An FDNY EMS worker and a New York City Transit cop got into a scuffle in the back of an ambulance Monday while a 59-year-old woman with chest pains was being treated. It happened during the morning rush at a subway station in Boerum Hill. The medic, identified as Andrew Haley, was briefly arrested.
According to the New York Post, Haley was about to attach leads to the woman for an electrocardiogram as the police officer was asking for information. Because the woman’s breasts would be exposed, the officer was asked to leave and shut the door to the ambulance:
When the cop refused, Haley allegedly shoved him and the two got into an argument, with the cop shouting, “Get your hands off me!” and each calling for a supervisor, the sources said.
Cops cuffed Haley and he was taken to Transit District Precinct 32 nearby, while other EMS workers brought the woman to the hospital.
“The EMT was arrested for obstructing governmental administration. That arrest was voided,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said later yesterday.
“Some dispute arose inside the ambulance, the EMT wanted the police officer to leave. The police officer didn’t want to leave. So that is the nature of the dispute.”
I imagine the statute of limitations is long expired on this one. Above is one of three 1990s videos posted to YouTube yesterday by Edmund J. Haemmerle III (the43k) riding along with FDNY’s Ladder 123 in Brooklyn. The best part is at :24 into the video as Ladder 123 leaves quarters and tries to navigate through traffic. According to the description, the officer used the PA for a very direct message to one driver.
Below are the other two videos. Make sure you check out the firehouse tour. Enjoy this look back to almost 20-years-ago.
Neighbor Sidney Mott posted this to YouTube Wednesday with no details.
Always good for an answer to life’s unknowns, BackstepFirefighter.com‘s Bill Carey tells me this fire was in fact on Wednesday and occured at 1441 Pacific Street, near Nostrand and Atlantic on Box 948.
We think we are so smart with our technology today, but the video above proves FDNY had a dash-cam installed in a chief’s car back in 1927 (starting at 2:22 in the video). I imagine it was a bit bulkier than the ones today and I think any of us would have hate to wear a helmet-cam back then.
One site talks about about how quickly the chief “zips through the city”. While I am sure the chief wasn’t letting any grass grow under him (note the trips down some sidewalks to get around traffic jams), much of the speed comes from the film maker undercranking, or running the film through the camera at a slower speed to make everything move faster. No digital effects then.
There is a lot more to the film than the chief responding, including brief tours of Manhattan Fire Alarm and Brooklyn Fire Alarm and a fire to close it out. Enjoy.
The fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. in a trailer used by master mechanics that is stored north of the Pavilion of the National September 11 Memorial Museum and just west of the site of 3 World Trade Center, according to the Fire Department and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The fire spread to two other trailers, the Port Authority said, and was declared under control at 12:19 p.m., the Fire Department said.
According to news reports, FDNY firefighters at today’s four-alarm junk yard fire in Jamaica, Queens spotted some familiar faces among the employees. The firefighters recognized them as the grandsons of the late mobster John Gotti from their reality TV show “Growing Up Gotti”.
Their mother Victoria Gotti also came to the scene at Liberty Avenue and 155th Street. It’s Victoria Gotti’s ex-husband, Carmine Agnello, who owns the three-block-long junk yard known as A&J Scrap Metal Processing.
This is a pretty wild video from Arlington, Texas yesterday morning shot by tview07golf. The videographer, Sean Short, was driving around and followed a header of dark black smoke into the neighborhood where firefighters were dealing with a fire on the inside and outside of a single-family home. The fire spread to a second home on Side D. At 9:46 in the video an explosion occurs that appears to be centered in the garage of the original home. It appears that no one is injured by the blast.
None of the half dozen or so articles I could find mentions that an explosion occurred. This includes at least one news organization that attached Sean Short’s video, but apparently didn’t bother to watch it.
While en route, the first battalion saw how heavy the smoke was and called for a second alarm. Upon arrival, a third alarm was called as a precaution, (Arlington Fire Department spokesman Lt. Kevin) Seeton said.
“We would rather be aggressive on the front end and have extra manpower than be trying to catch up later,” he said.
Officials said the fire threatened the houses on either side of the blaze, but firefighters were able to protect them.
According to AFD spokesman Lt. Kevin Seeton, a fire that was left unattended in the home’s fireplace overnight was determined to be the cause of the blaze. The only occupants in the home at the time were the homeowner and his dog, both of whom made it out of the house OK, according to Seeton. The homeowner was transported to a local hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation.
“The fire fighters did an outstanding job aggressively fighting the fire and in being proactive in protecting the homes next to the house that was involved” said Seeton. “With the amount of fire and heat, both houses would have been destroyed if the firefighters did not take action.”
Video from NYRRT84 of a two-alarm fire yesterday evening at 124 57th Street in Brooklyn. The fire was in the basement of a warehouse. There were at least two maydays reported and, according to the New York Post, five firefighters hurt. You will hear on the video attempts to confirm one of the maydays and the order to pull firefighters from the basement for a head count and to regroup.
FDNY spokesman Jim Long made the position of the department very clear to the New York Post asking questions about Firefighter Anthony Harper’s claims he is being ostracized because he’s a vegetarian. Long calls it “nonsense”, telling reporter Philip Messing, “Firehouses across the city have individuals who are vegetarians or who have special diets — i.e., food allergies, etc. — and they are accommodated all the time.”
