"My story was never mentioned in the final report and I felt like
I was being put on trial in a court room. They were trying to twist my words and make the story fit
only what they wanted to hear" [PDF download]
-Firefighter Louie Cacchioli
"When I looked in the direction of the Trade Center before it came down,
before No. 2 came down, ... I saw low-level flashes ... I saw a flash flash flash and then it looked
like the building came down ... You know like when they demolish a building, how when they blow up a
building, when it falls down? That's what I thought I saw."
- NYFD Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory
“It was like a professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you
hear 'Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop'."
- NYC Paramedic Daniel Rivera
"It was as if as if they had detonated ... as if they had planned to take down a building,
- NYFD Captain Dennis Tardio
"I was taking firefighters up in the elevator to the 24th floor to get in position to evacuate
workers. On the last trip up a bomb went off. We think there were bombs set in the building."
- NYFD Firefighter Louie Cacchioli
“There was just an explosion in the south tower. It seemed like on television when they blow up
these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.”
- NYFD Firefighter Richard Banaciski
"It almost sounded like bombs going off, like boom, boom, boom, like seven or eight"
- NYFD Firefighter Thomas Turilli
"Heard explosions coming from . . . the south tower . . . There were about ten explosions. . . . We
then realized the building started to come down"
- NYFD Firefighter Craig Carlson
"It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit. . . . We originally had
thought there was like an internal detonation, explosives, because it went in succession, boom,
boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down"
- NYFD Firefighter Edward Cachia
"Somewhere around the middle . . . there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was
just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and that building
had started to explode ... With each popping sound it was initially an orange and then a red flash
came out of the building and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I
could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and
then all around the building"
- NYFD Captain Karin Deshore
"A debate began to rage because . . . many people had felt that possibly explosives had taken out 2
- NYFD Firefighter Christopher Feny
Proof that Jets and Jet Fuel were
not the cause of the WTC collapse.
The frames from the pentagon video
should look more like this:
Project MASCAL participant pilots
flight77. Massive Irony gone unreported.
Some very Interesting parties have
been caught examining 911Lies.org.
The man in the video is not Bin
Laden, not even close.
911 truth activist, On
'Hannity and Colmes'
Excerpts From Firefighters' WTC Tape
Below are transcripts of all portions that have been released. You can listen to them
at the NYT's site by going to this page. In the right hand column is a box labeled "Multimedia."
Inside it, click on "Interactive Feature: The Tale of the Tape."
"9/11 Tape Raised Added Questions on Radio Failures"
Department Tape Reveals No Awareness of Imminent Doom"
"Go ahead, Irons."
Ladder 15 Irons: "Just got a report
from the director of Morgan Stanley. 78 seems to have taken the
brunt of this stuff, there's a lot of bodies, they say the
stairway is clear all the way up, though."
Ladder 15: "Alright, ten-four Scott.
What, what floor are you on?"
Ladder 15 Irons: "Forty-eight right
Ladder 15: "Alright, we're coming up
Battalion Seven Aide:
"Battalion Seven, you want me to relay?"
Ladder 15: "Yeah, Steve tell Chief
Palmer they got reports that there's more planes in the area, we
may have to back down here."
Battalion Seven Aide: "Ten-four."
"Seven Alpha to Seven."
Battalion Seven: "Steve. Seven to
Ladder 15: "Fifteen to 15 Roof."
Ladder 15: "We got reports of
another incoming plane. We may have to take cover. Stay in the
Ladder 15 Roof: "Ten-four."
Ladder 15: "Fifteen to 15 Roof. That
plane's ours. I repeat. It's ours. What floor are you on,
Ladder 15 Roof: "Fifty-four."
Ladder 15: "Alright. Keep making
your way up. We're behind you."
Ladder 15 Roof: "Ten-four."
Ladder 15 Lieutenant: "Tommy, listen
carefully. I'm sending all the injured down to you on 40. You're
going to have to get 'em down to the elevator. There's about 10
to 15 people coming down to you."
Ladder 15 Firefighter: "Okay."
Ladder 15 Lieutenant: "Ten civilians
coming down. Fifteen to OV."
Ladder 15 Firefighter: "Got that,
I'm on 40 right now, Lieu."
Ladder 15 Lieutenant: "Alright
Tommy, when you take people down to the lobby, try to get an EMS
Ladder 15 Firefighter: "Definitely."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven to Ladder 15 Roof, what's your progress?"
Ladder 15 Roof: "Sixty-three,
Battalion Seven Chief: "Ten-four."
Battalion Nine Chief: "Battalion
Nine to Battalion Seven."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Go ahead
Battalion Nine Chief: "Orio, I
couldn't find a bank to bring you up any highter. I'm on the 40th
floor, what can I do for you?"
Battalion Seven Chief: "We're going
to have to hoof it. I'm on 69 now, but we need a higher bank, kay."
Battalion Nine Chief: "What stairway
you in Orio?"
Battalion Seven Chief: "The center
of the building, boy, boy." "Tac One to Tac One Alpha."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven to Ladder 15 Roof, what floor?"
Battalion Nine Chief: "Battalion
Nine to Battalion Seven."
Battalion Seven Chief: "...Battalion
Battalion Nine Chief: "Orio, I'm
going to try and get a couple of CFRD engines on the 40th floor
so send any victims down here, I'll start up a staging area."
Battalion Seven Chief: "...find a
fireman service elevator close to 40, if we get some more cars in
that bank, we'll be alright."
Ladder 15: "Battalion Fifteen to
Battalion Seven: "Go Ladder 15."
Ladder 15: "What do you got up
Battalion Seven Chief: "I'm still in
boy stair 74th floor. No smoke or fire problems, walls are
breached, so be careful."
Ladder 15: "Yeah Ten-Four, I saw
that on 68. Alright, we're on 71 we're coming up behind you."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Ten-four.
Six more to go."
Ladder 15: "Let me know when you see
Battalion Seven Chief: "I found a
marshall on 75."
Ladder 15: "Fifteen to 15 OV.
Fifteen to 15 OV. "Fifteen OV."
Ladder 15: "Tommy, have you made it
back down to the lobbby yet?"
Ladder 15 OV: "The elevator's
Ladder 15: "You can't move it?"
Ladder 15 OV: "I don't want to get
stuck in the shaft."
