The terrorist strike on the civilization Trade facility (WTC) ~ above September 11, 2001, bring about the loss of 2,819 lives, to be the most horrific and diabolical crime ever before committed ~ above U.S. Soil.

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On the day, the Fire room of brand-new York took on the most difficult response in the background of the fire service. In ~ no time in world history has a fire department ever before been called on come respond to a solitary incident of together magnitude as the attack on the human being Trade Center.

In their initiatives to conserve civilian stays at hazard in the profession Center, 343 firefighters and many various other emergency personnel died. It to be a 90-minute operation that finished in catastrophe. On that day, the unthinkable happened.

Photo 1

From the start, FDNY commanders focused work on rescuing trapped occupants and also assisting in the evacuation. Officers and firefighters alike were well aware of the stairwell evacuations in 1993 and the staffing required to attain them. They knew this incident was much worse, however they didn’t understand by how much. There was no precedent for a complete collapse of a high-rise building.

Some chief policemans on the step warned about the opportunity of collapse. Most talk among the chiefs concentrated on the possibility of localized or partial collapse. No one had any kind of idea at what point that can occur. Again, there was no precedent for the unthinkable. It was for too numerous a shedding race versus time. But few on the step knew it till it was too late.

It to be a tragedy of epos proportions.


Voices the 9/11

Always Remembered, constantly Revered

Fire Engineering‘s Report on the WTC Disaster part 1 | Part 2

The 110-story twin Towers, built in the so late 1960s, to be radically different in structural architecture from standard skyscrapers built up to that time. Since the 19th century, skyscrapers had been created with a skeleton of interior columns that sustained the structure. The Towers, however, were constructed such the the outer walls—closely spaced vertical columns (59 columns on each face, spaced 3 feet, four inches apart) girdled by enormous horizontal spandrels, tying the columns together—carried the buildings’ vertical tons and provided the whole resistance to the wind. The only inner columns to be in the core area, which had the elevators and also stairwells.

The floor sections consisted of lightweight, open-web steel trusses that spanned the core to the outer wall. The cylindrical, hollow steel truss members were between 11/2 and also 15/8 inches in diameter. Truss spans were from 50 to 65 feet lengthy without vertical support. The floors contained four-inch-thick lightweight concrete top top a 11/2-inch, 22-gauge noncomposite steel deck.

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The mix of exterior load-bearing columns and also long-span floor trusses permitted for virtually an acre of open an are on every floor the the 207-foot-square towers. Just like many modern-day high-rise structures that followed to today, such building and construction translates to much better occupant see and, therefore, at the very least theoretically, higher real legacy value.

The towers’ exterior wall surfaces were draft to resist hurricane-force winds. Initial design calculations in building design for structure resistance included the influence of a tiny jet plane. However, the calculations walk not incorporate the dispersion or ignition impacts of jet fuel.

The impact of the planes damaged the exterior load-bearing walls of the structures and also several floors and the main point area (elevators and stairs). The an initial plane crashed through Floors 93 to 98 that the phibìc Tower but did not damage the load- bearing columns close to the edge of the building. The 2nd plane, hitting much lower at Floors 78 come 83 of the southern Tower, damaged load-bearing columns close to the edge of the building.

Engineering assessments suggest that the affect points and also heights had an essential bearing ~ above time to collapse. The engineering community additionally is in general commitment that the load-bearing upright structural components performed incredibly well and, perhaps, would have continued to stand for an unspecified time beyond the yes, really collapse times had actually it not been because that the truth that subsequent fires after affect attacked the lightweight trusses come the suggest that your bolted relationships to the columns failed, bring about the progressive, catastrophic collapses.

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For many, the twin Towers to be a symbol of American enterprise, freedom, and ingenuity. However from the perspective of fire protection and also life safety, the background surrounding the construction and management the the pair Towers was problematic. The is particularly galling, in irradiate of what happened, that the pair Towers room widely known as a political vanity project. The financial feasibility in structure so high was, at best, dubious; and also some contend that details safety tradeoffs were the result.

Then there space other problems that cloud the situation. Many have asked and also are asking, must the port Authority of new York-New Jersey (PA)—a quasi-governmental company with massive political leverage whose primary duty is come protect and maintain port in the brand-new York metropolitan area—have been in the high-rise construction and real estate business? The structures decidedly walk not totally conform to neighborhood high-rise codes, nor did new York City have actually jurisdiction. Automatic fire sprinklers were not originally mounted in the structures. The PA spent countless dollars in court to argue that the towers did not conform to appropriate fire-resistive practices—that is, the cementitious fire-resistive coating compelled to it is in on its steel structural members to be either subpar or, in some places, nonexistent. The port Authority permitted the surroundings of 7 WTC’s vast diesel fuel tanks in the interior, sitting directly under deliver beams and trusses.

However, the is not to say that the towers to be substandard in every aspect of the neighborhood fire and also building codes. Because that one, the brand-new York City code called for 2 stairways in each of the towers. The towers had three, return this is a dubious distinction, provided the enormous occupancy load of the buildings. In addition, stairwell configuration was such the occupants had actually to move from one stair obelisk to another, complicating egress. Stairwell B ran native Floor 110 to the B-6 subbasement level. Stairwells A and also C ran native Floor 110 come the lobby mezzanine, from which suggest occupants had to take an escalator come ground level or leave onto the plaza area that the complex. Each stairway had actually a standpipe, fire doors, and lighting noted through emergency generators. In addition, the generators provided power for interactions equipment, elevators, corridor lighting, and fire pumps.