But Firefighter Harper believes his problems began two-years-ago at Ladder 146 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn when he decided constant firehouse meals with chicken or meat dishes were not good for his health. Harper says opting out of those meals didn’t sit well with fellow firefighters who he says also harassed him about his food choices. Harper believes this all resulted in him being transferred to a desk job at headquarters, is impacting his chances for promotion and caused him to be the only FDNY firefighter written up because he couldn’t get to work from his Staten Island home after Hurricane Sandy.
As many of you know Actor Steve Buscemi was a firefighter with FDNY in the 1980s. Buscemi, currently the star of Boardwalk Empire (Mr. & Mrs. STATter911.com’s favorite show), has been helping firefighters and others after Hurricane Sandy. His most recent effort is recording this appeal for Friends of Firefighters that was uploaded yesterday to YouTube. Click here to learn how you can help.
Former FDNY firefighter Steve Buscemi has always kept close to his NYC roots, and when Hurricane Sandy hit it didn’t take him long to start helping out. He’s been spotted in Rockaway several times, helping friends and fellow firefighters there. Of course, he hasn’t the only celebrity to show up, but he is one of the only ones showing up consistently and doing hard work
Of course, there are many other efforts by the not so famous to help out the hundreds of firefighters whose homes have been destroyed or badly damaged. Here’s information from our friend Robb Ware about a fundraiser for New Jersey firefighters in Delaware County, PA on Saturday night (click here for the pdf):
Benefit Bonfire on Saturday, November 17th for NJ Firefighters and Families affected by Hurricane Sandy
Lenni Heights Fire Department, 312 Lenni Road, Lenni, PA 19052
Firefighters from Delaware County and the surrounding area have banded together to help their brother and sister firefighters affected by Hurricane Sandy earlier in November. Many of the NJ fire departments have lost their entire buildings including all gear, equipment, and fire trucks. Gear and equipment donations can be made at any time at Yeadon Fire Company, Green Ridge Fire Company, and Newtown Square Fire Company. A benefit bonfire is being held this Saturday, November 17th from 6pm to 9pm at Lenni Heights Fire Department, 312 Lenni Road, Lenni section of Middletown Township, PA. Everyone from the public is invited to attend the bonfire and requests are being made to the public to assist the NJ firefighters and their families on a personal level by donating gift cards, cash, checks, non-perishables, batteries, hand warmers, wool socks, winter gloves, and other related items. Paypal donations can be made to email@example.com. Wawa Markets have already been gracious enough to donate 2700 containers of juice to the fundraiser.
A Long Island firefighter who’s also one of the FDNY’s Bravest smashed a window of a burning Bellmore home with his bare hands and dragged an unconscious 93-year-old woman to safety yesterday.
“I broke the window with my bare hands — not recommended,’’ laughed volunteer firefighter John Curley, 43, who works full-time for the FDNY.
“The fire was in the room, on the far side, and I could see her on the floor about five feet away from the window,’’ said Curley, who cut his face on the glass and burned his fingers on the hot window.
Bellmore fire officials said that the elderly homeowner, who was rescued by a former department chief, was in critical condition after she was taken from the home.
Vincent Scaduto, the Bellmore department’s public information officer, said that the woman’s son managed to escape from the burning house. He and a neighbor placed a ladder on top of a file cabinet to try to reach his mother’s bedroom window because she was trapped inside. When the Bellmore F.D. arrived, ex-chief John Curley was able to get her out of the house. County officials said that Curley was taken to a local hospital for treatment of lacerations and burns.
In our presentations around the country we have been pushing the fire service to be a trusted and valued source of information for the community by using social media on a daily basis. And we always add that they should be an instant source of information when things hit the fan. On the East Coast they hit the fan yesterday in a very big way.
Hurricane Sandy proved there are plenty of fire chiefs and other government officials who get that one of the most efficient ways to reach the community (and the traditional news media) during a critical incident is through Facebook, Twitter and the Internet. Especially when the power is out and the smartphone, which seems to be the primary source of information for the masses, is the ONLY line of communications.
I know I am will be missing some, but here are few in my region I followed that seemed to be doing a very good job of keeping the public informed via Twitter: Alexandria, VA (@AFDCHIEF200), Arlington County, VA (@ARLINGTONVA), Fairfax County, VA (@FAIRFAXCOUNTY), Howard County, MD (@HCDFRS, @HCDFRS_CHIEF, @KENULMAN), Montgomery County, MD (@MCFRS, @MONTGOMERYCOMD), Prince George’s County, MD (@PGFDPIO, @PGPDJULIE, @COUNTYEXECBAKER ), Washington, DC (@MAYORVINCEGRAY, @IAFF36).
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, just some local jurisdictions I noticed that had people (in some cases elected officials), communicating timely information on a regular basis as Sandy created serious problems. Many of these folks also understand that social media is two way communication and answered a lot of questions from the people they serve.
“I was just tweeting to people who were not able to get through to 911,” Rahimi told Yahoo News.