Ladder 15: "Alright Tommy. It's
imperative that you go down to the lobby command post and get
some people up to 40. We got injured people up here on 70. If you
make it to the lobby command post see if they can somehow get
elevators past the 40th floor. We got people injured all the way
Battalion Seven Aide: "Battaltion
Seven Alpha to Seven."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Go Steve."
Battalion Seven Aide: "Yeah Chief,
I'm on 55, I got to rest. I'll try to get up there as soon as
Battalion Seven Chief: "Ten-four."
"Anybody see the highway one car? Highway one car we need it for
an escort to the hospital for a fireman."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven to Ladder 15." "15 Irons."
Ladder 15: "Fifteen to 15 Roof and
Battalion Six Chief: "Battalion Six
to command post."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven to Battalion Seven Alpha." "Freddie, come on over. Freddie,
come on over by us."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven ... Ladder 15, we've got two isolated pockets of fire. We
should be able to knock it down with two lines. Radio that, 78th
floor numerous 10-45 Code Ones."
Ladder 15: "What stair are you in,
Battalion Seven Aide: "Seven Alpha
to lobby command post."
Ladder Fifteen: "Fifteen to
Battalion Seven Chief: "... Ladder
Ladder 15: "Chief, what stair you
Battalion Seven Chief: "South
stairway Adam, South Tower."
Ladder 15: "Floor 78?"
Battalion Seven Chief: "Ten-four,
numerous civilians, we gonna need two engines up here."
Ladder 15: "Alright ten-four, we're
on our way."
Battalion Seven Aide: "Seven Alpha
for Battalion Seven."
Battalion Seven Chief: "South tower,
Steve, south tower, tell them...Tower one. Battalion
Seven to Ladder 15. "Fifteen."
Battalion Seven Chief: "I'm going to
need two of your firefighters Adam stairway to knock down two
fires. We have a house line stretched we could use some water on
it, knock it down, kay."
Ladder 15: "Alright ten-four, we're
coming up the stairs. We're on 77 now in the B stair, I'll be
right to you."
Ladder 15 Roof: "Fifteen Roof to 15.
We're on 71. We're coming right up."
"Division 3 ... lobby command, to the Fieldcom command post."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Operations
Tower One to floor above Battalion Nine."
Battalion Nine Chief: "Battalion
Nine to command post."
Battalion Seven Operations Tower One:
"Battalion Seven Operations Tower One to Battalion Nine, need you
on floor above 79. We have access stairs going up to 79, kay."
Battalion Nine: "Alright, I'm on my
way up Orio."
Ladder 15 OV: "Fifteen OV to
Ladder 15: "Go ahead Fifteen OV,
Battalion Seven Operations Tower One."
Ladder 15 OV: "Stuck in the
elevator, in the elevator shaft, you're going to have to get a
difference elevator. We're chopping through the wall to get out."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Radio lobby
command with that Tower One."
Battalion Seven Chief: "Battalion
Seven to Ladder 15."
(END OF TAPE)
The oral histories have finally been released.
It is time for Americans and the world in general to see what these brave men and women
reported about that fateful day. If this information forces a reevaluation of the official story about
9/11, better now than later.
These reports, however, were not widely
publicized by the mainstream press and, as a result, have for the most part been known only within
the “9/11 truth movement,” which has focused on evidence that seems inconsistent with the official
Previously Available Testimony
Suggestive of Explosions in the Twin Towers
after 9/11, a story in the Los Angeles Times, referring to the south tower, said: “There were
reports of an explosion right before the tower fell, then a strange sucking sound, and finally the
sound of floors collapsing."4
A story in the Guardian said that “police and fire officials were carrying out the
first wave of evacuations when the first of the World Trade Centre towers collapsed. Some
eyewitnesses reported hearing another explosion just before the structure crumbled. Police said that
it looked almost like a ‘planned implosion.’"5
“Planned implosion” is another term for controlled demolition, in which
explosives are placed at crucial places throughout a building so that, when set off in the proper
order, they will cause the building to come down in the desired way. When it is close to other
buildings, the desired way will be straight down into, or at least close to, the building’s
footprint, so that it does not damage the surrounding buildings. This type of controlled demolition
is called an “implosion.” To induce an implosion in steel-frame buildings, the explosives must be
set so as to break the steel columns. Each of the Twin Towers had 47 massive steel columns in its
core and 236 steel columns around the periphery.
return now to testimonies about explosions: There were many reports about an explosion in the
basement of the north tower. For example, janitor William Rodriguez reported that he and others felt
an explosion below the first sub-level office at 9 AM, after which co-worker Felipe David, who had
been in front of a nearby freight elevator, came into the office with severe burns on his face and
arms yelling "explosion! explosion! explosion!"6
Rodriguez’s account has been corroborated by José Sanchez, who was
in the workshop on the fourth sub-level. Sanchez said that he and a co-worker heard a big blast that
“sounded like a bomb,” after which “a huge ball of fire went through the freight elevator.”7
Engineer Mike Pecoraro, who was
working in the sixth sub-basement of the north tower, said that after an explosion he and a
co-worker went up to the C level, where there was a small machine shop. “There was nothing there but
rubble,” said Pecoraro. “We're talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press--gone!” They then went to the
parking garage, but found that it was also gone. Then on the B level, they found that a
steel-and-concrete fire door, which weighed about 300 pounds, was wrinkled up "like a piece of
aluminum foil." Having seen similar things after the terrorist attack in 1993, Pecoraro was
convinced that a bomb had gone off.8
Given these testimonies to explosions in the basement levels of
the towers, it is interesting that Mark Loizeaux, head of Controlled Demolition, Inc., has been
quoted as saying: “If I were to bring the towers down, I would put explosives in the basement to get
the weight of the building to help collapse the structure.”9
Some of the testimonies suggested that more than one explosion occurred in one tower or the other.
FDNY Captain Dennis Tardio, speaking of the south tower, said: "I hear an explosion and I look up.
It is as if the building is being imploded, from the top floor down, one after another, boom, boom,
In June of
2002, NBC television played segments from tapes recorded on 9/11. One segment contained the
following exchange, which involved firefighters in the south tower:
Official: Battalion 3 to
dispatch, we've just had another explosion.
