Here are the photos I took while working with the Lynbrook Fire Department during the
night of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, one block away from the pile of rubble
that was the World Trade Center. I was on West Street just one block
south. Many Floodlight units were called in from Nassau County on Long
Island to assist the FDNY in lighting up the scene of the disaster.
This is a detailed map of that small part of Manhatten.
It shows my location that night and the collapsed footbridge that appears in the
photos. Apparently the rubble was the remains of the Marriot World Trade
Center. We weren't sure at the time exactly what we were looking at.
Due to the totally unexpected positive response to my initial
posting to the Dutch-Colonies-L mailing list, I now include it below. Hope
it doesn't give the wrong impression. I was not one of the guys crawling
through the rubble or handling hoselines. Though willing, (28 year member
& Ex-Captain of an Engine Company), my assignment
was strictly in a support role. Helping man the Floodlight unit to light
up the scene. In reality, all I did was stand around for eight
hours. I'm not even sure why I wrote it, it's out of character for
me. Mainly I felt I could give a slightly unique perspective on what for
me was a powerful and moving experience.
Initial message follows:
It's 8:30 AM on Long Island, NY.
Just got home after spending about eight hours
only one block away from the WTC. As a Volunteer
fireman from Nassau County (Nassau and Suffolk are
99 percent volunteer), we were called into the City
with our floodlight unit (just one of MANY).
Incredible! Yes, it looks like a war zone.
HUGE pile of rubble; huge plume of smoke; an inch
of ash covering everything; burned-out hulks of
fire engines, hook and ladder trucks, ambulances
(one with an ash covered stretcher still near its
open doors), and cars; like a ghost ship, an
abandoned fire engine, water pumping through it,
stalled out, probably out of fuel, its roof lights
and windshield shattered by debris, its entire
crew probably buried under tons of rubble a block
away; representatives of every Agency you can
imagine wandering around; then the Hummers come
in with the National Guard; then the large crane
followed by the tractor trailer with the steel
plates that the large crane will put down as a
platform for the HUGE crane that comes inching by;
a street wide path through the rubble obviously
cleared by bulldozers, tossing cars on top of
other cars; a traffic cone near the corner of
the building, seems everyone walking by stops and
looks around on the ground, what is it? a hand;
a fireman goes to a side of a building to pee,
a cop tells him to move down a bit, that he is
guarding a body part, what is it? a torso.
This is war.
If you want to see HEROES, look to the firefighters.
Exhausted, hollow-eyed, soot and ash covered, trudging
BACK INTO the areas of the still burning fires;
with full knowledge that many of their compatriots
will never return to their firehouses. I personally
spoke with some of these men who matter-of-factly
stated things like "we lost twelve of our men, both
our day and night primary crews are gone" and the guy
who came over to us very excited saying "Can you help me?
Someone took my helmet and coat. Five of my guys are dead
and someone stole my helmet. How can I do anything without
my helmet? If you see someone with it, let me know, I
have to find my guys"
Sorry if this is rambling. I'm tired and upset.
God Bless America.