FDNY operating in the South Tower on 9/11

Flight 175 just before impacting the South Tower
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 11th edition essay from idea samples of term papers prednisone multiple sclerosis viagra for men online shopping how to write a paper with thesis statement http://snowdropfoundation.org/papers/works-cited-page-apa-style-example/12/ thesis binding glue best college essay service http://mcorchestra.org/43-military-resume-writing-services/ go site get link writing service online https://www.newburghministry.org/spring/resume-same-job-different-titles/20/ economics essay writing asp resume next error https://bonusfamilies.com/lecture/business-writings/21/ source url here write a report to principal spm buy viagra uk next day delivery follow link https://homemods.org/usc/i-want-a-wife-essay/46/ follow thesis template anu persuasive essay on lying buy viagra online cheap gay marriage rights essay follow link how to write a research paper fast enter enter 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]:


Once they all reached the 40th floor, they began the ascent, with each carrying 60 to 80 pounds of gear. While climbing, they received a report of a way to those trapped above the fire floor from the “Director of Morgan Stanley” whom is believed to have actually been Morgan Stanley’s head of security. Ladder 15 also received a report of another plane (probably while monitoring other radio channels). Additional units began arriving on the 40th floor. This audio runs from approximately 9:21 to 9:35 a.m.


They encountered the injured and directed them to the elevator. The following are brief excerpts from the New York Times’ Accounts from the South Tower, beginning on page 9, as published on May 26, 2002: [Also see this USAToday report, September 3, 2002.]

Judy Wein, survivor: Gigi [Singer] and Judy, along with a man she had never before met [Ed Nicholls, also of Aon, who is interviewed separately] headed into the stairs. One at a time they moved down. Judy moved quickly down the stairs, so fast that she left Gigi at times behind her, one or two flights. Gigi would yell out Judy’s name on occasion, Judy announcing the floor numbers as they went down, 60, 55, 53. It was somewhere in the 50s that they encountered the first firefighter, she said. They were moving in small packs, carrying a load of heavy equipment, which clearly slowed them down. She told them that there were many injured people on the 78th floor, please help them. And they continued up. They told her to keep going down to the 40th floor, where there was an elevator bank. Her legs were trembling by the time she got there. She encountered two security guards and a firefighter, they told her to calm down. Not to rush. Take her time. But Judy just wanted to get out. An elevator came. Within another 10 minutes, they were outside. She was in the ambulance. The door was closed. She heard a noise. She turned to look. The south tower was coming down.

Ling Young, survivor: At the 51st floor, she met two firemen, and one of them decided to go down with her. She wasn’t aware of the fact that he had joined her until they got to the 40th floor, when he told her they could take the service elevator the rest of the way. She got out to Church Street, where she was placed in an ambulance. Moments after the ambulance pulled away to take her to a hospital, the tower she had been in fell to the ground.

Ed Nicholls, survivor: “These two guys came over. They were trying to figure out, because the fire was getting so bad. We knew we had to get out of there.” “The fire was not too far from us. We were watching it burn. It was decided between these two guys, one of them said, `Lets go back over to the other side where they came from.’ He thought that might be the best way to get down.” The other guy said “No, I don’t think so, I think there is a stairway over here. At this point it was getting very smoky.” One of those men pointed to the stairwell. [Other accounts say this man was wearing a red handkerchief] This was to be the route to safety. “And then the three of us, myself, Gigi and Judy headed toward that stairwell and started to go down the stairs.”

They continued to climb, attempted to find an elevator that terminated below the fire, and relayed to each other what they saw and who they found. More firefighters came up on their radio channel and, along with at least one NYPD Emergency Services Unit, were coming up the stairs behind them to assist. This audio runs from 9:37 a.m. to 9:50 a.m., approximately:


They reached the fire floor, witnessed the devastation, fought fires, found the way to those trapped above, and called for more units. This audio begins about 9:52 a.m:


South Tower Collapses 9:59 a.m.

The audio went silent at 9:59 a.m., when the South Tower collapsed.

We will never forget.


Editor — To view individual tributes to those killed, please visit Legacy.com.

Originally posted September 9, 2007.

  17 comments for “FDNY operating in the South Tower on 9/11

  1. Nancy Frey
    September 10, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I will never forget. Scotty Kopytko I didn’t know you but were you name everyday on my bracelet. God love you and all the heros. Nancy Frey

  2. Nora Coco
    April 24, 2016 at 2:59 am

    “It” still hurts; and it is coming up to 15 years…my brother, Lt. Joseph Leavey (Ladder 15) was one of the many heroes that day and he will always be our hero. Please remember him and the others who lost their lives that day and honor them in how you show your respect to our first responders on a daily basis. Let us never take them for granted, ever!