Official: Battalion 3 to dispatch, we've had
Dispatcher: Received battalion command. Additional explosion.11
Firefighter Louie Cacchioli, after entering the north tower lobby and
seeing elevator doors completely blown out and people being hit with debris, asked himself, “how
could this be happening so quickly if a plane hit way above?” After he reached the 24th floor, he
and another fireman “heard this huge explosion that sounded like a bomb [and] knocked off the lights
and stalled the elevator.” After they pried themselves out of the elevator, “another huge explosion
like the first one hits. This one hits about two minutes later . . . [and] I’m thinking, ‘Oh. My
God, these bastards put bombs in here like they did in 1993!’”12
Multiple explosions were also reported by Teresa Veliz, who worked
for a software development company in the north tower. She was on the 47th floor, she reported, when
suddenly “the whole building shook. . . . [Shortly thereafter] the building shook again, this time
even more violently." Then, while Veliz was making her way downstairs and outside: “There were
explosions going off everywhere. I was convinced that there were bombs planted all over the place
and someone was sitting at a control panel pushing detonator buttons. . . . There was another
explosion. And another. I didn't know where to run."13
Steve Evans, a New York-based correspondent for the BBC, said: “I
was at the base of the second tower . . . that was hit. . . . There was an explosion. . . . The base
of the building shook. . . . [T]hen there was a series of explosions.”14
Sue Keane, an officer in the New Jersey Fire Police Department who
was previously a sergeant in the U.S. Army, said in her account of the onset of the collapse of the
south tower: “[I]t sounded like bombs going off. That's when the explosions happened. . . . I knew
something was going to happen. . . . It started to get dark, then all of a sudden there was this
massive explosion.” Then, discussing her experiences during the collapse of the north tower, she
said: “[There was] another explosion. That sent me and the two firefighters down the stairs. . . . I
can't tell you how many times I got banged around. Each one of those explosions picked me up and
threw me. . . . There was another explosion, and I got thrown with two firefighters out onto the
Street Journal reporter John Bussey, describing his observation of the collapse of the south tower
from the ninth floor of the WSJ office building, said: “I . . . looked up out of the office window
to see what seemed like perfectly synchronized explosions coming from each floor. . . . One after
the other, from top to bottom, with a fraction of a second between, the floors blew to pieces.”16
Another Wall Street Journal
reporter said that after seeing what appeared to be “individual floors, one after the other
exploding outward,” he thought: “‘My God, they’re going to bring the building down.’ And they,
whoever they are, HAD SET CHARGES. . . . I saw the explosions.”17
A similar perception was reported by Beth Fertig of WNYC Radio,
who said: “It just descended like a timed explosion—like when they are deliberately bringing a
building down. . . . It was coming down so perfectly that in one part of my brain I was thinking,
'They got everyone out, and they're bringing the building down because they have to.'”18
A more graphic testimony to this
perception was provided on the film made by the Naudet brothers. In a clip from that film, one can
watch two firemen describing their experiences to other firemen.
Fireman 1: “We made it
outside, we made it about a block . . . .”
Fireman 2: “We made it at least two blocks and
we started running.” He makes explosive sounds and then uses a chopping hand motion to
emphasize his next point: “Floor by floor it started popping out . . . .”
Fireman 1: “It was as if
they had detonated--as if they were planning to take down a building, boom boom boom
boom boom . . . .”
Fireman 2: “All the way down. I was watching it and running. And then you just saw this
cloud of shit chasing you down.”19
As these illustrations show, quite impressive testimony to the occurrence
of explosions in the Twin Towers existed even prior to the release of the oral histories. As we will
see, however, these oral histories have made the testimony much more impressive, qualitatively as
well as quantitatively. The cumulative testimony now points even more clearly than before not simply
to explosions but to controlled demolition.
Testimonies in the Oral Histories
Suggestive of Controlled Demolition
Several FDNY members
reported that they heard an explosion just before the south tower collapsed. For example, Battalion
Chief John Sudnik said that while he and others were working at the command post, “we heard a loud
explosion or what sounded like a loud explosion and looked up and I saw tower two start coming
Firefighter Timothy Julian said: “First I thought it was an explosion. I thought maybe there was a
bomb on the plane, but delayed type of thing, you know secondary device. . . . I just heard like an
explosion and then a cracking type of noise, and then it sounded like a freight train, rumbling and
picking up speed, and I remember I looked up, and I saw it coming down.”21
Emergency medical technician Michael Ober said: “[W]e heard a rumble,
some twisting metal, we looked up in the air, and . . . it looked to me just like an explosion. It
didn’t look like the building was coming down, it looked like just one floor had blown completely
outside of it. . . . I didn’t think they were coming down. I just froze and stood there looking at
it.”22 Ober’s testimony suggests that he heard and saw the explosion before he saw any
sign that the building was coming down.
This point is
made even more clearly by Chief Frank Cruthers, who said: “There was what appeared to be at first an
explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out
horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of
statements by Ober and Cruthers, indicating that there was a delay between the explosion and the
beginning of the collapse, suggest that the sounds and the horizontal ejection of materials could
not be attributed simply to the onset of the collapse.
Shaking Ground before the Collapse
As we saw earlier,
some people in the towers reported that there were powerful explosions in the basements. Such
explosions would likely have caused the ground to shake. Such shaking was reported by medical
technician Lonnie Penn, who said that just before the collapse of the south tower: “I felt the
ground shake, I turned around and ran for my life. I made it as far as the Financial Center when the
According to the official account, the vibrations that people felt were produced by material from
the collapsing towers hitting the ground. Penn’s account, however, indicates that the shaking must
have occurred several seconds before the collapse.
Shaking prior to the collapse of the north tower was described by fire patrolman Paul Curran. He was
standing near it, he said, when “all of a sudden the ground just started shaking. It felt like a
train was running under my feet. . . . The next thing we know, we look up and the tower is
Lieutenant Bradley Mann of the fire department, one of the people to witness both collapses,
described shaking prior to each of them. "Shortly before the first tower came down,” he said, “I
remember feeling the ground shaking. I heard a terrible noise, and then debris just started flying
everywhere. People started running." Then, after they had returned to the area, he said, “we
basically had the same thing: The ground shook again, and we heard another terrible noise and the
next thing we knew the second tower was coming down."26
The oral histories contain numerous testimonies with reports of more than one explosion. Paramedic
Kevin Darnowski, for example, said: "I started walking back up towards Vesey Street. I heard three
explosions, and then we heard like groaning and grinding, and tower two started to come down.”27
Gregg Brady, an emergency
medical technician, reported the same thing about the north tower, saying: “I heard 3 loud
explosions. I look up and the north tower is coming down now."28
Somewhat more explosions were reported by firefighter Thomas
Turilli, who said, referring to the south tower, that “it almost sounded like bombs going off, like
boom, boom, boom, like seven or eight."29
Even more explosions were reported by Craig Carlsen, who said that
while he and other firefighters were looking up at the towers, they “heard explosions coming from
building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were about ten explosions.