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Fifteen fire pumps in each building fed the standpipe and automatic sprinkler systems. Each structure was likewise equipped with seven water storage tanks that might supply water to the system prior come activation that the fire pumps come sustain early stage firefighting operations. The standpipes were arranged in three zones. Therefore, a lose of one standpipe walk not median the loss of firefighting water transparent the building, though it might conceivably mean lengthy hose stretches because that firefighters. Two firefighters operation in the south Tower on 9-11 do it up to the shortest crash floor, the 78th floor, and reported fires burn there. Had actually the structure not collapsed, that is conceivable, at the very least in theory, the the fire department could have mounted a fire assault from a standpipe connection up to the fire floor.

The elevators in the structures contained recall and firefighter business features as called for in the code. A detector-activated automatic elevator “override” system commanded every elevators offer or impacted by a fire area to instantly return to the ground or their skies lobby. Firefighters could operate the elevators manually under the direction of an FDNY officer. On 9-11, elevators in the phibìc Tower to be quickly established to be nonoperational because the recall feature was no working—they were no returning come the lobby for firefighter use.

Public address speakers were installed in the corridors to provide tenants and also visitors with instructions and also updated info in an emergency. The system was operated from the Operations manage Center, staffed 24 hrs a day. Eyewitness accounts indicate that these speaker were used at the very least twice ~ above 9-11. They were offered in the southern Tower immediately following the an initial plane crash right into the phibìc Tower to direct occupants to remain in your offices and not evacuate. They were additionally used by phibìc Tower lobby leaders in an attempt to exhort human being on top floors not to run to your deaths, the the fire department to be on the way.

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After the 1993 battle of the civilization Trade Center, the harbor Authority included reflective paint and arrows to stairways, added evacuation chairs, and implemented frequently scheduled evacuation drills. No doubt, this additions—in particular, the evacuation chairs and drills—helped evacuees on 9-11.

So numerous factors linked to an outcome in the 343 firefighter deaths ~ above 9-11. The most fundamental and prominent are easily apparent.

•The breathtakingly high towers were able to sustain the impact of a 767 jet aircraft but not the following fires, denying firefighters that critical period the time necessary to save all of the savable.

•The radio system, under the prevailing conditions, made crucial fire room communications difficult to impossible. An essential messages and orders were shed or went unheard.

•Elevators were unusable because that fire room operations in both towers, removing a critical—and swift—means of accessibility and egress.

•Interagency communications and a coordinated, interagency command structure were practically missing at a time as soon as they were most needed.

•Because of interactions problems—both in ~ the department and also citywide levels—vital intelligence was not obtainable to the incident commanders.

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•The magnitude of the incident, the size and also construction that the buildings, and the numbers and also locations of civilians needing immediate aid overtaxed and also overwhelmed the most response-ready fire department in the world.

Comprehensive evaluation of this tragedy has been circuitous and piecemeal. The critical components that the fateful 90-minute duration on September 11 room identifiable, and also there are calls because that change. Yet politics are component of the revolutionary equation. And politics are never easy. Also as the recovery operation is perfect and, together of this writing, we commemorate the an initial anniversary that the event, the politics bordering 9-11 appear still come be as thick, layered, entangled, and daunting to penetrate as they were six months ago. As the change procedure must occur through political channels, so, too, execute political networks at time frustrate typical sense and also urgency.

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However, one undeniable truth arised on 9-11, and it continues to ring true: The firefighters and other emergency personnel who responded come the human being Trade center were courageous, heroic, and also professional.

That reality is evident in the testimony the civilians who endured the incident. That was obvious in the variety of lives saved in the evacuation effort. The was noticeable in the calm however determined faces and also voices that every firefighter, officer, and commander on the scene. The FDNY officers and also firefighters performed your duties due to the fact that it was your righteous calling to carry out so, and also they go so v professionalism and also courage. They conserved lives. In ~ the moments as soon as it counted most, the member of FDNY shined v valor. And also no tragedy or terrorist or unpredictable collapse will ever change that.

There is, that course, one more truth: If the fire business does not learn from this incident and take whatever steps might be essential to fortify itself based on those lessons, it will invite a tragic repetition of history. Together earthshaking together 9-11 was, and still is, the fire organization must not ignore opportunities to discover what it have to learn. To execute otherwise would certainly be to dishonor the storage of practically 3,000 human being Trade facility victims. That is through that calling the Fire design devotes its September and also October issues to a report on and analysis of the human being Trade facility Disaster.

At first, one could feel uncomfortable in translating the 9-11 events and also FDNY an answer into usual terms that many other fire departments can appreciate. ~ all, the occasions of 9-11, at the very least for a few hours, overwhelmed the largest and also possibly best prepared fire room the civilization has ever before seen. Nevertheless, the fundamental implications the September 11 are no different for a smaller sized department than for FDNY. Although brand-new York City is a high-profile target because that terrorists (and no doubt, there are “big city” lessons to be learned), the risk of terror is not exclusive to large cities, and also any fire room that has a false feeling of protection in that regard is courting disaster. Moreover, history has shown—terrorism or not—that big incidents do take place in tiny places.

