September 11th: The Port Authority Police Department Story
The Port Authority Police Department
On the morning of September 11, 2001, as the North Tower of the World Trade Center burned, a bus sped to the scene from the Port Authority Bus Terminal near Times Square in midtown Manhattan. The bus had been commandeered by the Port Authority police to transport officers to assist with the rescue efforts. Among the officers on that bus were Christopher Amoroso, Antonio Rodrigues, Dominick Pezzulo, Will Jimeno and Sergeant John McLoughlin. They could see the inferno in the sky through the bus windows as they approached, each man impatient to get there, all of them eager to do whatever they could to save lives.
Their shift had started routinely that morning at the bus terminal. The rookies, Jimeno, 34, and Pezzulo, 35, were stationed at the terminal entrances, Jimeno at the north entrance on 42nd Street, Pezzulo at the south entrance. Pezzulo and Jimeno were good buddies, having both graduated from the academy nine months earlier. Word had spread quickly that an airplane had struck the World Trade Center. At that point the general assumption was that the collision of American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:46 a.m. was a horrible accident. Sergeant McLoughlin ran through the bus terminal collecting men who wanted to help downtown. Jimeno and Pezzulo immediately volunteered.
When the bus arrived at the site, it was directed to the underground parking garage, passing under the burning North Tower to the South Tower where the men got off. They were one floor below the underground shopping concourse. Sergeant McLoughlin, who had 10 years of experience in emergency services, quickly organized his men, leading them to a storage room where emergency equipment was kept. They loaded a laundry cart with helmets, axes and Scott Airpaks and rushed toward the North Tower, pushing the heavy cart. Officer Jimeno remembers that he had been pushing the cart from behind and Officer Rodrigues told him to shove over so he could help. Officer Amoroso squeezed in next to Rodrigues so that he could push, too.
As they raced toward the North Tower elevators, they heard a loud droning sound that none of them could identify. Jimeno asked Sergeant McLoughlin if this was a "second plane" coming in, and before McLoughlin could answer, the floor shook with the impact of United Flight 175 as it ploughed into the South Tower. The men kept pushing their cart, but the shock waves from the collision rattled everything around them. The floor buckled, and the walls started to crack. The five officers ran for their lives.