. . . We then realized the building started to come down.”30
As before, “pops”
were reported by some witnesses. “As we are looking up at the [south tower],” said firefighter
Joseph Meola, “it looked like the building was blowing out on all four sides. We actually heard the
pops. Didn't realize it was the falling--you know, you heard the pops of the building. You thought
it was just blowing out.”31
“Pops” were also
reported by paramedic Daniel Rivera in the following exchange:
Q. How did you know that it [the south tower] was coming down?
A. That noise. It was noise.
Q. What did you hear? What did you see?
was a frigging noise. At first I thought it was---do you ever see professional
demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear 'Pop, pop,
pop, pop, pop'? That's exactly what--because I thought it was that. When I heard that
frigging noise, that's when I saw the building coming down.32
Collapse Beginning below the Strike Zone and Fire
According to the official account, the “pancaking” of the floors began when
the floors above the strike zone, where the supports were weakened by the impact of the airplanes and the
resulting fires, fell on the floors below. Some witnesses reported, however, that the collapse of the
south tower began lower than the floors that were struck by the airliner and hence lower than the fires.
Timothy Burke reported that while he was watching flames coming
out of the south tower, “the building popped, lower than the fire.” He later heard a rumor that “the
aviation fuel fell into the pit, and whatever floor it fell on heated up really bad, and that's why
it popped at that floor.” At the time, however, he said, “I was going oh, my god, there is a
secondary device because the way the building popped. I thought it was an explosion.”33
This same twofold observation
was made by firefighter Edward Cachia, who said: “As my officer and I were looking at the south
tower, it just gave. It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit. . . . [W]e
originally had thought there was like an internal detonation, explosives, because it went in
succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down.”34
Other Indications of Controlled Demolition
Some witnesses reported other phenomena, beyond explosions, suggestive
of controlled demolition.
The Appearance of Implosion: When a building close to other buildings is brought down by controlled demolition, as
mentioned earlier, it typically implodes and hence comes straight down into, or at least close to,
its own footprint, so that it does not fall over on surrounding structures.
As we saw above in the accounts that were previously available,
both police and fire officials were quoted as saying that the towers seemed to implode. This
perception was also stated in the oral history of Lieutenant James Walsh, who said: "The [north
tower] didn't fall the way you would think tall buildings would fall. Pretty much it looked like it
imploded on itself."35
Flashes: Another common feature of controlled demolitions
is that people who are properly situated may see flashes when the explosives go off. Assistant
Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought . . . before . . . No. 2 came down, that I saw
low-level flashes. . . . Lieutenant Evangelista . . . asked me if I saw low-level flashes in front
of the building, and I agreed with him because I . . . saw a flash flash flash . . . [at] the lower
level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building, how when they blow up a
building, when it falls down? That's what I thought I saw.”36
Flashes were reported in the north tower by Captain Karin Deshore,
who said: “Somewhere around the middle of the World Trade Center, there was this orange and red
flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash.”37
Demolition Rings: At this point,
Deshore’s account moved to another standard phenomenon seen by those who watch controlled
demolitions: explosion rings, in which a series of explosions runs rapidly around a building.
Deshore’s next words were: “Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and
that building had started to explode. The popping sound, and with each popping sound it was
initially an orange and then a red flash came out of the building and then it would just go all
around the building on both sides as far as I could see. These popping sounds and the explosions
were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building."38
An explosion ring (or belt) was
also described by firefighter Richard Banaciski. Speaking of the south tower, he said: “[T]here was
just an explosion. It seemed like on television [when] they blow up these buildings. It seemed like
it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.”39
A description of what appeared to be a ring of explosions was also
given by Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick, who said: "We looked up at the [south tower] . . .
. All we saw was a puff of smoke coming from about 2 thirds of the way up . . . . It looked like
sparkling around one specific layer of the building. . . . My initial reaction was that this was
exactly the way it looks when they show you those implosions on TV."40
Horizontal Ejections: Another feature
of controlled demolition, at least when quite powerful explosives are used, is that things are
ejected horizontally from the floors on which the explosions occur. Such ejections were mentioned in
the testimony of Chief Frank Cruthers above. Similarly, Captain Jay Swithers said: “I took a quick
glance at the building and while I didn't see it falling, I saw a large section of it blasting out,
which led me to believe it was just an explosion.”41
Firefighter James Curran said: “When I got underneath the north
bridge I looked back and . . . I heard like every floor went chu-chu-chu. Looked back and from the
pressure everything was getting blown out of the floors before it actually collapsed."42
Battalion Chief Brian Dixon
said: “I was . . . hearing a noise and looking up. . . . [T]he lowest floor of fire in the south
tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives around it because . . . everything blew
out on the one floor. I thought, geez, this looks like an explosion up there, it blew out."43
These reports by Curran and Dixon
conform to what can be seen by looking at photographs and videos of the collapses, which show that
various materials, including sections of steel and aluminum, were blown out hundreds of feet.44
Such powerful ejections of materials are exactly what would be expected from explosions powerful
enough to cause such huge buildings to collapse.
Clouds: The most visible material ejected horizontally from buildings
during controlled demolition, especially buildings with lots of concrete, is dust, which forms more
or less expansive dust clouds. Some of the testimonies about the collapse of the south tower mention
that it produced an enormous amount of dust, which formed clouds so big and thick that they blocked
out all light.
Firefighter Stephen Viola said:
“You heard like loud booms . . . and then we got covered with rubble and dust, and I thought we'd
actually fallen through the floor . . . because it was so dark you couldn't see anything."45
Firefighter Angel Rivera said: “That's
when hell came down. It was like a huge, enormous explosion. . . . The wind rushed. . . , all the
dust. . . and everything went dark."46
Wall said: “[W]e heard an explosion. We looked up and the building was coming down right on top of
us. . . . We ran a little bit and then we were overtaken by the cloud."47
Paramedic Louis Cook said that after the debris started falling,
“everything went black” and “you couldn't breathe because [of] all the dust. There was just an
incredible amount of dust and smoke.” He then found that there was, “without exaggerating, a foot
and a half of dust on [his] car.”48
The kind of dust clouds typically produced during a controlled
demolition can be seen on videos of the demolition of Seattle’s Kingdome and the Reading Grain
Facility.49 If these videos are then compared with photos and videos of the collapses of
the Twin Towers,50 it can be seen that the dust clouds in the latter are even bigger.51
Timed or Synchronized
Explosions: Some people said that the collapses had the appearance of timed, synchronized
demolitions. Battalion Chief Dominick DeRubbio, speaking of the collapse of the south tower, said:
“It was weird how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed explosion."52
Firefighter Kenneth Rogers said:
"[T]here was an explosion in the south tower. . . . I kept watching. Floor after floor after floor.
