. It almost feels like the building was going to slowly topple right then.

"First thought. Bomb? Plane?

"Whatever it was... the building did not just "sway" back into a normal position. The whump turns to a lingering rumble as the plane continues to blast through the building and the fireball explodes. A harmonic resonance seems to have started. It feels like an earthquake and looks like files and cabinets may begin toppling.

"The unnatural and strong swaying and rumbling earthquake continues for what felt like more than a minute. Adrian is out of his office. I'm out of the file area. Everyone else in our area is suddenly gathered in front of the main work space.

"Earthquakes do not occur in just one building. The rain of glass and debris from above roars outside of our own windows. At this point, I am convinced the building is going to fall and that we are going to die. I'm thinking "How many seconds will it take?"

"Someone asks, "What should we do?" but they know the answer. We all head for the exit nearby.

"We are about five floors down before the first alarms are heard. Somehow the shaking stopped and we feel like everything is going to be OK for us. We and others in the stairs finally voice our thoughts of death and start guessing that it was likely a plane... because of the glass from above.

"People were great. When workers diving into the stairwell from another floor look panicked and could start a stampede... we directed them to slow it down. At other times, we got people to keep it moving. Various little emergencies on the stairs got handled together.

"Things start slowing down because of the crowd. We start to smell smoke. Maybe it was a bomb after all.

"Somewhere around 25, we finally see building personnel. They are directing us onto the floor because the smoke is getting a little thicker and the air is better on that floor. I'm with Adrian. We hang close to the door (out of the way) to wait for Kathy and then Joyce.

"I stay by the door. I'm taller than Adrian and could probably spot Maria and Wanda better if they are still behind us.

"People are ignoring the door people and filing past the floor. We decide... we are going too. Kathy was able to see on a TV on that floor that it was a plane after all. Terrorists.

"Maria and Wanda haven't made it to us yet. With the other floors merging into the stairwells, they could be a long way behind. It would only clog the flow to do anything other than keep moving. Keep moving.

"Some floors below, we all make room for some burn victims to descend past us. There are two of them. They are black from the burned jet fuel. They look numb. The first looks relatively better though he holds his arms in front in obvious pain. The second is an African American woman with blistered and almost "melted" patches on her face. A large swath of her arm looks Caucasian where her pigmented skin was burned off. Sheets of it look like they will soon follow.

"As they descend, we are also making a path for firefighters to ascend. A group of about 12 pass us. We probably made way for them to die. (I understand 200 of the 400 responding firefighters are dead as I write.)

"The last flights are slippery from the torrent of water cascading down the stairs. No one is being particular about clothes or shoes.

"We finally splash out of the stairwell into our first view of the plaza. It looks like a war-zone. Glass, debris, burning chunks of who-knows-what, ash. We are all on the move. No time (or inclination) for a closer look. Kathy said she sees bodies.

"We shoot across 30 feet of no-man's-land to the overhang of another building with arms over our heads. We enter and start heading across the pedestrian bridge to the World Financial Center by the river....

"It finally hits me. I'm not the only one with tears. I can see the area that those holes and the fire zone cover and know that hundreds or thousands are dead. How can anyone above those floors of fire get past them?..."
"...Jareau Almeyda, was in his office on the 85th floor of Tower One...sudden swoosh, like that of a rocket and then a large explosion. The building shook like it was going to collapse. We ran to the center of the office away from the windows. At the same time, we glimpsed out the window. There was fire, debris, and smoke coming from the floors above us. We looked at each other in amazement. I’ll never forget the look on my friend Tim’s face. We ran back to grab our stuff and leave the building....

"Before even seeing the conditions in the hallway, we knew we were going to take the stairs. As we grabbed our stuff and a man came running into our office screaming for the exit. Standing at our entrance, he was hysterical. Later I found out he was in the bathroom when the plane hit. I told him to calm down, that I knew where the exit was and to follow us. Our office had double doors. The left one tightly secured, and the right one locked by a security magnet. Both doors were blown open by the impact. Interestingly, the left door was the one I noticed was open. I never saw that door open; it was always securely shut.

"The nearest exit was to the left, right before our office. As I rushed towards the door, I noticed the hallway was dark and there was a very strong smell of smoke and burnt fuel. I ducked down and ran to the exit. I ran fast. I looked briefly over my shoulder down the long hall and all I could see was complete darkness. It was pitch black; no lights, no emergency lights, no sprinklers, only smoke. I quickly ran into the stairwell where conditions were completely different; there were air conditioning and light. We ran down six or seven flights as fast as we could. There was no one in the stairwell. It was amazing. The stairwell was empty, quiet, and calm.

"At approximately the 80th floor, we came to a complete stoop. There were a ton of people. We screamed for them to move on. They politely told us there was a holdup, but the line was moving. We quickly became patient and joined them in their decent. We went at a slow pace until the 78th floor. At that floor, there was an embankment where we normally switched elevators. There was an express elevator that ran up the first 78 floors and then we switched to another which took us to the 85th floor. The elevator banks looked like they had exploded. The marble walls were shattered and the elevator doors were bulging out. We quickly moved across that floor to another stairwell. At that time, I came across a gentleman I had seen many times before. He was blind. He had a guide dog. Someone had him by the arm and was leading him to the same stairwell I was going to take. I have since read in the newspaper that he made it out ok.

"The next 30 fights were all stop and go. At about the 40th floor, we came to a dead stop. There was a closed door and a fire on that floor. That was a very scary moment. Someone behind us yelled he had the key. When he got to the door, it was the wrong key. I thought to my self, "I don’t want to burn to death." We quickly looked for another way out. We moved back up one floor to another nearby stairwell. We made it down another 20 flights in the same manner, stop and go. All the while people were very orderly; they kept their calm. We exchanged thoughts....

"At about the 22nd floor, we came across the first firemen. It was a relief to see these men. They assured us we were going to be ok, and that everything below us was ok. I recall one fireman saying "It’s smooth sailing from here on end, so walk quickly, but safely." That was a very reassuring moment.

"Many of these firefighters were out of breath. They were tired, drenched in sweat and some were even on the floor resting. Image running up 20 flights of stairs with an oxygen tank on the shoulders, an axe, a metal rod, a hose, and all their protective clothing. That must be over a hundred pounds of gear.

"The rest of the way down was truly fast; it was even unexpected. Suddenly we saw daylight, yet another relief. We came out on the second floor. It surprised me, I thought we’d get out on the first floor. The second floor is actually ground level. The first floor is one flight below the ground. There were firemen and police everywhere. This was also where I could see outside for the first time. There was debris everywhere. There were about half a dozen bodies spread out. Later I learned they were the bodies of folks who had jumped from the floors above mine. This was a horrific sight.

"The authorities lead us to the Concourse level, which is underground. This area had many stores, such as The Gap, Banana Republic, The Body Shop, etc. It was a mall. All the stores were closed. There was also about two inches of water. Firemen and police instructed us to move quickly through that area. We came up at the other end of the mall, about a block away from the towers. All in all, it took us about an hour to get out of the building...."
"...After the first plane hit the north tower, Wendy [Tynan] and others started picking their way down the south tower. Then the second plane came.

""It hit when we were in the stairwell on the 30th floor," she said. "My legs gave out on the fifth floor." A colleague helped her the rest of the way. She made it to the subway before the tower collapsed...."
"...broken bones and deep lacerations sustained on the way down, ...Keat Crown,...working on the 106th floor of the South tower,... for AON Risk Management, an insurance company.... When he and his colleagues saw and heard the impact of American Airlines Flight 11 on the North tower, they immediately headed for the stairs. When they arrived on the 78th floor, an area where employees would normally switch from one elevator bank to another, they were told to return to their offices. Crown, however, continued to descend the stairs, but was still above the impact point of the second plane when it hit.


When Crown reached a point in the stairwell that had been demolished by an elevator, he jumped down an unknown distance and was able to land with only minor injuries where the stairwell was still useable. At that point, he made his way to the bottom of the building and emerged only minutes before the structure...."

[end of front page portion, other pages not in online archive?]
"Area woman tells of escape from World Trade Center

"By DONNA McGUIRE - The Kansas City Star
"Date: 09/18/01 22:15

"...Shannon conference at the Trade Center...north tower's 55th floor...the building suddenly swayed. Beavers heard a boom overhead. She looked outside. Papers drifted downward.

""Earthquake!" a woman yelled.

""Let's get the hell out of here!" screamed another.

"Beavers grabbed her purse and followed them toward the stairs.

"Though the building was big, the stairwell was not. Only two persons could stand comfortably abreast on each step. Without ventilation, the stairwell felt stuffy. And now it was packed.

"It was like edging out of the Truman Sports Complex after a Chiefs game, except on foot instead of by car. Take a step and wait. Take a step and wait.

"Beavers looked at her mobile phone. Its clock had stopped at 8:48 a.m. She punched the buttons, but none worked.

"Someone else's cell phone rang. "Your building has been hit by a plane," a woman told her husband.

"The stairwell crowd assumed a small private plane had veered off course. Perhaps the pilot had suffered a heart attack, Beavers thought.

""Stay calm," an older man said. "Don't panic. Let's not get upset."...

"...people started worrying about the smoke. More entered each time a stairwell door opened.

"Beavers coughed. A man offered her his coffee.

"As Beavers' group neared the 20th floor, people carrying injured co-workers from floors much higher caught up with them. Beaver and the others moved aside to let them pass.

"One victim's hair was melted to her face. Her skin had melted, too. The woman cried and asked, "How bad do I look?" The others lied. "You're not bad."

"A blind man with a guide dog passed. Then a pregnant woman. Two persons having asthma attacks hollered for inhalers.

"Beavers had not heard the second plane hit the other tower. Yet now, she realized that whatever had happened was serious.

"Still, no one panicked.

"Firefighters with air tanks on their backs passed them, heading upward. Some carried hoses slung over their shoulders. One or two collapsed on the stairs, worn out from the climb.

"From below, large rolls of paper towels were passed upward. Bottled water, too. Beavers tore off a towel, splashed water on it and covered her mouth and nose.

"At the 17th floor, firefighters had propped open the stairwell door. Using their air tanks as weapons, they smashed the vending machines and handed out drinks.

"Beavers felt nauseated and hot. Her weary legs shook. She feared she might pass out.

"Eventually, the crowd thinned and the pace quickened. Then a new obstacle: water. It flowed over the steps, making the descent slick. Fortunately, Beavers' dress shoes had flat, rubber soles.

"At the bottom, the water rose to Beavers' knees. She stared at the destruction. Elevators had crashed. Marble on walls had crumbled. Windows had shattered.

"Rescue workers ushered them into the lower mall area, just below the courtyard. Water pouring off the building drenched Beavers. Unable to see, she yanked off her glasses.

"She took the escalators up to the courtyard and stepped outside. Police and other rescuers yelled: "Run. Don't look up. Don't look back."

"Unaware of the danger overhead, Beavers walked several steps, then turned to snap a picture. As she did, she heard a deep roar. It was 9:55 a.m. The other tower was starting to tumble.

""Run!" people screamed. "Go to City Hall!"

"Where's that? Beavers thought.

"She looked around. The subway entrance was only 20 feet away. Beavers ran in -- and kept running....

[posted by her mother, also ]
"...Mattox...61st floor of the nouth [sic, south?] tower...

""We saw all these papers, like 8 1/2 -by-11 papers, and all sorts of ash and flames in front of the window," he said, "but nobody was panicked at all. In New York City, it could have been a trash receptacle. We figured it could have been anything."

"Before the trainees could sit down, the group leaders advised them to evacuate the building. Although some people waited for an elevator, Mattox took the stairs.

""My first thought was, 'Oh, man, I've got to walk down 61 flights of stairs for this routine fire drill,'" he said....

"When Mattox got to the 54th floor, he followed a group of people who had filed into an elevator lobby.

""They came over a loudspeaker there and were giving us some general instructions," he said. "They said there was some sort of problem in Building 1. I can't remember exactly. No more than five or 10 seconds after they made that announcement, the second plane hit our building.

""It shook the building and metal beams actually started flying out of the wall. The ceiling started collapsing, and you could see the walls just crinkling. At that point, it was pandemonium. We were just breathless."

"Mattox and his newfound friends headed toward the steps and, within a minute, the stairwell was mobbed. Mattox could hear people crying and shouting and praying. It was getting smoky and some people were gasping....

""I remember running down the first couple flights of stairs from [floor] 54, and my knees were shaking so bad that I can remember thinking, 'C'mon, knees, function for me here,'" he said. "I was literally trembling.

""Reality really set in when there were so many people on the steps that you could barely move. I still had 40 flights to go and there was nothing you could do. On the way down, I definitely had the feeling: 'I could die in this building.'"...

"...Sue Frederick...north tower...77 flights...felt exactly like an earthquake. The only advanced sound was a large windful swoosh. At first we had no idea if it was a bomb or the building had been struck.

"Our personnel immediately headed for the stairs as smoke began filtering quickly down. One wall outside our company had been pushed in so far it was impassable. The only stairway open got us only as far as the 77th floor when we came up against a door that was jammed shut.

"In the WTC stairways down are not a straight shot. At various levels you have to cross hallways and through additional doorways to continue. We were invited into another company's offices on that floor while their people sought out an alternative route. We went into a conference room and turned on the TV....

"We learned our building had been struck by a plane but it was not announced at this point that it was a terrorist attack. As we watched TV the building shook again and what we thought was debris from our own building began striking the windows of the conference room so we immediately left.

"We know now that this was building number two being hit by the second airplane.

"Within 5-10 minutes, someone had found another way out and we began our trek down the stairs. We had to walk through a hallway at this point where the ceiling was being hosed down by an employee from the company we had taken refuge in. This is what I mean by the spirit of New Yorkers. It is because of their initiative that we got out.

"No one from the building security or city rescue had been able to get to us at this point as the only way up or down was stairwells. All the elevators had been immediately knocked out by the flames and smoke shooting down the shafts from the explosion of the plane's fuel on impact....

"The calm of the people around us as we walked down was amazing. People who had been hurt or were having a problem getting down were being assisted at every point. When congestion slowed us to a stop no one shoved or made a scene. We respectfully waited until we could move again. People passed information up and down the line to try and keep people informed about what was happening and those with blackberries [handheld wireless email devices] sent as many emails as they could for folks around them, as none of our cell phones worked.

"We finally got out of the smoke when we hit the 35th floor. It felt great to breathe fresh air and lifted everyone's spirits. We also started running into building personnel. Around the 27th floor we ran into firefighters climbing up. I can't imagine what it must have been like to walk up that many flights with all the gear they had. They looked so winded at that point....

"By the 7th floor, the stairwells were flooding with water from what we assumed were the firefighting efforts. We were feeling buoyant when we hit 3 and thought we're almost out of here. It had taken us a little over an hour to get this far....

"At that point, as we learned later, building 2 collapsed and hit our building. Once again it felt like a bomb had gone off as the building shook again and there was this tremendous whoosh of air that almost knocked us off our feet.

"At that point the lights went out. There was so much debris that our way out was blocked. I remember thinking there is no way I walked down 77 flights to die 3 floors from safety. We climbed back up to 4 where a firefighter punched a hole in the wall to get us out. We made a human chain hanging on to the person in front and the person in back of us as we made our way out into the 4th floor rotunda in the dark....

"We walked through ankle deep dust and out through a doorway to the outside plaza in front of the US Customs building. As we were led to a stairwell to street level we climbed over girders and moved around office furniture and layers of office papers, twisted metal, broken glass and other debris...."
"...Brian J. ... Lehman Brothers ..........1 World Trade Center (the one with the antenna) on the 38th floor... ran to the emergency stairwell.

"It's funny how nobody really knows where the stairwell is until something like this happens.

"...It took me 20 minutes to get down. The stairs are only wide enough for two people abreast, ..."
"7485 of 7600 Thu Sep 13, 2001 11:22pm
"From: Milton Evans
"Subject: Fw: A survior's story from the WTC- not for the "faint of heart

"Folks, this person and I have a mutual good friend; and he "got out of the WTC Tower 2 with about a minute to spare. "This angle is not one which has received media attention. "At their request, I did remove their names, but it is fine "with them for me to relay it in this form.

"===== Roger ===== ..."

[ I have omitted the "Roger's Story" quotes. They recite violence in the stairwells among people competing to get down the stairs in a manner that contradicts every other story in the press or on the 'net. And the teller mixes up some key details, like, maybe which tower he worked in and which tower was hit first....]
[this is unusual in its description of the stampede in the stairwells, but since a name is attached to the account....]

"...Eric S. Levine, NYC, USA ... 2 World Trade Center on the 64th Floor...Morgan Stanley....heard an explosion. I ran to a window and looked out to see large amounts of debris (papers, metal, all kinds of things!) floating down towards the street. I called my boss and told him not to come in to the office and went out into the hallway. Someone called out to me, "Is there anyone down there!", "Yes", I said and he yelled at me to, "Get my ass into the stair well because we were evacuating!".

"At that time people were still very calm and were evacuating in an orderly fashion. We had reached either the 51st or the 50th floor when we heard a huge explosion, which shook the building like crazy! I grabbed hold of the stair well to steady myself when a woman who had fallen from a flight up hit me in the back and sent me down a flight of stairs with her on my back. I then tried to stand up but the building was still shaking and the lights were flickering on and off. It was terrifying!

"Then the building began to sink - that's the only way I can describe it. The floor began to lower under your feet and all I could think about was that it would crack open and I would fall hundreds of feet to my death! Until this moment no one knew what was going on, but no one was really scared yet. Everyone thought it was only taking place in 1 WTC, the other tower. Not in our tower. Once this happened it turned into pandemonium!

"People began screaming and crying and praying out loud for God to help them. After what seemed like an eternity the building settled and the evacuation began in earnest. Except people were panicking and a stampede started and they were running each other down. Myself and the Philippine woman who had landed on me and a few other people waited for the initial surge to subside and then we began to move out again.

"After this things began to speed up; somewhere along the route and between the 44th and 34th floors I lost sight of the little Philippine woman who had been hanging on to my arm for dear life. She was there one moment and gone the next. This really bothers me a lot.

"Somewhere around the 25th floor we began to smell jet fuel and a lot of it. I have asthma and it became difficult to breathe but by the 15th fl, it became unbearable due to the amount of smoke that was now entering the stairwell. So I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my head to help me breathe and it worked, but my eyes were stinging real bad.

"After what seemed like an eternity, but actually took about 40mins, we saw our first glimpse of the outside world. We were met by the FBI and NYPD detectives who were asking if anyone needed medical attention and then yelling at you to keep moving towards the escalators....