Even a cursory research of fire service history reveals that plenty of of the fail on 9-11 are endemic come the fire service. Rarely has the fire service seen an operational line-of-duty death wherein the event command system, communications, accountability, knowledge gathering and also risk analysis, expectancy of control, and contingency planning were no at issue. That course, the scale and also incomprehensibility that the people Trade center tragedy, and the added dimension of large-scale terrorism, location 9-11 in a category of that is own. However, fire departments far and vast must check out the implications beyond the size and scope that the tragedy.

Terrorism is pervasive, and also methods that terrorism, brought to a brand-new and nightmarish level top top 9-11, will require an ext of fire departments throughout America and the world. There cannot be an excuse because that fire departments’ failing to arrangement for terrorist and also large-scale incidents. No fire room in America should disregard the possibility of an event that could tax its resources past traditional thinking.

Photo 8 by Abraham Schwimmer

Likewise, we must ask every firefighters, and fire department managers in particular, in irradiate of 9-11 and also under the proceeding threat of terrorism, the following:

•Is there together a thing as being “overly conservative” at a significant incident, in regards to personnel deployment?

Can the fire organization afford gaps in what must otherwise be a seamless interagency network the integrates “outside” agencies?

Photo 9 courtesy that FEMA

Can the fire company afford come be much less than aggressive in regards to taking political measures to manage systems and also reduce hazards in the developed environment? after all, ~ the airplane hit and also the fires burned, it to be (simply put) buildings under heaviness that killed our firefighters.

In the very same vein, we must ask ourselves, Is it insignificant to expect our policemans to enter life-and-death battles at extraordinary cases without the technological way for gathering an essential intelligence? Or the way to communicate with personnel executing a strategy? Or the method to track and account for personnel at risk?

With terrorism so prevalent and also widespread, have the right to we rest discovering there room fire departments whose members space not trained for a massive mutual-aid response? Whose management does not understand what sources will be easily accessible to it, and also when? the cannot muster first-line rescue and haz-mat an answer capabilities and also have a backup plan—with backup dedicated units—for an unthinkable rotate of events?

•We have to ask ourselves, one year ~ that destructive day, if over there is together a thing as “unthinkable” any more. Over there is not. But there are a thousand glaring inquiries the fire service must questioning itself and also answer.

The benefit of hindsight allows for together simplification. The an answer to 9-11 was extraordinarily complex, yet there is no escaping the truth that, behind the minute-by-minute horror that unfolded before our eyes, there space very an easy propositions from which the fire business must press forward. These are the same issues that have torn the fire business throughout history, but—because that politics, economics, or negligence—have never been declawed.

To one level or another, those issues were part of 9-11. And also to one level or another, castle were component of countless firefighter line-of-duty deaths end the previous 200 years.

At 8:46 a.m. ~ above September 11, the first hijacked airplane slammed through Floors 93 to 98 the the north Tower through a pressure equal come 240 lots of TNT.

Observing the affect of the aircraft into the north Tower native a dozen blocks far while at one more incident, first-due FDNY Battalion chef Joseph Pfeifer instantly called for a second alarm. When en route, he referred to as for 3rd alarm systems at 8:48. That designated West and Vesey highways as the staging area.

He arrived on the lobby of the phibìc Tower in ~ 8:50 a.m. And established the incident command post. There were severely shed civilians in the lobby. Chief Pfeifer initiated rescue and evacuation operations. Within four minutes, Deputy chief Peter Hayden arrived and also assumed command, followed later by Assistant chef Joseph Callan.

The size of the occurrence overwhelmed the FDNY Dispatch Center, flooded with thousands of calls. Some off-duty firefighters self-deployed. Lot was made in the press around this and the fact that, due to the fact that the incident developed at change of tour, numerous companies arrived hefty or, in some cases, with dual the normal match of personnel. This an extremely human reaction to be by no means restricted to the firefighters. FDNY EMS units converged on downtown Manhattan en masse, leaving, follow to one EMS cook interviewed by the press, insufficient coverage because that 400 citywide clinical calls during the WTC response. The cook of port Authority Police reported the the city’s bridges, tunnels, and ports to be left inadequately protected due to the fact that of those officers’ responding to the world Trade Center.

At 9:00 a.m., when en route, chef of room Peter Ganci upgraded the response to a fifth-alarm assignment, instructing these incoming units to report come the staging area created on West and also Vesey streets. Through the speak to for a 5th alarm, 33 units, including engine companies, van companies, rescue companies, formation companies, a hazardous materials unit, chiefs of every rank, and also various support units (including the department’s ar communications, mask service, and high-rise units)—more 보다 200 personnel in all—would it is in on scene. The exact variety of FDNY personnel that responded to the people Trade facility probably will never be known, but published reports show 39 suppliers were operating in the phibìc Tower at the moment the south Tower collapsed.