One floor under another after another and when it hit about the fifth floor, I figured it was a
bomb, because it looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing. I was there in '93."53
Debates about Controlled Demolition
Given so many signs that the buildings had been brought down by controlled
demolition, we might expect that debates about this issue would have taken place. And they did.
Firefighter Christopher Fenyo, after describing events that
occurred after the first collapse, said: “At that point, a debate began to rage because. . . many
people had felt that possibly explosives had taken out 2 World Trade, and officers were gathering
companies together and the officers were debating whether or not to go immediately back in or to see
what was going to happen with 1 World Trade at that point. The debate ended pretty quickly because 1
World Trade came down."54
Firefighter William Reynolds reported on a conversation he had with a battalion
chief: “I said, ‘Chief, they're evacuating the other building; right?’ He said, ‘No.’ . . . I said,
‘Why not? They blew up the other one.’ I thought they blew it up with a bomb. I said, ‘If they blew
up the one, you know they're gonna blow up the other one.’ He said, ‘No, they're not.’ I said,
‘Well, you gotta tell them to evacuate it, because it's gonna fall down and you gotta get the guys
out.’ . . . He said, ‘I'm just the Battalion Chief. I can't order that.’ . . . I said, ‘You got a
fucking radio and you got a fucking mouth. Use the fucking things. Empty this fucking building.’
Again he said, ‘I'm just a Battalion Chief. I can't do that.’ . . . Eventually this other chief came
back and said, ‘They are evacuating this tower.’ . . . And sometime after that . . . I watched the
north tower fall."55
both accounts suggest, the perception that the south tower had been brought down by explosives may
have resulted in fewer lives being lost in the north tower collapse than would otherwise have been
Has Not Become Public Knowledge
If so many witnesses
reported effects that seemed to be produced by explosives, with some of them explicitly saying that
the collapses appeared to be cases of controlled demolition, why is this testimony not public
knowledge? Part of the answer, as I mentioned at the outset, is that the city of New York refused to
release it until forced to do so by the highest court of the state of New York
But why did we have to wait for this court-ordered release to learn
about these testimonies? Should not they have been discussed in The 9/11 Commission Report, which
was issued over a year earlier? This Report, we are told in the preface, sought “to provide the
fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.” Why does it not include any of the
testimony in the 9/11 oral histories suggestive of controlled demolition?
The answer cannot be that the Commission did not know about these oral histories.
Although “[t]he city also initially refused access to the records to investigators from . . . the
9/11 Commission,” Jim Dwyer of the New York Times tells us, it “relented when legal action was
threatened.”56 So the Commission could have discussed the testimonies about explosions in
the oral histories. It also, in order to help educate the public, could have called some of the
firefighters and medical workers to repeat their testimony during one of the Commission’s public
hearings. But it did not.
Why, we may wonder, have the
firefighters and medical workers not been speaking out? At least part of the reason may be suggested
by a statement made by Auxiliary Lieutenant Fireman Paul Isaac. Having said that “there were
definitely bombs in those buildings,” Isaac added that “many other firemen know there were bombs in
the buildings, but they’re afraid for their jobs to admit it because the ‘higher-ups’ forbid
discussion of this fact.”57
Would we not expect, however, that a few courageous members of the fire department
would have contacted the 9/11 Commission to tell their story? Indeed. But telling their story to the
Commission was no guarantee that it would find its way into the final report---as indicated by the
account of one fireman who made the effort.
Louie Cacchioli, who was quoted earlier, testified in 2004 to members of the Commission’s staff.
But, he reported, they were so unreceptive that he ended up walking out in anger. “I felt like I was
being put on trial in a court room,” said Cacchioli. “They were trying to twist my words and make
the story fit only what they wanted to hear. All I wanted to do was tell the truth and when they
wouldn’t let me do that, I walked out.”58
That Cacchioli’s experience was not atypical is suggested by
janitor William Rodriguez, whose testimony was also quoted earlier. Although Rodriguez was invited
to the White House as a National Hero for his rescue efforts on 9/11, he was, he said, treated quite
differently by the Commission: "I met with the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors and they
essentially discounted everything I said regarding the use of explosives to bring down the north
reading The 9/11 Commission Report, one will not find the name of Cacchioli, or Rodriguez, or anyone
else reporting explosions in the towers. It would appear that the Commission deliberately withheld
this information, as it apparently did with regard to Able Danger60 and many other things
that should have been included in “the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.”61
The definitive report about the
collapse of the towers was to have been provided by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST). According to Rodriguez, however, this investigative body was equally uninterested
in his testimony: “I contacted NIST . . . four times without a response. Finally, [at a public
hearing] I asked them before they came up with their conclusion . . . if they ever considered my
statements or the statements of any of the other survivors who heard the explosions. They just
stared at me with blank faces.”62
In light of this report of NIST’s response, it is not surprising to find that its final
report, which in the course of supporting the official story about the collapses ignores many vital
issues,63 makes no mention of reports of explosions and other phenomena suggestive of
1. Jim Dwyer, "City to Release Thousands
of Oral Histories of 9/11 Today," New York Times, August 12, 2005. As Dwyer explained, the oral
histories "were originally gathered on the order of Thomas Von Essen, the city fire commissioner on
Sept. 11, who said he wanted to preserve those accounts before they became reshaped by a collective
2. Jim Dwyer, "Vast
Archive Yields New View of 9/11," New York Times, August 13, 2005.
3. These oral histories are available at a
NYT website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages
4. Los Angeles Times,
September 12, 2001.
"Special Report: Terrorism in the US," Guardian, Sept. 12, 2001.
6. Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast and
Injured Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High," Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
7. Greg Szymanski, "Second WTC Janitor Comes
Forward With Eye-Witness Testimony Of 'Bomb-Like' Explosion in North Tower Basement," Arctic
Beacon.com, July 12, 2005.
