Accounts of WTC 7 Damage

1. The major concern at that time was number Seven, building number Seven, which had taken a big hit from the north tower. When it fell, it ripped steel out from between the third and sixth floors across the facade on Vesey Street. We were concerned that the fires on several floors and the missing steel would result in the building collapsing. –FDNY Chief Frank Fellini

2. At that time, other firefighters started showing up, Deputy Battalion Chief Paul Ferran of the 41 Battalion, and James Savastano of the First Division assigned to the Second Battalion showed up and we attempted to search and extinguish, at the time which was small pockets of fire in 7 World Trade Center. We were unaware of the damage in the front of 7, because we were entering from the northeast entrance. We weren't aware of the magnitude of the damage in the front of the building. – FDNY Captain Anthony Varriale

3. [Shortly after the tower collapses] I don’t know how long this was going on, but I remember standing there looking over at building 7 and realizing that a big chunk of the lower floors had been taken out on the Vesey Street side. I looked up at the building and I saw smoke in it, but I really didn't see any fire at that time. Deputy ––Chief Nick Visconti

4. A few minutes after that a police officer came up to me and told me that the façade in front of Seven World Trade Center was gone and they thought there was an imminent collapse of Seven World Trade Center. –FDNY Lieutenant William Melarango

5. I think they said they had seven to ten floors that were freestanding and they weren't going to send anyone in. –FDNY Chief Thomas McCarthy

6. So we go there and on the north and east side of 7 it didn’t look like there was any damage at all, but then you looked on the south side of 7 there had to be a hole 20 stories tall in the building, with fire on several floors. Debris was falling down on the building and it didn’t look good. But they had a hose line operating. Like I said, it was hitting the sidewalk across the street, but eventually they pulled back too.

Then we received an order from Fellini, we’re going to make a move on 7. That was the first time really my stomach tightened up because the building didn’t look good. I was figuring probably the standpipe systems were shot. There was no hydrant pressure. I wasn’t really keen on the idea. Then this other officer I’m standing next to said, that building doesn’t look straight. So I’m standing there. I’m looking at the building. It didn’t look right, but, well, we’ll go in, we’ll see.

So we gathered up rollups and most of us had masks at that time. We headed toward 7. And just around we were about a hundred yards away and Butch Brandeis came running up. He said forget it, nobody’s going into 7, there’s creaking, there are noises coming out of there, so we just stopped. And probably about 10 minutes after that, Visconti, he was on West Street, and I guess he had another report of further damage either in some basements and things like that, so Visconti said nobody goes into 7, so that was the final thing and that was abandoned.
  Firehouse Magazine: When you looked at the south side, how close were you to the base of that side?
  Boyle: I was standing right next to the building, probably right next to it.

Firehouse: When you had fire on the 20 floors, was it in one window or many?

Boyle: There was a huge gaping hole and it was scattered through there. It was a huge hole. I would say it was probably a third of it, right in the middle of it. And so after Visconti came down and said nobody goes in 7, we said all right, we’ll head back to the command post. – Capt. Chris Boyle

7. After the initial blast, Housing Authority worker Barry Jennings, 46, reported to a command center on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center. He was with Michael Hess, the city's corporation counsel, when they felt and heard another explosion [the collapse of the north tower]. First calling for help, they scrambled downstairs to the lobby, or what was left of it. "I looked around, the lobby was gone. It looked like hell," Jennings said.

8. Anyway, I was looking at WTC7 and I noticed that it wasn’t looking like it was straight. It was really weird. The closest corner to me (the SE corner) was kind of out of whack with the SW corner. It was impossible to tell whether that corner (the SW) was leaning over more or even if it was leaning the other way. With all of the smoke and the debris pile, I couldn’t exactly tell what was going on, but I sure could see the building was leaning over in a way it certainly should not be. I asked another guy looking with me and he said “That building is going to come down, we better get out of here.” So we did. –M.J., Employed at 45 Broadway, in a letter to me.

9. So we left 7 World Trade Center, back down to the street, where I ran into Chief Coloe from the 1st Division, Captain Varriale, Engine 24, and Captain Varriale told Chief Coloe and myself that 7 World Trade Center was badly damaged on the south side and definitely in danger of collapse. Chief Coloe said we were going to evacuate the collapse zone around 7 World Trade Center, which we did. – FDNY Lieutenant Rudolph Weindler

10. Just moments before the south tower collapsed and, you know, when it happened we didn't know it was the south tower. We thought it was the north tower. There was a reporter of some sort, female with blond hair and her cameraman, an oriental fellow. They were setting up outside 7 World Trade Center, just east of the pedestrian bridge. I told them it would probably be better off to be set up under the bridge. At least it was protected. I was just about to enter a dialogue with her when I heard a sound I never heard before. I looked up and saw this huge cloud. I told him run. I grabbed the female, I threw her through the revolving doors of number 7.

