part 2 The World Trade Towers Collapsed on Will Jimeno. How Did He Survive?
Chapter 3 The Rescue
Firefighters search through the rubble of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in 2001. | Doug Kanter/AFP via Getty Images
In fact, the somewhat unlikely tale of the rescue of Jimeno and McLoughlin is far from Ground Zero.
That same morning, when the attack written, David W. Karnes, 43, had served 20 years in the Marines and left the military three years ago as a civilian, and was at work as a representative at Deloitte’s office in Connecticut. He instantly saw the assault as an act of war, and went into action when he saw both the fall of the buildings and the following Pentagon attack and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93. He left his work, stopped at a nearby barber for a haircut, put his own camouflage fatigue on, and went to Lower Manhattan—just as the police managed the obstacles on the way through someone who glanced at the military part.
In the early hours of the afternoon in Lower Manhattan, pandemonium persisted, rescue attempts at best haphazard, with the New York Fire Department not only reckoning that hundreds of its personnel lost tragicly, mais also the destruction of the command structure. This was a true hellscape; fire raged around the buildings, and roads and street viewers were covered in the thick white dust that would become one of the assault’s defining characteristics.And then there was the distinctive and bizarre sound on the site: hundreds of missing firemen, all ringing constantly from the scrub of the World Trade Centre, received high-pitched emergency alarm bells.
Among the people who had congregated at the former site of the World Trade Center were first responders, construction workers, and other military personnel. There was another former Marine, Karnes, incredibly, who had answered the same way he had: Jason Thomas, a 27-year-old former sergeant, had departed active service months before. He dropped his daughter after he learned of the assault at his mother’s home, and also walked to his old uniform at the World Trade Center. “Anybody needed assistance. It didn’t matter who, “he said years later to reporters. “I haven’t had a plan. But I’ve had all this training as a navy man and I could just think that “My town is in need.”
The two guys went out on a separate search and rescue task, walked up the steep scrap and called out.
Jimeno heard her cry under the surface at around 8 pm: “Anyone can hear us, US Marine Corps?”
Jimeno remembers, “I couldn’t believe it. “I began to shout as loudly as I could. ‘Down with PAPD officials! Down with PAPD policemen!’ They continued to exclaim, ‘Shout on, we hear you!'” ” The Marines were working towards the voice of Jimeno and at last appeared at a hole in the rubble, high above them. “Who’s down here, they said?”Officer Jiméno, my sergeant, is down. I replied, “Port Authority Policing.” Here we have some guys. They replied, ‘Hold on, mate.’ “Jimeno remembers. We have guys who have died,’ and they say.
The marines tried to find Jimeno in the wreckage below with a flashlight. His left hand was all about waving to their attention, but his hand was just as caked in concrete dust as the rubble itself, which he could not differentiate. It took them about five minutes to locate him. The Marines screamed above to assist others.
Two officials, both members of the elite rescue and SWAT-style squad, came from the Truck One Emergency Service Unit of the NYPD, Scott Strauss and Paddy McGee. “We began to go in this way,” said Strauss afterwards. “We ascended this twisted steel — some of it was really, really hot — and leapt from one another.” the dust we slide. This was an unpleasant journey. I noticed a man waving a lightning tap. I walked over to him through the dust and smoke. “What do you have, I said?” “You have in this pit two guys, two police,” he continues. I glance, then, and that hole is a little larger than a manhole’s size. About 6 to 8 feet, I fell into it. It was like a very little closet.” It was like.
The paramedics, Chuck Sereika, and Strauss, McGee, started the hard work of freeing Jimeno over hours. They removed their own rescue equipment, and the cops pulled their weapons belts off, throwing away everything they could to allow them to shake deeper. “This hole I’m crawling down. Paddy is behind me, and we go through heated beams, and the fire from the other side is burning with smoke. We are coughing. We were shocked, “remembers Strauss.
