Tim Sumner

FDNY operating in the South Tower on 9/11

Flight 175 just before impacting the South Tower

“Hey Ladder 15, we got two isolated pockets of fire. We should be able to knock it down with two lines. Radio that. 78th floor, South Tower. Numerous 10-45 code ones.” — FDNY Battalion 7 Chief Orio Palmer to Ladder 15 Lieutenant Joseph Leavey, 9:55 a.m., September 11, 2001

At 9:03 a.m., on 9/11, terrorists crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the World Trade Center’s South Tower. Four minutes later, the FDNY’s Battalion 7 Chief, his aide, and five firefighters from Ladder 15 — led by my wife’s brother — arrived in that tower’s lobby. While a FDNY City-Wide Tour Commander set up the command post there, a Deputy Chief (4 Bravo) moved from there to Tower 2’s staging area at West and Liberty Streets and the Battalion 7 Chief attempted to establish communications with the Battalion 1 Chief at the command post in the North Tower.

Battalion 7, his aide, and the five members of Ladder 15 then used a working service elevator that they had found and proceeded to the 40th floor. Their mission was to reach the fire floor, report on the situation there, and begin to direct the deployment of the additional units. This initial audio is of those firefighters, beginning at 9:07 and running through approximately 9:19 a.m. [Note: I have removed the ‘open air’ (the periods when no transmissions were made), extraneous transmissions, and several actual calls from within the South Tower from these audio recordings]:



Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11

At 9:37 a.m., on 9/11, those aboard Arlington Fire Department Engine 101 were headed north on I-395 for a training session near the Pentagon. Firefighter Jamie Lewis saw the American Airlines Flight 77 first. “Hey, look at the plane!” he shouted. “What’s he doing?” Nearby, on the Columbia Pike, Paramedic Claude Conde was loading a stroke victim into an ambulance when a plane roared overhead. “He had never seen a plane so close. Something wasn’t right. The airport wasn’t far away, but the plane was already at treetop level, well below the glide path it should be on for National Airport.” On a routine watch at the Pentagon’s helipad, Firefighter Mark Skipper was standing in front of Foam 161 when the firefighter he was talking with, Alan Wallace, “…noticed some movement out of the corner of his eye … The plane was heading straight towards them … a few feet off the ground … ‘Run!’ Wallace screamed.”

Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11' by Patrick Creed and Rick Newman

In Firefight: Inside the Battle to Save the Pentagon on 9/11, authors Patrick Creed and Rick Newman slam you awake as to what happened there that day.

While many staggered through smoke, rising heat, and shockwave-strewn wreckage in search of an exit, it took the sheer valor of troops, civilians, and first responders to save the lives of hundreds — some died in the attempt. Firefighters from far and near came running, found a vortex of chaos, sucked rancid smoke, and fought the ‘big one’ fire of their careers. Even as carbon monoxide levels rose in the national command center, our nation’s senior military leadership refused to evacuate, the fire was spreading, and the entire Pentagon was at risk of burning down.

Pat Creed and Rick Newman described it all, as best as anyone could within 486 pages.

If you wish to learn more about the courage and tragedy of 9/11, buy their book.

I read it in one sitting.

Finally, I learned of the heroism and fate of Major Steven Long and of how and where my friend Army Sergeant Major Larry Strickland was murdered. I at least now know some measure of the many firefighters and paramedics from that area who joined our families and FDNY firefighters in honoring the 343 in Washington, D.C, in October 2002.

As journalist Michael Doyle put it, “Firefighters at Pentagon get their due, at last.”


About the authors:

Patrick Creed is an amateur historian, volunteer firefighter, and U.S. Army Reserve officer who recently returned from a tour in Iraq as a civil affairs officer with the Army’s Special Operations Command. Creed has one son and lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania, where he is a member of Bon Air and Lansdowne Fire companies.

Rick Newman is an award-winning journalist and staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. He has also written for The Washington Post and many other publications, and is the co-author of Bury Us Upside Down: The Misty Pilots and the Secret Battle for the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Newman has two children and lives in Westchester County, New York.

Editor’s note to all 9/11 “truthers” wishing to remain willfully ignorant: do not read their book.

This was first posted on June 2, 2008.

Debra Burlingame on Obama saying Islamic State is ‘not Islamic’: I think he knows better

On September 11, 2014, Debra Burlingame spoke with Ginni Thomas (hat tip to the Daily Caller) about President Obama’s claim that the ideology driving the Islamic State (“ISIL”) is “not Islamic.”

“I can’t really enter the mind of Barack Obama or George Bush to know what they really know and what they really believe. I only know what the facts are. I only know that in fact just because they’re violent doesn’t mean they are not a religion. And in fact there are some fifty different descriptions of violent jihad in the Koran.

“Not only that, the Koran goes into gross detail on how to dispatch an infidel, striking at the throat, cutting off the hands and the feet. And remember this isn’t something we interpret — some people say the bible is an allegory — these are the perfect words of Allah that transcend all time and space, and in fact to say Allah didn’t actually mean what he said through the prophet Mohammed in that moment is blasphemy under Islam.

“To say its not a religion, I think [Obama] knows better. I can’t possibly know that. I know that he has invited the Muslim Brotherhood into his administration and consults with them regularly. Well, the Muslim Brotherhood is the political wing of violent Islamist Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood absolutely believes in a global caliphate.”