Chief Ganci arrived just before the 2nd plane struggle the southern Tower. He moved the occurrence command post from the north Tower lobby across to West Street, in ~ the mouth of a garage for the human being Financial Center. This place afforded some defense from falling debris (and, soon, native jumpers) because that commanders and also companies report in. However, it noted a very minimal view the the buildings. Operations leaders continued to run from the north Tower lobby.

Occupants to be evacuating the phibìc Tower with the stairs ~ above the come of FDNY.

Commanders recognized early that extinguishing many floors fully involved in fire for this reason high increase in the building was beside impossible. That, an unified with scores of reports coming in for trapped occupants and others needing assistance, led them very early on come rescue and evacuation together their main strategy. Incoming systems were provided orders to assistance this strategy. And although part first-arriving engine companies carried hose loads right into the building, commanders never referred to as for an strike on the fires. Together then to work chief and also now FDNY chef of room Daniel Nigro says, “There is a fire in the building. The firefighter bring his tools.”

Some the the reports that trapped civilians to be gathered with intercom contact between building personnel and occupants grounding in elevators. There to be at least 10 elevators stuck to multiple occupant loads.

Within a quick time, fire companies and also building personnel established that elevators to be inoperable. The only method of access and egress would be the stairs.

Units responding to the site had actually to dodge falling debris. Not lengthy after command was collection up originally in the tower lobby, no hope occupants started jumping indigenous the top floors, adding to the risks. As per an eyewitness account, a falling jumper eliminated one firefighter. Reportedly, at least 10 people were eliminated by fall debris or civilization jumping from top floors.

Span that control typical for FDNY to be maintained—generally, one battalion chief because that every five or six company officers and one agency officer for every company unit. Battalion chiefs to be ordered to regulate operations over a expectations of numerous floors.

Operations in the phibìc Tower were complicated by numerous factors. First, due to the fact that elevators were out of service, removals and rescues were delayed since firefighters confronted an arduous and also time-consuming march up the stairs. The width of 2 of the stairwells—44 inches—complicated matters due to the fact that it did no facilitate coincided upward and downward progress—that is to say, fleeing civilians had to stop relocating while firefighters relocated up the stairs. Civilians testified come the psychological benefits of see firefighters seizing the moment, however the width of the 44-inch-wide stairs to be an work difficulty.

The highest level reached by a firefighter in the phibìc Tower is believed to have been the 65th floor. The firefighter, thought to it is in a member the Ladder firm 3, radioed, in ~ an unspecified time, that a partial please had emerged on among the floors in the 60s. Eyewitness accounts place multiple firefighters between the 40th and 50th floors, yet the mass of the firefighting contingent never made it past the 35th floor. Around 45 minutes right into the operation, numerous firefighters ~ above the 20th floor, carrying standpipe package up the stairs, reported chest pains.

For those in command that the operation, recurring size-up and also reconnaissance to be limited. FDNY simply did not possess the modern technology or communications to build minute-by-minute snapshots of an altering building conditions. Vital information, therefore, was not available to the chiefs sending suppliers up right into the building. Human being watching the occurrence on tv from their homes, in some respects, had an ext information than the commanders on whose shoulders rest the fate of countless people.

The event was building, minute through minute, 2nd by second. Suppliers were showing up at a quick pace and also were sent up the stairs come work. Twenty-six the the department’s 32 employee chiefs and executive staff were top top the scene.

At 9:29 a.m., cook Ganci notified a complete recall of every off-duty FDNY personnel. This was the first total recall the FDNY personnel in much more than 30 years. Recalled personnel, there is no the advantage of instructions, one of two people went directly to the scene, to their own fire station, to the closestly fire station, or come recall staging locations such together the one collection up at Shea stadion in the borough that Queens.

Early on, the city’s Office of Emergency Management, housed in 7 world Trade facility (which collapsed later in the day), to be evacuated, crippling the city’s interagency system. There was no back-up location because that OEM. Return OEM representatives at the north Tower lobby command write-up were in direct contact with FDNY commanders, OEM can not relay crucial information from various other agencies. The information contained reports indigenous police helicopters predicting the imminent collapse the the south Tower 10 minutes prior to it occurred and the impending collapse of the phibìc Tower 21 minutes before it occurred. Police heard the transmission; the fire department did not. There were no police representatives at the FDNY command post.

But maybe the most painful complication of every was that FDNY could not adequately connect with its very own members. Beforehand on, that was figured out through trial and error that the built-in repeater device in the north Tower was not functioning for FDNY. Cell phone repeaters and “standpipe phones” did not work, either. So leaders switched to common command and tactical fire room radio frequencies. These radio channel frequencies occupational well for tenement fires yet not because that high-rise to work (or because that below-grade operations).

•Commanders say the the ensuing communications were “sporadic.” That appears to be an understatement. In the phibìc Tower lobby, commanders were roving the lobby to pick up transmissions from units up above. That was catch as catch can. Some interactions got through; others did not. So commanders were not receiving constant progress reports from operating units. Together a result, they can not track companies or their progress up above.

Of course, the capability of carriers in the towers come receive interactions from command to be equally random. In ~ 9:30 a.m., leaders in the lobby obtained a report the a third inbound airplane and notified an prompt evacuation. However they never received messages from the providers in reply. (The “third plane” report was soon figured out to it is in erroneous, and operations continued.)

