from Ground Zero (cont.)
since so many people couldnt stand indefinitely in the stairwell,
Chou started checking doors as they descended. As in many office
buildings, most were locked as a standard measure of building security.
But he found the 55th floor open. That allowed his group to cut
through to the elevator, which took them to its next platform, the
lobby on the 44th floor.
within five seconds, the second plane, United Air Lines 175, plowed
into the upper floors of the building, right where they all had
been just moments before.
been in earthquakes, said Chou, who grew up in Taiwan, where
you get a decent-sized earthquake at least once a year.
When the airliner hit Building II, he saw the same destruction:
smoke, dust, flying objects. The building rocked, he
said. But when it stopped shaking, he remembered the words from
fire marshal training: Panic is your worst enemy.
were all a little shaky, he said, but we walked down
44 flights of stairs. And we cut through the underground mall and
came out at the corner of Fulton and Church streets.
tried to call his family on his cell phone, until it was requested
that people stay off their cells so that communication channels
for the police and fire squads could remain unobstructed. All
the pay phones had long lines, he said, and then I remembered
that I live three blocks away. So he headed for his apartment
at Greenwich and Rector streets.