"We Will Not Forget: A Day of Terror," The Chief Engineer, July, 2002.
9. Christopher Bollyn, "New Seismic Data
Refutes Official Explanation," American Free Press, Updated April 12, 2004 (http://www.americanfreepress.net/09_03_02/NEW_SEISMIC_/new_seismic_.html).
10. Quoted in Dennis Smith, Report from Ground
Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center (New York: Penguin, 2002), 18.
11. "911 Tapes Tell Horror Of 9/11," Part 2, "Tapes
Released For First Time," NBC TV, June 17, 2002 (
Greg Szymanski, "NY Fireman Lou Cacchioli Upset that 9/11 Commission 'Tried to Twist My Words,’"
Arctic Beacon.com, July 19, 2005. Although the oral histories that were released on August 12 did
not include one from Cacchioli, the fact that he was on duty is confirmed in the oral history of
Thomas Turilli, page 4.
12. Dean E.
Murphy, September 11: An Oral History (New York: Doubleday, 2002), 9-15.
13. BBC, Sept. 11, 2001.
14. Quoted in Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, Women
at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion (Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002), 65-66, 68.
15. John Bussey, "Eye of the Storm: One Journey
Through Desperation and Chaos," Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2001 (
16. Alicia Shepard, Cathy Trost, and Newseum,
Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11, Foreword by Tom Brokaw (Lanham,
Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 87.
17. Quoted in Judith Sylvester and Suzanne Huffman, Women Journalists at Ground Zero
(Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 19.
18. For the video of this conversation, see “Evidence of Demolition Charges in WTC 2,”
What Really Happened (
19. Oral History of John Sudnik, 4 (for where to find the 9/11 oral
histories of the FDNY, see note 3, above).
20. Oral History of Timothy Julian, 10.
21. Oral History of Michael Ober, 4.
22. Oral History of Frank Cruthers, 4.
23. Oral History of Lonnie Penn, 5.
24. Oral History of Paul Curran, 11.
25. Oral History of Bradley Mann, 5-7.
26. Oral History of Kevin Darnowski, 8.
27. Oral History of Gregg Brady, 7.
28. Oral History of Thomas Turilli, 4.
29. Oral History of Craig Carlsen, 5-6.
30. Oral History of Joseph Meola, 5.
31. Oral History of Daniel Rivera, 9.
32. Oral History of Timothy Burke, 8-9.
33. Oral History of Edward Cachia, 5.
34. Oral History of James Walsh, 15.
35. Oral History of Stephen Gregory, 14-16.
36. Oral History of Karin Deshore, 15.
38. Oral History of Richard Banaciski, 3-4.
39. Oral History of Thomas Fitzpatrick, 13-14.
40. Oral history of Jay Swithers, 5.
41. Oral History of James Curran, 10-11.
42. Oral History of Brian Dixon, 15. Like many
others, Dixon indicated that he later came to accept the official interpretation, adding: "Then I
guess in some sense of time we looked at it and realized, no, actually it just collapsed. That's
what blew out the windows, not that there was an explosion there but that windows blew out."
43. See, for example, Eric Hufschmid’s Painful
Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (Goleta, Calif.: Endpoint Software, 2002); Jim
Hoffman’s website ( http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html); and Jeff King’s website (
http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html ), especially "The
World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence for a Controlled Demolition?"
44. Oral History of Stephen Viola, 3.
45. Oral History of Angel Rivera, 7.
46. Oral History of William Wall, 9.
47. Oral History of Louis Cook, 8, 35.
48. The demolition of the Kingdome can be viewed at
the website of Controlled Demolition, Inc. (
http://www.controlled-demolition.com/default.asp?reqLocId=7&reqItemId=20030317140323 ), that of
the Reading Grain Facility at ImplosionWorld.com (
http://implosionworld.com/reading.html ). I am indebted to Jim Hoffman for help on this and
several other issues.
49. See the
writings of Hufschmid, Hoffman, and King mentioned in note 44.
50. For a calculation of the energy required simply for the expansion of
one of the resulting dust clouds, see Jim Hoffman, "The North Tower's Dust Cloud" (
http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volume.html ). Hoffman concludes that
gravitational energy would have been far from sufficient.
51. Oral History of Dominick DeRubbio, 5. DeRubbio, at least professing
to accept the official interpretation, added, "but I guess it was just the floors starting to
pancake one on top of the other."
52. Oral History of Kenneth Rogers, 3-4.
53. Oral History of Christopher Fenyo, 6-7.
54. Oral History of William Reynolds, 8.
55. Dwyer, "City to Release Thousands of Oral
Histories of 9/11 Today."
Lavello, "Bombs in the Building"; Prison Planet.com (
57. Greg Szymanski, "NY Fireman Lou Cacchioli Upset
that 9/11 Commission 'Tried to Twist My Words'" Arctic Beacon.com, July 19, 2005.
58. Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast and Injured
Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High," Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
59. See MSNBC, "Officer: 9/11 Panel Didn't Pursue
Atta Claim" August 17, 2005 (
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8985244&&CM=EmailThis&CE=1 ), and Philip Shenon, "Navy Officer
Affirms Assertions about Pre-9/11 Data on Atta," New York Times, August 22, 2005.
60. For other items, see David Ray Griffin, The
9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton: Interlink, 2005).
61. Greg Szymanski, "WTC Basement Blast and Injured
Burn Victim Blows 'Official 9/11 Story' Sky High," Arctic Beacon.com, June 24, 2005.
62. See Kevin Ryan, "Propping Up the War on
Terror: Lies about the WTC by NIST and Underwriters Laboratories," in David Ray Griffin and
Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Northampton, Mass.:
Interlink Books, Fall 2006), and Jim Hoffman, "Building a Better Mirage: NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000
Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century" (
63. Oral History of Timothy Julian, 10.
64. Oral History of James Drury, 12.
65. Liz Else, "Baltimore Blasters," New Scientist
183/2457 (July 24, 2004), 48 (
Surprisingly, after explaining how precisely explosives must be set to ensure that a building comes
straight down, Loizeaux said that upon seeing the fires in the Twin Towers, he knew that they were
"going to pancake down, almost vertically. It was the only way they could fail. It was inevitable."
Given the fact that fire had never before caused tall steel-frame buildings to collapse, let alone
in a way that perfectly mimicked controlled demolition, Loizeaux's statement was doubly puzzling.