“I tell myself, my children, ‘I love you. I love you. I’m sad that I’m doing it, since I’m going to die,” he remembers. “The worst thing—probably the worst thing in my life that I have had to do. I told [my wife] I loved her and I walked into the holes-I didn’t contact anyone on the mobile phone, I simply told myself that. “
Finally they got to Pezzullo’s corpse and Jimeno, after they were crawling about 20 to 30 feet below. “We can only see Will’s head, his right arm, and a portion of his right side,” remembered Strauss. “The rest — it sounds like a dump truck has been spilled out. He’s just lying on his side. He’s just laying on his side. He could move his head a little and his right hand could be moved.”
Only one person could fit through the aperture — a room Strauss characterized as “little larger than the region underneath a chair.” Strauss gave some water to Jimeno and finally Sereika connected the wounded officer up with an IV. They started working then. Strauss begins to scrape at the scratch. Gradually, they chipped off the envelope concrete; it was hard labor and Strauss and Sereika were trading positions every 15 to 20 minutes. As they chipped away, they would pass McGee the shattered concrete to the blazing flames and mound of trash. They’d toss it deeper below.
There was a serious issue. “It looks as it seems. They were confused at first as Jimeso continued begging them to rescue their partner—Strauss and his colleagues were able to view Peluzzo’s corpse in close proximity and were concerned that the officier was not dead in shock. They heard another voice from the debris just in the middle of the rescue.
“We’re scratching away, we’re scratching away, and suddenly we’re hearing the voice of SergeantMcLoughlin, ‘Hey, you guys?’ ‘Who is that,’ I’m like?’ ‘That’s my partner,’ like, you fools. You idiots! What do you believe I spoke about? So we were like, “It was your partner,” we thought. “No, this is Dominick,” he said. He is dead.”He is dead. Oh, my God, I’m just like! Now we’ve had to perform a new rescue.”
They labored for three hours to release Jimeno, refusing to evacuate despite repeated instructions from other rescuers due to the hazardous and volatile waste. “They’ve been working on me for the next three hours,” remembers Jimeno. It was extremely, extremely painful. They had my right leg free, and it took them a long time to pull me out of that wall. My Scott Airpack had to be taken off. That night, it was just a nightmare.”
At another time they thought Jimeno’s leg was amputated, but just had a button and digged instead. The room was so narrow that Jimeno never glimpsed Strauss’ face; he spent the whole rescue only inches away from seeing his cup of head.
“Will scream in agony, and Sergeant McLoughlin fades into and out all this time,” recounted Strauss. “We speak to McLoughlin and Paddy McGee, he’s born on St. Patrick’s Day, he’s at the band of the police pipe department — and JohnMcLoughlin and Paddy are like, ‘Hey, Ireland Eyes, are you still with us?’ Sometimes he answered, sometimes he did not. Sometimes he answered. Will would become riled up if he didn’t reply. ‘Sarge, Sarge, Sarge, hang on, Sarge, sarge! Then, in a sleepy voice, you would hear him mutter, ‘I am here. ‘Here I am.’ ” I am not.
Jimenos was finally released at around 11 p.m., brought up on the surface in a rescue basket, facing the terrible destruction above. “I remember glancing around as they began to take me off of this gurney and I shouted ‘what’s it?’ Because I could see the moon, and smoke, but the buildings could not be seen. This is when a fireman stated, “Everything is gone, child.” I wept that evening for the first time.”
The next morning, at around 7 a.m., it took 8 more hours to reach McLoughlin.
The medical doctors brought Jimeno to Bellevue Hospital in New York that night, but also the ambulance driver had come from the top and required guidance. The vacuums in the emergency department were faced by Jimeno: “I recall when we arrived at the hospital, there were thousands of people there. I wept for the second time. I saw these physicians gathering around and nurses as they removed me from the ambulance. “Where’s everyone?” I asked. ‘You are it,’ they’re like. They assure me that no one else is there.”
This is how most of the stories by Will Jimeno end: with the miracle of salvation, some of the latter — and only a few of the flaming scrapes from ground zero. The victory of the hero was saved on the darkest day by other heroes.
However, what strikes me most is what happens next with the PAPD officer, Will Jimeno.
