handled calls back at home. Florida, Town of Wallkill and Woodbury filled out the Orange County group. GOVAC was given the designation of 72D.
The first 12 hours we were stationed at Chelsea Pier (Pier 59) along with the rest of the rigs from across the state. As the need arose for an ambulance to transport or relieve another crew we would be sent out. Some crews were sent to the Navy ship Comfort to sleep & get some food. They said it was nice but the guys on deck with the guns was a little unsettling.
Every morning there was a delivery of all kinds of stuff to the staging area. Since there was no place to buy food in the area, the donations were greatly appreciated. The day started out warm & sunny. While waiting to be deployed we sat out & enjoyed the sun, people running by on the jogging path next to us would slow down & say “thank you”. If you have ever been to NYC before you know that most people won’t give you the time of day. Now they stopped to talk to us.
The day started out bright & sunny. We sat in staging watching bus loads of rescuers coming in from Oklahoma City, Phoenix and Miami. We also saw truck loads of food being delivered. Did you know McDonald’s has a disaster team? Now you do.
By the time it was our turn to be deployed it was raining. We were originally were sent to the South Staging area at Battery Park. While driving down the West Side Highway toward ground zero out of nowhere there was a large group of people in the middle of the road holding signs & flags in the rain. They were cheering us calling us hero’s. Telling us to be strong & thanking us for being there. We only passed it once & it was very moving. We can’t imagine what it felt like to pass it all the time. Well here is our first view of the site. In front of Florida’s rig to the left there should be 2 110 story buildings. It was now a gray & smoky huge pile of twisted metal. The signs of destruction were everywhere. Just over the steering wheel at the corner of the building you can see writing in the dust covering the large window. There were papers everywhere for blocks.
We were only in staging for a few minutes when we were sent to medical staging at Cedar Ave & Trinity Place.
As you look toward the site from Trinity Place you can see the fire dept. Still spraying water on the pile. At this time there was still 3 major fires going. Every time the equipment would move the debris it would give the fire air & the smoke would turn black. everyone worked with an eye on the burnt out shells of the other buildings. They were so unstable. Some buildings have to have construction netting placed on them to keep debris from coming down on the workers.