Reports of Sights and Sounds of Explosions in the Oral Histories
The oral histories released on August 12, 2005 contain many recollections of the sights and sounds of explosions. The excerpts on this page describe
perceptions of the South Tower collapse, except where noted otherwise.
Rich Banaciski -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Ladder 22]
We were there I don't know, maybe 10, 15 minutes and then I just remember there was just an explosion. It seemed like on television they blow up
these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.
Interview, 12/06/01, New York Times
Brian Becker -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Engine 28]
So I think that the building was really kind of starting to melt. We were -- like, the melt down was beginning. The collapse hadn't begun, but it was
not a fire any more up there. It was like -- it was like that -- like smoke explosion on a tremendous scale going on up there.
Interview, 10/09/01, New York Times
Greg Brady -- E.M.T. (E.M.S.) [Battalion 6]
We were standing underneath and Captain Stone was speaking again. We heard -- I heard 3 loud explosions. I look up and the north tower is coming down
now, 1 World Trade Center.
We were standing in a circle in the middle of West Street. They were talking about what was going on. At that time, when I heard the 3 loud
explosions, I started running west on Vesey Street towards the water. At that time, I couldn't run fast enough. The debris caught up with me, knocked
my helmet off.
Interview, , New York Times
Timothy Burke -- Firefigter (F.D.N.Y.) [Engine 202]
Then the building popped, lower than the fire, which I learned was I guess, the aviation fuel fell into the pit, and whatever floor it fell on heated
up really bad and that's why it popped at that floor. That's the rumor I heard. But it seemed like I was going oh, my god, there is a secondary
device because the way the building popped. I thought it was an explosion.
Interview, 01/22/02, New York Times
Ed Cachia -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Engine 53]
It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit, because we originally had thought there was like an internal detonation
explosives because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down. With that everybody was just stunned for a second or
two, looking at the tower coming down.
Interview, 12/06/05, New York Times
Frank Campagna -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Ladder 11]
There was nobody in the intersection, nobody in the streets in general, everyone just saying come on, keeping coming, keep coming. That's when [the
North Tower] went. I looked back. You see three explosions and then the whole thing coming down. I turned my head and everybody was scattering. From
there I don't know who was who. I don't even know where my guys went. None of us knew where each other were at at that point in time.
Interview, 12/04/01, New York Times
Craig Carlsen -- Firefighter (F.D.N.Y.) [Ladder 8]
I guess about three minutes later you just heard explosions coming from building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were
about ten explosions. At the time I didn't realize what it was. We realized later after talking and finding out that it was the floors collapsing to
where the plane had hit.
You did hear the explosions [when the North Tower came down]. Of course after the first one -- the first one was pretty much looking at in like in
awe. You didn't realize that this was really happening because you kind of just stood there and you didn't react as fast as you thought you were
going to. The second one coming down, you knew the explosions. Now you're very familiar with it.
Interview, 01/25/02, New York Times