Chilling words on the 9/11 tapes
Newsday (New York)
Copyright 2006 Newsday, Inc.
Calls were transcribed by staff writers Hana Alberts, T.W. Farnam, Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Alejandro Lazo, Luis Perez and Bryan Virasami
These are transcripts of a conversation between a civilian and a New York City police 911 operator on Sept. 11, 2001, in which the civilian voice has been redacted; and other exchanges between firefighters, dispatchers, police and other emergency personnel on Sept. 11, 2001.
Dispatcher: I'm not sure where they are, but they are out there. Somebody's going to find you. Hold on.
D: Sir, we have emergency personnel in the area. Hello?
D: We have emergency personnel in the area.
D: Somebody's going to help you, ma'am.
D: Is it smoky in there?
D: That's the fire?
D: Is the water running?
D: You opened the two windows?
D: Listen, is there towels in the area?
D: Towels. Towels.
D: Is there any towels there, sir?
D: OK. Wet them, soak them with water, anything that you have handy. OK, soak them with water.
D: Put the towels over your head, OK? Lie on the floor, OK?
D: We're outside. You see that we're outside, right?
D: You're in the room by yourself?
D: OK, did you try to get out the door to get upstairs or downstairs to see if the fire ...
D: There's people all over the stairway?
D: All right, sir, try to calm yourself down.
D: Sir? Sir? Get a towel. Wet it!
D: OK, call me back.
D: Did you wet something and put it over your head?
D: Do you see any fire at this time?
D: I want you to go on the floor. Kneel on the floor. Cover your head with the cloth.
D: You have to do that. Is anybody else there?
D: OK. Is he conscious? Is he conscious?
D: Is he awake?
D: I'd advise you to get out of that room because there's too much smoke and go in the hallway with the rest of the people.
D: OK, that's where you need to be at if there's too much smoke ...
D: Get with people. Don't stay isolated in one place, OK? Make sure you take the towels and wet the cloth, OK?
At 9:47 a.m., the call ends.
Dispatcher 1: The north plane crashed.
Dispatcher 2: We just got it. We're looking at it on TV.
D1: We just had another explosion, too. It must be a terrorist attack.
D2: It's a terrorist attack.
Responder: We're going to man our two reserve.
Dispatcher: Take them to the scene.
R: As soon as we have enough manpower.
D: We don't even want to know about you. Go.
Fire lieutenant: Are the bridges open into the city?
Dispatcher: No! The city - the city is locked down! Correct? Nobody in or out! The city is locked down.
F: OK, well, let me ask you. They asked firefighters to come to the station. I'm from the Island and I'm working in Harlem.
D: Stay in Harlem. Have a nice day. Gotta go, OK?
F: Stay in Harlem?
D: Yeah! You can't get in the city. It's locked down, baby. I gotta go.
Operator: Hi, eight-six-one-seven. Four-three-six. In Manhattan, we got a call for five unconscious people in the lobby of 90 Williams Street.
D: OK. Hold on. Ninety Williams Street? Oh, my God.
O: Yeah, this is horrible.
D: This is horrible.
O: We're on the verge of tears.
F: You got the news on?
O: Yeah ... I was like, devastated.
O: And David called, he wanted to know how long you were going to be at work. He was like, 'How long is Billy going to be at work?'
F: Oh, we'll be here a while, I think.
F: I've been trying to just get through to you. I just wanted to tell you what's going on.
F: All the circuits are busy, you know?
F: They're definitely terrorists.
F: Yeah, I tell you, it's sickening, right?
O: It's very sickening.
F: This is a disaster. It's thousands of people, I bet you. I bet you there is at least 200, 300 people.
F: I bet. Gotta be.
F: It's all the upper floors. They even have reported people jumping.
O: They did?
F: Yeah. I mean, if you're burning to death, that's a fair choice, you know?
Caller: Broad and Wall Street.
Operator: OK, and, OK, what's going on?
C: We have about 200 people. They're suffering from inhalation of dusts and some people hit by debris. We have them in the basement, but I have no EMS assistance down here. I am by myself.
O: Smoke inhalation, correct, sir?
C: Smoke, dust - one of the buildings collapsed, so people are covered with dusts, some breathing into their lungs. I also have one asthma person down there - she's going into an asthma attack.
O: The ambulance is coming, OK.
C: We have absolutely no ventilation in here. Asthma, dust inhalation, one hit by fallen debris. We have 200 people and they keep coming in here because we're the only open building around here.
C: [Whispers] Christ almighty!
Retired firefighter: Dispatcher? Hi, I'm a retired firefighter. Can I be of any help down there?
D: Well, if you take a ride, West and Liberty is the command post.
RF: I wanted to come down there to help, you know?
D: Oh, I hear you. I came in from home also, myself. So I know exactly what you're saying. My heart is in my throat.
RF: I'm getting sick over this here.
D: This is the worst thing I've ever seen.
D: Man, ooh, I want to kill them myself. The World Trade Center is no longer 110 floors.
D: I cannot believe both of them.
RF: They both came down.
D: And they came down on firefighters.
RF: I know that. I know that. I have two sons on the job.
RF: Listen, uh, I really mean it, I'm going to go ...
D: Well, if you're going to go, go to 48 engine, Webster Avenue and 187th Street.
RF: I'm going to go down there.
D: I appreciate it.
RF: Thank you.