When the FDNY responded to the World Trade Center attacks four years ago today, I tuned into Brooklyn dispatch on my scanner. I didn't have the frequency for Manhattan loaded, but many of the units responded from Brooklyn. When the first tower fell, our view of Manhattan was blocked, and we could feel the dispatchers' desparation on the Brooklyn frequency. That was un-nerving, because the seasoned dispatchers and firefighters rarely sound excited on the radio.
As we listened to news radio, we could hear that the tower had collapsed. At the same time, Brooklyn dispatchers were trying frantically to contact units on the scene.
Now as the result of a lawsuit, the city was forced to release tapes from their dispatch offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The files, which are very large, are available to download or stream at this website. I haven't listened to everything, and as the site warns, the tapes aren't for everyone. Indeed, you can hear the fear and confusion as the attack unfolds. Sometimes, the dispatch volume levels are very soft, while the field radios come through perfectly fine.
Check out the sound clips to get a feel for the fire department's response to this overwhelming emergency. When you do that, remember that many of those voices belong to men who laid down their life that day.Posted by JRC at September 11, 2005 06:14 PM | TrackBack