Today, the NYC Fire Department released “thousands of pages of oral histories recorded by firefighters about Sept. 11 and hours of radio transmissions, a vast mine of records that evoked anew the chaos and horror of the attack.”
Made public were 15 hours of radio transmissions and more than 500 oral histories describing the rush to the World Trade Center, which saved an unknown number of civilians and cost 343 firefighters their lives. In all, 2,749 people died in the trade center.
The New York Times, joined by families of Sept. 11 victims, sued the city in 2002 to release the records, which were collected by the Fire Department in the days after the collapse of the twin towers.
Independent investigations with prior access to the documents have already described major flaws in the city’s response to the terrorist attack. Emergency radios did not function properly. Police and firefighters did not work together. Discipline broke down. Vital messages went unheard.