"After we got down to the Plaza level you were directed out to either Liberty Street (and probably death because that's where the building collapsed) or towards the E train on the other side of the platform. That's where I went....When I got to the E train the cops were telling you to run through the gate and get out the other end onto to street level...."
"Eric Levine ... floor 64 in the south tower ... I heard an explosion. I remember that I thought that it was a bad explosion because I heard the back up generator kick in within seconds of the initial impact...."
"...Ricahrd [sic] Prescott Stearns, New York...I was in a windowless sealed server room lab at the core of the 8th floor, and in all the din of the machines all I felt were a couple judders. No fire alarms, no alarms of any kind (6 months ago there had been a fire on the escalators and no alarms then either). Since construction was going on and large bangs were common and I worked on. When I stepped out, the floor was empty (it was by now somewhere after 9am). I went to the lifts and they were not working, my heart started to race as I found the fire escape... it was filled with smoke and panicked people still trying to get out. Joining them we eventually made it into the atrium and onto the street outside...."
"...On a news station, I heard a survivor speak of the sweat on the handrails in the stairwell left by the thousands of people running for their lives. ..."
"...Rich Romanik ..I was in the men's room when the building got rocked, I opened the door which I was somewhat not to keen on doing. But, I said to myself, I will not die in the men's room, opened the door heavy smoke to the left and flames shooting out the service elevator, ran to my right to the stairs...down 45 flights through smoke and dust ...About the 9th floor the ceilings were cracking and the water pipes were busted pouring water on us...."
"...The ones in the buildings ran in a surprisingly orderly fashion down the stairwell. What you do not know is that when they became trapped and could for whatever reason, no longer move down, they could not get off at any floor and try another passage out. For security reasons no floor was accessible from the stairwells. So trapped people desperately clawed at the doors trying to get access and could not. Survivors tell about being trapped in these tombs, called stairwells, because a doorknob was removed. ...."
"``But nobody knew what was happening,'' she said.

"At this moment, Sun got a phone call from her husband, Zhang Kening, who works in Jamaica, caught the CNN headline news, which covered the air strike almost at the same time. ``He told me to calm down, and evacuate from the building immediately,'' she said. ... When she reached the lobby, she discovered that all the eight elevators had crashed. ``I don't know how many people were trapped in there,'' she said.

"In the lobby, quite a few pieces of granite fell off from the wall, from the ceiling. Everyone of them were covered with mud and water. ..."
"Somewhere near the 33rd floor, the crowd encountered a woman paralyzed with panic. She couldn't move at all. She shouted. She would go down a few steps and freeze again, causing a bottleneck on the already crowded steps. ""No one pushed or shoved. It was all orderly. We would encourage her, tell her she could do it. We did this for the last 30 floors," Beighley said. ...",2100,46756-2,00.html
"..."We really didn't think the towers would collapse," one fireman said. "Hundreds of our guys were working directly below and inside the towers when the buildings fell, trying to rescue the injured and the people who had decided not to fight their way down the stairs right after the planes hit." ..."
"...They finally met some firemen at about the 30th floor who were heading up the stairs. These firemen were absolutely exhausted with all their heavy clothing and additional equipment they were carrying. They had already raced up 30 floors and still had over 50 stories to go. The fatigued firemen were asking for volunteers to PLEASE help them carry their equipment up to help people. Damian briefly considered helping but decided not to. He said that turned out to be the best decision of his young life. However, a few men did volunteer and headed up with the firemen; never to be seen again. ..."
"... Marcy Borders...81st floor of the World Trade Center's Tower 1 ... had only worked for one month at Bank of America in Tower 1 and was late for work that day ...said she slowly made her way down the stairs in the tower and watched as firefighters tried to find survivors by chopping down metal doors with their axes....

""I saw people coming down the metal, people with glass in their bodies and people with their scalps burned off," ... "
"Posted by Steve Assael '70 ( in New York City on September 12, 2001 at 6:23 PM:

"...I was in the building when the first plane hit. The group I was with managed to get into the stairwells fairly quickly, but then from the lower levels a cry came out that smoke was coming up from below. So while those further down were begging people to go up, those above us were screaming to go down.

"We finally exited on the 13th floor where we could watch the tragedy unfold. We saw all kinds of debris cascading down from upper floors and I saw a number of bodies in the plaza where I had crossed not so long before. Smoke started permeating the floor which was totally undamaged. The phones were working and not a window was broken.

"And with few exceptions everyone remained calm and a few of us who took charge found our directions followed without question. The firefighters got to that level and told us to go down and everyone went for the stairwells..."
"She Was On The 92nd Floor
"World Trade Center
"by Josh Gilbert
"... my neighbor Jennifer's story.... Jennifer was on the 92nd floor of 2 World Trade Center on Tuesday morning. She looked out her window and saw a plane flying low and directly toward the building.

""That plane is flying too low," she said.

"No one seemed to notice. "That plane is flying too low," she repeated, adding, "And it's flying right at us."

"people started paying attention and watched in mounting horror as the American eagle plane flew close enough to their building for them to read the letters on the side of the plane. Suddenly, at the last moment, it veered and smashed into the tower next to them.

""They heard a loud, thundering explosion and heard the whoosh of air sucked in by the vacuum. Smoke and flames shot out all around them outside their windows. Chaos ensued. People started screaming and running toward the stairwell.

"Jennifer joined the rush to safety, making it down to the 52nd floor when, as she put it, "Some jackass started yelling up at us through a bullhorn saying: 'This tower has been secured. You are in America. Return to your offices!'"

"People stopped briefly to process the message. It made no sense, but then what did? They'd just seen a commercial jet fly into the world trade center after almost crashing straight into their office. Jennifer and her colleague wondered briefly if they should heed the advice of the bullhorn wielding moron when the second plane struck their building. A gigantic blast of hot air shot up the stairwell with the vacuum created by the blast and the chaos returned in a hellish instant. They turned around and ran up the steps to the 55th floor, which allowed floor access, and ran across a hallway on that floor to a stairwell on the other side of the building where they managed to climb down to safety...."
"Japanese survivors recall nightmare
"...Yuichi Itakura of the Bank of Yokohama was on an elevator in the north tower when it came to a violent halt on the 42nd floor and began to plunge. He pressed an emergency alarm switch but no one answered.

"After it has stopped, Itakura and seven others trapped in the elevator decided to wait for rescuers, but the panic set in as their cage began to fill with fumes and pungent smell of burning machinery...."

""I thought that was the end of me," Itakura admitted. However, their spirit was raised after someone spotted a gleam of light through a tiny opening between the door and the floor, suggesting that they were in fact on the first floor. They forced the door open to find the normally lively lobby of the center empty except for emergency workers...."
"Yin Liang... Lehman Brother's equities e-commerce website, we are located on the 40th Floor in One World Trade Center... At around 8:46 AM, when I am still reading and writing emails in front of my computer, I heard a low-pitched "Bom" noise, it's not very loud, then the floors starts moving, it swings back and forth slowly, like floating in the air, then the swing gradually stopped. We are quite alarmed, I glanced outside the window, saw things are failing by, it's a strange scene. We all sensed immediate danger, after a moment of silence, people stand up and keep looking around for a clue, shouting "What happened ?", One guy starts walking fast to the fire emergency exit, we are trained in the building on how to respond to emergency situations like this, but this time there is no alarm, no siren. we all immediately started walking toward the fire emergency exits, our managers are telling everyone to leave the building immedately. I was in a hurry, not even picking up my bag. My teammates also started walking. Some people are still startled , they are still asking "What's going on ? What happened ? " We shouted back "Get out of the building NOW! ", At the time, there was no alarms, no flash lights. But we do feel something deadly wrong are happening to the building. This building sometime swings during heavy wind, but never was like this....

"We get into the emergency stairs, I didn't see lots of people, and the building stopped shaking, we then proceed calmly down the stairs, talking to each other, trying to guess what had just happened, we behaved just like when we are having an ordinary "fire-drill", (thank GOD, we do get lots of "fire-drill" exercise once we moved to this building a half year ago). Lots of people joined us from other floors. Then we see heavy smokes coming in from the 33-34th floors, the line paused, we hesitated for a while, wandering if we should keep going down in the smoke, then we slowly moved on, I covered my mouth and nose with a piece of facial tissue, we keep talking to each other, I guess there must be a fire going on at certain floors, we kept walking down the stairs, the smoke became more and more dense , one guy carried a coffee pot full of water and also have some paper towels in it, he give the wet towels to others, I also asked him and got one wet paper towel, I used it to cover my mouth and nose again, at the time, I am thinking this man must be very calm and trained in handling emergencies, he not only carry his big backpack, also find time to go to the rest area, take the coffee pot and put the towels in it, then take the pot with him. The wet paper towel does make breathing a little bit easier, we continued walking down, fearing for the unknown. There are more and more people coming in from various floors, so the place became more crowed, we are walking down slower and slower but still very orderly and peacefully. I want to call my wife to tell her that we are in trouble and also want her to find out what had just happened, but there are no cell signals at all, so I stopped trying to call. Everyone is very curious on what just happened. Some people said it's a Boeing that hit the building, then later we got email messages via Blackberry pager informing us that a Boeing airplane just hit our building. We could not believe it, but it does make sense. We started guessing it must be some stupid navigational error made by the pilot. My one-way pager still shows no news relating to this airplane hit. On the stair, We saw one man resting on the stairs, his cloth wet, he is sweaty, wet and unable to breathe, two of his female co-workers are trying to encourage him to keep walking down, ( Later I realized they must come from the upper floors, running very fast downstairs after the plane hits). On the way down, I tried again to call my wife via cell phone , but there is still no signal at all. More and more people joined us, the place is very crowed. When we reached around the 20th floor, people in the front are shouting back, "Stay on the right side, the firefighters are coming up", so we stopped, stayed on the right side, waiting for the fireman to come by. There are around 7-8 fireman came up, every fireman are fully loaded, carrying heavy steel equipment, water pipes and gas tanks, their face is very grim and serious, they are not young. Once the firemen passed by, we resumed walking, after another 2-3 minutes, More firemen coming up, they all carry heavy steel hammer and various heavy tools. They are sweaty, their breathing is very heavy. One lady asked which floor they are going, they are heading up to the 80th floor, She told them good luck. Every time when a batch of firemen coming up, one of us will shout to let the rest know they are coming up, so we can stay on the right hand side to let the firemen pass, Some firemen are unable to keep walking due to the extreme heavy load on their back. I heard one fireman telling another to slow down and come up when he catches his breath, Their face is deadly serious and brave, with lots of perspiration.

"We kept walking, on the 10th or 11th floor, a lots more people are coming into the stairs, we saw smokes coming in, the line is still very orderly, on the 3rd or 4th floor, we see water running on the stairs, some people in front of us took their shoes off, My shoes get wet and squeaky, so I took my shoe and sock off also, we kept walking, the movement is still very calm and orderly, once we reached the basement floor, there are more waters on the ground, more firemen are coming in, police officers are also standing near the stairs, asking every body to remain calm and walk orderly toward the building exit. We do remain very calm and orderly. The water are now almost one inch deep, they do not appear dirty, then I found out all the waters are coming from the ceiling sprinkers. I saw all the sprinklers on the basement ceiling are working, so we get pretty wet. There are lots of police officers directing us inside the world trade center basement, they asked us to walk orderly to exit the building. we reached the front gate of One World Trade Center ( where every morning I would swipe my WTC Access Card to go inside the building) are damaged, the ceilings are cracked and one piece of ceiling is down on the side already, the gates are broken apart, We pass the gate, the revolving doors are not damaged in the front are not damaged,they consists of three doors, now two door are being switched to the side, so we do not have to push the revolving door to go through it). We are now outside the One World Trade Center tower, but we are still inside the huge WTC Basement Complex.

"On the way out from the stair, I also hear the walls are cracking, pieces of walls are falling on my far right side, around 40-50 feet away, there is an escalator right in front of us, during a "regular day", we normally use that escalator to go up to the street level concourse, then go through the revolving door to go outside. So naturally some people turned to take that escalator, but the police officers directed us to keep going forward, ( Later from the TV, I understand if we were using that escalator, we will be hit by the falling debris once we reached outside the tower). so we walked passed the basement hallway, on the left side, there is a big GAP store, I looked inside the store, no one is there, the I saw and realized the entire basement is empty, there is an eerie calm, a deadly silence in the basement, except the police loud speaker, I paused, put my shoe back, the socks are wet, so I put them inside my pant pocket. There are nobody except ten or twenty police personnel and streams of people coming out from the building. We walked orderly, turning right to reach another escalator, the one that is near the HSBC Bank/Borders bookstore, the police officers then asked us to start running outside as fast as we can, I realized it must be a very serious situation, so I walked faster, then starts running. I saw there are lines of people waiting to get onto the escalator, Some of us decided to take the stairs along the escalator, we run upstairs, then one police officer, using a loud speaker, is telling us "Please walk up on Broadway, going north, please try to find a partner to stay together". I exited the building complex through the HSBC/Borders front gate, I think the time then is around 9:30 AM. Lots of police officer are directing us to go forward, pass the Church street...."
"...09:40 Cell phone call from Manhattan to Pointe Claire: “Daddy? Daddy? It’s me, Yacinda. I’m out. I’m OK.”

"Yacinda had been on the 70th floor when the plane hit the neighbouring tower. She and her fellow workers walked to the 59th floor, and took an elevator to the 44th floor. At that point, another plane hit their tower, and there was a mad scramble down the stairs. with people shoving and yelling. A lot of people lost their shoes in their haste; others were literally knocked out of their shoes by the impact. It took her 50 minutes to get down to the street, and then Yacinda phoned home. ...

"...She thinks of the 91 elevators crammed with people. She heard some crashing down from the 44th floor. In others, the occupants hammered on the doors as the building melted and collapsed. ..."
"... Joe Principe ...WTC on the 46 floor in tower 2 (south tower) when tower one (north) was attacked, I saw the plane hit the building because I was near a window. The absolute terror I felt was something I though I would never feel living in the US. The 92 flights of stairs myself and thousands of others were walking to get out were somewhat silent except for the tones of weeping people (including myself). I could only think of my wife and children. Who would provide, care and protect them? How would they feel if I didn’t make it, who would be the father figure my boys needed. At around the 25 floor the other plane hit the south tower, the stairs cases just broke apart and swung what felt like 5 feet then settled back. People started to panic and push and shove others to get out of the building. I admit I was one of those panic stricken people. Then the firemen started running up the stairs and for some reason people started to calm down,..."
"...Kate Martin who works on the 86th floor OK... she had had an adventure, but her floor was evacuated after the first collision in the other building, the other jetliner crashed into hers (south building) while they were walking down 73 flights of stairs, although the electric lights stayed on at that time. All of her office mates got out with her, then they all just staggered up the streets on foot, legs all wobbly from walking down all those stairs...."
"...Dr. Joseph Ornato, Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center

"...One firefighter happened to be inside the first tower on the 46th floor when it was hit. He was unable to go up the stairs, and somehow got separated from the rest of his men. He wound up getting to the bottom, and as he was about to leave, the second aircraft hit and he got trapped. A rescuer was able to punch a hole through the door, allowing him to get out. Luckily, he escaped with a minor injury to his head. As doctors checked him out, he kept saying, "Give me my boots back, my men are inside, I have to go!"...."

[Huh? How? Why?]
"Lorraine Escoto...AON Corp. and my department was on the 100th floor in Tower 2... a sound that sounded like thunder. Everyone ran to the windows and saw Tower 1 on fire-I immediately ran to the other side of the office to see what happened. And as I entered my boss' office I could feel the HEAT from the fire through the windows. That is when I felt I had to leave the building (at this point I didn't know what had happened).

"I grabbed my sneakers and my bag and started heading down. There was not alot of traffic in the stairwell. They were making announcements that it was just a fire in Tower 1 and that Tower 2 was secure. Some people stayed, but I didn't - and the only reason I didnt stay was for fear that Tower 1 would explode and hit my building. So I kept heading down the stairs-my cell phone was down so I couldnt call my family to let them know where I was-I have never felt so helpless in my life...."
"...COFFEE CUPS AND SWEATERS littered the south tower stairwells, now packed with a stop-and-go exodus. Diane Murray and her Aon colleagues emerged onto the glass-enclosed mezzanine overlooking the plaza between the towers. ..."
"...John Howard, who works at Morgan Stanley, on the 60th floor of 2 World Trade Center, said the plane's crash into Building 1 shook his offices. During the evacuation, he said, there was a guy with a bullhorn telling them to stop.

""He was telling us, 'Don't panic!' saying that we we're safer in the building than leaving it," Howard said. "As he was saying that, there was a huge explosion right there. It was surreal. People were in a full-fledged panic. We all ran over the guy with the bullhorn to get out."..."
"...09/16/01 Carla McKenzie ...was on the 16th floor of the first building hit with a plane. Yesterday, at the annual meeting of Women of the ELCA, she told me what happened. She had been in the 1993 bombing and knew immediately that this one was different. The whole building shook. She began going through the offices urging people to walk with her down the 16 flights of stairs. At several landings they were urged to stay in their offices, but she and others kept going. ..."
"...the Dolphins' Ray Lucas.

"A friend Lucas called Jack worked as a stock broker on the 55th floor in Tower 2....

""When the first plane hit, a piece of the plane went through the window of his building and (Jack) just took off running," Lucas said. "Everyone from his floor ran down 55 flights of stairs in eight minutes. By the time he hit the street, the second plane hit and glass started falling when he was running across the street...."
"...Vishnu Ramsaroop, Trinidadian married to Seeta Shivamber, a Guyanese national, worked for American Building Maintenance. He was on the 101st Floor at the time the first tower were attacked but was later seen on 87th Floor stairway..."

[ Which tower? ]
"...Tommy Castaldi... New York State job on the 88th floor of Tower Two at the World Trade Center....

"...someone, looking out at Tower One, realized that something horrible had happened to the building. The group gathered at the window couldn’t see where the Boeing 767 had crashed into Tower One, or the flames that were just starting to pour out of the building, Castaldi said.

"The group, suddenly alone, conferred. They decided, when Tower Two seemed to "sway," that it was time to leave, he said.....

"A man’s voice said, "An aircraft has hit Tower One. Tower Two is okay." In the same message people were told that they could use the local elevators at the 44th floor to reach the lobby, Castaldi said.

"When the group reached "about" the sixth or seventh floor, they felt another boom and felt the building shake again, Castaldi said. People were falling and black smoke filled the air. "The firefighters told us to go back up. They led us there," he said. "They led us, through complete darkness, to another stairway. They started us on our way down, then climbed up toward the fire.

""Police and firefighters were coming in to the building when we reached the lobby," Castaldi said. "The building was swaying, burning and shaking. But they went up, not back to the street...."
"...Brendan Heneghan, worked on 79th floor of WTC, Manhattan "I was at my desk on 79th floor of Tower 2 at 8.45 when the first plane hit Tower 1. Didn't know where all the flames and debris hitting against our window were coming from. ..."
"...Genelle Guzman, an administrative assistant for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was working on the 64th floor of the tower when she felt the building shake.

""I was scared," said Guzman. "They (were) saying an airplane hit the building. But I had no idea where the building was hit."

"The plane had struck between floors 96 and 103. Guzman waited for instructions on what to do as the tower above blazed. ...

" the north tower, Guzman was making frantic calls to the Port Authority police, trying to get advice on what to do.

[ having trained all these people to stay put until further instruction, they left them to fend for themselves....]

"The 31-year-old native of Trinidad also made calls to her family and friends. She left a message on her boyfriend's voice mail: "Honey, I'm staying inside of the building. I don't know ... we have to wait until somebody comes (to) get us out. Okay? I'll try and call you back again. Bye. I love you."....

"...After waiting almost an hour for assistance, she had decided to make her own way down from her office on the 64th floor. She and colleagues from her office had reached the stairwell of the 13th floor when they heard a loud boom.

""We fell, we fell to the ground," Guzman said. "And then everything started crumbling, faster and heavier, and everything just kept falling."

"The building was collapsing on top of them....