  3. September 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

    We have the honor of interviewing Tim Sumner, for airing on Sat Sept 10, 2011. He will honor his brother-in-law Lt Joseph Leavey and all those who perished on 9-11.
    Stream the interview via computer at 3pm Eastern by following the WTKS links on http://www.agelessmedianetwork.com

    Podcasts of the interview will be posted on Wed Sept 14th on http://www.agelessmedianetwork.podbean.com

  4. casandra padilla
    September 22, 2009 at 2:28 am

    For our religion class we had to gather information remembering 911. And it made me think about everything that had happened. i thought to myself, “i may have been young, (4th grade at the time) i may have not have known that much, but for what had happened, it made it a lot easier to understand. I than realized how much it meant to everyone! and yes, referring to Sharon Jones, “it only united American people more” we became closer. we became better as a whole! One nation and a better nation under God!

    However, I do believe we owe the greatest gratitude to the firefighters and policemen of New York. They were willing to sacrifice their own lives and give up everything. Although many lives were lost, many lives were also saved because of these courageous men and women. I think I speak for everyone when I say, “without you, we would have lost everything! Thank you NYPD and FDNY!”

  5. Yolanda Alemany
    September 11, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Today marks the 8th year of September 11,2001 and it still hurts deep inside of me.What I ask of everyone is to never forget this day and to always remember.This day is,
    “A Day of sorrow and tragedy but also a day of heroism and Unity” And lets not forget our troops and all who have died since 911 to protect and serve our country. Mr.President when need to bring them home.May God Bless America…

  6. Don Gallerani
    September 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Those that perished that horrendous day left behind family and friends with a steadfast resolve that they will carry until they are together again within God’s arms. “NEVER FORGET”

  7. Intimidator
    September 11, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    Indeed. We will NEVER forget. There are many other words in my head right now but they just don’t want to come out in the right way.

  8. September 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    God Bless America and those who protect and serve her!!!!

  9. kimberly
    September 11, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    God’s blessings to all the 9/11 families. This American will NEVER forget.

  10. skaifire
    September 18, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks to all the firemen everywhere and anywhere around the world for their efforts…

  11. Michele
    September 12, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you for this post. We must NEVER forget.

  12. kerry
    September 12, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Yesterday morning I logged onto my facebook account and listed my status for the day as “remembering the events of this day six years ago.”

    Two of my friends inquired, more or less, “what events?”

    That stuns me.

  13. D Graham
    September 11, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    God Bless each man, woman and child who were brought down or touched by these terror attacks. God Bless our troops. Thank you.
    P.S. to the politicians: I remember.

  14. sharon jones
    September 11, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    To all who is affected by 911 May GOD ease your pain!

    America’s Voice:

    You think you did something great.
    You think you brought down one and two ,of our famous buildings.
    You only united American people,and made us even more determine to take your ass out!
    You think you destroyed us as being the biggest country.
    You only made us stronger more loving group of Americans.
    O Yeah! the Americans,and others who where killed by your plan.
    You think you have us running scared,you better think again.
    We Americans have your ass running,ducking,shitting,hidding.
    Don’t get it twisted you didn’t do nothing,that we as Americans won’t stand tall from.
    With help from Jesus we’ll become greater than ever.

    X Out Terrorist!

  15. Mary Ann McCaffrey
    September 11, 2007 at 12:50 am

    My reply is to say that I thank the person who assembled this… it leaves me awestruck and speechless to hear these tapes again. And also very grateful. It is the first written narrative I have seen to accompany the tapes and it seems very important for history that this awesome story of heroism and bravery in the face of death, fire, extreme physical exertion, not to even imagine the fear, be archived for our human records.

    My brother is Lt. Jim McCaffrey, FDNY and Orio Palmer’s brother in law. I always wonder what you call the brother or sister in law of your brother or sister. Orio and I shared blood nieces and a nephew. Did that make him my brother in law too? Don’t know, but he was close.

    It’s surreal to actually hear him and those other heroes frantically and yet so calmly doing their jobs, yet as you listen to the tapes you know that in minutes they will just… disappear… and even 6 years later you want to scream, “get out! GET OUT”!

    And how strange to say I am glad to know what Orio was doing in the time just before the utter catastrophe and to know where he was. To feel “lucky” …. ahh, that’s not the word, but to feel weird comfort in such knowledge, to know that he was kind of OK and doing what he did so well, which most other 9/11 families never got because their beloved’s last moments weren’t captured on tape.

    God bless us all, and God help us if we ever forget September 11, 2001.

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