9/11 Live victims' interview done from the North Tower | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


9/11 Live victims' interview done from the North Tower

Accounts From the North Tower
By the NYT, May 26, 2002
86TH FLOOR
James Gartenberg and Patricia Puma were on the 86th floor of Tower 1, well below the bottom of the impact zone on the 94th floor. But they said that access to the exits was blocked by the collapsed walls and debris. They were unable to escape. During the crisis, both Mr. Gartenberg and Ms. Puma had numerous conversations, including three with a reporter for The New York Times. This is their account of the conditions:
``The explosion on the 86th floor seemed to come from the inside out, rather than the outside in,'' said Mr. Gartenberg, 35, of Manhattan. ``That's why the core of the building is as damaged as it is. The fire door is blocked. It either closed from the force of the explosion or as a fire precaution. The elevators are completely blown out.''
Patricia Puma, who worked in the same office, said: ``The wall in the ladies room started to crack -- it looked like an earthquake. The noise and debris falling outside the building are frightening.
``It looked like the explosion came up through the elevator,'' said Ms. Puma, 33, of Staten Island. ``It looks like the firewall came down and I believe the stairs are on the other side of it.''
Mr. Gartenberg said that the interior glass doors were blown out, but the external windows were intact. He and Ms. Puma considered climbing across the debris to reach the stairs, but more debris fell, ``so we backed off.''
The explosion rocked through his office. ``Good God, could we feel it hitting,'' said Mr. Gartenberg. ``I could feel the whole building shake. There was no windows on our floor blown out.''
As he signed off, Mr. Gartenberg asked that his location be given to rescuers. ``I'm not the easiest guy to reach. We need air.''
Interview by Jim Dwyer

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