"Miraculously, Guzman was alive but she was in serious trouble. Her head was pinned between two concrete pillars and her legs were trapped in the staircase. The colleagues who had been with her were all gone. Her thoughts turned to her 12-year-old daughter, Kimberly. She drifted in and out of consciousness until the light peeking through the concrete eventually gave way to darkness.

""I saw it became dark and no one came ... and I'm not hearing any noises." She thought, "I'm not going to make it. I'm going to die here. I'm going to see myself slowly dying." ....

""The next day ... after I woke up, I started to pray again," said Guzman, who remained trapped under tons of debris. "I asked God to show me a miracle, show me a sign that I'm going to get out of here today and not the next day. And so it happened that I heard noises ... like people moving stuff. And I yelled out and ... someone answered me."

"It was 27 hours after the tower's collapse.

""I took a piece of concrete and I knocked the stair above me. And then they heard the knocking and they decided to come closer," she recalled. "And then I put my hand through a little crack ... and I felt the fireman hold my hand. And he said, 'I got you.' And I said, 'Thank God!'"

"She was the last person pulled alive from the rubble. ..."
"Richard Cruz was getting off the elevator on the 92nd floor of the [south tower of the] World Trade Center when the plane hit the tower across from him Tuesday.

"``There was mass hysteria, people were screaming,'' said Cruz, 32. ``I heard a lady's voice saying ``Go back! Go back! There's been an explosion!' I smelled smoke and I saw a lot of paper flying like confetti.''

"Cruz rushed to the stairwell along with other panicked co-workers from Aon Risk Services, an insurance brokerage company, where he started work a month ago.

"At the 63rd floor, he decided to try to look out a window of one of the offices.

"``One side of Building 1 was engulfed in flames. People were yelling 'Oh my god! They're jumping, they're jumping out the window.' I looked down and I saw a lot of debris, and I saw blood spots. I saw the horror. That's when it hit me and I thought to myself ``I have to get out of here.'''

"As Cruz rejoined the heavy stream of people on the smoky stairwell, the second plane hit. This time, it was his tower.

"``The whole building moved and it was swaying back and forth. I heard a muffled boom and I thought everything was just going to collapse. People were rushing and merging together and going crazy,'' he said...."
"...James Dorney, a 25-year-old risk-management specialist, ... trapped somewhere near the 50th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Centre when the second aircraft slammed into the building.

"Mr Dorney had fled down about 40 flights of stairs from his 92nd-floor office after seeing the fireball in the north tower.

""The second plane ploughed straight into my floor," said Mr Dorney, who had started his job with Aon Risk Services only a month ago.

""I cannot begin to describe the terror, not when you're that high above earth," he told the Herald.

""When the plane hit our building I was thrown down six flights of stairs. ..."
"...Mike Wilson, who worked on level 51 of the north tower, said that after the hit some of his colleagues opted to stay at their desks because the stairwells were so crowded. All are presumed dead.

"He said: "People figured that once the plane had hit, that was it. They just didn't think that the building would fall down. These people and all the firemen who were going up, well they all are dead."..."
"Here's a guy blocked by debris at two points of his escape both requiring assistance from a firefighter to save their lives:

[news account no longer available:]
"Obradovich and others made for the stairway. At Floor 34, it was blocked. Obradovich yanked a nearby, locked door, then banged on it. A New York firefighter answered, pried open the door, instructed everyone to calm themselves and continue down. He then proceeded up, in full gear.


"At Floor 10, more debris blocked the stairway. Again, firefighters pried open a door, and Obradovich walked across the floor to another stairwell...."
"Someone else on the 22nd floor...

[account not found on this page:]
"First plane hit our building at 8:45. We decided to evacuate from the 22nd floor after 15 minutes. The delay was because we did not know the extent of the damage; part of the 22nd floor was sheared away and the corridor was blocked by fallen debris. Four of us decided it was better to try to get out than stay and wait to be rescued (in hindsight a good decision). We had to crawl for ten to fifteen feet under debris to get to the fire stairs...."
"©New York Times

"© St. Petersburg Times,
"published September 13, 2001

"NEW YORK -- When the first jet struck 1 World Trade Center at 8:48 a.m. Tuesday, the people in 2 World Trade Center with a view of the instant inferno across the divide had the clearest sense of what they, too, must do: Get out fast.

"Katherine Ilachinski, who had been knocked off her chair by the blast of heat exploding from the neighboring tower, was one of those. Despite her 70 years, Ilachinski, an architect working on the 91st floor of 2 World Trade Center, the south tower, went for the stairs. Twelve floors above her, Judy Wein, an executive, screamed and set off, too.

"But others up and down the 110 floors, many without clear views of the damage across the way and thus unclear about what was happening, were not so sure. And the 18 minutes before the next plane would hit were ticking off.

"Friends and colleagues, each offering a version of expertise or calm, debated the wisdom of leaving. Amid the uncertainty about what was the best thing to do, formal announcements inside the south tower instructed people to stay put, reassuring them that the building was sound and the threat was limited to the other tower.

"Some left; others stayed. Some began the climb down and, when met with more announcements and other cautions to stop or return, went back up. The decisions made in those instants proved momentous, because many who opted to stay were doomed when the second jet crashed into the south tower, killing many and stranding many more in the floors above where the jet hit.

"Two of those caught in indecision were executives at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Fuji Bank USA.

"Nat Alcamo of Morgan Stanley had been on the phone with his fiancee, who told him to flee his 60th floor office, and as he made his way down he ignored the official with the bullhorn on the 44th floor who said he was just as safe there as outside.

"Moments later, his tower was struck, and "I went down three steps at a time, flying," he said.

"Richard Jacobs of Fuji Bank left the 79th floor with all of his colleagues, but on the 48th floor they heard the announcement that the situation was under control. Several got in the elevators and went back up, two minutes or so before the plane smashed into their floor.

""I just don't know what happened to them," Jacobs said....

"On Wednesday, Ernesto L. Butcher, chief operating officer of the Port Authority, refused to discuss evacuation procedures at the World Trade Center. But other Port Authority executives said the towers were under the command of the trade center's new operator, Larry Silverstein.

"Executives like Alan L. Reiss, the director of the World Trade Center, had been working on a transition team with Silverstein Properties that was to last for three months. But in recent weeks, agency executives said, Silverstein Properties asked Reiss to let it more fully operate everything from safety systems to tenant relations.

"Silverstein would not comment Wednesday on any aspect of the disaster. In response to questions concerning announcements made by security guards in the south tower advising tenants that it was safe to return to work, he issued a statement saying: "We are investigating this situation carefully. At this time, we do not know whether a statement was issued, or, if it was, who issued it." ...

"...south tower,... Arthur Doscher, an Allstate insurance agent, rushed to get an employee in the bathroom after he saw debris fly past the 24th floor windows. "I wasn't going to take any chances, and when I banged on the door, he thought I was nuts," Doscher says..."
"Brendan MacWade

"...floor 40 of the north tower ..Our floor's volunteer Fire Warden quickly rounded us up. I estimate that there were about 30 people on my side of our floor. He gave us the go-ahead, and we began our descent. ...."

[ the go-ahead ? ]
"Mac Delaney... I was in the second tower when the aircraft struck the first.... When word came around to evacuate the second tower, there was panic. People jammed the stairwells and the elevators were all over capacity. ...",3668,a%253D16843,00.asp
"...Roy Bell ...78th floor of One World Trade Center ...."I ran into a building engineer, who told me there was only one safe exit out and that the building wasn't stable."..."
"Workers' Stories

"Jan Demczur, window cleaner

"When Jan Demczur got on an express elevator on the 44th floor in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11 he was on his way to cleaning windows. He didn't know it at the time but he was also on his way to becoming a hero.

"The Local 32BJ member, whose story was featured on an installment of NBC Dateline, was carrying the tools of his trade: a bucket, some rags, some cleaning supplies, and what would later prove to be a lifesaving squeegee. On the elevator were five other men, who are employed by the New York Port Authority.

"Suddenly the elevator shook violently and came to a halt....

"Pressing the emergency call button and alarm, the men were told there had been an accident and then the intercom went dead. Smoke began leaking into the elevator and the six men decided to take action on their own.

"Prying open the doors of the elevator, the six found themselves facing a solid wall with a number 50 painted on it, indicating the 50th floor. The men tried kicking at the wall but this effort proved fruitless. The six realized they would have to scratch their way to freedom but most were carrying nothing sharper than an ink pen.

"Taking the squeegee out of his bucket and removing the handle, Demczur said, "maybe this will work," and began picking at the 3 inches of Sheetrock that stood between the elevator car occupants and safety. "He kept working at it with his squeegee," said Alfred Smith, one of the occupants. "It was like he was meant to do that."

"Four of the men took turns scoring the Sheetrock to get a wider area to break through. It is now 9:03 a.m. and a second jetliner has been deliberately crashed into the other World Trade Center tower.

"At one point, the squeegee slipped out of Demczur's hands and fell down the elevator shaft. His only tool was gone. "I said, 'God,' we just had this little piece of metal and now we don't have anything." However, the industrious window cleaner, retrieved the 6-inch handle and resumed scratching at the wall. "It was like he had a willpower," Smith said of Demczur. "That we are going to get out of here."

"After about 30 minutes, Demczur had made a grapefruit-size hole-large enough so that the occupants could kick through. After kicking through a second 1-inch thick wall, they now found themselves standing in a men's restroom on the 50th floor.

"Although the occupants became separated in their rush to exit the building, all made it out of the tower just minutes before it collapsed and vanished from the New York City skyline...."
"Dave Bobbitt was in his office on the west side of the 35th floor of the South Tower of the WTC when the first plane hit... There had to have been an explosion in the North Tower, and Bobbitt knew that he and the other PA Operations staff would have to spring into action to help evacuate the towers. Bobbitt and Don Parente grabbed their two-way radios, flashlights and a digital camera, which had pretty much become their standard equipment in the WTC....

"...Bobbitt remarked. "When entering the North Tower, we saw the marble on the walls was severely cracked, and Riccardelli told everyone to stay back from the walls. Don (Parente) noticed that the doors of elevators number 6 and 7 had been blown out." ...

"...South Tower... was starting to collapse ..He and Parente barely made it out of the North Tower lobby as the mezzanine came crashing down behind them..."

[Stairwells A and C terminated at the mezzanine, right? and if it collapsed, that left stairwell B the only one remaining for escape, right? This correlates with stories that the lower ends of unnamed stairwells collapsed requiring a return to a higher floor and an escape down an unnamed alternative stairwell. Other stories reciting exit to the mezzanine after WTC 2 collapse suggest the mezzanine collapse may have been partial or not at all]

"In a story reported by the New York Times, Jan Demczur, an inside window washer for 1 World Trade Center, had a favorite old green bucket that he used, and no one else liked. Its flat sides were perfect for his squeegee, which was with him that fateful day as he waited for an elevator on the 44th floor sky lobby. At 8:47 a.m., Demczur and five other men entered car 69A, an express elevator that served floors 67-74.

"Before it reached its first landing, the building shook, and the elevator swung from side to side. After about 10 minutes, an announcement was made about an explosion, then went eerily quiet. Smoke entered the cabin. The passengers pried open the car doors, using Demczur's squeegee, only to be faced with a wall. They were on the 50th floor, not a stop for this elevator.

"Demczur, a former construction worker, recognized sheetrock and knew they could cut through it, but with what? The metal edge of his squeegee. They took turns cutting through the sheetrock, breathing through handkerchiefs dipped in milk one of the other passengers had just bought. They cut an inch, two inches until they completed an irregular rectangle about 12 by 18 inches. They hit a layer of white tiles, a 50th floor bathroom. One by one, the men worked through the opening. Even the bucket made it out.

"Astonished firefighters watched the six men emerge and then quickly ushered them to the staircase. A single-file descent began, interrupted by a "thunderous metallic roar" at the 15th floor. They did not know it at the time, but the south tower was collapsing. Demczur dropped his bucket when the firefighters told them to get out of the building quickly.

"At 10:23 a.m., the six men ran out of the north tower, beating its collapse by five minutes. One of the men on the elevator with Demczur, Shivam Iyer, Port Authority engineer, said, "It took up to one and a half minutes to clear each floor, longer at the lower levels. If the elevator had stopped at the 60th floor instead of the 50th, we would have been five minutes too late. And that man with the squeegee. He was like our guardian angel."..."
"A First Hand Account By Perrito Blanco

"...I got to work, on the 74th floor of WTC1, at 8:00 am. At about 8:30 or so, I went to the cafeteria to get my usual coffee, milk and danish. To get to the cafe, which was on the 43rd floor, I had to go to the 44th floor and take an escalator down one floor. Returning from the cafe with my food, I entered an elevator in the bank of elevators that serviced floors 67-74.

"...Five other guys got in after me, the last fellow being a window washer. He was carrying his bucket of soapy water with his squeegee and his wooden extension pole. The elevator started moving. Suddenly it stopped and banged violently from side to side. The lights were still on. We pushed the emergency call button to call for help. As far as we were concerned, the only thing that happened was that the elevator had stopped. No one answered right away so we pushed the alarm button. We pried the doors open only to find a wall in front of us with "50" chalked on it. Apparently, we were stuck at the 50th floor. We closed the doors and then someone answered our calls for help and I believe said something about an explosion in the building.

"Then I smelled smoke. This changed things. We had to get out. I got out my handkerchief and covered my nose and mouth. Then I remembered that it was better to wet it so I dipped it in my milk. I suggested to the others to do the same. We pried open the doors again and laid down the window-washer's pole to keep the door open. It was the perfect size. Now we started kicking the hell out of the wall in front of us. It was no use. It was sheetrock, a.k.a. plasterboard or drywall, in 2 feet wide sections with a steel frame around it. It hardly moved. We would have to dig through it.

"Nobody had a knife or any tools. The only thing I had was my keys. The window-washer, John, pulled out his squeegee and another fellow, also named John, starts digging into the wall with it. This second John turned out to be Deputy Director of Operations for the World Trade Center. The squeegee had a sturdy metal piece, which held the rubber part in place. All this time the smoke is getting worse.

"John the director and I both had cell phones but neither one of us could get a signal. As they worked on chipping through the wall, I climbed up on a handrail on the elevator wall and the back of another fellow to try to find a way through the top of the car. It consisted of metal panels. There was no obvious way to get them open. They didn't slide or push in or have any latches so I started to pound it with the heel of my hand. It didn't give. I had to get down anyway. The smoke was getting to me.

"Eventually, someone got through the wall. We now had a hole about the diameter of a finger and fresh air was coming through. The elevator shaft wall turned out to be 3 inches thick. It consisted of 3 ply of one inch sheetrock held together by the steel frame I mentioned. We continued to chip away and kick at the wall. Then I noticed John the window-washer was holding a piece of the squeegee that had come off. It was the part where the pole screwed in. It was triangular with 2 pointy corners and the corner where the pole screwed in. I grabbed it and started hacking to one side of the hole and another guy worked on the other side. Then I got the idea to try and score the wall so that when we kicked at it, there would be weak points. As we took turns kicking the wall, my foot finally went through and we had a nice sized hole now. We took turns kicking at the edges of the hole making it bigger. Eventually, we had a hole about 2-3 feet high by 1 foot wide. But there was another wall on the other side.

"We saw aluminum framing and more sheetrock. But this sheetrock was much thinner and we kicked through it easily. It turned out to be a bathroom on the 50th floor. We kicked through the thin sheetrock and wall tiles and made a hole big enough for a man to fit through. One guy went through and ran to find some help. Then I went through. Someone in the elevator started kicking at the aluminum stud, made the hole a little bigger and the rest came through. We were in there for about 40-45 minutes total.

"The guy who was through the opening first came back with someone and we went to a staircase that took us to the 44th floor lobby. This was where we first learned that the towers were both hit by airplanes. We were led to another staircase,...

"The trip down the staircase was, at first, uneventful. It was stop-and-go. There were firemen everywhere. Many doors on the way down had either cops or firemen going in and out making sure the floors were empty. The occasional fire fighter passed us going up with axes and sledgehammers. They were huffing and puffing in their heavy outfits. I guessed they were going up to the impact site. It was like this until I got to the 13th floor where things changed drastically.

"The ground below us shook and there was a long, deep thundering sound. Then dust started coming up the stairway. It got to where you couldn't see 3 feet in front of you. Someone said it was probably an elevator that fell down but that wasn't what happened. I covered my mouth and nose again with my handkerchief and we all made our way down the stairs led the whole way by the firemen. A few floors later, a fireman opened a door and said things were clear and to follow him. Since I was near the end of the line, only 3 or 4 of us followed him through. It was now pitch black and dusty and we were walking ankle deep in water. The only light came from the firemen's small flashlights. We came to another door but there were people standing there and things weren't moving. I pointed out to the firemen that at least the other staircase was moving and we were led back to where we came in. We continued down and came to a door, which also led into a dark, dusty and wet passageway. We exited the passageway and emerged onto the mezzanine,...

[ did the North building mezzanine collapse with the South building collapse, or not? ]

...which overhang the first floor lobby of the building.... It was strewn with dust and debris. The firemen told everyone to stay close to the wall and we were led outside through a broken window...."
"...John Paczkowski ... a day in 1993 when a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center. That time, John trekked down a pitch dark stairwell from the 63rd floor to safety. On his way down, he had stopped to help a wheelchair employee and two pregnant women, then broke windows on the 50th floor so fresh air could reach the long line of people who were coughing from the thick smoke. He made it home to Long Valley much later, sooty and tired.... John's miraculous escape began at 8:48 a.m., when the elevator carrying him to the 67th floor suddenly stopped in between floors near the 63rd floor. The six passengers speculated on what could have happened. Then, just as suddenly, the car started moving. Downward. John remembers thinking that for sure he was a dead man, but after plunging 15 stories, the car lurched to a halt once again. None of the six had a clue what had happened. John and another passenger, a window washer, were replaying their 1993 experience in their minds. "Let's get the hell out of here," John said. John and the window washer tried to force the elevator door open with the handle of the window washer's squeegy. The door finally gave, only to reveal a solid wall of sheet rock. The one wall ultimately became six walls of sheet rock which they hacked through one by one by taking turns kicking them down. It wasn't over yet. Next came a tile wall. When they broke through that final wall, they came out in a rest room and smelled the smoke. Still not certain what had happened, they met two maintenance men in the hallway who told them of the plane hitting the tower. The maintenance crew opened the emergency elevator for the group and they rode down to the 40th floor. From there they headed to the stairwell and their escape to what is now known as "ground zero". It was while they were in the stairwell that the first of the twin towers collapsed. Even in the midst of his own survival, John was concerned about his colleagues on the Emergency Response team. He contacted a buddy, Ezra Avila, at the Marriott and they agreed to rendevous there. Just minutes before the second tower caved in, John was on the street heading toward the Marriott but for some unknown reason he continued walking a block beyond the WTC complex. That simple detour probably saved his life.... Ezra and other colleagues at the hotel died when that building collapsed soon after...."
"In the stairwell on the 82nd floor of One World Trade Center, with the skyscraper burning directly above their heads, Myron Finegold and Vinnie Borst searched desperately with dozens of others for a way down to the street.

"They had descended six flights when they reached a door meant to block smoke from spreading. When they pushed on it, the door moved no more than 2 inches. Part of it had wedged into the frame, blocking their escape.

""The bottom of the door would open, but the top was pinned shut," Borst said.

