Photo Copyright©Barbara Lang-Lyras Auffret

Ladder 18 ~ Fort Pitt
Firefighter Harry Coyle, Firefighter Charles Maloney, Author Barbara Lang,
Firefighter Hugh J. Mettham and Firefighter Kevin Murry

"The Fire Commissioner moves through the throngs of firefighters telling us to evacuate the building, seeming to imply not to worry about putting out the fires. Fire Chaplain Mychal Judge is quiet, praying for all of us. His eyes are not looking at anyone in particular but silently speaking to all to be safe. Right at this very moment, Firefighter Harry Coyle nudges me and whispers, "Kevin's father is in one of the towers." I think to myself of the tremendous emotion and anxiety I have and know that Kevin has to bear with the extra burden of having a relative on the upper floors of the tower."

"Suddenly the North Tower, #1 starts to rumble and shake violently. We all head toward stairwell "B" and huddle near the door while the floor we are on shakes and rumbles for thirty or more seconds. The lights go out and we are thrown into total darkness. Stairways and hallways fill with smoke and dust as the rumble and roar subsides. All of us start to speculate on the cause of the rumble. Could it be another plane crash or localized collapse? Someone in the darkness mentions a bomb. There is little time now to ponder what just happened. What could shake the North Tower so violently?"

Firefighter Hugh J. Mettham's testimony written by Hugh J. Mettham

Author's note: These firefighters were trapped in Building one when Tower 2 collapsed. They just made it out of Tower 1 seeking refuge under parked vehicles. Luckily, they all made it and are here to write this excerpt for you. Their story will appear in the book, Heroes of the WTC, NO GREATER LOVE


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