Reports suggest that, due largely to negative radio communications, many firefighters in the north Tower did no appreciate the heaviness of the situation, also when the south Tower collapsed, though they most certainly felt the concussion. If at the very least some officers absolutely heard the repeated orders to evacuate, the is likely that couple of officers in the north Tower knew that the south Tower had collapsed, because, in fact, the chiefs functioning the lobby command write-up themselves walk not know it. Operations commanders knew that something particularly had arisen because the an initial collapse do the north Tower lobby untenable. As such, they gave the order repeatedly for firefighters to evacuate the north Tower. Part in the tower heard it; many others walk not.

Difficulties in radio communications in high-rise buildings have long gone to issue in new York and the fire service. In fact, the radio mechanism did not work-related adequately in the 1993 bombing; and also when he landed on the command article on 9-11, Assistant chief Donald Burns, who commanded phibìc Tower work in 1993, reminded chiefs of the difficulty. Why FDNY go not have actually a workable, redundant communications system on 9-11—more 보다 eight years later—is beyond the purpose of this article, though it is, frankly, indicting. Despite consistent field experience and warnings underscoring the communications challenges in high-rise buildings and also the human being Trade center in particular, that appears details that a variety of firefighters in the north Tower died since urgent message transmitted over fire room radios go unheard.

FDNY was additionally feeling the effects of staging difficulties. Some incoming systems missed the staging locations altogether. Some did no hear the directions from Dispatch. Part deployed to the Marriott Hotel or the various other tower without ever making it to a staging area. Yet the results were the same: The Field interactions Unit had an obstacle tracking companies, and also some carriers deployed to the towers there is no receiving a debriefing.

At 9:47 a.m., with three simultaneous, major operations recurring in the north Tower, the south Tower, and also the Marriott Hotel, chief Ganci, anticipating prolonged operation and also the need for relief, referred to as for a third fifth-alarm assignment and ordered these systems to it is in staged at West and also Vesey.

For those in the north Tower, the please of the south Tower was an essential in ways beyond the obvious. The substantial pane home windows in the north Tower lobby currently had damaged out as soon as the first plane hit. When the south Tower collapsed, a cloud of black color dust and also debris moved through the lobby, killing dad Mychal Judge, FDNY chaplain, and forcing work command to disband that is command post, reorient itself, and also find a tenable location. Some police officers from the lobby command post regrouped at West and Vesey yet had right resumed operations prior to the north Tower collapsed. The southern Tower collapse also forced chef Ganci and also his command employee to retreat temporarily ago into the sanctuary of the civilization Financial facility garage. Then he notified his chiefs come reestablish the command article north that the occurrence while he initiated rescue operations for the an initial collapse. In the chaos and also devastation that ensued both collapses, the fire department essentially operated without a command structure. It take it an hour after the phibìc Tower broke down to reestablish command.

Of course, no one knew it at the time, however following the very first collapse, members inside the phibìc Tower had about 30 minutes to escape with their resides or it is in swallowed by the impending 2nd collapse. Firefighters and also civilians evacuating the structure reported that less than 15 minutes before the please of the north Tower, a big group the firefighters were acquisition a breather on the 19th floor, completely unaware that the impending danger.

The phibìc Tower collapsed within 92 minute of the first plane strike, in ~ 10:28 a.m.

According to a two-month study performed by USA Today, i beg your pardon accounted because that the areas of all yet 150 civilian victims of the collapses, 1,434 civilians died in the north Tower. 1,360 that those who passed away were ~ above the 92nd floor (one floor listed below the crash line) or above, either dead from the impact, wounded, or trapped. Sixty-nine civilians were trapped top top the 92nd floor. In call calls to your loved ones, few of them stated they might not access the stair towers.

No one over the 92nd floor survived. However, about 4,000 people below the 92nd floor safe evacuated. Of the thousands below the crash line, 72 civilians did no make it out. This provides rise come the logical assumption that nearly all the fleeing occupants had actually made it out of the structure by the time of the south Tower collapse.

A brand-new York times report, utilizing eyewitness account to track companies, concluded that 33 fire service providers were still operation in the phibìc Tower at the moment of collapse. At the very least 121 firefighters shed their stays there.

Less is known around operations in the south Tower.

Shortly ~ Chief Ganci arrived, the second plane hit. The moment was 9:03 a.m. At 9:12, cook Ganci called a 2nd fifth-alarm assignment and soon afterwards designated a staging area for these units at West and Albany streets.

Assistant chief Burns had arrived simply after the southern Tower to be hit. The assumed work in the south Tower lobby, assisted by Assistant chief Jerry Barbara.

Many units from the second fifth-alarm assignment never staged at West and Albany. This maintained Chief Burns without the variety of companies the felt he needed. At about 9:30 a.m., some 23 minute after he developed the southern Tower lobby work command, chef Burns called second second-alarm assignment come the southern Tower. Throughout the wait, Deputy Chief beam Downey, distinct Operations Command, ordered several carriers from the staging area top top West Street to job-related on the south Tower evacuation.

