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911 Firefighter

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911 Firefighter

Today I will be talking about a person whose story of bravery, courage and survival on September 11, 2001 is inspiring. He was a firefighter for the nine eleven terrorist attack. His name is Joe Torrillo. He is a lieutenant firefighter. Considering all he endured, though, it's a miracle that he lived to tell the tale of his terrifying experience. Here is how he explained it.

On the morning of September 11th, 2001, I was heading to a press conference to address a new children's safety initiative he was involved in. As we now know, the day took an unexpected terrorist attack. Just before 9 o'clock a.m., the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At that point, I say he could see "about nine floors of fire. I was more than familiar with the area known as Ground Zero. As a collage student I studied the Twin Towers and spent part of my career working as a firefighter with Engine Company 10. At this point everyone still assumed that this tragic occurrence was an accident. Having no solid information to go on, I decided to ditch the press conference and to head to lower Manhattan to help. At 9:03, the second jet came right through the South Tower. When this happened everyone knew something was happening. As I ran toward Ground Zero, I was thinking of the danger ahead. Rather than worrying about my own safety, I was thinking about how to save others. When I was running toward the North Tower, hoping to get up to the upper levels, I was saying to myself that these buildings were going to collapse and that I had to let a lot of people know. Of course, there were many people who did not believe that the towers where going to collapse. "I looked up, and the building was starting to collapse. And I said to myself, 'You idiot -- you're the one who said this building's going to collapse and you put yourself right underneath it!" I started running as fast as I could to try and make it under a footbridge, he says. "I figured if I can make it under that footbridge maybe they'd find my body." He never made it to the footbridge. As I was running, the air pressure of the building lifted me off of my feet and blew me like a tornado. I landed somewhere near the Marriott World Trade Center, a luxury hotel that was nestled between the two monstrous Towers. Then, the majority of the Marriott came down and buried me alive. It was about 20 minutes later those rescuers found me alive under the rubble. I had a very bad brain injury. A piece of steel had opened up the back of my head, all my ribs were broken, my arm was broken and I was bleeding internally. Rescuers, desperately trying to get me to a hospital, transported me and put me on the back of a boat. At that point

I heard another loud boom, it was the North Tower collapsing. A big part of the North Tower flew across the street and landed on the



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