Rahimi posted updates to the official FDNY Twitter account urging those facing emergencies to dial 911. Because the response effort was divided among city government agencies, calling 911 allowed dispatchers to filter out assignments instead of every request going to the fire department.
“*Do not* tweet emergency calls,” Rahimi wrote as the storm hit.
But for those unable to access a phone or who could not get through, Rahimi was there to help.
Sandy once again proved there is also a lot of information on Twitter and Facebook that can’t be trusted. In some cases the mainstream news media took these social media rumors and misinformation as gospel and spread the information on its own platforms. I am not sure at exactly what point it was decided that journalists no longer need to verify the information they report. It’s one thing to report as gospel what Emily Rahimi is tweeting on @FDNY and something else completely when @JoeSchmoe is telling you the New York Stock Exchange is underwater or workers are trapped in a Con Ed plant.
No doubt, those wanting social media in emergency management to go away and leave them alone are finding plenty of fodder for their arguments. False information is rampant. Incredibly, some use it for evil purposes. But, if you need arguments to counter these, consider this:
- communication resilience–nothing stays up and running like the Internet and these social media channels
- self correcting nature of the Internet (I heard about the false picture circulating by email through social media at least one day before it showed up)
- because this is where citizens and media get info, both true and false, it is incumbent on every official communicator to monitor and respond to the false info …
I would add that proving yourself by providing good and timely information when it is most needed will make you that valued, trusted and instant source of information the public once believed only came from radio, TV and newspapers.
As for my friends in the mainstream news media, if you want to remain relevant during this type of breaking news, you have to stop helping spread rumors. Practicing good journalism with social media will set you apart from the other crap that will always be out there during a major emergency. If not, there are a lot of government officials who seem to be ready to fill that role.
At least 50 homes have been destroyed in the Breezy Point section of the Rockaway peninsula in Queens, where firefighters battled a six-alarm fire early Tuesday. Fire officials say the fire was reported at about 11 p.m. Monday and is located in a flooded Zone A area. City officials say it appears most of the area was evacuated prior to the fire and no serious injuries have been reported.
The crane we told you about this afternoon that partially collapsed in Mid-town Manhattan thanks to Sandy has caused a lot of inconvenience and sparked a fourth-alarm response from FDNY. Here are more details about the evacuation because of the dangling crane, video of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s briefing and two videos providing different views around the collapse at 157 West 57th Street.
The collapse also prompted many calls from citizens concerned about other cranes being moved by the wind. In addition, FDNY has been busy with a number of scaffolding collapses, power outages and flooding.
A construction crane atop a $1.5 billion luxury high-rise in midtown Manhattan collapsed in high winds Monday and dangled precariously, prompting plans for engineers and inspectors to climb 74 flights of stairs to examine it as a huge storm bore down on the city.
Some buildings, including the Parker Meridien hotel, were being evacuated as a precaution and the streets below were cleared, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. City officials didn’t have a number on how many people were told to leave.
Authorities received a call about the collapse at around 2 p.m. as conditions worsened from the approaching Hurricane Sandy. Meteorologists said winds atop the building could have been close to 95 mph at the time.
The nearly completed high-rise is known as One57 and is in one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, near Carnegie Hall, Columbus Circle and Central Park. It had been inspected, along with other city cranes, on Friday and was found to be ready for the weather. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said later Monday it wasn’t clear why the accident happened.
The harrowing inspection was being undertaken by experts who are “the best of the best,” city Buildings Department spokesman Tony Sclafani said.
The New York Times recently called the building a “global billionaires’ club” because the nine full-floor apartments near the top have all been sold to billionaires. Among them are two duplexes under contract for more than $90 million each.
Shannon Kaye, 96, lives in the building next door.
“We heard a noise, but we didn’t know what it was,” she said. Minutes later, she and her neighbors were told to leave.
“I never liked that building, looking down into my bedroom,” she said. “I always had the feeling that something would come falling down from it.”
The Buildings Department had suspended work at the building at 5 p.m. Saturday. It reminded contractors and property owners across the city to secure construction sites and buildings.
The crane was owned by Bovis Lend Lease, one of the largest construction companies in the city. Bloomberg was careful not to blame the company, and said it would be days before officials figured out what happened.
Construction cranes have been a source of safety worries in the city since two giant rigs collapsed within two months of each other in Manhattan in 2008, killing a total of nine people.
Those accidents spurred the resignation of the city’s buildings commissioner and fueled new safety measures, including hiring more inspectors and expanding training requirements and inspection checklists.
Listening to FDNY, you will hear reports of other crane issues following the collapse on W. 57th Street. I am guessing it has made people a bit nervous. There are also a number of reports of scaffolding collapses in Manhattan.
It is a rare thing to find new technology that is not a double-edged sword. While it helps with one problem it often makes something else worse. We have seen it over and over again with social media and the Internet. And here may be another case.
While these sites are condoned by the Fire Department as useful study aides, all of them publish a number of sensitive documents that would be invaluable not only to would-be brass but also to anyone with the desire to do the city or its residents harm, from a terrorist cell to a disgruntled citizen. Among the documents the site makes available to anyone with an Internet connection are detailed plans and schematics for highly sensitive parts of the city’s infrastructure, the subway system, the airports, the electrical grid, and the sewer and gas systems, to name a few. There is an irony, perhaps, in the fact that such detailed intelligence enables an attacker to strike not only at innocent civilians but also the first responders rushing in to save them.