Chapter 4 The Calculation
His legs were badly injured—doctors rushed to open him from hip to ankle that first night to relieve the crushing pressures within—but the 13-hour experience inside the World Trade Center debris seemed to harm him every inch.He looked half human, half concrete. A vacuum was required to clean his lungs of pebbles and dirt. “One of the physicians said they had to clean my lungs for 30 years because the lungs seemed to me; I hadn’t smoked in my life for a day,” Sunrise Through the Darkness said in his book. His hair was caked with debris and his ear canals were clogged.
He flatlined twice, almost died. Then He saw his family, but his hands were not so swollen as to write or utilize the sign language he normally told his wife. He was unhappy, unable to talk. The fireballs rolling through the waste had their right arm burned.
Police officials remained at his bedside vigil and Jimeno counted on his own department in the days ahead—the head of the PAPD and the superintendent of his academy both perished. In fact, 37 PAPD policemen, including Peluzzo, Rodrigues and Amoroso, were killed that day. He’d made nearly 39 with McLoughlin. One day, he saw photos of the hijackers in the media and turned his eyes on each other: What would this do?
On October 19, 12 months after US flights began in Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks, he gradually began to stand up and improve enough to be released into a rehabilitation facility in New Jersey.Jimeno received the child he had never imagined he would live to see Olivia on 26 November in the wheelchair; his wife’s planned C-section was so Olivia shared the birthdate of her father. “That great moment I nearly missed,” he remembers.
During the subsequent years, his mental state deteriorated as his health improved. Sadness and eventually rage overtook the familiarity of the house. Jimeno is fun and naturally easy to go with, and he now seems to be on a hair trigger. His anger erupted over minor circumstances, his family, wives, or his friends, due to worldly hardships and moderate frustrations. One night, when his wife served them an additional tray of parmesan bird, he cried out to his brother-in-law; Jimeno, who had no liking for eggplant, began shouting: “What a fuck! All the food you consume.” You eat.
Another night, as he was about to shoe his wife in a disagreement over the remote TV, he caught himself.
Jimeno was appalled and disgusted. Sitting in the vehicle, looking out of the field, he would have been away hunting and, not knowing what attacks were on Sept. 11, he had taken the personal day he had considered. He left the home and went to a wildlife management area where he wanted to hunt.
He went to his elder daughter’s room when he came back home. “Daddy shouts a lot,” he asked?
“Yeah, Dad, sometimes you frighten me,” she said in reality.
The devastation of Jimeno. “I’ve known that if I’m not a decent spouse, a good father, a good example, the terrorists win,” he recalls the moment in his book.
He realized over time that he had not identified Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, since in the weeks after he pulled alive out of the scrap, nobody was paying much attention to himself as so many physicians, nurses and experts poured over every inch of his body.
The new battle of Jimeno, as it turned out, predicted an experience for millions of soldiers who would soon confront themselves in wars of terror abroad. PTSD has become part of the war on terror’s hallmark wound; millions of war veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned home safe, only to battle their time’s mental, emotional, and moral wounds. Today, some four million Americans have been fighting in the post-9/11 wars. A Pew study in 2019 found that, “approximately half of them say they have emotionally traumatic or distressing military service experiences, and about a third say they have looked for professional assistance in dealing with them.” About one in three people report that they think they have PTSD symptoms.
Jimeno felt that he had a hard time confronting his own mental health in the months after his own revelation. He found sessions that were difficult with a police therapist. He remembers in his new book, “Words were not here – I am constantly short of words.”
The cold went on. Then, one day, about two years later, in the middle of 2003, around two years after 9/11, when U.S. troops in Iraq started to feel the first insurgent storm dragging on for years, his younger daughter Olivia drank her. He stretched out and grabbed her shirt from the front seat.
Will, what the hell is wrong with you? yelled his wife.She is a little girl.” She is a young girl.
His breaking point was reached by Jimeno. “It is time to take my PTSD seriously,” he wrote. “I really need to speak to someone,” he phoned a buddy of the psychotherapist.
Chapter 5 Finding Light
The months ahead of Jimeno have been tough. In order to comprehend the causes of his rage and the emotional trauma, he worked with psychologicalist Debbie Mandell, untreated. Again, he believed that he made no progress and thought about stopping therapy. Sometimes he was overcome by the remorse of the survivor. He questioned in one session: “Why am I living, not them?”
