September 11, 2001 - Terrorist Attack
On September 11, 2001, there were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks on the United States. That morning, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others.
Initial estimates reveal that over 5,000 people were killed as a result of this terrorist attack including over 340 firefighters, 75 police officers and other rescue workers.
At 1200 hours on September 11, 2001, FL-TF2 was notified by FEMA that they were to place the team on Alert Status to prepare to deploy to the World Trade Center to assist in rescue operations.
All key personnel were notified and advised to set up pre-deployment activities. Personnel started to arrive with initial Information that was sent out by Task Force Coordinator. Deployment notification was sent out at 1730 to all personnel via pager system. Key personnel were set in place and conducted check-in procedures that included Pre-deployment physicals, Equipment Check and Issue and Team Assignments.
At 1900 hours on September 11, 2001, FL-TF2 departed the Miami Fire Training Center for Homestead Air Force Base. The TF waited for FEMA to provide air transportation from 9-11-01 thru 9-13-01. After three days, FEMA authorized the TF to proceed by ground to NYC. The convoy departed HAFB @ 0515 on 9-14-01. The convoy (62 member Task Force and 10 drivers) consisted of three Tractor Trailers, two passenger busses, three Suburban’s, and one Canine Van.
Each vehicle maintained Radio Communications with the Command vehicle during the 26-hour trip. The TF arrived at Fort Dix, New Jersey @ 0930 on 9-15-01.
FL TF2 stood by for assignment at Fort Dix from 9-15-01 thru 9-16-01. On 9-17-01 FL-TF2 departed Fort Dix for NYC.
On 9-16-01, a 10-person advance team deployed to the WTC. The advance team toured the BoO at the Javitz Center, met with IST members and visited the WTC site.
At 1600 hours, on September 17, 2001, the Task Force arrived at the FEMA Task Force and Incident Support Team (IST) Base of Operations (BoO). Upon arrival at the BoO, Technical Information, Logistics, Communications and Planning began to set up for BoO operations.
The Task Force operated on a 12 hour Alpha/Bravo Shift for the remainder of WTC Operations.
After exchanging information with the Bravo Shift, the Alpha Task Force Leader would meet with FDNY Command. Teams would be deployed throughout the shift to conduct Search and Rescue Operations, assist with debris removal and provide support as needed. Both the Alpha and Bravo Rescue Team Managers maintained a close, daily liaison with FDNY commanders.
Throughout the deployment, issues developed with the secondary collapse potential of buildings that surrounded the rescue site. This was particularly true of One Liberty Plaza and 4 World Trade Center. This required the evacuation of the site, including operations in void space or on upper floors, several times during operations. The TF Structural Engineers were able to resolve this issue.
On 9-22-01, Alpha Shift assisted with the recovery of three FDNY Firefighters from the North side of Tower2 stairwell. The Bravo Shift assisted with the recovery of two Port Authority Police Officers from the same vicinity.
Operations began on Tuesday, September 18 and continued through Monday September 24, 2001.