Photos by Ron J. Berard
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© Ron J. Berard

We were able to get about one block west and almost two blocks north of the WTC when we heard a deafening noise. The south tower was coming down. The most frightening thing about the collapse was the ball of debris. In my wildest dreams, I could have never imagined what it did.

It appeared to grow like a nuclear mushroom cloud and its movement seemed to rival that of a fast train. It was the first time I actually screamed out loud. It was coming towards us quick and we were not going to be able to outrun it. It caught us all right, but just the light dust from the outer edges. It tasted like concrete.

Even though we were caked with soot and dust, we saw our first light at the end of the tunnel. Karly's school was less than two blocks away. When we arrived, there were many people in tears, the total disbelief of everything thus far that was happening right in front of their eyes. Within five minutes, everyone on the West Side Highway and the thousands on Chambers were given marching orders by officials to walk north on West Side Highway about six miles to 38th street to the boat ferries that would take us all across the Hudson River to New Jersey.

No more than ten minutes into the march, the North tower collapsed and it seemed like everyone around us started crying out loud, kids, adults, seniors, everyone.


Other 911 Stories:  New York Under Siege | Window of Horror | Attack on the Pentagon | New York September 11   
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