Meanwhile, numerous chiefs had begun evacuation operations in the Marriott Hotel, surrounding and contiguous to the southern Tower. Lock interviewed hotel staff and could no be details that every occupants had actually evacuated the hotel. So companies were sent up to conduct a floor-by-floor, knocking-on-doors search and also evacuation. The brand-new York time study inserted 34 that the fallen firefighters in the Marriott Hotel at the moment the southern Tower collapsed, crushing the hotel.

Information is sparse worrying South Tower operations because no FDNY member has actually been shown to have actually survived that collapse. Requests by Fire engineering for details from FDNY members well-known to be at the command short article with cook Ganci or in ~ the southern Tower early on, as well as information from on-site FDNY communications personnel thought to have actually firsthand expertise about specific aspects of southern Tower operations, have yet to be fulfilled.

Hindsight uses a startling numbers situation at the south Tower ~ above 9-11. Reliable sources have estimated that there were in between 5,000 and also 7,000 human being in every tower in ~ 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane struck. Most people in the southern Tower began evacuating the building as quickly as the phibìc Tower was hit, ignoring recorded Port authority messages transfer over the building’s intercom system to remain where they to be (however, part people over the 77th floor go comply through the message and also likely perished).

According to the USA now study, in the 16-minute period between the very first and second crashes, two-thirds that the thousands of occupants in the southern Tower evacuated through elevators. (It took only 45 seconds for one elevator come descend from the 78th floor to ground.) If this is accurate, the large and many elevators in the towers moved between around 3,300 and 4,600 people to the bottom of the tower prior to the 2nd plane hit—a amazing success story.

Once the second plane fight the southern Tower, the fate the all however 19 people (known to have actually escaped via the one stairwell that stayed passable over the influence floors) above the 78th floor to be sealed. 5 hundred ninety-nine civilians were recognized to have died in the southern Tower. Numerous of these victims were at the 78th floor elevator sky lobby, in the process of evacuating, as soon as the aircraft hit. Every one of the remaining civilian citizens (between 1,000 and also 1,700 people) tho in the structure at the time of the crash do it out safely prior to the south Tower collapse. Numerous of those civilization had for sure exited by the time Chief Burns referred to as for an additional 2nd alarm.

It is unclear, however, regarding whether or not the information concerning the voluminous elevator evacuation in the 16 minutes prior to the 2nd plane crash to be ever yielded by structure personnel to FDNY. That is yet unknown (or unreported) if FDNY leaders were mindful that they were taking care of far fewer residents than they might have believed or whether this would have made any kind of difference at all in the information of a 2nd fifth-alarm assignment and second second-alarm assignment come the tower, or to operations therein.

Remarkably, Battalion chef Orio Palmer and Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, operation in the southern Tower, made it up to the 78th floor skies lobby, from whereby Chief Palmer radioed “Numerous 10-45s, password Ones,” indicating plenty of dead and also injured human being at that location. Twelve the these individuals made it out alive. One survivor was Ling Young, that was discovered by Fire Marshal James Devery in a stairway tower ~ above the 51st floor. Devery removed her down the stairs to the 41st floor, where they were able to take it an elevator under to safety. Palmer additionally reported fires top top the 78th floor and also called for 2 engine carriers to hit them—indicating that the zoned standpipes may have been intact at or below the suggest of impact.

According to the port Authority radio tapes, at least one elevator was working after the second plane crash. It was on the 41st floor. Around 15 minutes prior to the tower collapsed, chief Palmer radioed one operations sector chief the a team of 10 injured citizens was descending to the 41st floor to ride the elevator down. They make it into the elevator, yet it gained stuck ~ above the method down. A firefighter was through the group. He radioed the situation and that he to be trying to break out of the elevator. Castle perished.

Five minutes prior to the collapse of the south Tower, a harbor Authority mechanic radioed his counterpart in the phibìc Tower the elevators were stuck; one of them was an express vehicle that contained 19 people. That is presumed that they every died.

Engineers have actually calculated the the plane that fight the south Tower to be traveling in ~ an approximated 537 mph, some 300 mph past the architecture limits of the aircraft for that altitude and also far much faster than the airplane that fight the phibìc Tower. Engineers say the this difference in rate (which determines energy on impact) and the reality that the plane struck the south Tower in ~ a reduced level, in ~ a different angle, and closer come the corner columns at the very least partially defines why the southern Tower fell down first. However, the truth that the structure stood for 56 minutes points to failure of the lightweight trusses under fire conditions as a significant collapse factor, as it was in the north Tower.

The brand-new York time interviews show that there to be 46 suppliers or units operating in the southern Tower and also the Marriott Hotel. Twenty-five the these companies experienced casualties. That the firefighters that died, 97 were placed in the southern Tower and also 34 in the hotel. The time investigation could not accurately decide the areas of 78 firefighters who passed away on 9-11, yet fire room records shown that numerous of those members to be assigned to the southern Tower. It shows up that numerous units may have actually made it come the southern Tower or the Marriott Hotel or your vicinities and were no operating for an extremely long prior to the unexpected tragedy the the an initial tower collapse occurred.