The Fire Department insists the materials are harmless, and that much of it has been available in various forms for decades. “I’ve asked around, and nobody seems to think there is anything very serious in there,” said FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbons.
Chaban reports that a second contact with the FDNY spokesman brought a different answer. This time Gribbons said department lawyers were asking the sites to take down the material.
Is this a real threat to the citizens of New York and the fireighters, police officers and EMS crews? I don’t know. The owners of the sites, all FDNY officers, believe that the information is out there anyway and that FDNY officials were informed before the websites began opertations.
Take the time to read the whole article and let me know what you think. I’m still digesting it all myself.
About a month after the events of September 11, 2001 I was asked by journalist Allison Gilbert to contribute my experiences at the Pentagon on that day to a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11. While I knew I was only one of many TV and radio reporters and anchors who would be contributing to the book, and Allison would only be using a couple of blurbs, it was an opportunity for me to write a chronology of the day and put a few thoughts down.
Below is that account. It is a view of September 11 through the eyes of a TV reporter who arrived on Washington Boulevard in front of the Pentagon helipad six-minutes after impact. YouTube has some of the TV coverage from that day broadcast by my colleagues at WUSA-TV in Washington. I have added those clips at the appropriate times.
I conclude with a postscript written 40-days after the attacks that looks at the public’s perception of firefighters following the sacrifice made by 343 members of the Fire Department of New York.
September 11, 2001
8:52 AM: Spending time with my son is always the best way to start the day. Sam, almost two years old, is eating his breakfast. I bring my toast into the den to sit with him. The television is on so we can do what we usually do in the morning, watch my wife, Hillary Howard, Sam’s mom, do the weather on WUSA-TV. Instead of the “Early Show” ending to make way for local news, I see the open to a “CBS News Special Report”. I turn the sound up, but don’t need Bryant Gumbel to tell me that something is very wrong at one of the World Trade Center towers. The thick, black smoke pouring out of many windows and from the roof makes it very clear this is a major disaster in the making. Gumbel says there is a report that a plane hit the building. Those words send me out of the room and upstairs to quickly finish getting dressed.
9:03 AM: I occasionally glance at the TV upstairs. A little slow to comprehend some of what it going on, it dawns on me that this appears to be a crystal clear day. I am starting to wonder if this plane crash is really an accident. As I think about calling the newsroom to suggest we might be dealing with a terrorist attack of some sort, any doubts I had are immediately erased. My head quickly turns toward to the TV as I hear a woman say to Byrant Gumbel, “Oh, there is another one! Another plane just hit! Oh, my gosh! Another plane has hit! Another building! Flew right into the middle of it. Explosion.”
It hit me instantly that our lives have suddenly changed.
9:05 AM: On the phone to the station, I talk to Dave Roberts, our news director. I am convinced that if the people who did this were organized enough to quickly hit two targets like the World Trade Center towers, Washington would be next. We decide I will head into town to start looking around for increased security measures and be ready if another attack occurs.
9:10 AM: No time for our normal goodbye ritual. I give Sam a quick kiss and hug. Sam says something about “Jay Jay”. “Jay Jay the Jet Plane”, Sam’s favorite TV show, comes on soon. Not knowing what he may have already seen on TV this morning, I tell him calmly that “Jay Jay” is having a bad day. With the uncertainty of what was ahead, I didn’t want to leave Sam. I knew, though, he was in good hands with Glenda, the woman who takes care of him while we are at work.
9:15 AM: Realizing my good friend, Dan Patrick, our night assignment manager, is probably asleep and has no idea what is going on, I wake him. Dan doesn’t believe me when I describe the events of the morning along with my concern that Washington is next. Certainly I would have thought this was one of his sick practical jokes if the situation were reversed. Hanging up, I’m not sure he is convinced that this is for real.
9:25 AM: My first stop, the State Department. I circle the block and notice some extra officers being deployed around the building. Other street activity appears normal. Checking out the Pentagon never enters my mind.
9:38 AM: East bound on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, I turn north on 17th Street. At that moment the scanners in my car come alive. On numerous police and fire radio frequencies, people are yelling that a plane hit the Pentagon. Making a fast U-turn, I see the smoke rising across the Potomac River. I get the assignment desk on the phone. It’s a bad connection. I yell into the phone, “Pentagon, Pentagon, Pentagon. Send everyone to the Pentagon. I should be there soon.”
I carefully bust a few lights on southbound 17th Street. Making a right turn, traffic is light on westbound Independence Avenue.
9:41 AM: Anchors Mike Buchanan and Andrea Roane break into CBS coverage to report that there has been an apparent plane crash at the Pentagon. They have distant, but clear pictures of the Pentagon ablaze from our rooftop camera in Rosslyn.
9:43 AM: There is also little traffic heading outbound on the Memorial Bridge. Across the river, I now have a distant view of the Pentagon. The very black smoke I am seeing is surely caused by the fuel, now burning, that was in the plane’s tanks. I call the control room to try and get on the air, but the call cuts out as the anchors lead to me.
