FDNY Oral Histories of September 11
August 12, 2005 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Oral Histories From Sept. 11 Compiled by the New York Fire Department. New York City has started releasing records from September 11, including dispatch tapes, and a log of calls to Emergency Medical Service [PDF]. FDNY statement.
posted by kirkaracha (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I just listened to the dispatcher excerpts with tears in my eyes.

I've only read one of interviews so far - this is from Murray Murad's recounting [quote marks mine]:
I got to the American Stock Exchange building. A guy came out and asked me "what do you think we should do?" I said listen, "if it was me, I tell you in one word, RUN, run, just leave."
"Oh, we have a protocol, for this and that."
"Listen, you've to get your people to safety. I don't think being
in the building is that safe."
"But this is the American Stock Exchange."

So I continued on my little excursion here trying to get people out of the stores, out of the buildings. I went to all of the shops right behind the firehouse. I said listen, just leave your building, just leave. ...
They have all the little coffee shops there, bagel stores, gourmet shops there with all the foods. I told them just leave, just --don't even close your business, just walk out and leave. They're telling me they're okay, they're okay. Now it's getting a little frustrating because I said listen, you should really leave. Don't lock your door, but let your employees go.
That didn't seem to work.

New Yorkers. I was in Michigan freaked out of my mind, and they're around the corner from the burning towers going, "Nah, we'll stay open."
posted by NorthernLite at 12:46 PM on August 12, 2005

Some really powerful stuff here. The worst parts are when the firefighters talk about the jumpers and trying to survive through the wave of dust and debris from the building collapses.
posted by Rothko at 1:18 PM on August 12, 2005

Actually, I don't think that's the newly released items:
Over the last three and half years, The Times has obtained some of these records through unofficial channels, and they can be found on the Web at www.nytimes.com/sept11. These include the dispatch tapes, nearly 100 of the Fire Department oral histories, and a log of calls to Emergency Medical Service dispatchers that were channeled through the 911 system.
posted by smackfu at 1:33 PM on August 12, 2005

posted by icosahedral at 1:38 PM on August 12, 2005

A court order forced their release.
posted by Rothko at 2:40 PM on August 12, 2005


posted by Rumple at 2:46 PM on August 12, 2005

Alot of the early justification claims against releasing them was because of the rather disturbing nature of some of the material, and sensetivity to the families of the vicitms.
posted by nomisxid at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2005

I think that answers why they are now available, but it doesn't answer the question of why they weren't available. Who was protecting them, and what reasoning did they use to do so?

Ask Mr. Bloomberg.

The New York Times sought the records under the freedom of information law in February 2002, but the Bloomberg administration refused to make them public and the newspaper sued the city. Earlier this year, the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, ordered the city to release most, but not all, of the records.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:48 PM on August 12, 2005

Oh, I think it's because it would show how absolutely unprepared the city was (and is) for a major disaster.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:50 PM on August 12, 2005

Well, thank goodness we have invaded Iraq and brought the perpetrators to justice.

Oh. Wait.
posted by maxsparber at 5:29 PM on August 12, 2005

Wow, NYT really did a job with this. This is Pulitzer material.
posted by Rothko at 6:41 PM on August 12, 2005

The NYTimes has now posted all the new material. The pages look almost identical to the ones posted in the FPP but there is a lot more there.
posted by smackfu at 7:48 PM on August 12, 2005

Why haven't these been released before now?

This is the March 24 decision by the NY Court of Appeals which ordered the release, after minimal redactions for firefighter privacy (e.g. personal embarassment). The court summarizes the FDNY arguments as follows:

The Fire Department contends that the privacy exception [to the state FOI law] applies to the portions of the 911 calls that are in dispute; that the intra-agency exception applies to the disputed portions of the dispatch calls; and that both these exceptions apply to portions of the oral histories. The Department also contends that the law enforcement exception applies to the six potential exhibits at the [Zacarias] Moussaoui trial, but it does not identify those six exhibits or say which categories they belong to.

The FDNY probably dug in its heels after the Port Authority released similar material in 2003 and was severely criticized due to the personal nature of the oral histories.
posted by dhartung at 1:17 AM on August 13, 2005

Thank you very much for posting this, kirkaracha.

As disturbing, horrible, moving, graphic and powerful as this stuff is, reading through it made me feel just a little bit better. I had so many questions going through my own mind, that were clouded by such an overwhelming feeling of anguish, as I watched the towers falls from my Sixth Avenue apartment building, and felt heartsick to my core that untold thousands had just perished horribly. This at least, helped me answer some of them. This is disturbing stuff, but essential reading.
posted by psmealey at 10:23 AM on August 13, 2005

I've been listening and reading all morning, accompanying this with the complete 9/11 timeline.
posted by nj_subgenius at 8:38 AM on August 14, 2005

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