"...Office Space Services Division of the Port Authority, found themselves cast as generals commanding a terrifying retreat. Borst, 36, of Fair Lawn, N.J., once a fire safety director for the Port Authority, used his special knowledge of the tower's inner core to scout out pathways to safety....

[Is that what it took? Special knowledge? For a simple evacuation?]

"...they heard the boom. The building swayed so severely that it nearly knocked them off their feet. Pieces of the facade started raining outside the window. Patrice Yepez, a co-worker, ran in screaming that a fireball had blown out the elevators. Borst ran into the main corridor and found it destroyed....

"Within a minute, they had grabbed two-way radios, rounded up about 20 employees in their division and the engineering division and evacuated to Stairwell C, one of three near the tower's core. As they walked down, an additional 20 people joined from lower floors. When they reached the smoke door on the 76th story and could go no farther, Borst said, he did not panic.

""I don't stop to think," he said. "I move."

"They went back to the 77th floor, to the office of the Port Authority's inspector general, where about 20 more employees waited. Borst remembered an emergency exit inside a storage closet...


........and ran to find it. Finegold, meanwhile, concentrated on the 70 people clustered together.

""I got up on a chair and introduced myself to the room," he said. "I asked everybody not to panic and to be quiet ........ .Vinnie and I were then able to communicate over the building radios that we had."

"Through the storage closet, Borst directed the people to Stairwell A. They passed two men in business suits spraying water at flames shooting out of a shaft near the ladies' room. The men remained after Finegold led the last of his group away.

"Borst and Finegold descended past rushing firemen, separating and reuniting,...He also learned that 74 Port Authority workers had perished.

"As they passed through the lobby, Finegold looked at the marble walls, once white, now scorched and cracked, and the burned-out elevator shafts....

"From the lobby, they were directed by police through an entrance to the mall under the Trade Center. After following their convoy inside, Finegold and Borst heard the screeching, cracking sound of Two World Trade Center collapsing. The force of it hurled them to the ground. Finegold fell to his knees. Borst lost his radio and the pinky ring off his finger.

"Slowly, now separated, each rose into the silent blackness. Finegold, with co-worker Patti Krisch and a man named George, told them to grab his belt. Coated in ashes, they walked to the concourse's northeast entrance, up an immobile escalator to the street. Borst, walking ahead of a woman and behind a police officer, felt his way along until he reached the same exit he had used on hundreds of trips to get coffee. He crossed through it, then saw the policeman, confused, walking the other way.

""This isn't the way out," the officer said through a smoky haze.

"Borst told him, "You're already outside." ...
"...Robert Mansfield was in his office on the 82nd floor when the first plane hit. "I thought it was an earthquake at first," he says. "The whole building just rocked." An official with the New York Port Authority, Mansfield raced with colleagues for the nearest emergency exit; they found a locked door. "We thought we were trapped." They retraced their steps, only to discover a fire had broken out in their offices.

[ Port Authority officials surprised to find a locked door? ]

"They doused the fire, found another exit, then climbed down 82 stories, meeting hundreds of others in the dark, silent stairwells. Entering the lobby, they heard the second plane crash into the tower next door. "We hit the ground," Mansfield recalls. "There was debris flying everywhere, and it was pitch black. I heard a lot of screams, but I couldn't see anything." With the help of firefighters, he made it to the street,...

"Icksoo Choo [Hyundai Securities] clambered down 78 flights of Tower One's emergency-exit stairwell. It was pitch dark. He remembers being amazed by the discipline of those fleeing for their lives. The director of Hyundai Securities, Choo was with about 30 others when they reached the first floor. But the way was blocked. Suddenly they heard a huge roar -- the second crash. "I was on the first floor, trapped, in total darkness," he says. "I thought, 'I'm going to die!' "

"Finally, after an agonizing 20 minutes, a firefighter hacked an exit through a window with his ax. Covered in soot and ash, Choo was on the street,..."
"...Gilbert Weinstein, 73,...Port Authority's real estate department on the 88th floor of Tower 1....worked in international sales and leasing for the Port Authority,...jolted back, nearly thrown from his chair. The partitions moved. Ceiling tiles fell. Flames showered past the window. Weinstein thought back to the 1993 bombing in the basement, which killed six people. This was much worse....

"A secretary walked in from the hallway. Her skirt and blouse were on fire. Weinstein beat out the flames with his hands, and the staff hurried into a conference room.

"There were architects, engineers, inspectors and construction people who knew the building intimately. The burned woman was in shock, her skin peeling. Weinstein tried to reassure her.

'Two men, architect Frank De Martini and another colleague, Mac Hanna, said they'd found a way out, but it would be hard to reach.

[ "knew the building intimately"? "found a way out"? ]

"Out in the hallway, the scene didn't seem real. It looked like a stage set for Dante's "Inferno." Rubble and fire and smoke. Broken walls, broken uprights, supports, metal, gaping holes, flames.

"They walked together, a group of 20 or so, including an electrical engineer in his late 80s who addressed Weinstein as "kid." Hanna played coach as they made their way down the smoky stairway.

""We'll get out. Keep pushing. Keep pushing. You'll do it." ... The floors were numbered on the doors of the stairwell. Water pooled on the landings. One woman took off her shoes so she wouldn't slip. Firefighters came up past the 60th floor, lugging equipment, exhausted. Halfway along the descent from the 88th floor, the group was stalled.

"Two men opened a door and smoke came in. They left anyway, to look for another staircase. They returned and said they'd found another route, and Weinstein followed.

"That staircase was faster and less smoky. Floor by floor, he got down to the mezzanine, through the mall, up to the street. Police and security people were telling everyone to go, don't look up, run if you can,...

"...For Gilbert Weinstein, talking about the experience has been helpful, he said. He believes the decision to switch staircases saved him a few crucial minutes in which to escape.

""This past week I've been talking, realizing how fortunate I was, accepting the fact, I guess, that something made me switch staircases," he said.

"The woman with the burns managed to walk out of the building herself, and is in intensive care, he said. Another colleague called and said she'd found her way out with a little flashlight key chain that Weinstein had once given her. It was a promotional gimmick for the Trade Center...."

"... George Tabeek, who was the Trade Center's security manager... got a call that three Port Authority workers were trapped in a command center on the 22nd floor. He informed a fire battalion chief that he was going up to rescue them. The chief assigned a group of firefighters, led by Lt. Andy Desperito.

"The men walked up to the 22nd floor. Tabeek didn’t know that a second jet had just struck Tower 2. When they reached the 22d floor of Tower 1, Desperito and his men tunneled through the debris and opened up a path for those trapped inside. ...",1597,315224-412,00.shtml
"...When the south tower began to collapse, Alan Reiss, who oversaw building operations for both towers, was in a nearby command center, talking to people trapped in elevators and on upper floors in the north tower. "All of a sudden, the lights went out and we heard this unbelievable noise," he says. That was 2 World Trade Center falling."

"Suddenly, he was trapped himself. Part of the raining debris fell on top of the building where Reiss was. "The ceiling came down and some of the walls and we realized we were trapped," says Reiss, who thought he might die. "But I wasn't gonna give up that easy. There was two or three feet of debris in front of this heavy, bulletproof door."

"Reiss and others used an ax to push the door open, and then ran through the clouds of dust. Says Greene: "It just completely engulfed the north tower where I was and I started crawling."

"When Reiss made it outside...."
"From: Uitlander188@a...
Date: Tue Oct 2, 2001 6:19 am
Subject: From the Sunday NY Daliy News 9/30/01. 911 Emergency calls.

"From: News and Views | City Beat |
Sunday, September 30, 2001
Second-by-Second Terror Revealed in Calls to 911

[ "From ]
". . .The date was Sept. 11 and incident No. 0727 was flashing onto the screen before the citywide dispatcher for the Fire Department's Emergency Medical Service in downtown Brooklyn. The times registered when each call was logged. The codes and abbreviations were the same as for a fender bender or a kitchen fire. MC was a male caller. FC a female caller. STS stood for states, or says.

[selected from those listed, ]

"The screen then reported a desperate scramble to nowhere.
"by Julia Vitullo-Martin


"Grandstanding. An ugly word. But that, according to a front-page Oct. 23 Wall Street Journal story, is exactly how the daring February 1993 police helicopter rescue of 28 people from the top of the World Trade Center was characterized at the time by officials of the fire department.

"A bomb that exploded in the garage beneath the towers, killing 6 people and injuring 1,042, had sent smoke up through both towers. People who fled up the towers, rather than down, were successfully rescued after police helicopter crewmen chopped up roof-top antennae and broke through locked doors.

"Yet instead of becoming a model for rooftop rescues, the police helicopter rescue was dismissed as dangerous and unnecessary, says the journal. The Association of Fire Chiefs harshly denounced the rescue as a "cheap publicity stunt" in a letter to the mayor.

"Standard firefighting rationale is with the chiefs. Whenever possible, firefighters fight up to a fire, while always securing a line of retreat. The most dangerous fire is the one that is below the firefighter, such as a basement fire. Thus in normal firefighting experience, encouraging people to move to the roof--especially one reachable only by helicopter--is directing them in exactly the wrong direction. And the firefighters below ould be concerned that a helicopter, caught in the wild updrafts of an intense fire, might itself crash, compounding the danger to anyone below.

"Officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, then-owner of the World Trade Center, agreed with fire chiefs and officials not to plan for future helicopter rescues. Indeed, for security reasons the Port Authority chose to lock the two sets of heavy metal doors leading to the building's only roof exit--a violation of city building codes. As a state agency, the Port Authority is exempt from code.

[Is Silverstein exempt from that code?]

"Could some people have been rescued from the roof of the north tower on September 11? (The south tower held no hope. It was hidden in a 100-foot layer of dense smoke.) No one knows for sure. Fire department officials are certainly right that smoke and flames usually rise, and that people are generally best off going down rather than up. But 700 people were trapped above the 93rd floor, the point of impact where the jet hit the tower. They had no prospect of being rescued by going down.

"Veteran helicopter-rescue pilots quoted by the journal say a rescue of a few dozen people would have been difficult but possible. Police helicopters hovered nearby, but were ordered away.

"Fire Commissioner Thomas Van Essen called the Wall Street Journal story--and its implication that some people might have been rescued--"hurtful."

"New York's refusal to plan for helicopter rescues is not unusual. Among American cities, only Los Angeles--whose fire department owns six helicopters--requires high-rise buildings to build helipads. Conventional wisdom says people are better off heading down and not up.

"And conventional wisdom may well be right. But September 11 should be forcing all uniformed services to rethink their procedures. Bureaucratic wrangling is unseemly in terrible times, and both police and fire officials have been careful to refrain from criticizing one another. Yet serious issues of command and authority underlie some of the historic tensions between the two departments. The next mayor is going to have to resolve them.
"From: News and Views | City Beat | Wednesday, October 24, 2001

"WTC Roof Doors Locked
"Rudy says helicopter rescue too risky

"Daily News Staff Writers

"Workers trapped on the upper floors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 found their escape to the roof blocked by locked doors, but Mayor Giuliani insisted yesterday that air rescue was not a viable option after terrorists crashed two jets into the twin towers.

"Giuliani said he raised the possibility of a rooftop helicopter landing at the scene with Chief of Department Peter Ganci -- who died in the collapse of the south tower.

"Ganci told the mayor that intense fire and smoke made an air rescue too risky and would have jeopardized the lives of the police pilots.

""I looked up at the building again, and that seemed self-evident," Giuliani said.

"Security Measure

"Port Authority officials confirmed a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that the doors leading to the roofs of both towers were locked for security reasons with Fire Department approval.

"PA spokesman Allen Morrison defended the lockdown, saying access was tightly restricted to keep vandals away from the sensitive communication equipment on the roof.

"Atop the Trade Center were antennas for television and radio stations, cellular phone systems, police communications, Port Authority facilities and Federal Aviation Administration navigational equipment.

""There was ample reason to protect access to all that equipment, even aside from preventing the possibility of potential suicides or daredevils," Morrison said.

"Telephone calls for help from dozens of workers trapped above the fire made clear they could not get onto the roof.

"Although one NYPD pilot told the Journal he could have saved "a few dozen" people from a smoke-free corner of the north tower roof, the mayor and his police and fire commissioners rejected that notion yesterday.

"Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said Chief of Department Joseph Esposito and Deputy Chief Thomas Purtell, who heads the NYPD special operations division, had vetoed an aerial rescue.

"Kerik said the NYPD helicopters in the air that morning were told "not to go near the tops of the buildings because it was too dangerous."

"Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen said stories like the one in Journal are "hurtful." He said reporters should interview experts in the NYPD and FDNY, rather than a single police officer or firefighter.

"Although no one in city or law enforcement circles had foreseen the events of Sept. 11, the dramatic NYPD aerial rescue of workers after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had stirred much debate.

"Fire Department brass reacted with horror, and some believe jealousy, at the sight of a police helicopter pulling 28 pepole to safety from the north tower.

""There's great rivalry between the Fire Department and the Police Department," said retired NYPD Capt. Arthur Cummings, who commanded the aviation unit from 1981-86 and is a pilot.

"Cummings said that during his tenure, the Fire Department had even floated a proposal to create its own aviation unit.

"'Last Resort'

"After the 1993 aerial rescue, the Fire Department prepared an air-support plan for high-rise rescues.

"According to the plan, roof evacuation by helicopter should be tried "as a last resort" by airlifting firefighters -- not cops -- and only if ordered by the Fire Department commander in charge.

"Cummings said he agreed with the police commanders' decision to keep the choppers away.

"The helicopter creates a very large amount of vibration, and those buildings were in a precarious state," he said.

"The Port Authority's Trade Center evacuation plan called for building occupants to be directed down stairwells and elevators to the street.

"Fire Department spokesman Frank Gribbon said it is unlikely any of the trapped workers would have made it to the roof even if the doors had been open.

""The stairwells would have been like chimneys, full of heat and smoke at the top of the flue," he said. "If people got into those stairways, it would have been like climbing up a chimney with a fire below you. Evacuating via the roof was not part of the fire safety plan."

[ Hey Rudy! How many of those who died would have agreed with your "too dangerous" assessment or the Port Authority's business decision to keep them off the roof? How many of them would have cared one whit for those excuses? How many people did "the plan" kill? ]

"October 23, 2001

"Could Helicopters Have Saved People From the Top of the Trade Center?


"WHEN a plane hit the World Trade Center's north tower, Stephen L. Roach phoned his wife twice from the 105th floor and got their home answering machine. In one message, he said he loved her. In the other, Isabel Roach says she could hear the desperate shouts of her husband's coworkers at bond-broker Cantor Fitzgerald LP: "Try the roof! Try the roof!" Mr. Roach shouted back to them, "There's no way out!"

"If he was referring to a roof escape, he was correct. The doors to the roof were locked. Outside, hovering just a few hundred feet away from hundreds of workers trapped above the inferno, were New York police-rescue helicopters. Crews from the Brooklyn headquarters of the police-aviation bureau had scrambled at the first radio call of an explosion at the trade center. Of the two choppers that arrived within five minutes of the plane crash, one was a Bell 412 equipped with a 250-foot hoist and capable of carrying as many as 10 survivors at a time. The three-man crew was specially trained for rooftop rescues.

"As the police pilots swooped in and peered through a smoke-free area on top of the north tower, however, they saw no one to save. People were still alive on the top floors, according to the New York Fire Department. But Greg Semendinger, the first chopper pilot on the scene, says, "There was nobody on the roof."

"Earlier Rescue

"Dangerous as it sounds, this kind of airborne mission can succeed. In 1993, Mr. Semendinger had helped rescue 28 people from the roof of the same north tower. A terrorist bomb had exploded in the trade center's basement garage, sending thick smoke up through the stairwells. That time, a police chopper piloted by Mr. Semendinger had lowered two men by rope to the roof. They cut down antennas to clear a landing area from which the workers were airlifted to safety.

"But rather than reinforce the life-saving potential of rooftop rescues, the police department's daring helicopter operation in 1993 had the opposite effect. After the garage bombing, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owned the World Trade Center, and the fire department made a deliberate decision not to plan for future helicopter rescues, officials with the two agencies say. The agencies rejected recommendations from police pilots that an area of the north tower's roof be kept clear for helicopter landings. The antennas were put back up. And mostly for security reasons, the Port Authority kept the two sets of heavy metal doors leading to the building's only roof exit tightly locked -- as they would be on the morning of Sept. 11.

"Part of the explanation for this decision in the wake of the 1993 blast was an intense feud then raging between the city's fire and police departments over who had control at emergencies. The fire department, which has no helicopters of its own, dismissed the 1993 rooftop rescue as grandstanding. Fire commanders said the mission was dangerous and unnecessary. And they said any future evacuations should be carried out by fire personnel from the ground.

"Tough Challenge

"On Sept. 11, a rescue from the north tower would have been difficult but possible, Mr. Semendinger and other veteran helicopter-rescue pilots say. The first building hit by a hijacked plane, at 8:48 a.m., the north tower was the second to collapse, one hour and 45 minutes later. Records of calls to 911 operators, first reported by the New York Daily News, show that people on the top floors were seeking help at least until 10:12 a.m., one hour and 24 minutes after the strike. With fire raging on the floors below them, they had no hope of walking down to safety.

"Whether even a few of those lives could have been saved by a roof rescue isn't clear. Climbing staircases rapidly filling with smoke could have been tough. The plane's impact might have knocked stairway doors out of alignment, making them impassible, regardless of whether they were locked. The intense smoke and forest of rooftop antennas made landing a helicopter impossible. Rescuers also could have had trouble if a crowd of workers turned into a desperate mob, competing to get off the roof.

"But Mr. Semendinger says the wind that morning did leave a corner of the tower relatively clear of smoke, almost until the building collapsed. Using a hoist with folding seats, rescuers could have saved as many as a few dozen people, he estimates.

"NYPD Deputy Commissioner Thomas Antenen, a spokesman for the department, confirms that the police helicopters were on the scene. But he says whether they could have rescued anyone "is a moot issue."

"Helicopters couldn't have saved anyone from the top of the south tower, NYPD pilots say. That building's roof was completely obscured by a 100-foot layer of dense smoke blown from the north tower by wind from the northwest.

"Port Authority and fire officials, reeling from the combined loss of 417 people from their own ranks, understandably bristle at any suggestion that decisions made years ago prevented a helicopter rescue that might have saved lives.

""The people who were trapped above this fire were trapped," says Frank Gribbon, the department's spokesman. "Perhaps their only recourse might have been to get to the roof, but it might not have been likely that they [would make] it either," because of smoke and other dangers.

"Mr. Gribbon says the fire department did the right thing by following its general policy of getting occupants of tall buildings to move quickly down stairways. He notes that an estimated 25,000 people from the two towers got out and lived.

"The FDNY's aversion to helicopter rescues is the mainstream approach around the country. Fire experts concluded long ago that if fires erupt in tall buildings, and evacuation is necessary, it is always best to send people down the stairs, not to the roof. Smoke and flames tend to rise, and people can get trapped at the top if weather or smoke conditions make a helicopter approach impossible.

"Curtis S. D. Massey, whose Massey Enterprises Inc. is a leading consultant on building-fire safety, says that the only major U.S. city that requires high-rises to plan for aerial rescues is Los Angeles. Convinced by experience that helicopters can effectively evacuate trapped people from burning high-rises, Los Angeles obliges developers to build helipads on all buildings more than 75 feet tall, or about seven stories. The Los Angeles Fire Department has its own six-helicopter rescue wing.

