first thing that I'd like to do is thank everyone who e-mailed
me, called me, posted messages in the club, and left me off-line
messages. I honestly never thought that I was cared about this
much, especially to some of you with whom I have not spoken
in some time or ever. Thank you guys so much
I'd like to wipe out the rumor that I was in the hospital in
critical condition. I was not. I am physically unharmed, except
for the bottom of my feet which were all cut up since I lost
my shoes. Since, I'm sure you're all curious and I'd rather
not repeat the story over and over. I'm going to tell the story
in this e-mail and if you guys want to know anything else after
that, feel free to ask. Here goes.
worked on the 89th Floor of 1 World Trade Center. Yesterday
morning I arrived at my office at 8:15 a.m. I proceeded with
my morning routine, putting on the coffee, checking voicemail,
going online and turning on Yahoo pager. I believe Joann was
the last person I chatted with (around 8:35 a.m.) before this
whole tragedy, but I honestly don't remember.
few minutes later the entire front of my office, where I was
sitting, blew up and the entire building swayed back and forth.
Flames, smoke, and debris from the ceiling covered the entrance
of the office. There were four other people in my office at
that time. Since we could not exit the normal way, the only
other option was to use the emergency exit, which was located
a few feet away and luckily had not yet gone up in flames.
was a problem, though. Because my company had never dreamed
of anything of this magnitude happening, we used the narrow
room where the exit was located as the Xerox room, in which
were kept file cabinets about 9 feet high used to store supplies,
etc. In the explosion, the cabinets fell over and the ceiling
came down, blocking the exit door. I thought we were trapped
and would burn right there.
of my co-workers, Frances, was in the Xerox room and was almost
crushed by one of the cabinets. In a matter of seconds we were
all in the room trying to lift the cabinets and open the exit
door enough so that we could crawl through. It's true what they
say about superhuman strength when the adrenaline is pumping.
We finally did it.
entire floor was filled with smoke, and luckily the office two
doors down was safe to go into. The five of us, could barely
breathe due to all of the smoke we inhaled and were restlessly
walking around the office, coughing, cursing, crying, yelling,
trying to contact people we loved, holding each other. We had
no idea what the hell was going on. We thought that perhaps
a pipe had burst or something.
dialed for help, but when you dial 911 in the WTC (which, not
so coincidentally was yesterday's date 9/11/01, EMERGENCY),
you do not get the police, you get the WTC emergency line. They
wouldn't tell us what happened. Someone from the office we crawled
into had the bright idea of turning on the radio and that is
when we learned what had happened.
plane intentionally crashed into 1 WTC - it crashed TWO floors
above mine. We all stopped in our tracks at that moment, and
I believe we all had the same thought: "Oh my god! I'm
going to die." Well, I tried to call my mom, her boyfriend,
my stepdad, a couple of friends and nothing went through. I
called my aunt's job and finally got at least a machine.
that point I was hysterically crying and told her that the building
was on fire, that I was going to die and to please tell my mom
and sisters that I really love them. I was actually able to
hear this message late last night when I got to my aunt's apartment.
I couldn't believe the terror in my voice...so close to death.
a few minutes later we heard the radio announcer say that a
second plane was heading straight for 2 WTC. A few seconds later
our building once again swayed back and forth as the as result
of the second plane crashing into 2 WTC. I hear now that it
was 18 minutes between crashes. In those 18 minutes we heard
no sirens, only the ones in the building when there's a fire,
there was not one announcement from authorities at the WTC alerting
us that there was an emergency situation and that we should
evacuate, nothing. If we hadn't turned the radio on, we would
not have known what the hell had happened. I was in such a rage.
hallways were filled with smoke and we couldn't find the staircases.
Finally, about 5 minutes after the second crash, someone who
worked for the Port Authority entered our office and directed
us to the stairs with a flashlight. Meanwhile, we were getting
soaked because the sprinkler system had turned on, people were
falling because the debris from the ceiling was piled high,
and a couple of people fainted.
five of us clung to each other and made it safely to the stairs.
I think that the most terrifying part of this whole experience
was the 45 or so minutes we were all walking down those 89 flights
of stairs. I really doubted that we would make it out alive.
There was a lot of blockage in the stairways. Every couple of
minutes everyone would have to stop and move aside to let the
firemen go up, someone would become fatigued and have to stop
in the middle of going down, some of the stairwells were flooded,
making everyone have to go down more slowly. It was a real nightmare.
Frances and I became separated from our three co-workers. We
were really trying to get down as fast as we possibly could.
we got down, drenched. By this time I was shoeless, had to walk
over all the broken glass and debris that was on the ground.
Man, I was fucking saved! However, my joy came to a halt about
one block away when behind me, I heard WHOOSH! 2 WTC was collapsing.
and I ran for our lives. The whole scene was like a movie, exactly
like a movie. We found shelter inside of a Duane Reade. The
second we got in and held the doors shut only blackness could
be seen through the glass doors. We all ran into the basement,
and were handed wet cloths with which to shield our eyes and
mouths from the ash.
were stationed there for about a half hour, when a couple of
Duane Reade employees decided to check if the coast was clear
so that we could evacuate and walk northeast, away from the
buildings. Well, everything looked fine, several people left
the area. As Frances and I were about to step out, again, we
heard the rushing sound and immediately ran back as far back
inside as we could. Now, 1 WTC was collapsing. It was another
half hour before we were able to leave.
During that last half hour Frances and I walked into an office
that had several phones and were trying to contact family members
and friends, but I couldn't get in touch with anyone. My whole
family thought I was dead. I couldn't believe I was alive. I
just wanted to get home or at least get some shoes.
we finally were able to leave, of course it was raining ashes,
but the worst, for the time being, was over, so Frances and
I had to walk about 2 and a half miles to her boyfriend's job.
Luckily he worked in lower Manhattan.
the way, she and I were turned down by four stores to go to
the bathroom and two merchants in the Chinatown area refused
to give me even a $2.99 pair of slippers to walk through the
rest of Manhattan. Our fifth try was a lucky one, though. A
fabric store let us in, gave us water, let us use the phone
and bathrooms and we were able to clean up as best we could.
20 minutes later we continued on our way to the ConEd plant
on 14th Street and Avenue C, where Frances' boyfriend met us.
It was such a relief to see if a familiar, welcoming face. He
led us into the plant, where we cleaned up some more and then
he drove me to the area where my mother's boyfriend works. My
mom's boyfriend contacted her. She and my 11-year-old sister
were in tears when they saw me, at which point I just broke
down. I could barely breath, speak, see, and think. I was just
so relieved. God, relief doesn't even begin to describe how
that point there isn't much to tell. I couldn't get back into
New Jersey for obvious reasons, so me, mom and sisters spent
the night at my aunt's apartment and today I was finally able
to get home via Path Train and cab. So that's it. Most of it
anyway. Of course all of the details aren't there... It's really
so much to explain. I'm physically fine. I have a lot to deal
with in my head though...
thank you to everyone that I know, that I don't know. Write
me if you want to talk about anything, really. I'm gonna be