His company, incidentally, was hired to do the clean-up of the WTC site after 9/11.
66. I could not have written this essay without the
amazingly generous help of Matthew Everett, who located and passed on to me most of the statements
in the 9/11 oral histories quoted herein.
By KEVIN FLYNN. The New York Times.
NEW YORK -- The voices, captured on a tape of Fire Department radio
transmissions, betray no fear. The words are matter of fact.
Two hose lines are needed, Chief Orio Palmer says from an upper floor of the badly damaged south
tower at the World Trade Center. Just two hose lines to attack two isolated pockets of fire. "We
should be able to knock it down with two lines," he tells the firefighters of Ladder Co. 15 who were
following him up the stairs of the doomed tower.
Lt. Joseph G. Leavey is heard responding: "Orio, we're on 78 but we're in the B stairway. Trapped in
here. We got to put some fire out to get to you."
The time was 9:56 a.m. The firefighters had just arrived at a place where, 54 minutes earlier, many
people had been waiting for elevators when the second plane came crashing through the building. At
9:56 a.m., Palmer and Ladder Co. 15 were surrounded by the wounded whom they hoped to evacuate.
Like the voice cockpit recorder from a downed jetliner, this tape, discovered in an adjacent
building several weeks after Sept. 11, is providing a glimpse into unseen corners of the tragedy and
the resolute advance of firefighters as they encountered the largest catastrophe of their lives.
The 78-minute tape, which was found in a room at 5 World Trade Center where radio transmissions were
monitored, is the only known audio tape of firefighters at the scene. In recent months, officials of
the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who maintained the recording system, have allowed
fire officials and family members to listen to it. It was not publicly released, however, until this
week. The release came after federal prosecutors, responding to a court motion by The New York
Times, said its release would not interfere with the prosecution of terrorists.
Officials from the Port Authority and the Fire Department are still debating what the tape tells
them about the breakdowns in radio communication that day. There are several long stretches of
silence on the tape. Transmissions from only a few of the companies that operated in the south tower
are recorded. A few additional snippets of conversation can be heard from firefighters operating in
the north tower, where radios using the same frequency were also monitored.
But sections of the tape provide vivid images of the firefighters: The breathless voice of Palmer, a
marathon runner, after dashing up dozens of flights of steps; the assurances from firefighters to
him that they are coming on his heels; the effort to create a medical staging area for the wounded
on the 40th floor.
At several points in the tape, fire commanders can be heard speaking with urgency. A commander
alerts a colleague that he needs more companies to handle what he is facing in the south tower. The
chiefs discuss the need to get more elevators into service, to carry firefighters up and to
transport the injured back down.
But nowhere on the tape is there any indication that firefighters had the slightest indication that
the tower had become unstable or that it could collapse.
"Chief, I'm going to stop on 44," Stephen Belson, an aide "Chief, I'm going to stop on 44," Stephen
Belson, an aide to Chief Palmer, tells the chief at 9:25 a.m. as he ascends.
"Take your time," the chief responds.
Half an hour later, the tape reveals, firefighters from Ladder Co. 15 had loaded 10 injured people
into an elevator and begun a descent to the lobby. Down below, fire commanders were waiting, hoping
to use that elevator, the only working one in the building, to ferry additional firefighters back up
to the heavily damaged floors. But suddenly the elevator stopped, according to the tape.
"You're going to have to get a different elevator," a firefighter from Ladder Co. 15 says over the
radio. "We're chopping through the wall to get out."
A few seconds later, at 9:58 a.m., Palmer tries to raise someone from the ladder company. "Battalion
7 to Ladder 15," he calls. But the tape remains silent.
Lost Voices of Firefighters, Some on 78th Floor.
By JIM DWYER and FORD FESSENDEN, August 4, 2002.
A lost tape of lost voices, ignored until recently by
investigators studying the emergency response on Sept. 11, shows that firefighters climbed far
higher into the south tower than practically anyone had realized. At least two men reached the crash
zone on the 78th floor, where they went to the aid of grievously injured people trapped in a sprawl
Until the building's final minutes, one of the two firefighters, Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer, was
organizing the evacuation of people hurt by the plane's impact. He was accompanied by Fire Marshal
Ronald P. Bucca. Both men died.
Only now, nearly a year after the attacks, are the efforts of Chief Palmer, Mr. Bucca and others
becoming public. City fire officials simply delayed listening to a 78-minute tape that is the only
known recording of firefighters inside the towers. The Fire Department has forbidden anyone to
discuss the contents publicly on the ground that the tape might be evidence in the trial of Zacarias
Moussaoui, the man accused of plotting with the hijackers.
According to four people who have heard it, the tape provides new, sharp and unforgettable images of
the last minutes inside the trade center complex.
For months, senior officials believed that firefighters had gone no higher than about the 50th floor
in each tower, well below most damage. The transmissions from Chief Palmer and others reveal a
startling achievement: firefighters in the south tower actually reached a floor struck by the second
hijacked airplane. Once they got there, they had a coherent plan for putting out the fires they
could see and helping victims who survived.
About 14 or 15 minutes before the south tower collapsed, a group of people who had survived the
plane's impact began their descent from the 78th floor. As they departed, Chief Palmer sent word to
Chief Edward Geraghty that a group of 10 people, with a number of injuries, were heading to an
elevator on the 41st floor. That elevator was the only one working after the plane hit. On its last
trip down, however, the car became stuck in the shaft. Inside the elevator was a firefighter from
Ladder 15, who reported that he was trying to break open the walls. It is not clear whether the
group of 10 had reached that elevator before it left the 41st floor but those who listened to the
tape said it was most unlikely that they had enough time to escape, by the elevator or by stairs.
Only a minute or two of the tape covers transmissions from the north tower; the rest are from the
south tower. Senior officials said this suggested that the communications problems that plagued the
Fire Department's response to the attack were caused not simply by equipment failures, but possibly
also by misunderstandings over how certain radio gear was working. WTC
On the tapes, the commander of operations in the south tower, Donald Burns, is heard repeatedly
calling for additional companies, but many firefighters headed for that building became caught in
traffic or became confused about which tower they should report to. As events developed, the
inability to get more firefighters into the south tower may have spared some lives, officials said.