Mandell finally faced Mandell: “Will, you’ll have to live with it. We may still beat the dead horse, or we can go ahead and say, ‘Okay, you’ve had PTSD, you’re furious. How will we cope with it? What would you do?” “
Jimeno seemed to be hearing her for the first time, and understanding much more.
Jimeno tackles the issue straight away to this day. He understands that PTSD doesn’t “heal.” This is about how trauma and triggers may be managed. He informed me during our first discussion some years ago, “The day I conquered PTSD’s the day they put me on the ground.”
Yet it would not be simple. He claims that for more than 10 years, he had battled with the guilt of his severe survivor, overcoming it only through a model life that day with Antonio Rodrigues, his partner’s widow. Although he had lost the love of her life, he saw her make a point of having a happy life and allowed himself to be happy, too. “It took years without it to make me feel sad,” he says in his book.
Instead of “fighting” PTSD, Jimeno has learnt to live with it for the last 17 years, to acknowledge his suffering and trauma. He recognized his own triggers with work and assistance, circumstances that produced bodily or mental anguish, moments when he felt helpless or power free, or scenarios in which he faced with the unknown. “It took years,” he recalls, but he discovered how the so-called “damn hamster wheel” stopped a developing case of cold before it could erupt. Before they escalate, they try to get away from circumstances and instead immerse themselves in something physical – a walk, an elliptical, a punching sac.
And he hunts an event he claims has been a key element in his recovery. We’re Facebook friends, and his page is full of pictures of him, covered in forests, and drowning in the quiet of nature. His youngest girl is old enough to hunt with him now. He believes that there is nothing more wonderful than to sit in a blind hunt and watch the world awake. “It’s a reminder that you live every day and don’t cling to the past or dread the future.”
He also recognized the anguish his own family caused—collateral damage to his wife and others of his wrath—and faced his errors and emotions with time. He says in his book, “I’ve chosen to utilize the fury in a manner I battled over my life rather than against PTSD.” “I felt like I took control of my life from PTSD every time I was confronted with a mistake.”
Jimeno was medically retired from the PAPD in 2004 after only working as a cop for nine months prior to 9/11, and in the years since has devoted himself to speaking to groups dealing with their own problems.
He does rounds of rehabilitation centers, drug addiction programs, churches, and prisons, as well as talks to military groups and police academies. He talks at many elementary, middle, secondary and sometimes even college schools. Each of them comes with a little steel from the World Trade Center, which collapsed on Saturday 20 years ago.
He speaks in all his lectures about how the World Trade Center is standing above you, and how you stand up. Jimeno came to realize, finally, that the building which had fallen on him did not define him. Instead, what he did despite it would be characterized.
Trauma is neither comparable or competitive, Jimeno explains. Everything you experience may be as terrible to you as his own tragedy is to him. We will feel like the World Trade Center, a family member’s death, a terrible break, divorce, job loss, accidents, addiction, abuse, sexual assault, despair, or anything else at some time in our lives. He adds it may even be the final examination next week, so you don’t believe you can.
That’s the most important thing we do at that time — and who we are after.
“People constantly get up and tell me, ‘I can’t conceive of anything worse than the 220 stories from your World Trade Center.'” This summer, when we talked about my new podcast again, he told me. “At that point, you have your own World Trade Centre, whatever terrible tragedy is going on in your lives. That’s what you’re doing with us—what we’re doing to defeat them. And that’s why I tell people that if you look at my narrative — or our story, as I like to call it — look at these two people who shouldn’t emerge from beneath these huge buildings, yet did. And somehow they were able to find pleasure, somehow. “
His message turns out to have been heard by many of those who encounter him. They approached him after his speech to inform him about his own World Trade Center. ‘ It’s a hug and a word of support.
“I want to educate others today how to live this with you, regardless of what your World Trade Center is,” stated Jimeno.
It is for me the most optimistic and inspirational tale I’ve ever discovered after years of researching the 9/11 disaster and tragedy.