"Now, as safety agencies around the nation analyze the Sept. 11 disaster, officials say they expect that Los Angeles's approach may get favorable new attention. Long-accepted fire-safety practices "need to be reconsidered in light of what's happened in New York," says Matt Stuckey, a Houston Fire Department division chief and a consultant with the Massey firm. On Sept. 11, American Airlines Flight 11 gouged an enormous hole in the trade center's north tower, centered at about the 93rd floor of the 110-story building. At least 700 people are thought to have been trapped above the level of impact. Those people included employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, which occupied the 101st and the 103rd through 105th floors, and customers and workers at Windows on the World restaurant, on the 106th and 107th floors.

"Jules Roinnel, manager of the 1,100-member private club at the restaurant, says the staff there knew the roof doors were locked. In fire drills, Port Authority officials had instructed the staff to gather in the restaurant's entrance with customers and wait for instructions from a lobby command center. If necessary, occupants would evacuate down the stairwells.

"Mr. Roinnel, who wasn't at the restaurant on Sept. 11, says that when the plane hit, dining-room manager Doris Eng, who was on duty, frantically called the fire-command center for advice on what to do with the more than 70 people trapped in the restaurant. It's not clear what Ms. Eng was told, says Mr. Roinnel, who learned of the call from a Port Authority official. Another restaurant employee trapped above the inferno, Christine Olender, called the home of her boss, Glen Vogt, and said the group in the restaurant hadn't yet received any instruction from the fire-command center, Mr. Vogt says.

"Mr. Roinnel says he had long accepted as sensible the building management's instructions to stay put in an emergency, or head down. But now, he says the doors to the roof should have been open. "As long as it [a helicopter] could have gotten close enough, some people probably could have been saved," he says. The NYPD aviation bureau, with six helicopters, became the main air-sea rescue unit for the New York area in 1998, when the Coast Guard moved its nearest chopper base from Brooklyn to Atlantic City, N.J. On Sept. 11, a total of four police helicopters ultimately flew to the burning trade center, darting from one side of the buildings to the other, scanning for signs of anyone on the roof.

"Near Miss

"One Bell 412, piloted by Det. Pat Walsh, was so close to the towers that it was nearly hit by the second hijacked plane. Police estimate that the United jet came within 200 feet of the helicopter before slamming into the south tower.

"When the police pilots saw no one on the north-tower roof, they called off other rescue helicopters that were en route from Long Island. A short time later, the south tower collapsed.

"Mr. Massey says he has reviewed videotapes of the disaster and believes that if people had made it to the roof of the north tower, they could have breathed safely, despite smoke that blew across much of the roof after rising from windows on the north and west sides of the building. The roof can be a good place to await rescue -- whether from the ground or above -- because there is almost always a layer of breathable air below the smoke. The people trapped near the top of the north tower, however, had no chance to reach the roof. For decades, the Port Authority says, it had kept the north tower's roof doors locked.

"(A number of people did attempt to reach the roof of the south tower, according to recipients of cellphone calls they made as they tried to escape. The doors to the roof there were also kept locked, except when that building's observation deck was open. The deck hadn't opened yet the morning of Sept. 11.)

"Port Authority spokesman Allen Morrison says the north tower's locked doors were necessary to protect against vandalism to the building's vital communications antennas, including the 360-foot mast that was the main television transmitter for the New York area. The authority also wanted to block from the roof people bent on suicide or planning daredevil stunts.

"New York City's fire code requires roof doors to be unlocked or to have devices that allow someone to open a locked door from the inside. Officials at several companies that manage large numbers of tall buildings in Manhattan say their buildings provide roof access in an emergency.

"But the Port Authority's Twin Towers had the status of state government property and therefore were legally exempt from the fire code, according to both the Port Authority and the city's building department, which oversees enforcement of the fire code. The fire department, consistent with its focus on getting people to move down during fires, went along with the authority's policy of keeping the trade center roof exits locked, Mr. Gribbon, the department spokesman, says.

"Tough Locks

"People who needed access to the roof, such as window washers and technicians who serviced the antennas, were issued electronic-key cards and also had to be buzzed through by security guards who monitored the doors by closed-circuit television from a 22nd-floor office, according to Alan Reiss, who until July was the Port Authority official responsible for the trade center.

"On Sept. 11, falling debris knocked out the 22nd-floor security center's equipment just after the plane hit, says Mr. Reiss, who is still with the Port Authority and was helping with the transition to new management that took over the complex in July. The guards, who had to be rescued themselves, couldn't have buzzed anyone through to the roof. Even after the building's electricity was cut off, internal batteries in the electromagnetic locks would have kept the doors closed for several hours, Mr. Reiss says.

"To many people who saw the shocking events of Sept. 11 on television, a helicopter rescue amid the flames and smoke might seem improbable. But Richard Wright, director of safety and flight operations for the Helicopter Association International, a trade group in Washington, D.C., says that as he watched on live TV that morning, he recalled rescues he had made during his 25 years as a helicopter pilot for the Coast Guard and Marine Corps. In 1988, he helped lift oil-rig workers from the burning sea around the Piper Alpha rig, after an explosion destroyed the North Sea facility, Mr. Wright says. Such oil-rig rescues have been made in the middle of fierce storms and at night, he says. The February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center had led to another notable chopper rescue. That day, a terrorist bomb exploded in the garage, killing six people, injuring 1,042 and sending smoke up through both towers. The bombing was far less severe than the Sept. 11 attack and caused a fire that was much smaller and containable.

"Two police helicopters, including one piloted by Mr. Semendinger, scrambled immediately after the 1993 bombing. As the choppers approached, the pilots picked up radio traffic among emergency personnel on the ground, indicating that stairwells were filling with smoke and some occupants of the north tower were having medical problems, Mr. Semendinger recalls. Despite the antennas on the roof of the north tower, the pilot says, he decided to try to land his Bell 412 on that building.

"There was no one on the roof waiting to be saved that day either, he says. But the roof was clear of smoke, and two of his crew members climbed down a rope from the chopper, cut down some of the antennas and dismantled rooftop floodlights to clear an area for the helicopter to land. (On Sept. 11, there would be too much smoke to send rescuers down to the roof, so the police only contemplated trying to save victims with the hoist.)

"In 1993, the doors to the roof were locked, too. But because there was relatively little smoke on the roof, police Sgt. Timothy Farrell was able to use tools he brought with him to break open the doors and get down the stairs. A number of people who had tried to walk down from upper floors through smoke had suffered asthma or heart attacks, among other problems, according to a report published in 1994 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The helicopters evacuated 28 people with medical difficulties from the roof.

"The fire department was officially in charge of the 1993 emergency and oversaw the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the entire trade-center complex, including the two towers. But some press accounts gave prominent play to the police-helicopter pilots and their rooftop heroics. Top fire commanders, who had never authorized the helicopter landing, were furious.

"Angry Letter

"A month after the bombing, the New York City Fire Chiefs Association sent a letter to then-Mayor David N. Dinkins, denouncing the police-helicopter rescue as "a cheap publicity stunt." The people removed by helicopter "were in no danger until the police department arrived and gravely jeopardized their safety by this stupid act," the letter said. The helicopters could have crashed and caused injuries or deaths, the letter added. A helicopter crash could have ruptured the building's water line, leading to an uncontrollable spread of the fire, the letter said.

"The ferocity of this reaction can only be understood against the backdrop of a long-running feud between the police and fire departments over who should be in charge at fire and accident scenes. Since the late 1980s, there had been repeated episodes of arguments, shoving matches and even fist fights between personnel from the two services at emergency sites, according to press reports at the time. Less than two months before the 1993 bombing, there had been a physical confrontation between police and firefighters at the scene of a serious car accident in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.

"In its 1994 report reviewing the response to the trade center bombing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency obliquely criticized the fire department. FEMA said the department ought to conduct joint drills and planning with the police department for possible future helicopter rescues. FEMA didn't contradict the mainstream thinking on moving people down the stairwells of a burning high-rise. But it did say, "The fire department does not operate in a vacuum."

"When the Port Authority sat down with the fire department to discuss improving fire safety at the trade center, however, the department adamantly opposed making arrangements for helicopter rescues, says the Port Authority's Mr. Reiss. "I remember lots of anger" within the fire department over the police-helicopter rescue, he says. "I wasn't going to get in the middle of that," he adds. The fire department's wishes meshed with the Port Authority's desire to keep the roof locked to prevent vandalism and suicides, he says.

""The fire department thought their people on the ground should handle evacuations, and basically there was an agreement that you don't use helicopters to do rescues," he adds. The fire department's Mr. Gribbon confirms this account and says the FDNY considered the authority's security worries sufficient grounds for locking the roof exits.

"Mr. Antenen, the police spokesman, declines to comment on the 1993 rescue, its aftermath or on any controversy between the police and fire departments years ago.

"When Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took office in 1994, his administration quelled the police-fire feuding. The two departments agreed on a protocol for using helicopters in major fires. But the agreement closely followed the fire department's preferences.

"Helicopter rescues are to be attempted only if the fire department calls for them "as a last resort," explains Edward J. Dennehy, a deputy fire chief. Police helicopters aren't allowed to fly directly to burning buildings and attempt to rescue people. The protocol requires the choppers to land at designated Manhattan heliports and wait for firefighters to meet them there. The police helicopters then are supposed to ferry the firefighters to the building to carry out the rescue.

"Mr. Gribbon says that as far as he knows the plan has never been used. It would be "something of a lengthy process for us to enact this procedure," he says.

"On Sept. 11, the fire department never called for a helicopter rescue, Mr. Gribbon says. The disaster "occurred so rapidly and was so severe that fire department resources were committed to an internal evacuation of people," he says.

"Commanders on the scene, many of whom were killed, didn't anticipate that the twin towers would collapse as quickly as they did, he adds. If those commanders had had more time, Mr. Gribbon says, "I'm certain that at some point, helicopter operations would have been a consideration and probably would have been implemented."

"Police pilots say they perform helicopter rescues with some regularity, although they rarely receive the sort of notice they got in 1993. Only a few weeks before Sept. 11, an NYPD helicopter had used its hoist to lift an injured boy and his mother from a cruise ship about 10 miles outside New York Harbor.

"The NYPD helicopter teams are limited when it comes to fires, however. Unlike firemen, they don't carry the sort of breathing apparatus that allows a rescuer to penetrate a smoky building to search for survivors. Under the New York rescue protocol, the firefighters whom the police choppers are supposed to ferry to burning buildings would have the breathing equipment.

"Things are different in Los Angeles. Paul Shakstad, chief pilot of the Los Angeles fire department's air-operations division, says his helicopter-rescue teams carry the breathing apparatus and are self-sufficient. The division was launched in 1962 to help battle brush fires. In the mid-1980s, the fire department began using its six helicopters for rooftop rescues from skyscrapers, as well.

"The strategy has paid off several times -- most notably in 1988, when a raging fire in the 62-story First Interstate Bank tower destroyed four floors. Rescuers delivered to the roof saved eight people trapped above the fire, who were carried down by helicopter. The fire ignited late at night, so few people were in the building.

"On Sept. 11, the FDNY didn't have a plan for dealing with a disaster in which intense flames engulfed multiple floors of a skyscraper, Mr. Gribbon says. "Up until now, we've never really had more than one floor burning in a fully occupied high-rise building," he says. Referring to Sept. 11, he adds: "Did we ever plan for something like this, of this magnitude? No."

"Mr. Antenen of the police department says he doesn't see a need to review the city's policy on rooftop rescues.

"Mr. Gribbon says the fire department "will probably look at a lot of the things we do." But such a review won't necessarily lead to changes that would encourage rooftop rescues, he says.

"-- Ann Davis, Aaron Lucchetti and Gregory Zuckerman contributed to this article. Write to Scot J. Paltrow at and Queena Sook Kim at
posting by "ZERO",

"... If the President had been lunching that day in the Windows restaurant would it have been too difficult for the helicopters?..."
"United Technologies, Press Room, Trendwatch,
"November 2001
"Vol. 1 No. 8
"Editor Paul Jackson at

"Skyscraper Fires Spur New Interest in Rescue Helicopters

"Some fire safety experts believe people trapped on the upper floors of the World Trade Center's north tower during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks could have escaped the inferno by fleeing to the rooftop. New York City police helicopters were hovering nearby, ready to swoop in and rescue survivors.

"They found none, possibly because the roof doors were locked for safety and security reasons, according to The Wall Street Journal. Fire personnel throughout the country have long believed that occupants of high-rise buildings can evacuate more safely by descending to the ground rather than rising to the roof where heat and smoke might become lethal.

"Dense smoke would have prevented rooftop rescues from the south tower, even if occupants had managed to break open the roof door there, the police pilots told the Journal.

"Currently, Los Angeles is the only U.S. city that requires the owners of high-rise buildings to plan for possible aerial rescues during fires. All buildings taller than 75 feet must have rooftop helipads. But the World Trade Center disaster will force fire officials everywhere to reconsider evacuation procedures, said Matt Stuckey, a Houston Fire Department division chief and consultant with fire safety firm Massey Enterprises Inc.

"Helicopters have proven their rescue capabilities in dangerous situations and climates many times - including during the 1993 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center. After a bomb exploded in the basement garage, NYC police pilots rescued 28 people by helicopter from the north tower roof after crewmembers were able to pry open the door from the outside. In Los Angeles, rescuers plucked eight people from the roof of the burning 62-story First Interstate Bank in 1988.

"While not a rooftop rescue, two Pave Hawk helicopters built by UTC's Sikorsky Aircraft were used last month by the Alaska Air National Guard to pull two aircraft crash survivors from frigid Cook Inlet during a blinding snowstorm.

"Another Pave Hawk, from the U.S. Air Force Reserve's 939th Rescue Wing in Portland, Oregon, was used in nighttime darkness on Sept. 29 to save an injured man who had plunged 130 feet while hiking in the rugged Cascade Mountains.

"And on Aug. 16, the Australian Navy dispatched a Seahawk helicopter made by Sikorsky to help rescue 19 passengers from a sinking ferry in the South Pacific.

"For background, see;; and The Wall Street Journal, 10/23.
"Locked Doors Prevented Air Rescue From WTC Towers
"Provider: Evening Mail
"WRITTEN BY : Evening Mail, DATE POSTED: 10/25/01

"Dozens of people trapped at the top of the burning World Trade Center in New York could have been airlifted to safety had the doors not been locked, it emerged today.

"The doors were kept locked because a similar rescue in 1993, after a terrorist explosion in a basement car park, was slammed as a "publicity stunt" by fire chiefs and the Port Authority, which owned the centre. In 1993, 28 people were taken to safety by a helicopter which landed on the roof of one of the towers.

"But afterwards the Port Authority used its exemption from local fire rules to insist that the roofs were kept locked to prevent people committing suicide or launching stunts from the top.

"Today the first helicopter pilot on the scene on September 11 said he believed people could have been saved by a landing on the north tower, which was smoke-free.

"Greg Semendinger told the Wall Street Journal: "There was nobody on the roof."

"He estimated that dozens of people could have been taken to safety before the tower collapsed.

"There were at least 700 people in the north tower above where the plane ripped into the building, and some were making calls to emergency services until the moment the tower fell.

"One widow has told how her husband left a message on her answering machine in which people could be heard shouting: "Try the roof! Try the roof!""
[1993 Helicopter Rescues:]

"...The weather was nasty. Bitter cold, snow flurries, windy with a low ceiling and bad visibility. Typical February day. Definitely not a day for day off...

"My first indication that this was not going to be a nice quiet day came via the car radio as the local news station reported a possible explosion at the World Trade Center, at first thought to be a transformer malfunction. As I continued driving, more information was coming in: 1) it was in fact an explosion, possibly a serious one, 2) there was a report of injuries, 3) they were considering evacuating the building, but there was still no indication of the severity of the blast. I still felt confident that my plans would hold as it was definitely not a VFR day (visual flight rules) which would allow a response by the AU to the canyons of Manhattan.

"Suddenly, the announcer switched to a traffic reporter airborne over the New Jersey shoreline opposite the WTC. His report sent my heart into my mouth and my car into a hard U turn (my time in Highway Patrol as a Sgt paying off) when he said " I am watching what appears to be an NYPD helicopter circle the building flying in and out of the clouds and the heavy smoke coming from the WTC. It now appears that he is going to attempt to land on the roof of the WTC."

"Let's not panic, yet. I'm thinking it will probably turn into a big nothing like these "high rise fire" responses usually do. Still, my 80 Chevy was reaching limits it shouldn't have to on that trip home. As I opened my front door the phone was ringing, (I'm beginning to fear the explosion is a real disaster) and I raced to answer. The Aviation Operations Officer rapidly brought me up to date on what was, unfortunately rapidly developing into "the big one." "Cap, initial information is that there are thousands of people trapped on the upper floors of the World Trade Center which has been subjected to a major explosion, probably terrorist related, knocking out all power to the entire building." The biggest problem was that no one knew if that was the only bomb or if there were others waiting to go off.

"It was around 12 noon, and my day off was over. My first problem was getting to the WTC. All streets in downtown were rapidly clogging with emergency vehicle traffic. I knew my trip from Staten Island would bog down probably as early as the Gowanus Parkway in Brooklyn. One big advantage to being the Commanding Officer of the Aviation unit was that there was another means of transportation available. I told the O.O. "No lost time, hold the 2nd platoon, call in as many pilots as you can raise and get me a helicopter to our emergency pick up LZ (landing zone) on Staten Island ASAP." I got down there as quickly as possible and was airborne for the WTC in less than 15 minutes.

"The first helicopter to arrive at the WTC was one of our smaller, patrol class ships, which scouted out the situation, designated a possible L/Z (landing zone) and suggested putting the "high rise fire plan" in effect. Immediately, one of our big twin-engine rescue helicopters manned by two pilots and a crew chief in the back lifted out of Floyd Bennett field with the Emergency Service Officers whose job it would be to rappel onto the roof if necessary.

"When the twin towers were built there were small helipads set aside on both towers. However, over the years, antennae farms had developed on the rooftops making the pads almost useless. The pad on Tower #2 was in the center and on Tower #1 it was on a corner of the roof. Since #1 was the building most in danger the pilot was evaluating the possibility of landing on its pad. It quickly became apparent that there was no way of landing on the pad with all the antennas in place.

"The Aviation unit and the Emergency Service Unit had anticipated this problem and we trained over the years for just such a situation. In numerous "high rise fire drills" and semi annual training at camp Smith, rappelling was always a staple of the training. As the pilot hovered at 1500 ft, far above what resembled a war zone, with dozens of Police, Fire and EMS vehicles and hundreds of rescue personnel sifting through the debris in the crater at ground level, the E.S.U. Officers prepared to put their rappel training to it's first real battle use. Of all times to do a high-rise rappel, we had to be doing it on to one of the tallest buildings in the world! Miraculously, the ceiling had lifted and the snow had let up allowing the pilot to authorize the rappel. As the helicopter hovered, the ESU Officers looked out the open door on 1500 ft of air. They put their lives in the hands of the pilot and crew chief and exited the aircraft. As the pilot fought the winds to keep the ship as stable a platform as possible, the Officers slid down ropes they prayed would hold to a small, unrailed corner of the roof. Unlike our training to drop to a 20' high rappel platform, the ESU Officers dropped to their target, this time 1500ft high! Once on the roof they cleared the obstructions around the helipad giving the helicopter enough space to land.

