9-11: Disaster Through the Eyes of the Heroes (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is actually a story a friend and I wrote for our 9-11 project in school. To clarify any confusion: This is a story told through the eyes of 2 firefighters who responded to the call on 9-11. The two characters are Bob and Jeff; each tells part of the story. I write as Bob, who speaks in the beginning and end. Bob's best friend Jeff's part was written by my friend Kyria. Jeff's part is in the middle, between the lines. The story is fictional, but it is based on the actual events of 9-11. The information should be accurate. This will be published in 3 parts, so make sure you read them all ^_^ Hope you like it :)

Submitted: November 18, 2011

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Submitted: November 18, 2011

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September 11, 2001. We sat in the firehouse, yawning and waiting for something, anything, to come over the radio. I stood and stretched my legs. It was strange; we hadn't received any calls for the past few days. It seemed to peaceful. Manhattan was constantly blazing, its streets always wet damp with water and ash. But not today. I sat still in the silence of the firehouse. A loud crash startled me, nearly sending me to the floor. Every fireman looked around, confused. Realizing the noise had come from outside, we stepped into the cool summer air to a sight none of us would ever forget.

People were screaming, children were crying, and clouds of smoke and dust billowed over the city. Down the road was the largest, most ominous fire I had ever seen. My mouth dropped in awe. The North Tower of the massive World Trade Center stood burning in the middle of the city. Several floors were engulfed in flames; employees at and above the widespread fire ran screaming through their offices. It was complete chaos. We stood motionless for a moment, too stunned to try to make sense of this mess.

At that moment, fear washed over me. I had no idea what had happened; all I knew was that I needed to get to the towers. And that I was terrified of what I might see when I reached them. We raced down the street, sirens blaring and lights flashing. The scene at the base of the tower was surreal; we passed countless paramedics, most of them dressing the woulnds of those injured in the fire. Citizens stood on every street, sidewalk, and corner, wondering what had happened. We wove through the crowd of people being evacuated from the tower. Distrusting the elevators, we climbed stairs for what seemed like ages until we reached the 72nd floor. Here, fires beyond our reach with a hose scorched every part of the floor.

We saw employees trapped here and guided them through the smoke to the nearest staircase. Several other firefighters, including my best friend Jeff, stayed on the stairs to direct the panicking employees out of the building. We turned to focus on the job at hand. Then we saw the bodies. Dozens lay dead, burned alive or crushed under debris for the walls, ceiling, or floor, or from what I would later learn was the plane itself.

This was the easy part. Having been a firefighter for nearly a decade, I'd seen this all before. We started dousing the roaring flames with water. By now we had learned what caused this terrible accident. A plane had flown straight through the tower. Could this have been an accident? It didn't seem likely, but at this point, I didn't have time to wonder. My heart pounded, my mind raced, and my breathing slowed as I turned to the windows. At that moment, time slowed down. The ten minutes I'd spent in the tower had been the slowest of my life, A horrible sight like this couldn't possibly be upstaged, could it?

Of course it could. I turned just in time to see it. A second plane sliced through the middle of the South Tower. It was clear; this was a terrorist attack on the towers. But not just the towers. I later learned that two other planes had planned to attack as well, one heading for the Pentagon and the other's destination a mystery to me. We had almost no details on this event. We simply knew that someone was threatening the stability of our nation. And for a day, it worked. I could use the longest, most complicated vocabulary words in the English language to describe the terror of that day, yet I could never describe exactly how it felt to be there. There are no words to describe that day; I find myself unable to accurately convey those feelings even now as I sit here in the dim light recording the thoughts and actions of that fateful day.

A call came over the radio. I understood only small portions of it, something like "Plane....South Tower....people trapped....stay." I didn't need a translation. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of police and firefighters would soon swarm that tower as well. I turned to Jeff. He said nothing, but simply returned my gaze, a look of sorrow and remorse deep in his ocean-blue eyes. We continued clearing floors as high as we could go, dodging the remnants of chairs, desks, computers, and other office equipment ricocheting off the walls and avoiding the flames surrounding us.

In my eight years of firefighting experience, I had never seen anything this frightening. Looking out the window, I saw every awful sight I'd hoped I'd never have to: The South Tower of the famous World Trade Center in flames, people screaming and crying, and everyone standing in disbelief at the sight before them. But this was only the beginning, I stared out the window at a sight I'd never seen, a sight I thought I never would, and a sight I hope I never have to witness again- people jumping to their deaths. 


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