9:44 AM: Somehow I end up on southbound Washington Boulevard directly in front of the Pentagon helipad. That is good news, but for the moment it does me no good because there is wireless gridlock. I am unable to get a phone call out.
9:46 AM: I have my home video camera out and on the tripod, rolling off a few shots. The phone still isn’t working.
9:48 AM: Walking down Washington Boulevard is Heather Cabot a recently hired reporter for WUSA. She tells me her phone isn’t getting out either. I ask her to take over my camera and I will work on trying to get a phone call to the station. Heather tells me she is with photographer Mike Trammel. I look back to see Trammel and put my camera away.
9:52 AM: Heather’s phone finally gets through. I describe the scene as firefighters from Ft. Meyer and National Airport put the first water and foam on the burning Pentagon. Some people are looking at the sky, making sure another plane isn’t approaching. I suggest to Heather, that it is probably a good idea for us to do the same. Amazingly traffic on northbound Washington Boulevard has not been blocked and drivers are just whizzing by the burning Pentagon as they head to work.
A familiar red van pulls a few feet past us. It is one of our microwave vans with Bruce Bookholtz at the wheel. I am a bit amazed that, with no communication, we all end up at the same spot.
We hear a number of small pops and explosions. I am guessing those are tires popping from the vehicles that were parked against the building and are now burning, or possibly some small canisters exploding. Among the vehicles on fire is the new crash/rescue fire truck, belonging to the Ft. Meyer Fire Department. It is stationed at the Pentagon and is routinely on hand for helicopter landings and takeoffs, in case of an emergency. It is a fire truck designed for just this rare event, a plane crash, and it can’t be used.
9:55 AM: Heather tells me to look down on the street around us. I was so intent on watching the burning Pentagon, I hadn’t noticed there are what appear to be small pieces from the airplane at my feet. I had already seen the large amount of debris scattered on the Pentagon lawn, but so far no piece is large enough to be easily identified as an airplane part.
9:57 AM: Our first live video is on the air. You see flames crawling up the familiar face of the Pentagon along with some of the first victims as they are carried away from the building.
9:59 AM: I am on the air with Michael Kelly, an eyewitness Heather pulled out of the crowd. Kelly was driving on nearby I-395 when he saw the plane take aim on the Pentagon.
10:00 AM: Anchor Andrea Roane interrupts me, “Dave, Dave, Dave. We want to break in, because we want to go back to New York, where Dan Rather is anchoring our coverage, where one of the towers at the World Trade Center has collapsed”.
These words stop me in my tracks for a moment. I have no TV monitor to see this for myself. Just Andrea’s words. It doesn’t compute in my brain. I had been a firefighter. I had studied high-rise firefighting. There had been a number of major high-rise fires throughout the world that burned for many hours. To my knowledge there had never been a catastrophic collapse of an entire building. This was just one of many things happening today that no one has ever had to deal with.
Knowing how aggressive New York firefighters are, I realize there must be scores of dead rescuers. The last pictures I saw out of New York were from an hour ago. Even then it was pretty apparent, from the amount of fire, that anyone at the impact points and above had little chance of survival.
10:05 AM: They come back to me for our first interview with someone who was in the Pentagon at the time of the attack. Two or three men on stretchers pass by us. It is our first close-up look at the injured and they are severely, if not critically burned over a good portion of their bodies. These victims are flown out by helicopter to a hospital burn unit. Their lives will never be the same.
10:10 AM: A Virginia State Trooper starts moving everyone back. There is concern another plane is coming toward the Pentagon. We don’t move.
10:15 AM: As they come back to our live shot, five floors suddenly collapse around the jet’s impact point. There is now a large gash on the west side of the Pentagon.
10:18 AM: People start running away from the Pentagon. This time, FBI agents are telling us another plane is just minutes out. They order us to move immediately. I am able to get in a few quick words, attempting to explain to Mike and Andrea what is happening, before the transmitter is turned off and the live truck’s mast starts coming down.
10:28 AM: We move just a short distance off Washington Boulevard and down the ramp to Columbia Pike. As Bruce tries to re-establish a signal, I hear through my earpiece that the second tower in New York has collapsed. I just can’t imagine what it going on in Manhattan. The death toll must be staggering. I recall my wife once telling me her grandfather hauled truckloads of steel used to build the Twin Towers. Now those buildings don’t exist.
10:32 AM: We are again feeding live pictures of the burning Pentagon.
10:36 AM: Witnesses are giving different descriptions of the plane that hit the building. Some say it is an American Airlines 757, while others believe it was a business jet. The fire is still burning out of control.
10:38 AM: Mike Buchanan asks me if I have seen any large pieces of an airplane at the scene. As I answer this question, he interrupts me,“Hold on Dave. Hold on just a second. We’ve got a bulletin from AP. A large plane has just crashed in Western Pennsylvania.”
Mike also reads an AP report about a car bomb going off at the State Department. We are just across the river from State and we didn’t hear an explosion.
10:42 AM: An F-16 makes a low pass near the Pentagon. That, along with the plane crash in Pennsylvania, makes me think there was something to the threats that forced us move away from the building. I notice a large group of people huddled under the Washington Boulevard overpass.
