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of overlapping expertise and responsibility."The directive sought to accom-
plish this objective by designating, for different types of emergencies, an
appropriate agency as "Incident Commander." This Incident Commander
would be "responsible for the management of the City's response to the
emergency," while the OEM was "designated the `On Scene Interagency
Coordinator.'"
29
Nevertheless, the FDNY and NYPD each considered itself operationally
autonomous.As of September 11, they were not prepared to comprehensively
coordinate their efforts in responding to a major incident.The OEM had not
overcome this problem.
9.2 SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
As we turn to the events of September 11, we are mindful of the unfair per-
spective afforded by hindsight. Nevertheless, we will try to describe what hap-
pened in the following 102 minutes:
the 17 minutes from the crash of the hijacked American Airlines Flight
11 into 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) at 8:46 until the
South Tower was hit
the 56 minutes from the crash of the hijacked United Airlines Flight
175 into 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower) at 9:03 until the
collapse of the South Tower
the 29 minutes from the collapse of the South Tower at 9:59 until the
collapse of the North Tower at 10:28
From 8:46 until 9:03
A
.
M
.
At 8:46:40, the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 flew into the upper por-
tion of the North Tower, cutting through floors 93 to 99. Evidence suggests
that all three of the building's stairwells became impassable from the 92nd floor
up. Hundreds of civilians were killed instantly by the impact. Hundreds more
remained alive but trapped.
30
Civilians, Fire Safety Personnel, and 911 Calls
North Tower.
A jet fuel fireball erupted upon impact and shot down at least
one bank of elevators.The fireball exploded onto numerous lower floors, includ-
ing the 77th and 22nd; the West Street lobby level; and the B4 level, four stories
below ground.The burning jet fuel immediately created thick, black smoke that
enveloped the upper floors and roof of the North Tower.The roof of the South
Tower was also engulfed in smoke because of prevailing light winds from the
northwest.
31
Within minutes, New York City's 911 system was flooded with eyewit-
HEROISM AND HORROR
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