The tape was recovered months ago by staff members from the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, although authority officials could not be precise about the time. In January or February,
the Port Authority offered a copy of the tape to Fire Department officials, but they declined the
The fire officials said they were not told at the time that the tape contained important information
and did not want to sign a confidentiality agreement demanded by the Port Authority.
In early July, after The New York Times reported the existence of the tape and the fact that
consultants studying the department's response to the attack had not listened to it, Mayor Michael
R. Bloomberg announced that the fire investigators would immediately review it. A draft of the
consultants' report does not take account of the tape's contents.
The department has identified the voices of at least 16 firefighters on the tape, and on Friday,
their families were invited to listen to it in a ballroom at the Southgate Tower Suite Hotel near
Pennsylvania Station. First, they were required to sign a statement prepared by city lawyers saying
they would not disclose the last words of their husbands, brothers and sons.
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told the families that he had not known the tape existed until
very recently. Later, he declined to discuss its contents, but said it had a powerful effect on him.
"Every time I've seen videotapes, listened to audio recordings or read the accounts of firefighters
and their actions on Sept. 11, I've felt the same thing: an extraordinary sense of awe at their
incredible professionalism and bravery."
As the tape played over the hotel sound system, a transcript was displayed on a video screen.
Chief Palmer's widow, Debbie Palmer, said she attended the session with trepidation, but as
Commissioner Scoppetta did, she used the word "awe" to describe her feelings afterward. She had
known little about her husband's movements on Sept. 11. Mrs. Palmer stressed that she would not
break her promise to keep the tape confidential but said it had given her some peace about her
husband's last moments.
"I didn't hear fear, I didn't hear panic," she said. "When the tape is made public to the world,
people will hear that they all went about their jobs without fear, and selflessly."
Chief Palmer, 45, worked as a firefighter and officer in every borough of the city except Staten
Island, said Capt. Robert Norcross, a close friend. He was a student of communication technology,
publishing a study of radio equipment in the Fire Department's internal newsletter. "Every time he
went to work, Orio had a project," Captain Norcross said. "He was a very brilliant man. And he also
was in excellent shape - a marathoner. When the department started giving out a fitness medal, he
was the first to win it three or four times."
Chief Palmer began his assignment in the north tower after the first plane struck, helping to
organize the operations there. Soon after the second plane hit the south tower at 9:02 a.m., Chief
Palmer moved into that building with Chief Burns.
Although most elevators were knocked out of service, Chief Palmer found one that was working and
took it to the 41st floor. At that point, he was halfway to the impact zone, which ran from the 78th
to the 84th floors.
As he began climbing, he crossed paths with a handful of injured people who had been in the 78th
floor Sky Lobby, where scores of office workers had been waiting for express elevators when the
second plane hit. The tip of its left wing grazed the lobby, instantly killing most of a group
variously estimated between 50 and 200 people. Only a dozen ultimately escaped from the building.
Among them was Judy Wein.
"We saw the firefighters coming up, and they would ask us, what floor did you come from?" Ms. Wein
recalled in an interview. "We told them, 78, and there's lots of people badly hurt up there. Then
they would get on their walkie-talkies and report back in."
Ed Nicholls, whose arm was nearly severed by the blast across the 78th floor, recalled in an
interview that he saw a firefighter somewhere around the 50th floor who had advice on how to get
out. "We encountered a fireman who told us to go to the 41st floor," he said.
While it is impossible to say if Chief Palmer was the firefighter whom Mr. Nicholls saw, the chief
did send radio messages with the information that he collected from civilians trying to escape the
As Ling Young, another survivor of the 78th floor, made her way down, she passed two fire marshals,
Mr. Bucca and James Devery. They had climbed the stairs from the lobby because they did not know
about the elevator that ran to the 41st floor. "Ronnie was ahead of me, like a flight, at all times
- he was just in better shape," Mr. Devery said in an interview. "And then on the 51st floor there
was a woman standing there on the stairwell landing and she had her arms out and her eyes were
closed. And she was bleeding from the side." That was Mrs. Young, and she seemed ready to faint, he
recalled, so he decided to escort her out.
"Then I yelled to Ronnie, I yelled up, because he was ahead of me - I said, `Ronnie, I got to help
her down, I'll be back,' " Mr. Devery said. "But he didn't answer me. He must have been two flights
ahead of me."
Mr. Devery and Mrs. Young took the elevator on the 41st floor to the street. She spent weeks in the
When Chief Palmer reached the 75th floor, he reported meeting a fire marshal in the stairway, and
officials said that was Mr. Bucca. The two men were well ahead of all the other firefighters in the
building. Mr. Bucca, 47, was very fit, like Chief Palmer, and was active in the Army Reserve.
As they passed other survivors from the impact zone, Chief Palmer informed the fire officers on the
lower floors about their injuries. Chief Geraghty, who had come to the 41st floor, called down to
the ground for firefighters with medical training.
Chief Palmer also found an obstruction in the stairway and told the trailing fire companies how to
get around it. He asked the chiefs below him to find an elevator that reached the 76th floor, those
who heard the tape said.
Throughout, the voices of Chief Palmer, Chief Geraghty, and the other firefighters showed no panic,
no sense that events were racing beyond their control.
When Chief Palmer radioed from the 78th floor, he sounded slightly out of breath, perhaps from
exertion or perhaps from the sight of all the people who moments before had been waiting for an
elevator and now were dead or close to it.
"Numerous 10-45's, Code Ones," Chief Palmer said, using the Fire Department's radio terms for dead
At that point, the building would be standing for just a few more minutes, as the fire was weakening
the structure on the floors above him. Even so, Chief Palmer could see only two pockets of fire, and
called for a pair of engine companies to fight them.
Among those lying in the lobby of the 78th floor was Richard Gabrielle, an Aon employee who had been
waiting for the elevator. He was trapped under marble that was blown off the wall, witnesses said.
His widow, Monica Gabrielle, said that she has been tormented by nightmares about her husband's last
moments, and that she was appalled that fire officials had waited so long to listen to the tape. She
had wondered whether her husband had died alone. The efforts of Chief Palmer and Mr. Bucca in
reaching the 78th floor eased that anxiety.
"The fact that Rich, still alive, was not alone - at least he knew there was help, and thought that
they were getting out," she said. She added that she thought all such records should be made public.
Mrs. Palmer said that as she sat in the audience on Friday listening to the tape, she realized that
she knew how events would end, but that her husband and the other firefighters did not. "In my mind,
I was saying, hurry up, hurry up, get out of there," she said. "But what's done is done."