FDNY & other WTC First Responders, Corporate Response, Volunteers

Main 9/11 links page 

NIST NCSTAR 1-8 The Emergency Response Operations

9/11 Commission Report Chapter 9: Heroism and Horror

McKinsey Report Post-9/11 - Increasing FDNY's Preparedness

FDNY oral testimony interview transcripts

Wikipedia: Rescue and recovery effort after the September 11, 2001 attacks
Video of rescue efforts on night of 9/11, lit by portable floodlight
Transcripts of Dispatch Records from 9/11/01 (PDF. Released via New York Times FOIA request)
9/11 Firefighters Told of Isolation Amid Disaster - New York Times
Audio Interview with John Moribito of Ladder 10

FDNY website
Former FDNY Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn's unofficlal FDNY Website
Vincent Dunn's personal website
Steve Spak's FDNY Photography Site
FDNY struggling to recover, rift between Commissioner & ranks, future issues (Gotham Gazette Dec. 8, 2001)

U.S. Inquiry On Towers Looks Closer At Response (City reluctant to turn over FDNY tapes, transcripts $ NYT Sept. 18, 2003)
Families Call for Release of 9/11 Materials (FDNY recordings. $ NYT Sept 19, 2003)
FDNY 9/11 dispatch & operations audio files

FDNY Incident Action Plans 9/21/01-1/17/02

Firehouse.com's 9-11 Coverage: News 9/9/02 - WTC: This Is Their Story

The Smoldering Fires of 9/11 (New York Magazine Feature on FDNY issues, March, 2002)

NY Times: "Fatal Confusion" by Jim Dwyer et al
Part 1 9/11 Exposed Deadly Flaws in Rescue Plan
Part 2 Communications: 'Down to the Lobby,' But No One Came
Part 3 Command: Distrust Separates Police and Fire
Part 4 Control: Discipline Broke Down in Eagerness to Help
Part 5 Sacrifice: 'We'll Come Down in a Few Minutes'

We were looking at two large bodies of fires that neither of us in our 33-year careers had ever seen anything that enormous. So it's pretty much, you know, I thought we would lose a company or two possibly. I didn't think we would come out of this unscathed at all. It was just too enormous. –FDNY Chief of Safety Albert Turi (FDNY oral history transcripts)

"It was the most unbelievable sight I ever saw, up until that point.

I had been in some very busy units during my time in the fire department. I broke in, in Engine 46 and Ladder 27 in the South Bronx when the South Bronx was burning down. I was in Rescue 3, which was extremely busy; they covered the Bronx and Harlem. And then as a lieutenant, I was in the Lower East Side when that was burning down. As a captain, I was in Chinatown. I saw some unbelievable fires in Chinatown.

What I saw pales in comparison to anything else I had seen previously." –FDNY Captain Jay Jonas

Communications issues remain post-9/11

Radio Problem Could Last Years, Fire Dept. Says ($ NYT Sept. 18, 2002)

(Abstract) New York City Fire Comr Nicholas Scoppetta tells City Council hearing that it could be several years before all necessary equipment for reliable communications inside tallest buildings can be found, bought or connected; says urgent priority he has given to communications in aftermath of World Trade Center disaster is stymied because new radios alone will not solve problem, that firefighters also need network of antennas and boosters, and department lacks basic information about what existing equipment can be shared with Police Department or with internal communications systems used in many tall buildings; Scoppetta expects to keep relying on police helicopters because of cost; council members and other witnesses are openly critical, focusing on now well-known difficulties last Sept 11, when few firefighters in north tower knew that south tower had collapsed; at least 121 died there; many of same questions were asked long before attacks; department is testing digital radios that were considered four years ago, put into service, and withdrawn on reports of problems; hard-nosed comments also criticize emergency preparations during former Mayor Rudolph W Giuliani administration.

A New Weapon for Firefighters; Fire Dept. Gets Better Radio, but Needs Much More (Command Post Radio NYT May 30, 2004)

Brooklyn: New – Fire Operations Center (NYT Sept. 26, 2006. 1-paragraph article follows.)
City officials unveiled a $17.5 million operations center for the Fire Department yesterday that will allow commanders to better coordinate and execute the response to emergencies. The command center, completed in July, was built in response to recommendations made in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. With more than 75 computers, the system can track the locations of Fire Department vehicles and access radio transmissions and live video from police and other helicopters. It will eventually be able to pull up images from 80 cameras installed throughout the city by the Department of Transportation. Officials can also call up aerial photographs of any building in the city and its surrounding areas, allowing those at the command center to alert firefighters at the scene of potential dangers.