10:52 AM: A Lt. Colonel with Air Force Public Affairs passes our location. We snag him. He urges people to keep far away from the Pentagon. If you have loved ones you can’t account for, he asks that you not come to the Pentagon. He has no idea of the number of dead or injured. Not much in the way of information, but it is the first official word.
WUSA anchorman Gordon Peterson, who was originally sent to nearby National Airport for a flight to New York, arrives at our location.
10:54 AM: Mike and Andrea confirm there was no car bomb at the State Department. A little bit of good news.
11:06 AM: Gordon interviews Mike Walter, a television reporter for “USA Today Live”. Mike, on his way to work in Rosslyn, witnessed the Pentagon crash and offers the most vivid description so far.
11:10 AM: We are again ordered to move our live truck further away from the Pentagon.
11:31 AM: Our shot is back up. This time, from a hill in front of the Quick Mart. This Citgo, looks like a normal service station, but it is exclusively for use by military personnel.
11:39 AM: The fire is spreading. Suddenly there are flames showing in a number of windows far from the point of impact.
People again start moving quickly from the Pentagon. There is more talk of another hijacked plane heading our way.
11:52 AM: Again, more people rush from the Pentagon.
12:16 PM: I listen to Dan Patrick, with a phone report, describe his attempts to get from Northern Virginia to the TV station in Northwest Washington. Dan says he had to show identification to a police officer and explain his business in the city. Only then was he allowed to cross Key Bridge into Georgetown. The city is in lockdown.
12:18 PM: Gordon notices an ambulance convoy from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad pull up along Columbia Pike. It was a repeat of a scene I had witnessed, just on the other side of the Pentagon, almost 20 years earlier. The same Maryland squad sent a similar contingent after Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge on January 13th, 1982.
12:20 PM: If I am not convinced how much turmoil there is in the country from these attacks, this does it. Mike and Andrea announce Disney World is being evacuated.
12:28 PM: A Navy public affairs officer officially confirms what has been painfully obvious. Besides the dead on the aircraft, Pentagon workers are dead inside the building. He has no idea how many people didn’t get out.
12:32 PM: Talking on the air with Mike and Andrea, it still isn’t clear which of the four hijacked jets smashed into the Pentagon. Right now, American Airlines believes the hijacked flight from Dulles crashed into one of the towers in New York.
Police move everyone, including the news media, off the hillside. Bruce pulls the truck around to the other end of the service station lot. This fourth move winds up being our last. It becomes home for the better part of two weeks.
1:19 PM: The first official briefing from the Pentagon. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, announces that this was “a full assault on the United States of America”. The admiral says there was no way to prepare for an attack like this. I am shaking my head at the fact that the spokesman for the military headquarters of the United States of America is forced to talk to the world from a service station parking lot.
1:30 PM: CNN Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins me on the air for a few minutes. Our first time working together was at WTOP radio, 20 years ago, covering the Air Florida plane crash. Jamie says they always anticipated a terrorist attack at the Pentagon, but figured it would be on the other side of the building where all the top brass is located.
Off camera, Jamie tells me that just yesterday his son’s class in middle school had a discussion about the bombing in Oklahoma City. Jamie’s son told the class he always worries about his dad being hurt by an attack like this, because his dad works at the Pentagon. Jamie tried getting word to the school to let his son know he was okay.
1:50 PM: Andrea announces that the Urban Search and Rescue Team from Fairfax County, known as Virginia Task Force 1, has been activated and will be at the Pentagon shortly.
American Airlines now says they aren’t sure where Flight 77 ended up.
WUSA-TV’s Mike Trammel’s shot of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (third from the right) helping carry one of the injured from the Pentagon to a waiting ambulance.
1:56 PM: Admiral Quigley sets the tone for his second briefing by saying “you are going to have a lot more questions than I have answers.” Quigley doesn’t have an answer to the one question all of us are asking. He can only say, “we know there are casualties.”
He tells us Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was among the Pentagon workers hurrying from the building after the explosion. Rumsfeld helped the injured for about 15 minutes, getting several people onto stretchers. Then he went back inside to the National Military Command Center. The command center is reportedly smoky, but not damaged. (NOTE: Approaching the one-year anniversary of the attack, CNN’s Vito Maggiolo contacted me after looking at the raw video from September 11 shot by WUSA-TV photojournalist Mike Trammel. While many people had viewed that video, and all of it played out in front my own eyes, Vito was the only person to notice that one of the men carrying a stretcher with one of the first victims removed from the Pentagon was Secretary Rumsfeld.)
2:10 PM: Virginia Task Force 1 arrives. Normally Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team is sent to some far off land by way of military transport. This time it was just a quick drive down Interstate 66 to the county on its eastern border.
2:23 PM: WUSA Photographer Greg Guise is able to provide some details surrounding the hijacked jet that went down in Pennsylvania. Greg grew up a few miles from the crash site and has business interests in the community. Greg relays a description of the scene from a radio engineer friend in Somerset County.
2:43 PM: For the past few hours we’ve seen no ambulances leave the area with lights and siren. We’re pretty certain that anyone alive is already being treated. Now reporter Jennifer Ryan, at the Virginia Hospital Center, confirms no more victims are expected from the Pentagon.
2:49 PM: Mike and Andrea report it’s now fairly clear the plane wreckage at the Pentagon is from American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles.
