The city must have many storage closets that escape notice. The city will release 1,613 phone calls made on September 11 by emergency workers and trapped people at the World Trade Center. As Newsday explains it, "The fire department is releasing these recordings now because of an oversight that occurred after a March decision by the New York State Court of Appeals to release all calls, according to a statement. A personnel error led to the department overlooking another tape of phone calls made between 8:45 and 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, the statement said." An oversight of two hours of phone calls? That's some oversight.
Some transcripts and tapes were released earlier this year during Zacarias Moussaoui's trial. The NY Times and victims' families had sued for the public release of the tapes, in order to find out how emergency workers and employees were directed to act during the attacks. The NY Times describes what happened to one group of firefighters:
One caller was Capt. Fred Ill of Ladder Company 2 on 51st Street. As the first alarms of the attacks were being sounded, Captain Ill contacted the fire dispatcher to mention that his company had trained for high-rise firefighting in helicopters flown by pilots from the Police Department.
But no firefighters flew on police helicopters that morning — the fire chief who was assigned to organize a rendezvous between the two agencies said he could not reach the Police Department — so Captain Ill and his company were sent into the north tower. Fire commanders on the ground, 1,000 feet below the fire, were hampered by their lack of perspective, investigators concluded.
After the south tower collapsed, police pilots in helicopters broadcast urgent warnings that the north tower was also on the verge of collapse. That dire message was not heard by firefighters in the north tower, most of whom did not realize that the other building had come down.
In the final minutes, Captain Ill was seen trying to round up his company in the lower floors of the north tower. He and his men died.
And 1010WINS had this quote from attorney Norman Siegel, who is representing the September 11 families, "We need the mayor to assure the family members that this is it, that this is everything we have. If it was 10 or 20 tapes, one could understand that they overlooked some. But if you're talking hundreds, and possibly as many as 2,000 tapes, the serious substantial question is how did this happen?'' Good question.
Here are some transcripts and audio of emergency calls made on September 11, via WCBS 880 and Memory Hole. And in WTC redevelopment news, City Comptroller William Thompson is questioning the Port Authority's handling of WTC lease moneys and construction began on the WTC Memorial yesterday.