In the an initial three to work on 9-11, much more than 200 fire units—including 121 engine companies and 62 ladder companies—responded come the civilization Trade Center. This represented an ext than fifty percent of all units, citywide. However, FDNY controlled to keep citywide fire coverage. Although fire call on 9-11 were about the very same as on the exact same day in the year 2000, solution times only minimally increased. During this period, FDNY was operation under a lessened initial unit response. Fire providers from West-chester and also Nassau counties were dubbed in by FDNY to help in covering stations. However, coverage for unique operations inquiry the solution of technological units such as the haz-mat, rescue, and squad service providers was very minimal because those companies—with the exception of one of the seven squads—had responded to the people Trade Center.

The firefighters who lost their resides on 9-11 richly deserved heroes’ farewells. Yet those firefighters left to deal with the devastation native the worst structure collapses in background were heroes in their own right. They showed that FDNY—and the fire service—was badly wounded and also bleeding however not bring away out. In spite of everything, they refuse to be destroyed. And also they were an inspiration, symbols of hope, for a shaken city and a shaken nation.

Following the phibìc Tower collapse, FDNY officers and also firefighters regrouped and began rescue operations. Chiefs and their members to be traumatized. The command staff was decimated. Nobody knew how many firefighters they had actually lost. Yet they collection about finding them right away.

A command write-up was established a few blocks from the incident, on West and also Chambers streets. Work command was set up in ~ West and also Vesey streets. Sectors developed naturally by method of the fallen geography. Proficient chiefs take it command of these sectors. Chiefs took command of devices conducting searches. Sources were procured. Officers established minimum safety and accountability procedures. A organic system developed out the the chaos, the start of the longest and most considerable rescue and also recovery operation ever before known. True leadership and experience and also training shined through that day.

The exhaustive searches yielded plenty of finds. Sadly, just the members the Ladder firm 6, a battalion chief, and also a few others that miraculously endured in the B stairway of the phibìc Tower were uncovered alive. Chief Ganci and also Deputy Commissioner invoice Feehan, the 71-year-old previous chief of department, were discovered within the very first two hours on West Street, less than 50 yards from your command post. Once the south Tower collapsed, chief Ganci notified his subordinate officers to walk north up West Street and set up a new command write-up some blocks beyond the civilization Trade Center. Chief Ganci and Commissioner Feehan walked south down West Street to take it command of rescue operations for the collapsed tower. They never ever made it.

That speaks volumes for the personality of those men and others who went v them, knowing complete well the if one tower can collapse, a 2nd tower additionally could. In regards to purely analytical discussion, it additionally gives those not there top top 9-11 some knowledge of the incredible pressure of a quarter-mile-high building falling down and also what it could take to recover from it and also move on, operationally speaking.

Fires raged in the piles and also in the damaged surrounding buildings. Firefighters established a water supply by drafting the end of the Hudson River. The find went on, regardless of the potential for an additional collapses.

Of every the nearby buildings, 7 civilization Trade Center, a 47-story structure to the phibìc of the phibìc Tower, throughout Vesey Street, presented the biggest threat of collapse. The hovered over the debris field on which hundreds of firefighters searched. That was heavily damaged and involved in fire. The is believed these fires occurred in component because the port Authority, versus the referrals of the fire department, had placed aboveground tanks of diesel fuel—a 42,000-gallon tank in ~ ground level and also three 275-gallon tanks on the fifth, seventh, and also eight floors—inside the building, underneath transfer beams that permitted the high-rise to be constructed above an electrical substation. Given the minimal water supply and also the an initial strategic priority, which was to find for survivors in the rubble, FDNY did no fight the fires, which to be on the lower floors and burned because that hours. In interviews, several FDNY police officers on the scene said they were not conscious of combustible liquid pool fires in the building.

Be that as it may, FDNY chief officers surveyed 7 WTC and determined the it was in peril of collapse. Chief frank Cruthers, currently the event commander, and also Chief frank Fellini, the operations commander, both agreed that a fallen zone had to it is in established. That expected firefighters in the area of the north Tower had actually to be evacuated. This took some time to attain because that terrain, communications, and also the fierce determination v which the firefighters to be searching. At 5:30 p.m., around 20 minute after the critical firefighters evacuated the collapse zone, 7 WTC collapsed. It was the 3rd steel-frame high-rise in history to collapse from fire—the other two had broke down earlier the day. FDNY shrugged the off and also went earlier to occupational to start a long, constant night of in search of brothers and other lost people on the longest day in the history of the fire service.

For every the media coverage, for all the gripping and also touching story we’ve heard and also read, over there is much we will never know around that disastrous day, and issues will be discussed forever. The curse the a retrospective analysis of any type of tragedy always is the same—the “What ifs.” What if the leaders at this event had far better intelligence about the problem of the buildings? What if the radios had operated better? What if port Authority was not beyond the force of neighborhood codes? What if the steel columns and lightweight trusses were better protected through fire-resistive materials, or there were no trusses in the very first place? What if the planes had actually hit one means and not the other? What if FDNY had actually known the the bulk of residents in the southern Tower had currently evacuated by the time they arrived; would certainly it have made a difference? What if, what if U advertisement infinitum.

