9:59: The south tower collapses

Schroeder Letter– Home
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The Badillo article states, "Firefighter Schroeder made it all the way up to the 23rd floor before barely hearing on the failing radios that another plane was coming in. That plane would hit the South Tower..."

This we know is wrong, and Dylan Avery, Luke Rudkowski, and the other 9/11 "researchers" who interviewed Schroeder should have corrected him on the spot. Manny Badillo should have done the basic fact-checking that any reporter should do. They should have known that there was no way Schroeder could have been on the 23rd floor 16 minutes after the north tower was hit. The fact that Schroeder told them that he had trouble piecing together the events of 9/11 should have made them even more careful about getting things right. Had they read my paper about William Rodriguez, they would have known that he, PAPD officer David Lim, and others experienced exactly the same confusion.

The Schroeder and Rodriguez accounts deviate from real time by 56 minutes at this point. Schroeder is blameless for this error of confusion. For almost everyone involved, the clock on 9/11 moved much more slowly in their heads than in reality. On the other hand, Rodriguez, who makes his living by spreading falsehoods about 9/11, should have checked his facts. Details of Rodriguez's timeline are here.

The Badillo article continues. Schroeder: "...though for some reason, 'We were tossed like a rag doll by another explosion in our building.' "

This should have been another clue for the "researchers." The impact of flight 175 on the south tower shook the north a bit but didn't rock it, blow windows in, or toss people around. To people in the north tower, the collapse of the south tower was first heard, then was felt as debris and hurricane-force winds crashed into the north tower. It was very dramatic for most, and many people thought the north tower was going to collapse at that moment.

The perception of the south tower collapse on people in the north tower did vary with location. Note in the Derek Brogan account below that Schroeder was on the southeast side, closest to the south tower when it collapsed.

James Ippolito, Engine 28
"We couldn't get up any faster, so we went back to the B staircase, and we were taking a break on 30, and that's when we heard a rumble, outside explosion, and I think that was the other building coming down, but we were getting reports on the radio that there was another incoming plane, so guys weren't sure. At first we thought it was the plane hitting, but we at this point -- we knew the plane was already in the building, and we heard rumbling."

John Drumm, Engine 16: "So besides making sure everyone was okay, we were waiting there.  Maybe we were on the 31st hallway for approximately five minutes when all of a sudden a large crashing,  thundering, roaring -- it's almost impossible to  really explain with those words, but it was so much more noise than I could ever really explain clearly. 
The members that were nearby, we all went and got down on our hands and knees on the floor, not knowing what this was, walls, floor. I had no idea. I had no idea what was happening  until I got out of the building later in the day I had found out what happened. Later in the day I found out what was going on when all of us were on the floor and all that roaring was going on was the south tower collapsing." 
Nicholas Borillo, Ladder 1: "Maybe on the second floor I thought I heard a little bit of an explosion or something. Later on we found out that there was a -- there was a Port Authority guy on the staircase in our vicinity. He confirmed that another plane had hit the other tower.

A couple guys were behind us, so we had to stop maybe two times as we were going up. We climbed up to the 23rd floor. We were waiting for a couple of our guys to come up. They finally hooked up with us, and we took a break. There was a water display thing like for sodas and everything. We got into that, because we were just overheating. We took, I don't know, a  five-minute break there. 
Then we heard a rumble. We heard it and we felt the whole building shake. It was like being on a train, being in an earthquake.  A  train is more like it, because with the train you hear the rumbling, and it kind of like moved you  around in the hall. Then it just stopped after eight or ten seconds, about the time it took for the building to come down. 
We just kind of looked at each other like what the hell was that?"

Kirk Long, Engine 1: "We were also with 16 Engine on the 22nd floor. When the building shook, I was right next to an elevator shaft with Andy, crawling down the hallway. I was waiting for a flame to come up from the basement because I believed something in the basement blew up. Nothing like that happened, so I was waiting for a flame to come down from a plane. Nothing like that happened. Still at that time I never knew that the south tower had gone down."

Fernando Camacho, Ladder 22, in the north tower lobby: "As we came in through the revolving doors, the lights went out. A second or two later everything started to shake. You could hear explosions. We didn't know what it was. We thought it was just a small collapse. 
As I looked straight ahead of me, I saw total darkness. Everything was coming our way like a wave. The firefighters that were ahead of us and the civilians that were ahead of us totally disappeared. 
We turned around. We were all pretty much within ten feet of each other: lieutenant, chauffeur, roof, OV, can.  As we turned around, I ran probably maybe ten feet and that's when the body of the building or body of the collapse hit, and we were flying through the air basically. I must have flown 30, 40 feet through the air. 
Then total quiet. You couldn't  breathe. You couldn't see anything. None of the equipment worked.  My face piece was gone, flashlight, helmet. There were about maybe five or six civilians around us. We tried to get them out, as we tried to make our way out."