"Shortly after my arrival at the scene I was advised that there were about 200 people on the roof of Tower #2 trapped and in need of removal by helicopter. We then put out a request for additional helicopters both Police and commercial to assist us in what was shaping up to be the worst high-rise fire disaster in a generation. The helicopter fleet at the scene quickly grew to four NYPD ships, one from Nassau PD, one from Suffolk County PD, a Port Authority ship and a private commercial heli as well. Fortunately, the 200 people initially stranded on the observation tower were able to get down inside the building preventing what would have been a very dangerous airlift.

"So, now we were in business. We had a clear pad and were ready for action. Meanwhile, Highway Patrol commandeered a large parking lot for Aviation to use as a base of operations with room for numerous helicopters to land, bring in the injured and take up more rescue personnel to the rooftops. Although the L/Z was very large and clear, it had one drawback: it was frozen solid with a 2" layer of ice on top of the entire area from a previous rainstorm and subsequent freeze. This made for some unanticipated "run on landings" for the helicopters and made the crew chiefs job assisting the rescued civilians off, and the rescue crews on the aircraft very difficult.

"The first flights brought several ESU Officers to the roof to control the pad and prevent anyone who might make it to the roof on their own from endangering him or herself or the helicopter. Floor-by-floor ESU began assessing damage and assisting those in need to the roof for removal by the helicopters. Next, we transported several elevator mechanics to the roof in an attempt to get the elevators running again.

"Since most of the EMS personnel were busy at "ground zero" tending to multiple injured at the WTC street level we had to kidnap a passing ambulance to stand by for "incoming medevacs." However, there was a problem. It was bitter cold at the L/Z, there was no sheltered site within blocks , and we knew we would be bringing in multiple cases in need of medical care on each flight. Since there were a couple of Highway Patrol Officers at our location assisting us I asked one to "get me a bus , as clean as possible, anyway you can." As usual, Highway came through big time. Within 15 minutes we had a brand new NYC Transit Authority bus with a great heater on site complete with a driver who had no idea what he was doing there and since he was at the end of his shift and going on overtime was happy to help anyway he could. This bus became our "emergency triage area" giving the EMS personnel a warm, somewhat comfortable area to treat the incoming injured while awaiting the few available ambulances.

"Shortly thereafter the first helicopter bringing in injured civilians landed at the L/Z. The first aided out of the helicopter was a pregnant woman who was obviously in great difficulty . Although not thrilled with having her first helicopter ride under these conditions she knew she could never have attempted the 110 flights of stairs. After a quick evaluation by EMS she was put on another helicopter and airlifted to a nearby hospital where she gave birth soon after. She later thanked the Aviation Unit on a television magazine show for assisting her to have a normal, safe delivery in the hospital.

"And so it went. Helicopters landing with people from the WTC, unloading and returning to the rooftops (by now both WTC Towers were being utilized) with Police and EMS rescue personnel. Although our "Joint High Rise Fire Plan" which we had trained for with the FD, called for firefighters to respond to the L/Z and be airlifted to the roof, the FD had committed their personnel to ground level entry. There were many surprised and exhausted Firefighters who, after climbing up 80 flights, were met by fresh Police rescue teams coming down the stairs.

"Later in the evening, after darkness set in and power was gradually being restored to Towers #1 and 2, I was approached by a high-ranking Member of the Service. He said that the "Chief" wanted Aviation to fly Police Officers from the Task Force (TF) to the roof so they could "sweep" each floor. My initial response was positive and I awaited what I thought would be a rescue group of 10-15 TF Officers. Shortly thereafter, I was tapped on the shoulder by a ranking Officer from the TF. When I turned, I was shocked to see a group of 150-200 Task Force Cops lined up for what seemed like a block. This would have called for 15-20 additional landings in total darkness, in a far less than desirable area, blinded by the lower level lights, and after the real emergency was already over. I thought this a bad idea and I said so. I was immediately directed to the "Chief" to explain my reservations. His response was "Captain, (he declined to call me by name even though we worked together before) you're the CO of Aviation, if you don't think it's safe, don't do it." I didn't. This decision would have a major negative impact on my career in the future.

"Nevertheless, the Aviation unit did a fantastic job; 40 landings bringing 125 emergency personnel to the rooftops (a really great feat on miniscule pads) and 135 people removed to safety. Fifteen hours later, as I flew back to the Aviation hanger for our after briefing and critique, I was extremely proud to be the Commanding Officer of the Aviation Unit.

"The next day a critic, who shall remain nameless, made allegations that the Aviation Unit had acted "recklessly" landing on the rooftops of the Towers. This was picked up by the media and was plastered across the front page of most major NYC papers. The headlines were accompanied by photos, taken from ground level, of one of our rescue helicopters landing on the corner of Tower #1. To the untrained eye, landing a helicopter on a small pad on the top of a 1500 ft high building may seem a risky venture but I can assure you the Aviation Unit never took unnecessary risks. This was the type of mission the pilots, crew chiefs and ESU Officers had spent hundreds of hours training for. Every flight done for the duration of the WTC disaster was done 1) only if needed, 2) at the total discretion of the PIC (pilot in command) 3) with final approval of every flight being my difficult decision. Each flight was evaluated taking into consideration visibility, wind, light conditions and of course, need...."
From: All The News That Doesn't Fit (

Who was responsible for the locked doors along the WTC fire escape route? Why doesn't Giuliani bring this up? Department of Buildings corruption maybe? Newsday reported October 4, 2001 that "A former deputy commissioner in the city's Buildings Department was convicted Thursday on charges of accepting a case of wine and a trip to Florida from an industry expeditor and failing to report the gifts." The City said "You can't take pictures, it's a crime scene" while organized crime was stealing crime scene material by the truck load. Mayor Giuliani is NOT the hero some people think. That idiot maintained an emergency response HQ at the WTC which ALREADY had a history of being a terrorist target. How come Giuliani didn't plan on the contingency that it would be a target again?? Green and Bloomberg have stated they want more of Mayor Giuliani!..."

- - - - - - - -
[ 1993 locked stairwells: ]

"...Chris Robinson...1993...47th floor of the World Trade Center's south tower.

"On the morning of Feb. 26, 1993,...heard the bomb go off the building shook....The tower went dark. Workers raced to the emergency exits. Some decided to go to the top of the building. He, like many others, decided to go to the bottom.

"The smoke rose up to meet them, a gray, serpentine smoke that coiled through the tower's stairwells and filled their lungs with soot.

""You can't see anything. Every tenth or fifteenth person has a flashlight. Every other door on every other floor is locked," he said.

"Open. Locked. Open. Locked. Rows of people running down the stairs. He feared at any moment his footfalls would not touch the floor but lead him off a cliff and suck him down into a big, black hole...."

[since 1993 they added emergency lights, sprinklers, and some amount of pressurization to the stairwells? but what about the locked doors?]
[" United States Fire Administration" report on 1993 bombing, including,..]
"Evacuating People with Disabilities
by Edwina Juillet .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143"
[page numbers are .pdf pages, not document page numbers]

[p 1] "TR-076,The World Trade Center Bombing:
Report and Analysis
Provided by Fire Engineering

[p. 7] "Search and evacuation of the towers finally were completed some 11 hours after the incident began.

[p 12] "Vista Hotel: Two stairways terminate at plaza/mezzanine level, many occupants can't find exits in smoke, firefighters have to force doors and remove occupants."

[p 20] "Search and evacuation of the towers became the greatest challenges. Stairways were massively congested. Many occupants could not make the descent under their own power. Pregnant women, older people, people with heart conditions, and people with physical disabilities all required fire department assistance. Firefighters carried people down the stairs some 60 floors or more via stokes baskets, stair chairs, wheelchairs, and office chairs. Groups of children had to be escorted to street level -one group
[p 21]
of children from the 92nd floor. Resuscitators and first aid were required for many occupants....

"...most difficult part of this operation from the standpoint of strategy and tactics was locating and searching the 99 elevators in each of the towers and the 12 in the Vista Hotel. Many elevators were in blind shafts and between floors. Identification of car location was difficult and time-consuming. Many walls had to be breached to gain entry into elevator cars. Literally hundreds of people were trapped in elevators when the power went down. In one case, 10 elevator occupants in Tower 1 were found unconscious, lying on the car floor -they were resuscitated and safely turned over to EMS personnel. In another case, 72 schoolchildren in Tower 2 were rescued from a car stuck in a blind shaft.

[p. 22] "At 11:45 p.m., the last elevator was located and the people removed. They had been in the elevator for more than 11 hours.

[p 24] "An effort should be made through legislation to enforce all local codes in all structures. If the fire department is to fight the fire, the fire department should enforce the codes.

[p. 26] "...during this incident, it had been reported that several people were trapped on the Tower 2 roof. A few members of the police department stepped outside the protocol of the ICS and conducted an operation to remove these people via helicopter.

[p 57] "...someone directed my attention to the walkway between the Tower 1 mezzanine and the Vista Hotel patio, specifically to a Tower 1 door located at that level. He said people were banging on the door and couldn’t get it open.

"...When the WTC was designed, I don’t think anyone envisioned that someday 25,000 occupants would have to evacuate using only the stairways. Tower 1 was designed with only three evacuation stairways; only one of these runs the full length of the building to the lobby level. The other two stairways end at the mezzanine in the lobby of Tower 1, the exterior plaza level of the WTC. A walkway connects the Tower 1 mezzanine with the Vista Hotel’s outside patio....

"I ordered a truck company to the Tower 1 door leading to the walkway patio to force open the door. A tower ladder was parked nearby, and I ordered a member to raise the bucket up to the patio in case we needed it to assist evacuees. When the door was forced open, we found people piled up against it. Some were unconscious due to the smoke. They had come down the stairways that ended on the mezzanine level. Because of the heavy smoke, they couldn’t find the exits after they got to the mezzanine.

[p 58] "...each of the three evacuation routes. The searching firefighters, as expected, had to force numerous doors both from the stairways and on the floors.

[p 59] "..The firefighters who operated in Tower 1 accomplished remarkable things. Some climbed 110 floors to search. Some carried people down 60 or 80 floors.

[p 60] "Elevator and Stairway Configuration, Towers"

[showing 3 stairways, marked "A", "B", & "C", no compass orientation]

[p. 61] "...Having the two stairs discharge to the mezzanine lobby, rather than directly to the exterior, was a major building design flaw. With visibility at less than a few feet due to smoke, people could not find their way out once they reached the mezzanine. Exits must be continuous -safely leading people to a public way.

[p. 62] "...Moving nonambulatory occupants down the stairways was a very difficult, manpower-intensive task. We were able to evacuate approximately 15 to 20 nonambulatory civilians from Tower 1, but what would have happened if we had to accommodate a 100 or more? Serious thought must be given to providing these individuals greater self-sufficiency in egressing large public buildings.

"..Sizes of the avenues of egress must be able to handle the occupant load.

"...Evacuees were moving down the stairs as quickly as they could, but that was slow -

[p 64] " least two women were in labor, one of them reported to be hemorrhaging on the 98th floor. This woman was brought to the roof and removed by a NYPD helicopter.

"...A male occupant fell while descending the stairs on the 68th floor and broke his leg.

"...The number and configuration of stairways in Tower 2 were essentially the same as those in Tower 1: There were three stairways, one of which traveled the length of the building and two of which terminated
[p. 65]
(or began) at the mezzanine level. But, unlike Tower 1, the smoke condition in Tower 2 was not so severe that occupants could not find exterior doors once they reached the mezzanine level.

[p 79] "...with civilians using the A and C stairways. As these people exited the stairs, some wound up in a balcony area off the mezzanine and had to be taken out of the building in tower ladder buckets.

"Some civilians were able to make their way from the A and C stairs to a hallway that intersected with the B stairway. Unfortunately, as these additional people tried to enter the B stairway, they encountered a stairway already filled with people coming down from the interior. As the hallway got congested and civilians log-jammed, anxiety started to set in.

[p 80] "...One woman who was six months pregnant was carried down 20 floors in a stokes basket to the safety of the street. Another woman was taken down from the 44th floor to the triage area staffed by doctors and nurses on the 33rd floor, where she was treated. ...Two firefighters carried one wheelchair occupant down to the street from the 19th floor. Members of a ladder company took turns with the strenuous task of carrying another wheelchair user down 35 flights of stairs. Other firefighters carried down people with cardiac problems, using whatever means were readily available. People were carried down in
[p. 81]
stokes baskets and stair chairs, as well as whatever was available on the floors where the civilians were located, such as office and cafeteria chairs.

"Of the numerous items pressed into service, the stokes baskets proved to be the most demanding to employ. Due to the lack of maneuverability in the stairways, only two firefighters could descend with the stokes at any given time. This made handling the stokes a fatiguing job; the firefighter at the bottom had to handle most of the weight while the firefighter at the top tried to balance the stretcher. If someone coming up the stairs knocked into one of the firefighters or the basket, or the victim himself moved it, firefighters had an extremely difficult time keeping the stokes from tipping over. Overall, this made for very slow descents. Every several floors, the firefighters carrying the basket had to be relieved.

"When the emergency lighting went out in the stairwells, many people became scared because of the darkness.

[p. 84] "...Only three elevator cars - one freight and two passenger -serviced the entire height of each tower.

"...The express elevators to the sky lobbies were located in “blind” shafts, meaning there is no access to that shaft between the entrance and exit points of that elevator. The only way to get at these cars was to breach the shaft walls.

''...A local car hoistway door was forced open because voices inside were heard asking for help. Firefighters were a bit shocked, after forcing the door using two Rabbit Tools and a halligan, to find no car - only two men standing on steel support beams in the shaft, both with bleeding hands. They had somehow entered the shaft from above and slid down the cables to the concourse level -an extremely dangerous operation; they were lucky they were not killed.

[p. 107] "...rooftop antennas were disconnected to allow helicopter operations on the tower roofs.

[p. 121] "...Chief Engineer of the Port Authority....Eugene Fasullo...
"..After 20 minutes, smoke began pouring into the bottom of our elevator....

"...I knew that the walls behind the elevator doors were made of two-inch-thick gypsum board, rather than solid concrete or concrete block, with steel studs 12 inches on center.... "We forced open the elevator doors with our hands and used our car keys to dig. When the lights went out, we dug by the little red lights of our beepers. It took us two hours to dig through that wall. When we broke through, we were able to gulp some fresh air from the hole we had made. Then we came upon a second wall approximately 12 inches farther in. As we dug through this wall, we could hear tiles falling on the other side of the wall. We figured we were tunneling through to a bathroom. After an hour, we dug right through a stall and stepped onto the toilet bowl and then down to the floor.

[p 128] "Emergency fire exit stairwell system. Each tower has three independent emergency fire exit stairwells. These stairs are designated A, B, and C. Stairwells A and C run from 110th floor down to the lobby mezzanine, which provides access to the plaza. Stairwell B runs from the 100th floor down to the B-6 level of each tower. These stairwells provide three widely separated evacuation alternatives in the event of fire and give firefighters safe passage upward to fight fires. Each of these fire stairways has a standpipe, walls of fire-resistant construction, fire doors, and lighting fed by the emergency generators.

"Standpipe system and pumps. The fire standpipe system in the WTC is an arrangement of piping, valves, pumps, tanks, and hose stations. Its function is to provide a reliable means of applying water streams on a fire in the shortest possible time. The hose stations are situated so that
Page 122
[PDF p 129]
any area of a floor can be reached by a stream of water from a hose station in that area. "The source. of water for the fire standpipe system in the WTC is the domestic water supply system. The water is transported to all buildings and subgrade areas in the WTC by two eight-inch loopmains (loops). Also in the system are manually controlled fire pumps and reserve tanks. The function of the reserve tanks is to provide water for the hose stations during the initial period of firefighting, before the fire pumps can be started.

"The WTC has two fire standpipe eight-inch water distribution loops. One loop is in the ceiling of the concourse level and the other is in the ceiling of the B-l level. The first loop supplies water to the risers in 5 WTC and 4 WTC and their sublevels. The other loop serves 1 WTC and 2 WTC, the hotel, the Customs House, and the subgrades. The loops are connected at two points on the truck dock of the Customs House at the north central portion of the WTC and in the southern portion of the WTC.

"Vertical risers emanating from the loops carry water up into the towers and the other buildings in the WTC and down into the sublevels and subgrades. Risers connected to the loop on the concourse level carry water up into 5 WTC and 4 WTC and down into their sublevels.

"In addition to the piping in the standpipe system, there are seven water storage tanks. The storage tanks supply water to the hose stations during the initial period of firefighting before the pumps can be started. The pumps are required to supply the additional water needed to fight larger fires.

"There are 15 fire pumps in the fire protection system in the WTC. Twelve are centrifugal pumps and three are jockey pumps. Eight of the centrifugal pumps are for the standpipe system (located on floors B 1,7, 41, and 75 in each tower), and four are for the sprinklers (located on floors B 1 and 108 in each tower). The three jockey pumps are for the sprinkler system -one on the B-l level and one in each tower on floor 108 (for pressure maintenance).

"Sprinkler system. The design of the sprinkler system in both towers is similar. Generally, the direction of water flow in the risers is downward.

There are three separate risers in each tower, with each riser serving different groups of floors.
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[PDF p 130]

"The risers are designated A, B, and C. Riser A supplies the uppermost floors, 99 through 110; riser B supplies floors 32 through 98; and riser C supplies floors 1 through 31.

"The risers pass through the floors in the service closets on each tenanted floor and deviate from plumb vertical only as required by changes in building construction at various elevations.

"Two different capacity holding tanks - 10,000 gallon and 5,000 gallon - are used in the same sprinkler system. The 10,000-gallon tanks supply the sprinkler system exclusively and are located on the 110th floor; the 5,000-gallon tanks serve both the sprinkler and fire standpipe systems and are located on the 110th and 42nd floors.

[Would any of the risers/standpipes/etc. survive the impacts? If not, how long would the 15,000 gallons last if multiple floors were fully involved? A minute? less?]

"The sprinkler tanks supply water to inlets of risers A and B and are automatically refilled by the domestic water system via float-control valves.

"The fire standpipe tanks supply water to risers A, B, and C and normally are also refilled by the domestic water system. Riser C in 1 WTC is crossconnected with riser C in 2 WTC via a four-inch pipe from the Siamese connections. The function of the cross connections is to provide FDNY with the capability to supply water to the C risers in both towers and control their pressures.

"The sprinkler centrifugal pump in each tower on the 108th floor has a dual purpose. Its main function is to increase the pressure of the water to the sprinklers on the floors closest to the holding tanks (floors 107 to 99) to that required for operating the sprinklers. However, the pump also is used to supply water to some of the fire hose racks (FHRs) on the 110th floor.

"As the downward distance from the holding tanks increases (floors 98 and below), the pressure (head) of the water in the risers increases to the point where the additional pump pressure is not required.

"The rest of the complex -namely, the subgrade levels, 5 WTC, and 4 WTC - is part of a second sprinkler system completely separate from the one of the towers. This second system consists of a large loopmain with risers going down into the subgrades and sublevels and rising up in 5 WTC and 4 WK. the water pressure in the system at 155 psi.

"The function of the fire pumps and the jockey pump is to maintain the water pressure in the system at 155 psi.
Page 124
[PDF p. 131]

"Of the three sprinkler fire pumps (two centrifugal and one jockey) on the B-l level, one centrifugal pump and the jockey pump are located in a pump room under 1 WTC, the other centrifugal pump is located in a pump room under 2 WTC.