But in the end, the members of FDNY walk what they had actually to do, through bravery and professionalism. They conserved lives. They can do nothing else. That is what makes a tragedy a tragedy: powerful forces overwhelm person will, both introduced onto an irreversible food of action. Yes, it to be a tragedy, yet it was additionally testimony come the human being spirit, resolve, and goodness.

Fire engineering presents Volume ns of its special report on the civilization Trade center disaster native the eyes and hearts of those that were there. It includes testimony from plenty of FDNY policemans who responded before the an initial collapse or shortly thereafter and also had a tremendous impact both on pre- and post-collapse operations. Volume ns attempts come deal fairly strictly with first-day operations, although plenty of who were there ~ above September 11 had actually prominent duties throughout all or much of the rescue and also recovery effort, so several of that is presented here, too. Volume II will focus on aspects of the rescue and recovery in higher detail, present more detailed analyses of building performance, outline fire room actions in the year ~ 9-11 and also into the future, and carry out perspectives on the especially political ramifications of that fateful day.

We dedicate this job-related to the 343 please firefighters top top 9-11 and also all those who bring on your work.—Bill Manning, Fire Engineering, august 22, 2002

Photos 1, 2, and also 3 through FDNY photo UnitPhotos 4 and also 5 by Abraham SchwimmerPhotos 6 and also 7 by FDNY picture Unit

THE human being TRADE CENTER

The 16-acre human being Trade center site to be bounded through Vesey Street to the north, Church Street to the east, Liberty Street to the south, and West Street to the west. Seven structures (1 WTC through 7 WTC) were situated roughly a five-acre plaza. The complex included likewise the harbor Authority-Trans-Hudson (PATH) and also Metropolitan Transit government (MTA) WTC stations and also Concourse areas. Under a sizable section of the main WTC Plaza and also 1 WTC, 2 WTC, 3 WTC, and also 6 WTC to be a six-story subterranean structure.

The WTC complex was designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Associates the Troy, Michigan; Emery Roth and Sons of new York acted together the architect that record. The port Authority of brand-new York and brand-new Jersey (PA) to be the initial developer. Excavation the the site began in august 1966. The complex, i m sorry offered around 12 million square feet that rentable floor space, was populated by various government and commercial tenants. The PA had actually transferred the entire WTC project to a personal individual, under a 99-year capital lease, before 9-11.

The seven facility buildings included the following:

WTC, the 110-story north Tower. Its an initial tenant take it occupancy in December 1970.WTC, the 110-story southern Tower. Occupancy commenced in January 1972.WTC , the 22-story Marriott Hotel (west of the southern Tower).WTC, a nine-story office building.WTC, a nine-story office building.WTC, the eight-story U.S. Personalizeds House building. WTC, a 47-story office building (north that the WTC site; it housed the brand-new York City Mayor’s Office the Emergency administration facility).

The world Financial facility (WFC) complex, constructed in the at an early stage 1980s, to be to the west, throughout West Street. To the south were the structure designed by Cass Gilbert, in ~ 90 West Street, and the Bankers Trust structure at 130 Liberty Street. The 1 Liberty Plaza structure was to the east and the Verizon structure directly to the north.

THE 1993 civilization TRADE facility BOMBING

On February 26, 1993, a 1,000-pound nitrourea bomb to be detonated inside a rental van on the B2 level the the WTC parking garage, resulting in massive damage that spanned 7 levels, six below-grade. The L-shaped blast crater on B2 in ~ its best measured 130 feet wide by 150 feet long. The blast epicenter to be under the northeast corner of the Vista Hotel. FDNY at some point responded to the event with 84 engine companies, 60 truck companies, 28 battalion chiefs, 9 deputy chiefs, and also 5 rescue companies and also 26 various other special systems (representing virtually 45 percent that the on-duty employee of FDNY). The department units maintained a existence at the scene for 28 days.

Six civilization died and 1,042 to be injured. That those injured, 15 obtained traumatic injuries indigenous the blast itself. Practically 20 world complained of cardiac problems, and practically 30 pregnant females were rescued. Eighty-eight firefighters (one requiring hospitalization), 35 police officers, and also one EMS worker continual injuries.

It is approximated that roughly 50,000 civilization were evacuated native the WTC complex, including nearly 25,000 from every of the two towers. Fire alarm dispatchers received more than 1,000 call calls, many reporting victims trapped ~ above the upper floors the the towers. Search and evacuation the the towers were finally completed some 11 hours after the event began.

Source: Fire Engineering, unique Issue: world Trade center Bombing, December 1993


There were three elevator area within each tower. Every zone had actually its very own lobby:

•Zone 1. The lobby was on the concourse level, one level listed below the plaza. Access was native the soil floor come Floor 44.

•Zone 2. Its sky lobby (transfer floors for other elevators to the upper floors) to be on Floor 44. Accessibility was indigenous Floor 44 to Floor 77.

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•Zone 3. Its skies lobby was on Floor 78. Accessibility was indigenous Floor 78 to Floor 110.

Express elevators, claimed to have actually been the faster of their size ever built, were obtainable from the lobby and also served the 44 and 78 sky lobbies. Each had actually a volume of 55 people. The mechanism was designed come limit neighborhood runs to one-third the the building. Three local elevators activate at various levels within a solitary shaft. Each tower had actually 99 elevator cabs; 23 to be express.