"9-11: September 11, 2001, America Attacked," Edited by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.
The World Trade Center - Twin Towers Fall
Eight firemen from Ladder No. 5 company, the first upon the scene, were apparently consumed by a giant fireball. One of these men, Mike Warchola, was retiring the next day. Another, Greg Saucedo, was expecting to be promoted to lieutenant.
But this was their job: To save people. And certainly all of these men knew with fatal certainty that they might die. They could feel the heat, hear the secondary explosions and the crackle and roar of the flames. They could smell the gas, the fuel from the jet, and could see the orange red flames and the thick black smoke. But they could also hear the screams, the blood curdling shrieks, and the cries for help. And that's what they were there for. That's what they were trained for. And they died trying to save lives. They were brave and selfless heroes.
The men of Ladder No. 24, pulled up in their trucks at the same time as Ladder No. 5. Without hesitating, the men went straight up into the north tower. They climbed stairwell "A".
"We made it up 37 floors carrying a lot of heavy equipment," said Marcel Claes of Engine No. 24, "and we got an urgent message to come right back down. I think the Ladder 5 guys may have proceeded up farther."
But in coming back down, Marcel became separated from his buddies. He was directed to another stairwell on the sixth floor. "I manned my rig as the pump operator, but we ran out of water. I had to take care of that and get more watr. I went back down and outside." That's when the south tower fell killing all inside.