2:55 PM: Rear Admiral Stephen Pietropaoli, U.S. Navy Office of Information, tells us that in the recently renovated wedge of the Pentagon, where the attack occurred, there is blast resistant glass on the windows. In the days to come we hear from many who believe that this very expensive glass saved lives.
3:53 PM: Now briefing us at the Citgo press center, Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clark and Defense Protective Service Chief John Jester. Jester tells us the impact from the jet extends through to the C ring, the middle of the 5 rings of the Pentagon. All we see from our location, is that a portion of the E ring, the outer most portion of the Pentagon, has crumbled.
Clark admits she can’t confirm that all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are accounted for. That news is a bit unsettling. We also hear about a Navy captain who burned his hands rescuing others. Clark says that man is already back from the hospital and wants to be put to work again, helping at the Pentagon.
4:12 PM: Rumors have been spreading that the U.S. military brought down the hijacked plane in Pennsylvania. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley says, “That didn’t happen. I cannot explain to you the cause of the crash of the airplane near Pittsburgh, but it was not engagement by a U.S. fighter aircraft.”
The Pentagon now confirms all the Joint Chiefs are accounted for.
4:54 PM: The second Urban Search and Rescue Team arrives. This one is from Montgomery County, Maryland.
5:04 PM: I see International Association of Firefighters General President, Harold Schaitberger and his press person, George Burke arrive at the Citgo. I grab Harold for a live interview. Harold has been in close touch with his people in New York. We learn for the first time that more than 200 New York firefighters probably perished when the towers collapsed. He calls firefighters “our domestic soldiers”. Schaitberger says the civilian death toll will be in the thousands. Off camera he lets me know that much of FDNY’s command staff was lost, including the Chief of the Department and the head of Special Operations.
5:36 PM: Harold Schaitberger joins me again with the story of two Ft. Meyer firefighters who were at the Pentagon when the crash occurred. They were standing near the fire truck we saw burning this morning. Both men were knocked down and injured by the force of the crash. They helped rescue a group of people through some of the office windows, before the firefighters themselves were hospitalized.
6:42 PM: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield briefs the press. For the first time since the crash, the press conference is held inside the Pentagon. I watch it from our van. Pushed for a body count, Rumsfeld says, “It will not be a few”. The Pentagon “will be in business tomorrow”.
8:45 PM: New information has been slow in coming, but marching up Columbia Pike with the television lights reflecting off his orange vest is a member of Montgomery County’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team. Captain Scott Graham gives us the first solid information about the fire and rescue efforts. Scott becomes a lifeline for information in the days to come.
Despite the large fire still burning, Graham says the USAR team members are always optimistic about finding people alive. He says, “We have to look at it as a rescue effort for us. We have to look at it as a very unstable building. And our job, pretty much, is to take the name of the Pentagon off the outside of it and go in and rescue the people that are in there”.
9:52 PM: Another familiar face shows up at the Citgo. Ed Plaugher is the fire chief of Arlington County. The Pentagon is in Arlington County, Virginia and Chief Plaugher is the man in charge of the fire and rescue operations. None of the other reporters nearby seem to know who Plaugher is, or if they do, they don’t care. Ed joins me live at 10:00 PM with the first solid news about the loss of life at the Pentagon. There are no figures as of yet, but the Pentagon has given him a range to work with. Plaugher says it is believed that anywhere from 100 to 800 people work in the area where the impact occurred. While that is fairly large range, it lets us know that the death toll will likely be in the hundreds at the Pentagon, as compared to the thousands presumed dead in New York. Plaugher’s guess is, when it is over, the number at the Pentagon will be in the low hundreds.
Plaugher later receives some heat when his statements are taken out of context. Some news reports claim Plaugher estimated the death toll at 800. Days later we learn that 125 were killed on the ground and 64 perished aboard Flight 77.
On another topic Chief Plaugher says, “To be honest with you, we always were afraid of the Pentagon as being a target, but never in our wildest dreams to this extent. I am still in disbelief.”
11:03 PM: Fire has broken through in at least four places along the Pentagon roof. Chief Plaugher says aggressive interior firefighting operations will cease until daylight. But, crews overnight, will continue to pour in water from the outside to keep the fire from spreading further.
I relay a phone conversation with Scott Graham a few minutes before our 11:00 PM newscast. Scott and most of the USAR team members from Montgomery and Fairfax Counties worked very closely with Deputy Chief Ray Downey from the Fire Department of New York. Downey, commander of FDNY’s Special Operations, is unaccounted for after the towers collapsed. Scott says Downey commanded all the USAR teams in Oklahoma City after the bombing there. He says Downey wrote the book on urban search and rescue. Skills Downey taught will be utilized in New York and Arlington by hundreds of rescuers in the difficult days to come. His voice cracking, Scott tells me, “We lost a damn good man”.
We lost a lot of good men and women today.
October 27, 2001
11:15 PM: As I am looking back at September 11th, I have just spent a week covering the deaths of two Washington, D.C. postal workers, from inhalation anthrax. Others are hospitalized because of anthrax that was sent through the U.S. Mail. No one knows how this story will play out.
