First responders recall ‘terrifying’ days responding to 9/11 – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-09-09 12:52:51 –

Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks hit two planes against the World Trade Center and shook the United States at its core, some of the men and women who first responded to the tragedy in Lower Manhattan were in this solemn memorial. As the days approach, I remember the tragic experience. ..

James Hill, Gerry Giunta, and Michael Gomes are members of the Massachusetts Task Force 1. The institution has responded to countless natural disasters since it was founded in the early 1990s. However, on September 11, 2001, the team was the first to respond to a terrorist attack.

James Hill still remembers pulling to New York City hours after the World Trade Center tower collapsed.

“We were around the corner and there was an airplane jet engine on the sidewalk,” Hill recalled.

For Jerry Junta, it’s the color from the ashes and debris of the building, which remains in his heart about 20 years later.

“Everything was a solid gray color, and it was like snow as we went further,” he said.

These three men were one of the first to arrive in New York City just hours after the country was shaken at its core. But when they bombarded New York City with an old military vehicle without FM radio or cell phones, no one knew what to expect.

“It was really weird. Everything was gray. There was no color in anything. There was dust covering everything. What are you heading for and what are you facing? I had to know and swallow it deeply, “added Gerry Junta. ..

The Task Force worked with New York City authorities for eight days without sleep in opposition to the hope of finding a living person sifting through what remains at the World Trade Center.

“It was a complete destruction of 22 acres. There were basically two buildings, each floor was 1 acre, and the height of the building was 110 stories, so I was looking at 220 acres of concrete. I’ve never seen a piece of concrete larger than a grain of sand, “Michael Gomez said of the impact of the implosion tower.

As the days went by, more and more families appeared looking for loved ones. The exhausted team continued to work, using the World Trade Center sphere, which survived the collapse, as a compass for all missions.

“It was all holes in the ground. We use the ball like a clock,” said responder James Hill.

It has been unfriendly for years to those who were on the ground in the dark days or weeks after the tower collapsed. An estimated 4,000 first responders have died of 9/11-related illnesses in the last 20 years. Two of them were from this task force.

“I lost two of the 72 people. It’s always deep in your heart, they’re not big odds,” said Michael Gomez.

However, the team continues to move forward, responding to new disasters and leveraging the lessons learned from 9/11.

But like a monument, now standing as a reminder, the men and women of this task force are taking to reflect this 20th anniversary of 9/11.

First responders recall ‘terrifying’ days responding to 9/11 Source link First responders recall ‘terrifying’ days responding to 9/11

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