Derek Brogan, Engine 5: "We were in an outer office on the 23rd floor on the southeast corner, which I guess faces tower two. Then we felt a rumble. You just heard this noise that sounded like the subway train going by but magnified by a thousand.

When we heard that noise, we all just got up. We didn't bother to look out the window. We just made an exit out of that room. We got to 9 Truck [members of Ladder 9]. I remember them yelling that we had to close the door behind us. We closed the doors behind us, and I went to go back in the stairwell and there wasn't any room in the stairwell. It was loaded with people.

So myself and a guy named Schroder [sic] from 10 Engine went down the hallway and found a closet, and we darted into the closet. We were in there maybe five to ten seconds. Then we heard a knock on the door. We opened the door. At that time the lights went out and the whole place just was -- you couldn't see anything. Dust, smoke, whatever it was.

Outside was a Port Authority cop. We dragged him in with us. We couldn't get him all the way in the room because he was laying on the floor and his leg was hanging outside of the doorway. This wind came down the hallway and blew the doors open that were in that office that we were in. I remember me yelling that his ankle was getting crushed outside the door.

That subsided after about 20, 30 seconds. The rumbling was still there, but the wind was gone. We opened the door. We yelled outside where 5 Engine was, because you couldn't see anything. They said they were here. They just kept on yelling. We found them in the stairwell."

John Gorman, Engine 5 (correction: Gerard Gorman. Thanks, Brian): "See, I only know that by the time we get to the 24th floor, that's when the first building collapsed, the south tower."
Q: "Is that had highest point you remember getting to is the 24th floor?"
A: "Twenty-third or fourth. I'm not sure."
Lt. Bill Walsh, Ladder 1: "Like a fool I thought it was just another localized collapse." (Naudet)

Capt. Dennis Tardio, Engine 7: "We heard somebody say the 64th floor is coming down to the 63rd floor." (Naudet)

Bertram Springstead, Ladder 9: "Then 5 Engine was there, the whole 5 Engine was there. Derek Brogan was miserable. He was terrible. He looked terrible. I was nervous about him. He looked really bad. So I turned to 5 Engine officer. They didn’t want to leave him, but they wanted to keep going. I said, “Look, Lou, you want me to take down Derek?” I said, “I’m going to take Don down. Do you want me to take Derek down? I’m taking two,” because 5 Engine didn’t want to leave another guy behind. He said, “Yeah, maybe that’s a good idea, if you’re going down.” I had a radio, Don had a radio, and this way they didn’t have to lose another guy with a radio when it went up.

So maybe, I don’t know, five seconds later, that’s when tower two must have started coming down. The building started shaking, a tremendous rumbling. Light bulbs were falling out. File cabinets were tipping over.

We were in that corner of tower one that’s kind of close to tower two where they kind of like point at each other there. That’s the corner we were in. I don’t know what the hell was going on, but whatever it was, it was right outside the window that we were standing like five feet from. Some guys were diving on the floor. Some guys were -- I just took off for the other side. I said whatever was going on was on that side. I said I’m getting to the other side of the building. I started running.

We got to that side of the building. I didn’t see Casey, but he told me he dove on the floor first. Then when he saw me run by, he said, “That looks like a good idea. Maybe I’ll go with Bert and get to the other side.” Casey got him to the stairwell. He said, “Let’s get the hell out ofi here.” I said, “Hold on, hold on, Case. I don’t even know what that was. Let’s regroup here. First we’ve got to go back and get our stuff.”

We had taken our coats off. We don’t have any tools. We don’t have our masks. I said, “Let’s go back, get our stuff.” I said, “First of all, Brogan is still back there. We’re responsible for him now.” I said, “Let’s go see if we can find Derek.
We get back there. It was dark. Most of the light bulbs had fallen off, so you really couldn’t see much. I guess it was from the dust cloud outside there was no light coming in. We didnTt know at the time. We just thought it was another plane or something, another explosion or whatever. We really didn’t know what it was.

We got our masks and our coats, grabbed the halogen and started looking for Derek, couldn’t find him, searched all over. He didn’t have a radio. We couldn’t call him. Then we got the word on the radio to get out of the building. I was like, “Case, I guess he’s gone. There’s nobody on this floor.” We searched the whole floor. There’s nobody there."

We've seen that Derek Brogan wasn't there because he had gone with John Schroeder.