We were proceeding inside. She fell to the ground. I helped her out, I pushed her towards the direction of where we were all in the south corner and there was a little doorway behind that desk which led into the loading bays. Everybody started to run through that. Never made it to that door. The next thing that I remember was that I was covered in some glass and some debris. Everything came crashing through the front of number 7. It was totally pitch black.

Q. Were you injured?

A. Yes, I saw some stuff had fallen on me. I didn't believe that I was injured at that time. I discovered later on I was injured. I had some shards of glass impaled in my head, but once I was able to get all this debris and rubble off of me and cover my face with my jacket so that I could breathe, it was very thick dust, you couldn't see. We heard some sounds. We reached out and felt our way around. I managed to find some other people in this lower lobby. We crawled over towards the direction where we thought the door was and as we approached it the door cracked open a little, so we had the lights from the loading bay. We made our way over there. The loading bay doors were 3-fourths of the way shut when this happened, so they took a lot of dust in there, but everyone in those bays was safe and secure. We had face to face contact with Chief Maggio and Captain Nahmod. They told me – I said do whatever you need to do, get these people out of here. Go, go towards the water. –EMS Division Chief Jon Peruggia

11. You could see the damage at 7 World Trade Center, the damage into the AT&T building.
–FDNY Firefighter Vincent Palmieri

12. At this point, 7, which is right there on Vesey, the whole corner of the building was missing. I was thinking to myself we are in a bad place, because it was the corner facing us. –Fred Marsilla, FDNY

13. The way we got into the loading dock [of WTC 7] was not the way we were getting out. It was obstructed.

Q. The door was blocked?

A. Yeah, and we found our way -- we walked across the loading dock area, and we found there was another door. We went in that door, and from there we were directed to -- I really guess it was like a basement area of the building, but we were directed to an opposite door. –Dr. Michael Guttenberg , NYC Office of Medical Affairs

14. We eventually ended up meeting after the second explosion, three of us met up here, but I didn't see a lot of the people that were with me until two, three days later. I got word that they were okay. For instance, Dr. Guttenberg and Dr. Asaeda, who were at 7 World Trade Center, they got trapped in there and had to like climb in and out and get out because that building also became very damaged supposedly and they were there. We thought they were dead. I guess he was in an area where Commissioner Tierney might have been, I believe. I think she was in 7 also. –Paramedic Manuel Delgado

(After collapse of south tower)
15. The decision was either to go left or right and we ended up going right, between the two buildings, in the alleyway on the north, which turned out to be the right direction because apparently there was a lot of debris and part of 7 down already. Also, I did notice as I was making my exit the sound of the firefighters' alarms indicating that they were down. I did remember that as well but just could not see anything. –Dr. Glenn Asaeda

16. I saw the firefighter. There were people screaming out of one of these two buildings over here saying they couldn't get out, and my partner took one straggler fireman, the one that we had with us, and was trying to break the door because the door obviously had shifted or something. They couldn't get the door open.

Q: That was 7 World Trade Center?

A: I believe it was 7. Maybe it was 5. It was at the back end of it because I do remember the telephone company [which is next to building 7]. So I think it was the back end of 7, I think right over here at that point, and they couldn't get out. Then I had ran down the block and I flagged a ladder company and they brought the ladder, which they had like a vestibule that you couldn't like really reach the people because the ladder wouldn't reach. So they went and got other resources, they went inside the building, and I told my partner that it wasn't safe and that we need to go because everything around us was like falling apart. –EMT Nicole Ferrell

17. The whole south side of Seven World Trade had been hit by the collapse of the second Tower. – Fire Captain Brenda Berkman (Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, Women at Ground Zero, 2002, p. 213)

18. At that point, they said that Seven World Trade had no face and it was ready to collapse. – EMT Mercedes Rivera: (Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba, Women at Ground Zero, 2002, p. 29)

19.  You see the white smoke, you see the thing leaning like this? It's definitely going. There's no way to stop it. 'Cause you have to go up in there to put it out, and it's already, the structural integrity is not there. –Unidentified firefighter in this video.

20. As far as I was concerned, we were still trapped. I was hopeful. things were looking a whole lot better now than they were just a few minutes earlier, but we were a long way from safe and sound. Five World Trade Center was fully involved, Six World Trade Center was roaring pretty good, and behind them Seven World Trade Center was teetering on collapse.
  The buildings just behind him and to his left  were looking like they too might collapse at any time, and there were whole chunks of concrete falling to both sides. Flames dancing everywhere. The small-arms detonations were kicking up a notch or two, and it sounded like this poor guy was being fired at, by snipers or unseen terrorists, at close range.  (Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto, FDNY Battalion Commander  Penguin Books, 2002. page 191)