Rebuttal to William Langewiesche's claim of FDNY looting (Ladder 4, "American Ground")
Dave Fontana, Squad 1
The Miracle of Ladder Company 6
Weegee: New York On Fire

78th floor south tower only had "2 small pockets of fire?"
PBS's Heroes of Ground Zero
FDNY Mickey Cross of Engine 16 describes surviving the north tower collapse in the B stairwell

Books – FDNY
Report from Ground Zero by Dennis Smith (ex-FDNY)
Last Man Down: A Firefighter's Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center by Richard Picciotto
Firehouse by David Halberstam "Fast-moving profile of Engine 40, Ladder 35, which lost 12 of 13 men; intriguing study of firehouse culture, prejudices, character flaws/strengths."

According to Jason Bermas of Loose Change, members of the FDNY were either paid off or cowed by threats to keep their mouths shut about what killed their sons, brothers, and squad mates on 9/11. I've yet to see Mr. Bermas inform these people of his theory:

– The Higgins family: Retired FDNY Captain Ed, FDNY firefighter brothers Joe, Mike, and Bob, and NYPD Sgt. Mike, whose son and brother Timothy died on 9/11.

– Lee Ielpi, one of the most decorated firefighters in FDNY history and his son, firefighter Brendan, whose son and brother Jonathan died on 9/11.

– Captain John Vigiano, whose firefighter sons John and Joseph died on 9/11.

– Jimmy Boyle, retired FDNY union president, whose firefighter son Michael died on 9/11.

– Chief Jim Riches, whose son James died on 9/11.

– Chief Eddie Schoales, whose son Thomas died on 9/11.

– Captain Bill Butler, whose son Jonathan died on 9/11.

– Battalion Chief Joe Pfeifer, whose brother Kevin died on 9/11.

– Lieutenant Dennis O'Berg, whose son Dennis died on 9/11.

– Lieutenant Paul Geidel, whose son Gary died on 9/11.

– Fire Patrolman Mike Angelini, whose firefighter brother Joseph and nephew Joseph Jr died on 9/11.

– The Harrell family, whose firefighter brothers Stephen and Harvey died on 9/11.

– The Haskell family, whose firefighter brothers Thomas and Timothy died on 9/11.

– The Langone family, whose firefighter brothers Peter and Thomas died on 9/11.

Timmy Haskell reached as high as 60th floor North Tower

2007: City's Fire Unions Accuse FDNY of Cover-Up at Deutsche Bank Building

The various misrepresentations of Mike Bellone, who claimed to have found flight 11 & 175 black boxes.

Other First Responder Accounts & Issues
9/11 Commission Report Section 9 – Heroism and Horror
Improving NYPD Disaster Response (2002)
Port Authority 9/11 recording transcripts: PAPD radio & telephone, Port Authority Mechanical, Electrical, Maintenance, Vertical transportation , Jersey City Police, PATH train, LaGuardia Airport, Newark Airport
Vast Archive Yields New View of 9/11 (NYC releases EMS accounts. $ NYT Feb 22, 2004)

Giuliani Says City Was Prepared on 9/11 (He was on book tour. $ NYT 9/29/02)
Disaster Defied Operators' Training ($ NYT April 1, 2006)
"Tarrif" worked piles ("Staten Island Bucket Brigade") w/ Photos
For 5 Officers, Apparent Last Heroic Act (PAPD NT lobby $ NYT Feb 11, 2002)
NPR audio : Real Cops Say 'World Trade Center' Gets It Right
Book: Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion

Office of Emergency Preparedness Sept. 16 Sitrep #9 NYC & PA
The Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Immediate Impacts and Their Ramifications for Federal Emergency Management
The Role of the Volunteer Fire Service in the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks (2002, 135 pp)
Convergence of personnel and material to the disaster area and the consequences of convergence. (includes volunteers, the curious, profiteers) Disaster Research Center University of Delaware
Fathom.com RAND online seminar Protecting First Responders: Lessons Learned from Terrorist Attacks
National Urban Search and Rescue Response System. World Trade Center Incident After Action Report. California Task Force 3. Sept. 18–30, 2001
Book: Dog Heroes of September 11th

Story of a hero: Will Jimeno (PAPD officer featured in World Trade Center)
An MD's Report From Ground Zero (Michael Karch, 9/15/01) http://www.equipped.com/groundzero.htm

An EMT's Story: 9/11 at the World Trade Center Interview with Bonnie Jean Giebfried

Coast Guard NYC reaction to attacks
Ironworkers at Ground Zero

Patricia Ondrovic's story: As for trained emergency personnel not being like the rest of us, it's worth looking into the interviews and testimony of EMT Patricia Ondrovic. She was outside her ambulance on Vesey street near WTC 6 when the south tower collapsed. Just before that collapse, a supervisor announced that there might be an incoming plane. This was a big surprise to her, since she had thought the damage to the towers was caused by bombs. Here are some of the things she remembers as she ran for her life:
–She tried to enter the lobby of WTC 6 but was told by security to get away. She saw a series of at least six flashes go off along the ceiling of the WTC 6 lobby, accompanied by popping noises.

–She believed that those flashes were demolitions explosives going off.

–She ran north and west as at least three parked cars exploded around her, one of them setting her coat on fire.

–While in North Park she believed she saw an airplane explode in a fireball over New Jersey.

– She hooked up with another ambulance about 15 blocks north and told the driver to take them out of the city, to drive to Westchester.

– A supervisor stopped the ambulance and told it to turn back and go towards the WTC. She tried to refuse.

–She had a panic attack and was having trouble breathing from all the dust she had inhaled, and was treated in the back of the ambulance, then taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center.

–It wasn't until a week later that she learned it was the collapse of the south tower she had been running from. She had thought it was a bomb.
That's what terror can do, even to someone who deals with life-and-death emergencies on a daily basis.

Garbles Hamper New Police Radio ($ NYT Jan 25, 2007)
For more than 10 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been working to correct a major hindrance to police work in the subway system: a radio network that keeps transit officers underground from talking with officers patrolling the streets above.

The goal was simple but potentially revolutionary: replace an antiquated radio system with a network that would make it possible, for instance, for an officer chasing a suspect down a subway stairway to radio ahead to other officers.
Last October, after spending $140 million, the authority completed the installation of the system citywide.

But it has not been turned on.

That is because the Police Department refuses to use it, saying the new system is hobbled by widespread interference that garbles communication and creates areas where radios cannot receive properly. ''What you get is distorted audio,'' said Joseph Yurman, a communications engineer for New York City Transit. ''You can hear it, but it sounds as if you're talking through a glass of water.''

Fixing the problem may require replacing new equipment with more advanced components at a cost of up to $20 million more. If all goes well and disputes over which agency will pay for the changes can be resolved, the police say the full system could be turned on next year, some four years behind schedule.

...In the meantime, transit police continue to use their old radios.

''We have no communication with the outside,'' said one veteran transit police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. ''Something can be happening to the street cops right upstairs and we don't even know.'' He said fleeing suspects knew they could take advantage of the communication gap by ducking into the subway. ''This is no secret,'' he said. ''The criminals know how it works.''

Other responders, corporate aid
Public/Private Collaboration in Disaster: Implications from the World Trade Center Terrorist Attacks
Digital Disaster Assistance: How and Why Selected Information Technology Firms Contributed to Recovery Immediately After the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks
The Response of Faith-Based Organizations in New York City Following the World Trade Center Attacks on September 11, 2001 (Including American Red Cross)

Beyond September 11th: An Account of Post-Disaster Research (Multimedia Seminar presentations sponsored by the National Science Foundation)

  • The Events of September 11: From the Eyes of the Research Community
  • September 11 disaster research
  • Disrupted infrastructure at the WTC site
  • Digital mapping and spatial data at ground zero
  • Outburst of volunteerism following September 11 attacks
  • Business outreach and response following September 11 attacks
  • Service flexibility in response and recovery at WTC