"Fire hose and extinguishers. One-and-a-half inch fire hose stations and fire extinguishers are located inside the emergency fire exit stairwells. The WTC Port Authority Police also have pre-positioned firefighting equipment carts in the ski lobbies of the towers. These carts are equipped with three kinds of fire extinguishers (water, carbon dioxide, and dry chemical), fire hose and nozzles, self-contained breathing apparatus, turnout gear, entry tools, resuscitators, and first-aid equipment.

[p 133] "...elevators getting stuck between floors, trapping almost 500 passengers;

[p. 136] "[some of the ] POSTBOMBING ENHANCEMENTS "...1,600 emergency battery-powered lighting units have been installed in exit stairwells, elevator lobbies, and all elevator cabs.
"Phosphorescent signs have been installed to guide the way to floor entry doors in fire stairwells.
"Phosphorescent tape-paint has been applied to stair threads, handrails, and the perimeters of doorways in the fire stairwells.
[ stair treads? ]
[p. 137] "Evacuation chairs to assist mobility-restricted people are available.

[p. 138] "...The Port Authority (PA) of New York/New Jersey, a bistate agency, is not required to comply with the building and fire prevention codes of New York City.

[p. 143] [some of..] "...The following enhancements for improving fire/life safety have been made in the WTC complex:
"Magnetic reentry locks that automatically release when power is lost.
"Emergency power for smoke purge fans.
[p. 144] "Installation of phosphorescent signs in elevator cars (indicating the car number and intercom button) as well as in exit stairwells to identify reentry points and exits from the stairwells.

[p. 147] "...inadequacy/inappropriateness of existing code text,

"The high-rise “defend-in-place” strategy canonized in fire protection texts failed during the WTC incident when building occupants began to self evacuate. Human behavior characteristics must find their way into the model codes. People do not always react as we would like them to.

"Stairwell widths were inadequate at certain points due to occupant overload caused by multiple-floor evacuations.

[p. 148] "Continuity of stairwell egress paths is important - the stairwells should provide a continuous path directly to the outside.

"...Building codes should consider acts of terrorism in the design of “significant” buildings.

[p 148] "Evacuating People with Disabilities
by Edwina Juillet

"...On average, the 27 interviewees with disabilities took 3.34 hours to complete evacuation. Evacuation times ranged from under one hour to more than nine hours.

[p 151] "...asthma was not treated as a life-threatening disability.”

"...2. Confusion on the stairs.
"Lack of familiarity with the stairs caused a number of problems. One person noted that she stumbled at the stair landings in the darkness, in part because the handrails did not continue the full length of the stair flight. Other complaints involved not being aware of the following: the existence of interior convenience stairs; no reentry from the stairway for security reasons (the locked doors frightened many people); and “crossover” or extended landings, which, given the poor-visibility conditions, made people fear they might be trapped (some crossovers extended 50 feet and required going through a door).

"One person reportedly counted out loud the number of steps as people were using them to evacuate. This let visually impaired people know what to expect and was said to have a calming effect on them. This is also how it was discovered that the flights of stairs had inconsistent numbers of steps, adding to the confusion of some with disabilities. (We later went into one of the stair towers to see what was being described. At our point of entry, there was a flight with 11 steps followed by flights with
Page 145
[p 152]
six, eight, seven, nine, and five steps; followed by a crossover measuring approximately 20 feet separated from the next flight by a door; followed by flights of six steps, 13 steps, and so on.)

[p 154] "....The popular conception of an explosion, as depicted in TV action movies, generally is more dramatic than accurate. The big fireball, resulting fire, and apparent chaos at the blast scene do not accurately characterize the high-explosive detonations of materials such as..."

[p 156] "...Today, the hopeless chaos routinely depicted on TV at blast sites is only a characteristic of the rubble. The ability to analyze and minimize the consequences of such events is neither hopeless nor chaotic...."

Bill Harris, "The World Trade Center, A Tribute," Courage Books, Philadelphia, 2001, pp. 82-83:

"...1993...The car bombing was unprecedented, but the agency's antiterrorist unit, the Office for Special Planning, had issued a confidential report eight years earlier including a prediction that 'A time bomb-laden vehicle could be driven into the WTC and parked in the public parking area... At a predetermined time, the bomb could be exploded in the basement... The Assistant Deputy Director for the FBI thinks this is a very likely scenario for the WTC and has described it graphically in conversations with the OSP staff.' When the blast actually happened, almost exactly as predicted, the thinking behind it was obviously an attempt to blast away the foundation of the tower above, causing it to collapse into its mate and send both of them tumbling down on the streets of lower Manhattan. That it didn't happen that way was not because, in the opinion of an engineer who had worked on the original design, the van wasn't packed with enough explosive--there was more than enough--but that the terrorists had made the mistake of using 'the wrong kind of bomb.'..."

Eric Darton, "Divided We Stand, A Biography of New York's World Trade Center", 1999, Basic Books, New York

[In general, how the PA ignored its legislated duty and lied its way to transforming itself into a real estate developer; occasional minor factual errors tarnish this thorough and carefully-researched chronicle.]

p. 92 "...1993...Guy Tozzoli, the former chief of the Port Authority's World Trade Center Department...the story his assistant told you about the day that smoke from three hundred incinerated cars filled the stairwell of this tower, and how Tozzoli had led the WTCA staff down seventy-seven floors to safety. Midway through the seemingly interminable descent, Tozzoli had sensed the wave of panic welling behind him and turned to face them in the darkness. 'I built these towers', he said. 'I know they won't fall down.'"

p. 117 "...and though shaken by the February 1993 blast, his squared-off tubes remained standing. Six people died, but scores of thousands might have if the columns had failed. Though the terrorists had used sufficient explosives to do the job, according to Eugene Faso, the Port Authority's chief engineer, they had built 'the wrong kind of bomb.'"....

p. 119 " may become uncomfortably aware of a kindred spirit linking the apparently polar realms of skyscraper terrorist and skyscraper builder...disquieting questions of how we have come to build and live in structures we are powerless to defend...." p. 130 "...Nadel immediately began organizing local resistance by founding the Downtown West Businessmen's Association...his faith that the legal system, once presented with the facts, would recognize the Port Authority's lies and judge in favor of his truth....But when the DWBA's evidence was set against sworn statements by PA officials, the courts consistently dismissed the merchants' allegations as delaying tactics. To do otherwise would have been to acknowledge that the nation's most powerful public agency was deliberately misstating the facts in order to engage in real estate speculation...."

[In retrospect, does the PA's deceptions in the courts invalidate the legality of the project, and as an illegal project, does Silverstein still have the obligation to pay for it?]

p. 140 "...U.S. involvement in Vietnam continued to escalate. Increasingly, bombings shook the foundations of the headquarters of companies viewed as war profiteers...Nelson Rockefeller 'indicated surprise.' 'This is a new concept,' the governor mused, 'blowing up buildings in protest.'...."

p. 191 "...1985...floors, particularly those with multiple tenants, the paint was dingy, the carpets were stained, fixtures remained broken, and burned-out fluorescent lights went unreplaced, as did discolored ceiling tiles...."

[Did the dampeners require maintenance? And were they also poorly maintained, thus contributing to the collapse?]

p. 199 "...In early 1996, the New York Times, which for generations stood editorially behind the efforts of the PA, lent its support to Guiliani's [sic] 'declared war' on the agency, urging the mayor to 'remind the Authority that it was formed in the 1920's to build a rail freight tunnel under the Hudson, a job not yet done.'"

p. 204 "...1985. Ironically, that was the year the PA's antiterrorist unit, the Office for Special Planning (OSP), analyzed the state of security at the World Trade Center. This internal report became part of the evidence in the lawsuits brought on behalf of 800 bombing victims on grounds that the PA neglected to protect them adequately. But one section of the OSP analysis, made public in a legislative report issued six months after the blast, described how 'a time bomb-laden vehicle could be driven into the W.T.C. and parked in the public parking area...At a predetermined time, the bomb could be exploded in the basement....The Assistant Deputy Director for the F.B.I. thinks this is a very likely scenario for the W.T.C. and has described it graphically in conversations with OSP staff.'"...

[...and so on....]
[ p. 4, Fig. 5
Plan View of Typical Floor ( from [1]) Showing 4 stairwells in the ??? tower - are both towers the same? This is one of four drawings I've found on the 'net showing stairwell placement, see for the other references, all showing 3 stairwells, not 4.
p. 13, Reference
1. Godfrey, GB ( Editor); Multi-Storey Buildings in Steel, Second Edition; Collins, London, England,1985, ISBN 0 00 383031 4
as being the source of that Fig. 5 ]

[p. 7]

"...The sagging of the core region on the upper floors could have been the reason for a phonecall from the upper levels shortly after the impact saying that the building was breaking up. The sagging around the core and the impact damage would also have made the stairs impassible through the impact region, cutting off escape from the upper floors....

"...severely damaged the South East corner core, removing an unknown number of columns there, buckling many more and destroying most of the
[p.] 9
core walls ( which are drywall construction). We do know that at least one stairwell in the core remained intact after the impact, as there were reported to be survivors from the floors above the impact floor who must have had access to an intact stairwell to escape.

[p. 11]
"...3. If there had been severe fires burning in the core regions of the building due to the fire load from the plane combining with the fire load from the buildings, this would have adversely impacted on the conditions in the stairwells below the impact region. This would have especially been the case for the North Tower, where the core was destroyed by the impact, leaving the regions within the core below fully exposed to fire conditions within the impact region, such as the ingress of burning fuel and other combustables. However the stairwells below the impact region on the North Tower were sufficiently clear to allow some occupants close to the impacted floors to escape and to allow firemen to reach at least the floors around the 70th level, as reported by survivors from the building. In the South Tower, at least one stairwell remained operable past the impact region after the impact. Given the damage that must have been done by the impact to the walls surrounding this stairwell, the resulting fire is unlikely to have been "incredibly severe", otherwise the few survivors from the South Tower above the impact region would not have been able to escape."
"Why did the World Trade Center buildings fall down "when they did?
"Issue of 2001-11-19

"...only one said that he knew immediately, upon learning, from TV, of the planes' hitting the buildings, that the towers were going to fall. This was Mark Loizeaux, the president of Controlled Demolition Incorporated, a Maryland-based family business that specializes in reducing tall buildings to manageable pieces of rubble. "Within a nanosecond," he told me. "I said, 'It's coming down. And the second tower will fall first, because it was hit lower down.' "... "I thought, Somebody's got to tell the Fire Department to get out of there," Loizeaux told me. "I picked up the phone, dialled 411, got the number, and tried it--busy. So I called the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management"--which was in 7 World Trade. "All circuits were busy. I couldn't get through."....
"...Mark Michaels 9/14/ the south Tower burn, I was noticing that it was 'burning downward.' A section of the floor beneath the initial impact would ignite, and over a period of several minutes, would circle around the building. Then the process would repeat with next floor below. Amidst all the chaos, this is the first pattern that I started to recognize. For the first time, I began extrapolating into the future. The fire was not going to self-extinguish. It was going to continue moving downward, floor by floor. I also realized that this fire was not going to be put out. Water could not be sprayed up high enough to reach the flames. If there was enough water pressure inside the building to reach that high, it would not be enough water. There is no way to make tons of water airborne, and spray it down onto the building. So, at the end of the day, there would either be a towering black skeleton, or the building was going to collapse. This seemed, paradoxically, both unimaginable, and inevitable. Could it really happen? Those immense towers - truly monuments to the might of mankind - if they had not fallen upon impact from the planes, certainly they would stand. I continued to think about it. The fire continued its slow relentless pace downward....

"The 'collapse issue' was festering in my mind so much that I finally turned to the person next to me and said "What do think the chances are, of this thing collapsing, in a couple of hours?". He wrinkled his face and shook his head, indicating "I don't know" and also "not likely (incomprehensible)". I turned and looked back at the Tower, and at that very moment the south Tower started to fall out of the sky!

"Everyone ran, and seemed to be gone in an instant. I stood motionless. Completely dumbfounded by the fact that I had just said "Wouldn't it be weird if..." and then "it" immediately happened. That's one of those weird, seemingly paranormal experiences that I assume everyone has from time to time. (Maybe if I hadn't opened my mouth, then it wouldn't have happened.) That curious phenomenon, combined with the incredible significance of the event, further combined with the fact that I had been imagining the collapse for the last few minutes, stopped me cold....RUN!!!"

- - - - - - - -

[ 12/19/01 USA Today Stories: ]

[ CNN, 12/19/01, interview with Brian Clark of Euro Brokers, who escaped down a stairwell in the South Tower from the 84th floor after the impact, stopping on 81 to aid someone trapped on that floor, and then proceeding down, finding broken walls and fire at 76 but were able to get past, and came out of the smoke about 71. This well was not diverted to the floor at 78?

Per USA Today's Dennis Cauchon interview on Fox NEWS Channel 12/19/01, 4 people from above the impact point in the South Tower escaped down the one stairwell that was clear through the impact zone, but hundreds of others did not, for whatever reason....

On MSNBC 12/19/01, Dennis & Brian appeared together, Brian was in a group of 7 people who got through the impact point via Stairway A. USA Today has done an analysis of where people were when they died, reports that 4 people got through the South Tower impact point;

or was it the 14 reported on NBC 12/19/01 following the interview with Dennis? Lots of sloppy quotes on the news networks.

What mechanism was in place to notify the rest of the people trapped above the impact point in Tower 2 that Stairwell A though smoky was open for evacuation if they used it quickly before the sheetrock burned through? ]
[to some extent, this series of USA Today stories and the accompanying media blitz rather resembles a Port Authority Press Release more than investigative reporting; in any event, the stories of victims found in stairwells somewhat contradicts the USA Today assertions of where people were when the died....]

"12/19/2001 - Updated 03:31 PM ET By Dennis Cauchon

[ click on the nifty interactive graphic on that page that shows, among other things, where the stairwells were and that stairway A was at the northwest corner of the south tower core ]

"...Four hundred seventy-nine rescue workers died making the evacuation a success. The sacrifice of New York firefighters and police is well-known. But 113 others, from low-paid security guards to white-collar workers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the buildings' owner, stood their ground with firefighters and cops....

"...One stairway in the south tower remained open above the crash, but few used it to escape. Stairway A, one of three, was unobstructed from top to bottom. The jet crashed into the 78th through 84th floors of the south tower. A few people escaped from the 78th floor down these stairs. One person went down the stairs from the 81st floor, two from the 84th floor and one from the 91st. Others went up these stairs in search of a helicopter rescue that wasn't possible because of heavy smoke on the rooftop.

"Elevator mechanics left the buildings after the second jet hit. Eighty-three mechanics from ACE Elevator of Palisades Park, N.J., left the buildings when the second jet hit. Dozens of people were trapped inside elevators at the time, according to the Port Authority. An elevator mechanic from another company rushed to the buildings from down the street and died trying to rescue people....

[see elevator mechanic story at ]

"...In the north tower, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the 93rd through 98th floors and wrecked the stairwells on the 92nd floor. At the crash and above, 1,360 people died; none survived. Below the crash line, 72 died and more than 4,000 survived. Floors could not be determined for two people who died in the north tower.

"In the south tower, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the 78th through 84th floors. The higher wing cut into the offices of Euro Brokers, a financial trading firm. The fuselage tore into Fuji Bank offices on the 79th through 82nd floors.

"Of 599 fatalities in the south tower, only four worked below the crash area. Nobody who worked on the 58th floor or lower is known to have died....

"...Each tower had three stairwells. New York City building codes require two.

[ if code only requires two stairwells 44 inches wide to evacuate 25,000 people from 110 floors, then there is something seriously wrong with the code. ]

"Stairways A and C, on opposite sides of the building's core, were 44 inches wide. In the center, Stairway B was 56 inches wide.

"The bigger the stairway, the faster an evacuation can proceed. In 44-inch stairways, a person must turn sideways to let another pass -- for example, a rescuer heading up. In a 56-inch stairway, two people can pass comfortably....

"The Port Authority...gave every disabled person an evacuation chair that would let two husky men carry them down stairs. One evacuation chair was used to carry a man down from the 67th floor....

"USA TODAY identified 76 people who worked below where the jets struck. Some victims were obese or frail, unable to finish the long walk down. Others were trapped in elevators....

"General Telecom, in an 83rd floor corner office in the north tower....all 13 General Telecom workers in the office at the time perished.

"After the crash, half the employees went through a kitchen and a telephone equipment room to reach an exit,... The door was blocked by debris or jammed shut from the crash's impact.

"When the workers turned around, the kitchen ceiling collapsed, trapping them in a 15-by-15-foot equipment room. Others were trapped in another part of the office.

"The employees were in communication with the outside world throughout, sending a pager message shortly before the collapse. ...

"On the north tower's 92nd floor, one floor below the crash, 69 employees from Carr Futures found themselves trapped. Most, perhaps all, survived the crash. But, in phone calls to loved ones, the employees reported that the stairwells were impassable.

"They crowded together in corner rooms as the floor filled with smoke. People appear to have lived until the building fell...."

As part of,
"Special Report: World Trade Center
"Interactive graphic: For thousands, a sealed fate"

[First screen:]
"USA Today For thousands a sealed fate...
"The fate of nearly everyone inside the World Trade Center was sealed the moment the hijacked jets struck on Sept 11:
"All but four people at or above the crash zones died.
"Nearly everyone below the crash zones lived.
"Most people died in the north tower, which was hit first.
"More than 1,000 people used the time between the first and second crashes to safely evacuate the south tower's upper floors.
"Nearly 500 rescue workers lost their lives when the two towers collapsed....

[Second screen:]
"USA Today For thousands, a sealed fate...
"The initial impacts

"North tower
"American Airlines flight 11, carrying 92 people, struck at 8:46 a.m.
"Side view [crash impact between] 98th floor/93rd floor
"The jet attacked from the north, slightly angled, and crashed into the 93rd through 98th floors.
"Everyone on floors 92 and up died; 99% of those below lived.
"Of those working or visiting the North Tower at the time, 1,431 died.

"South tower
"United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 65 people, struck from the south at 9:03 a.m.
"Side view [crash impact between] 84th floor/78th floor (elevator lobby)
"The jet, sharply angled, crashed into the southeast corner from the 78th through 84th floors.
"Only four people on the 81st floor or above survived; they used an unblocked stairway to escape.
"All but four of the 599 who died in the south tower worked above the impact zone.

[Third screen:]
"USA Today For thousands, a sealed fate...
"A narrow escape from the 78th floor
"Layout of the 78th floor of the south tower
"Stairway A, farthest from the crash, remained unobstructed from the top floors to the bottom. [floor diagram:]
"Stairwell A (Open)
"Stairwell B (Blocked)
"Stairwell C (Blocked)
"A small number of people on the 78th floor and only four people from floors above escaped down that stairway.
"An unknown number of people climbed the stairs in search of a helicopter rescue that never came.
"Flight 175 destroyed two of the three stairways in the impact zone."

