This is an extract from a New York Daily News detailed report on the first few hours after the terrorist attacks on New York. For the complete article click here. Further NY Daily News articles which deal in part with the Tubes' WTC station are further below.
Stop the Train
PATH Deputy Director Victoria Cross Kelly was on the concourse when she saw a dozen cops ordering people to leave the building; she immediately called trainmaster Richie Moran at the control center in New Jersey. Unaware of the magnitude of the crisis, she nevertheless knew commuters had to be stopped before disembarking from trains and flooding the concourse area.
Moran directed an incoming train with some 900 passengers through the Trade Center station and back to Hoboken. He told the crew of another train to unload at Exchange Place, the last stop in New Jersey, and bring the train into the Trade Center for evacuations. The Port Authority estimates about 3,000 people were removed from the danger zone.
Meanwhile, ESU Inspector Ronald Wasson divided his officers into four teams of five or six, with two teams entering each tower. They carried rescue harnesses, airpacks, ropes, hand tools, hydraulic tools and medical equipment. After the second tower was hit at 9:07 a.m., and it became clear the disaster was an attack, they brought machine guns and extra handguns.
The two teams in Tower 2 made their way to the 20th floor, telling employees to remain calm and orderly, giving oxygen to civilians and out-of-breath firefighters. About 500 FDNY members were now in the towers.
Firefighters Joseph Graziano of Ladder 13 and Bill Casey of Engine 21 each lent a shoulder to an injured man and took him down the stairs, saying, "We're not going to leave you" over and over. They got him out a minute before the building came crashing down at 10 a.m ............
September 19, 2001
Passengers Put On PATH to
If not for the quick actions of a PATH rail supervisor who directed New York-bound trains out of harm's way, hundreds or thousands more could have perished in the World Trade Center attack.
Minutes after the first hijacked jet plowed into 1 World Trade Center, PATH train master Richie Moran put out the word to conductors and operators at 8:52 a.m., giving what turned out to be life-saving instructions, PA spokesman Steve Coleman said yesterday.
At that time, a train from Newark carrying about 1,000 passengers pulled into the World Trade Center, far below street level. Moran told the crew to get everyone on the platform on board, and get the train quickly out of the station to the safety of the Exchange Place stop in Jersey City. Passengers who in the confusion got off the train were evacuated from the building by PA police and other staffers, Coleman said.
Another train from Hoboken was just behind the Newark train. Moran told the crew to keep the doors closed at the Trade Center, loop around and head to the Exchange Place stop in Jersey City. That train also carried about 1,000 passengers.
Moran directed another train at Exchange Place to discharge passengers there but head into the World Trade Center even as the towers burned to evacuate remaining travelers and PA personnel, he said. That train departed about 9:10 a.m. "We wanted to get everybody out of there," Moran said.
Afterward, the PA halted all city-bound trains. None wound up stuck in tunnels. Nobody was trapped in the station," Coleman said, adding that it was heavily damaged but not destroyed in the disaster. "If it wasn't for the quick work of the train master and other employees, there could have been thousands more fatalities."
October 15, 2001
Slow but Steady
Progress Amid Ground Zero Rubble
By GREG GITTRICH Daily News Staff Writer
ilthy 18-wheelers idle along Trinity Place awaiting orders over crackling radios before rolling past baby-faced National Guardsmen into the mountain of steel and concrete. Up the street, a battalion of brawny hardhats and firefighters is methodically removing an estimated 1.2 million tons of debris, including 300,000 tons of structural steel.
Mayor Giuliani expects the cleanup of the World Trade Center site alone to take a year. Those overseeing the work say it could be longer. No one really knows for sure. The monumental task is a mixture of precision and impromptu invention. "There is no guesswork going on," said Daniel Hahn, an engineer for Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers of Manhattan. "Flexibility is the key word to describe what is happening."
The operation is being coordinated by the city Office of Emergency Management; the city Department of Design and Construction manages the construction companies. The Fire Department is given wide deference. "We have reached a point where it is possible to determine the next steps that need to be taken," said Lee Benish, an executive for Amec, a London construction company supervising a quarter of the disaster area. "But we are still overwhelmed by a daily confrontation with the dead."
Clearing the Streets
West St. unrecognizable and buried under six stories of smoldering rubble in the days after the terrorist attack now runs unimpeded through the cordoned-off Financial District. To the south, Greenwich, Washington and Liberty Sts., along with Trinity Place, are free of debris, as is West Broadway to the north and Church St. to the east. Vesey St. is passable between Broadway and West Broadway. But it remains blocked where 7 World Trade Center and 6 World Trade Center collapsed onto each other.
Sections of the wrecked roadways, especially closer to the fallen towers, are covered with uneven mounds of soil and capped with a crude form of asphalt. In many places, debris, timber and steel columns from the charred towers have been placed under the soil to distribute the loads of hulking demolition machines across a wider path. "The area around the World Trade Center was not designed to carry that much weight," said Aamer Islam, a senior engineer for LZA/Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers of Manhattan, which identifies areas where paths and ramps can be carved into the wreckage.
The passageways first allowed rescue workers to venture safely into the ruins. They now are crucial to the unprecedented cleanup and recovery effort. Backhoes, bulldozers, excavation machines, flatbed trucks, dump trucks and all-terrain vehicles that look like souped-up golf carts come and go constantly. There is so much activity that construction workers stand at intersections directing traffic. "Sometimes we make six to seven trips a day," said trucker Luis Torres, 39, who hauls debris from the site. Each morning, truckers line up at a checkpoint on Trinity Place below Rector St.