There is a lot of uncertainty since September 11th. Our war efforts, our security in public places, our ability to travel safely by air, our economic future. Like all parents, Hillary and I worry over what this will mean for our young son.
This much I’m sure of. Through the thick smoke hanging over New York and Washington, it became clear that some remarkable people walk among us.
Some are just ordinary citizens who put other people’s lives ahead of their own. Staying behind, trying to make sure everyone gets out.
Others are paid to protect us. But I don’t think anyone believes for a moment that a police officer, paramedic or firefighter’s modest salary is enough to encourage someone to walk into the places that these men and women did on September 11th. It takes much more than money. It takes heart, and courage, and a belief you can make a difference.
I know firefighters the best. Six years in a busy volunteer company during my youth, and almost 30 years making the fire service my beat as a reporter, have given me some perspective.
In many big cities, including our Nation’s Capital, the fire departments have long taken a back seat when it comes to funding. Citizens who can tell you how many times the police patrol car comes down their block, or how many officers are walking the beat, have no idea how many firefighters are on duty in the neighborhood fire station. Political leaders know this to be true and through the years have made drastic cuts in fire protection, often without protest from the public.
Through the years, I have reported many stories where citizens and firefighters have died because of these cuts. Just last week an understaffed ladder company became an issue in Houston, Texas, after a fire captain died in a high-rise apartment building fire.
Firefighters are can-do people. Their skills at making things work under adversity often hides from the public the shortcomings in their staffing, equipment and facilities.
Some of the good that has come from the sacrifices made by the 343 members of FDNY who died on September 11th, is the recognition, by the public, of what firefighters really do.
A recent trip to Arlington County Fire Station #2 brought this home. The firehouse is covered with cards and letters from all over the world. Many are from school children, with drawings of the firefighters in action at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. All say thanks.
Veterans of more than 20 years in the fire service are astounded by the reaction these days as they drive through local streets. People stop and wave. When the firefighters walk into a building in uniform, they are applauded.
On October 7th, I was at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Just two hours before military action in Afghanistan began, President Bush told the stories of some of the 99 domestic soldiers who died in the line of duty in the United States last year. I watched as spouses and children received a flag and a red rose, and heard a bell toll in honor of their loved one, our hero.
I have forced myself on most days since September 11th to read the New York Post, Daily News and Times and the accounts of the daily funerals of New York firefighters. It is difficult to read about the pain their wives and children are going through. It is the least, though, that we can do. It is important to remember this unbelievable sacrifice.
My hope is that people all over the United States are paying very close attention to these same stories of heroism. My hope is that they don’t forget these stories when someone is trying to save a little money and close down their local firehouse.
Right now when Sam sees a fire truck he says, “Evan”. “Revvin’ Evan” is the animated fire engine on that “Jay Jay the Jet Plane” cartoon show he loves. When Sam is old enough, I will make sure he knows a lot more about firefighters. I will make sure Sam understands exactly who those people were climbing up the clogged, smoke filled, stairways, as he sat in his high chair, watching the first pictures transmitted from New York, at 8:52 AM, on September 11th, 2001.
There is controversy over a video that surfaced today of an NYPD officer shooting a pit bull in the head when the dog lunged at the cop on Monday in the East Village. Bystanders at 14th Street and Second Avenue immediately scream at the officer for shooting the dog and it’s making news in New York today.
According to the New York Daily News, the dog belonged to a homeless man, Lech Stankiewicz who was apparently having a seizure on the street. The animal was keeping people away who approached Stankiewicz.
As you watch the video, after the pooch is shot, that I can see in the clip not one person checks on Mr. Stankiewicz, who is on his back with his body on the sidewalk and head in the street. No sign of anyone caring about Stankiewicz in this short version of the video or the longer version at Gothamist.com where there is 9:49 of raw video (now above). Stankiewicz is in sight for about 5:30 of that video before the videographer is moved back from the scene. Not once do I see anyone kneel down and see how Lech Stankiewicz is doing.
Maybe I’m just screwed up in my priorities and the rest of the world is right (I’ve been told that before) but shouldn’t the bystanders and police show slightly more concern over how the human being is doing over the canine (or at least fake it)? Besides his apparent seizure isn’t it all possible a bullet bounced off the street and struck Lech Stankiewicz? Would anyone there had known it if that happened?
At last word the dog is still alive and so, by the way, in case anyone cares, is Lech Stankiewicz. From the Daily News:
Stankiewicz — who sources said was intoxicated — was taken to Bellevue Hospital and treated for minor injuries. He was later cuffed on an arrest warrant for an open container summons, cops.
The New York City Fire Department said the fire spread to the side of a neighboring home that was occupied but they were able to get in under control and no injuries were reported.
“I heard at least two explosions, very loud, one was louder than the other, quite loud explosions,” said one witness. “I have no idea what it was. Nothing different, just a massive wall of high fiery flames.”
Battalion Chief James Doherty said the property was sprawling, 90 feet into the interior, which made it difficult for firefighters to gain access. The fire quickly went to three alarms. Jean Guo, who has lived in the house with her husband for five years, told PIX11 News nobody was in the house during renovation. Looking at the home ravaged by fire, she said tearfully, “We lost everything.” Fire Marshals were at the scene trying to determine the cause of the fire.