[Fourth screen:]
"USA Today For thousands, a sealed fate...
"Where the victims were located [graph showing] Deaths per group of floors

    "1,432 total /  Floors  / 599 total 
    "North tower - - - - - - South tower
    "       203 / 106 - 110 /  30
    "       744 / 101 - 105 / 148
    "       192 /  96 - 100 /  92
    "       221 /  92 -  95 / 102
    "         6 /  86 -  90 / 105
    "        20 /  81 -  85 /  92
    "         9 /  76 -  80 /  26
    "         2 /  71 -  75 /   1
    "         5 /  66 -  70 /   1
    "         6 /  61 -  65 /   1
    "         1 /  56 -  60 /   1
    "         0 /  51 -  55 /   0
    "         4 /  46 -  50 /   0
    "         0 /  41 -  45 /   0
    "         3 /  36 -  40 /   0
    "         4 /  31 -  35 /   0
    "         8 /  26 -  30 /   0
    "         0 /  21 -  25 /   0
    "         1 /  16 -  20 /   0
    "         0 /  11 -  15 /   0
    "         2 /   6 -  10 /   0
    "         1 /   1 -   5 /   0
"The figures here are for workers and visitors in the towers. Not included are the 479 police officers, firefighters and rescue workers who died, nor are the 157 jet passengers are crewmembers.

"North tower
"106 - 110 Last-minute schedule changes saved some, doomed others. Eliezer Jiminez Jr., schedule for vacation from Windows on the World restaurant, heeded request to work. He died.
"91 - 95 Everyone on 92nd floor died. Everyone on 91st floor lived. Below 92nd floor, 99% of estimated 5,000-7,000 workers escaped.
"81 - 85 Thirteen General Telecom employees were trapped on 83rd floor, the largest pocked of death below the impact zone.
"76 - 80 Firefighters climed at least to elevator lobby on 78th floor - nearly 1,0000 feet.
"61 - 65 A handful of Port Authority workers converged on 64th floor security command center. After other tower collapsed, they fled but died when the north tower collapsed.
"46 - 50 A First Union bank worker from the 47th floor tired on descent, stopped and died; three co-workers reached gound level but died in collapse of other tower.
"26 - 30 Abraham Zelmanowitz stayed with his fried Edward Beyea, a paraplegic, on 27th floor at Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Both died.

"South tower
"106 - 110 Few tourists died; roof observation deck not yet open. But Christine Egan, a nurse epidemiologist from Winnipeg, happened that morning to visit her brother's office on 105th floor. She died.
"91 - 95 Ronald DiFrancesco climbed from 84th to 91st floor, then descended and became the last one out. No one on a higher floor survived.
"81 - 85 Four people, inlcuding DiFrancesco, from 81st floor or higher used smoky but unblocked Stairway A to escape. Many more ascended in hopes of helicopter rescue that was impossible because of smoke. They died.
"76 - 80 Below the impact zone, 99% of an estimated 5,000 - 7,000 workers escaped.
"71 - 75 On lower floors, delay proved critical. One broker kept working by phone despite co-workers' pleas. He was the only one on his floor to die.
"56 - 60 Below 59th floor, everyone got out safely.

[Fifth screen:]
USA Today For thousands, a sealed fate...
Who the victims were

[pie chart #1:]
Where the 2,826 [fn, USA Today count ] victims of the World Trade Center Were:
North tower 1,434
South tower 599
Rescue workers 479
Hijacked jets 157
Location unknown 147 [fn, Includes delivery workers, day laborers and others.]
Bystanders (on-ground) 10

[pie chart #2:]
Victims by gender:
Male 78%
Female 22%

[bar graph:]
Victims by age
"12/19/2001 - Updated 07:36 AM ET
"Four survived by ignoring words of advice

"By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

"Call it The Great Escape. Only four people survived above the 78th floor in the south tower. They did it by acting against the advice of others and going down the stairs through smoke and debris. Dozens more, possibly hundreds, could have taken the same path to safety. Instead, they went up in search of a helicopter rescue that would never come. The story of Stairway A is a haunting exception to an otherwise successful evacuation. These four survivors, plus about 10 people in the south tower's 78th floor elevator lobby, are the only survivors known to have escaped from the floors above the jet crashes.

"United Airlines Flight 175 struck the 78th through 84th floors of the south tower at almost 9:03 a.m., 16 1/2 minutes after a jet hit the north tower.

"Brian Clark, executive vice president of Euro Brokers on the 84th floor, was standing against the west wall when the higher wing of the Boeing 767 hit his floor. "It felt like the building was going to fall," he recalls. The tower twisted. Air conditioning ducts fell. Floors buckled.

'Clark dropped into a football stance. He locked eyes with senior vice president Robert Coll. "Come on, everyone. Let's go," said Clark, 54. As one of his company's fire wardens, he had a flashlight in one hand, a whistle in the other.

"Five Euro Brokers colleagues walked with Clark into the hall, turned left and entered Stairway A.

"At the 81st floor, they met an obese woman and a frail man walking up. "You can't go down," the woman said. "The floors are in flames. We have to get above the smoke and fire."

"In the dark stairwell, the Euro Brokers colleagues debated: up or down? Clark shined his flashlight on the face of the person speaking. "The woman carried the argument," Clark recalls. Four decided to climb up. "Bobby Coll and Kevin York put their arms under the woman's elbows and helped her up the stairs," Clark says.

"As his friends climbed, Clark and co-worker Ronald DiFrancesco continued down. Clark heard banging from inside Fuji Bank's wrecked office.

""Help! I'm buried! Can anybody help?" yelled Stanley Praimnath, a loan officer. Clark pulled him from the rubble and they walked down together.

"In the meantime, DiFrancesco, struggling to breathe, turned around and headed up. DiFrancesco climbed to the 91st floor. He lay down on the landing for 10 minutes. Then, moved by an intense desire to see his wife and children, he got up and pushed himself back down the stairs through the smoke that had stopped him before.

"As he left the building, he saw a fireball rolling toward him. He put his arms in front of his face.

"He woke up three days later at St. Vincent's hospital. His arms were burned. Some bones were broken. His lungs were singed. But he was alive -- the last person out of the south tower.

"Richard Fern, another Euro Brokers executive, was the fourth survivor. He was in an 84th-floor elevator, doors open, when the jet hit. He found Stairway A before the others and took it to safety.

"Why didn't more people use Stairway A to leave the building?

"Two Aon Corp. employees came down from the 105th floor, but turned back in the face of smoke at the 79th floor, not knowing the heavy smoke lasted only a floor or two more.

"USA TODAY identified nine people in the stairway who went up in the hope of a helicopter rescue. A helicopter rescue was not possible: The rooftop doors were locked, and the roof was smothered in smoke.

"Euro Brokers lost 61 employees. "I can still see my friends helping that woman up the stairs. They were heroes who made an unfortunate decision," Clark says."

[ 480 died above the South Tower impact floors. Whose responsibility was it to inform them Stairway A was open through the impact zone? Was it enough for the Port Authority (and/or Silverstein) to provide security guards, fire wardens, comm systems, and elevator technicians, and when those systems break down, to wash their hands of the consequences? ]
"...Technician Norbert Peat, 42, had just delivered a projector to the 79th floor and pressed the down elevator button. When the elevator doors opened, a blast of heat and smoke sent him staggering backward....Norbert Peat, who had just made a delivery a few floors below, had never been in the building before. Where was the fire exit? He thought of his 7-month-old son. "OK, God, it's you and me now," he prayed. "You got to help me through this." He tried one door, then another - both locked. A third swung open, and he was in a stairwell walking down...."

"...Roko Camaj, 60, a window washer, was on the roof of the south tower,


readying his rig....Camaj, the window washer on the roof, climbed inside the building and made his way to the 105th floor to wait for his boss' permission to leave. He called his family and said he wasn't worried. After the '93 bombing, he'd spent 2M-= hours walking down from the 107th floor...."

"...Those who started walking from above the 78th floor "sky lobby" did not have a straight shot to the bottom on one stairway. Some found themselves at a dead end and had to re-enter dark, smoke-filled floors to find another stairwell to continue the trek down. Dianne DeFontes just followed the stranger in front of her. "You're going to get out, you're going to get out, you're going to get out," she repeated to herself.

"This was nothing like the building's fire drills. For those, insurance company vice president Deborah Bohren would begrudgingly leave her desk and stand in a hallway. She never actually entered the emergency stairwells...."

"...Smoke filled the upper part of the north tower. A broker at Carr Futures, on the 92nd floor, sent a message from his Palm Pilot: "There's too much smoke. They won't let us down."..."


"...When the second jet hit the south tower, Lauren Smith was riding down in the express elevator from the 78th floor. It went into free fall around the 10th floor, but an emergency mechanism stopped it from slamming into the bottom of the elevator shaft. Some of the men in the elevator managed to pry the doors slightly apart. They saw they were about 7 feet above the lobby floor.

"Smith squeezed through the opening and jumped to the ground. She stumbled as she landed and fell into the open elevator shaft.... was lifted out by a rescue team and taken to a hospital. She has five broken ribs and a punctured lung."...

" department of Fuji Bank on...From his 81st-floor office in the southwest corner of the south tower, Stanley Praimnath saw the flames in the neighboring building. He hopped into the elevator and rode to the 78th floor lobby, where he joined three top executives of Fuji Bank in an express elevator to the ground.

"A security guard stopped them there. "Where are you going?" the guard asked. "Waiting right here (in the building) would be safer. Go back to your office."

"Fuji Bank had been moving personnel among its offices for weeks as part of a merger. "Now is the time to relocate," Praimnath joked to Brian Thompson, the head of human resources. Laughing, they all stepped back into the elevator....Brian Clark, in a brokerage firm on the 84th floor, also heard the announcement that everything was under control. The trading and TV screens appeared normal. Everyone relaxed...."On the 81st floor of the south tower, Stanley Praimnath looked up from a phone call. The nose of a United jetliner filled the sky outside his office window. It was so close he could see the writing on the side. Praimnath dropped the phone and dived under his desk.

"There was the shrieking sound of steel on steel, and the ceiling crashed down. Wires short-circuited and sparked. Desks and filing cabinets flew across the room. Smoke poured through holes in the ceiling. Praimnath, curled in a ball, screamed, sobbed and prayed.

"Three floors above, Brian Clark ran for it. He charged down the smoky stairwell but stopped at the 81st floor when he heard cries for help. It was Praimnath, who had crawled through the rubble toward the stairway but was trapped under a fallen wall. A nail had pierced his hand.

"Clark started pulling away debris and broken doors. "Make it through the wall!" he yelled.

""I can't!" Praimnath cried.

""You have to do this!" Clark shouted back. Praimnath struggled partway out, and Clark grabbed him by the head and hand and pulled him free. The strangers hugged like brothers.

"Praimnath tore off his white shirt, now ripped and bloodied, and the two headed down the stairs. The air wasn't too bad. But no one else was coming down behind them.

"Around the 70th floor, a man lay just outside the stairway, covered in blood. A security guard with him said: "If you guys could go down and send someone up, we would appreciate it."...
"12/19/2001 - Updated 07:36 AM ET

"Mechanics left towers before buildings collapsed

"By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

"When the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, Otis Elevator's mechanics led the rescue of 500 people trapped in elevators. Some mechanics were dropped onto the roofs of the twin towers by helicopter. Others, carrying 50-pound oxygen tanks on their backs, climbed through smoke to machine rooms high in the towers. On Sept. 11, the elevator mechanics -- many of the same men involved in the rescues in 1993 -- left the buildings after the second jet struck, nearly an hour before the first building collapsed.

" The 83-person elevator crew worked for ACE Elevator, a small Palisades Park, N.J., company that won the maintenance contract from Otis in 1994.

"At the time the elevator mechanics left, dozens of people were trapped in stuck elevators. Other people lost their lives trying to rescue those trapped in elevators, including a mechanic from another company who rushed to the Trade Center from down the street.

"The departure of elevator mechanics from a disaster site is unusual. The industry takes pride in rescues. In the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, elevator mechanics worked closely with the firefighters making rescues.

""Nobody knows the insides of a high-rise like an elevator mechanic. They act as guides for firefighters, in addition to working on elevators," says Robert Caporale, editor of Elevator World, a trade magazine."

In an interview, ACE Elevator President Ron Baamonde says the crewmembers left on their own because they were in danger. He says ACE followed the Trade Center's emergency plan. After a jet hit the north tower, 81 crewmembers reported to the fire command station in the south tower lobby. Two reported by radio$

""We did a head count and were ready to deploy for rescue. The second plane hit. It was chaotic, people screaming and yelling," Baamonde says. "You couldn't get out the front door because debris was falling. There was a mass exodus through the underground of the complex."

"The elevator crew joined the underground exodus. The south tower fell about 56 minutes later. During that time, firefighters and Port Authority workers struggled to free the trapped passengers.

"The World Trade Center had 99 elevators in each tower. David Bobbitt, a Port Authority maintenance supervisor, made contact by intercom with about 75 elevators in the north tower. He says 10 elevators were stuck. "Some elevators had one or two people. Others had four of five," Bobbitt says.

""Some were very emotional, as you can imagine. I heard crying and screaming. Others were calm," Bobbitt says.

"Elevators in the south tower were more crowded. People were using them to evacuate, not knowing the second hijacked jet was on the way.

"Bobbitt spoke to his counterpart in the south tower, Jim Barbella, five minutes before the building collapsed. Barbella, who died, reported that the stuck elevators included an express car with 19 people.

"Baamonde says two ACE managers were trying to return to the building when it collapsed.

"Our people miraculously left when the second plane hit, and it saved our lives," Baamonde says...."

[ Bodies in Stairwells:
Since most of the following are not eyewitness accounts, the numbers are suspect. ]
"...September 24, 2001 - October 1, 2001...Father Jim Weiging... One of the taller piles of debris was known to have a stairwell at its center. A video probe on Tuesday indicated that there were bodies in the stairwell. The rumors tended to exaggerate the numbers but nothing definite could be known until the workers could get to the stairwell.

"To safely do so meant that some of the lattice-like walls of Tower 2 would have to come down first. It took until Sunday to be able to safely enter the stairwell and retrieve more than a dozen bodies.

"One of the chaplains was asked to climb up to the top of the debris pile with one of the battalion chiefs of the fire department. The debris pile was about three stories high. When they got to the doorway into the stairwell, the sign on the partial wall indicated that the doorway led to the twenty-seventh floor.

When the chaplain told me that fact, I suddenly became aware that there were about twenty-four floors collapsed beneath the stairwell we could see. We had just presumed that these were the stairs of the bottom floors...."
"(New York Post)
"October 2, 2001 -- ... The bodies of 12 of the Bravest, wearing coats and bunker pants, and those of two Port Authority civilian workers and another civilian were found under a stairway in the north tower ruins, ..."
"(Original publication: Oct. 03, 2001)
"...Law enforcement officials have said the bodies of 15 firefighters were discovered under a stairwell Monday. ..."
"Karen Sears,...a volunteer for the National Organization for Victim Assistance....Just before they got to the site, recovery workers had removed a sixth body from a stairwell they found under the rubble that contained 24 bodies, 15 of them were firefighters. ..."
"October 03, 2001
"Kerik also confirmed that a number of bodies were found in a stairwell between tower two of the WTC and the destroyed Marriott Hotel...Reports said 11 people were discovered in the stairwell, including three firefighters,...."
"October 4, 2001
"...NYC firefighter Johnny Heff and all the other brave souls whose lives were lost on September 11th. Johnny played guitar for The Bullys and his fire crew was one of the first to arrive at the World Trade Center. The bodies of all of the Ladder 11 crew members were found in a WTC stairwell earlier this week...."
Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 12:00 a.m. Pacific
"Littlest search dog was up to big task
"By Caitlin Cleary
"Seattle Times staff reporter

"...Ricky, an 18-pound Rat Terrier... Thunder, a golden retriever... Ricky and Thunder searched the buckled subway tunnels and stairwells, locating victims and marking their resting places so workers could remove them later. Ricky's small size worked well. ..."It's really hard to know exactly how many people Ricky helped find," said Linker. "I saw them take a policeman and a firefighter out from areas that we had just searched. I don't know how many people were in the stairwell. There were lots of people in there. They were gone, not alive." ..."
"...from Jennifer Evans who is in New York at the site of the World Trade Center.
"Oct 23, 2001
"Good morning friends;
"Today is day four here at ground zero...The 21st the bodies of 5 firefighters were found in a stairwell...."
"...Last night they found 16 firemen in a stairwell in tower 1. ... October 24 ..."
"...November 6 - 10:25a ...NY Post Online ...Lt. Carl Bedigian... body was recently found in a collapsed stairway along with several other firefighters and the hose they had been carrying. ..."
Wednesday, 7 November 2001

"...Damien Meehan, ..., also worked for Carr Futures.

"He was on holiday on September 11 but dropped into the office to check on some important work.

"He phoned his wife to say he was moving to safety, but never made it.

"His body was found, together with several dozen others, on a stairwell. ..."
"Dec. 7, 2001, 8:23PM
"Discovery of remains at WTC offers hope
"Copyright 2001 New York Times News Service
"NEW YORK -- The workers were four floors below ground, amid the still-steaming mass of twisted steel and debris, when they made the discovery last Saturday: the remains of perhaps a dozen people who had been trapped in a stairwell at the World Trade Center when the north tower collapsed...."
Monday, December 10, 2001

"At 6 p.m. Friday, the work stopped: Two uniformed bodies were found in a stairwell near the elevator shaft, their faces still discernible. They were firefighters. ..."
[ ]
"Copyright 2001 Daily News, L.P.
"Daily News (New York)...12/27/2001
"...In 1 World Trade Center, for example, pockets of well-preserved bodies were found in one stairwell...."

"...Over the past weekend, recovery workers removed several more bodies from the wreckage of the former World Trade Center. The bodies were mostly unmutilated and discovered in a collapsed stairwell. Pending official autopsy reports, the cause of these deaths appeared to be malnurishment, indicating the victims may have survived for several days after the attack. ...

"JANUARY 04, NEW YORK (AP) "The focus of recovery has shifted to areas below the fallen twin towers, where scores of victims' bodies have been found in the past three weeks, many in stairwells and other locations that were partially protected as steel girders fell. ..."
"...One of the taller piles of debris was known to have a stairwell at its center. A video probe on Tuesday indicated that there were bodies in the stairwell. The rumors tended to exaggerate the numbers but nothing definite could be known until the workers could get to the stairwell.

"To safely do so meant that some of the lattice-like walls of Tower 2 would have to come down first. It took until Sunday to be able to safely enter the stairwell and retrieve more than a dozen bodies.

"One of the chaplains was asked to climb up to the top of the debris pile with one of the battalion chiefs of the fire department. The debris pile was about three stories high. When they got to the doorway into the stairwell, the sign on the partial wall indicated that the doorway led to the twenty-seventh floor....."
".."I saw them take a policeman and a firefighter out from areas that we had just searched. I don't know how many people were in the stairwell. There were lots of people in there. They were gone, not alive."...."

- - - - - - - -

[ When did *anyone* know the first plane was a terrorist hijacking? Before the second one hit? Why wasn't the word passed to the NYC authorities? ]

[ What mechanism was in place to notify 911 callers from Tower 2 that Stairway A was open through the impact point, and that no rescue would be attempted from the roof? And, as Zero asks, if George Bush had been having breakfast in Windows on the World, would Giuliani have allowed helicopter rescues from the roof of Tower 1 ? ]

[ Who were the last ones who made it out of each stairwell, and were there people they know of behind them who didn't make it?]

[Has there been a census done of disabled persons missing and what floors they were on? Quotes from disabled evacuees are way too scarce.]

[more to come....]
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