Straight ahead is the mostly cleared southeast corner of the site and what's left of 4 World Trade Center. Somewhere buried under the building is a vault containing more than $200 million in gold and silver bullion belonging to the Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia and its clients. Bank officials say they aren't worried that someone might steal the precious metals. "We have every reason to believe that the contents will be recovered," said Ann Wales, a bank spokeswoman. Security was increased after 250 tons of scrap metal were illegally whisked to two sites in New Jersey and one in Long Island. A grand jury is probing possible Mafia involvement in the theft.
Now, along the four-block drive into Ground Zero, truckers say they can be stopped as many as three times by soldiers or police. "They are keeping an eye on us," said Brian Stafford, 41. At the corner of Liberty and Church Sts., the truckers join a parade of ironworkers, carpenters, welders, demolition specialists and crane operators. They move into the Concourse Plaza along a path cut through rubble near a still-standing sliver of the south tower. Along West St., similar hilly trails lead to The Pit, a crater by the fallen towers, and The Pile around it. A 20-foot-wide, 300-foot-long ramp is being constructed on top of steel columns 4 feet above the rubble around Building 6. A towering crane will be anchored to the makeshift causeway and used to clear Vesey St. and yank down the remains of Building 6 and the north tower.
About 1,200 construction workers toil at the site in 12-hour shifts. They work for four contractors Tully Construction, Amec Construction Management, Turner Construction and Bovis Lend Lease. Each company manages a quadrant. Just inside the perimeter of the disaster area are an equal number of laborers wearing credentials from the Office of Emergency Management. They wash windows, scrape ash off parking garages with snow shovels, lower garbage bags of debris down from rooftops and mop up asbestos-tainted dust.
Thousands Work Together
Hundreds of firefighters, police and National Guardsmen add to the mix. In all, city officials say, roughly 3,000 people can be toiling in the restricted zone at any one time. For weeks, some of them have been climbing underground through ventilation shafts and emergency stairwells to survey damage to the seven-story basement below the Trade Center.
When the towers fell, debris ripped through the basement floors, falling as far down as the PATH station floor 60 feet below.
"Part of the station is collapsed," Hahn said.
The basement floors were designed to support a 3-foot-thick retaining wall that circles the Trade Center to keep out the Hudson River. Portions of the wall, known as a bathtub, or slurry wall, are held in place only by debris. "The condition of the slurry wall is our biggest concern right now," Hahn said.
Although the Trade Center basement is flooded, the water appears to be coming from broken pipes, clogged sewers and fire hoses not the river. Engineers have plugged the southern tube of the PATH station and are closing the northern tube to stop the water from draining into the Exchange Place station in New Jersey.
Crews also are digging 24 wells, along West and Liberty Sts., to pump water out of the soil around the bathtub and reduce the pressure against the wall, Hahn said. The water table around the Trade Center is only 3 to 5 feet below ground. Engineers hope to lower it to 10 to 15 feet. "They are essentially pumping the river, so it's going to be a lot of water," said Dan Cuoco, a managing principal engineer for LZA/Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers.
On the plaza, firefighters continue to douse hot spots as cranes swing overhead and raise heavy steel beams with hooks and cables. After each piece is lifted, rescue workers dash into the new hole and look for human remains. It is slow going, but William Harris, a subcontractor for Tully, said excavation crews have started to burrow carefully under the plaza to inch toward portions of the bathtub.
So much rubble has been hauled away that onlookers at the corner of Broadway and Dey St. can gaze across the site and see the smashed western wall of the Winter Garden Atrium. When the planes crashed into the towers, chunks of the skyscrapers smashed through the top of the glass atrium. The collapsing towers then rolled violently into the valley between the atrium and Building 3, where American Express had its offices. A pedestrian bridge over West St. was demolished. "If you look at the Winter Garden from the river, it looks fine," Cuoco said. "The debris actually was holding up a part of the atrium."
'Absolute Miracles' at Work
Each truck leaving Ground Zero carries between 10 and 30 tons of steel or concrete. Heading south on West St., the cargo is blasted with high pressure hoses to cool the rubble and wash off layers of ash. Near a checkpoint where "Fort Apache Outpost" is spray-painted in yellow on a brown tarp hung like a tent, soldiers check truckers' manifests. The paperwork helps the city measure how much debris has been removed.
As of Thursday, 279,821 tons of rubble had been carted off, including 46,376 tons of steel. "They have performed absolute miracles in the way they have removed debris," the mayor said. Concrete and debris go to Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. Structural steel is taken by barge to a Port Authority pier in Brooklyn and then on to two recycling companies in New Jersey.
Although some trucks zip through the Battery Tunnel to Staten Island, many more drive to marine transfer stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On an average day, about 4,500 tons of debris and steel are removed by barge; an additional 2,000 tons are carried off by truck, said Martin Bellew, the city's director of waste disposal.
The Sanitation Department is using 49 garbage scows to take debris by barge to Fresh Kills from transfer stations on Hamilton Ave. in Brooklyn and W. 59th St. in Manhattan. In addition, Weeks Marine has two cranes loading barges at Pier 25 in Tribeca and another set filling scows on Pier 6 in lower Manhattan. The Cranford, N.J., company has 28 barges in the water 13 of its own and 15 on loan from the city, said George Wittich, the company's senior vice president.
"The entire process is extremely dynamic," Wittich said.