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44 · Provide appropriate rescue equipment (e.g., emergency 3.2.12 Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) vehicles, golf carts for moving in the walkway, and Evacuation under the World Trade breathing apparatuses for emergency responders) and Center improved communications. · Revise rescue procedures so that the fire chief of either Location: PATH rapid transit station under the Oakland or San Francisco, depending solely on where the World Trade Center fire occurred, was in charge of operations. Date: September 11, 2001 · Change the doors to the gallery to enable people inside to Incident Category: terrorist bombing of buildings get out as easily as people outside to get in. above the rail station · Receive approval from the Oakland and San Francisco fire Tunnel Length: N/A; rail station under bombed chiefs on the new fire rescue procedures. building Fatalities and Injuries: None in this portion of the incident Conclusions Synopsis Both fire departments had practiced tunnel emergency procedures in drills that involved entering the tunnel tubes Two planes flown by terrorists struck the World Trade Cen- and the central corridor, or the gallery that connects them. ter's (WTC's) twin towers during the morning rush hour on Firefighters were trained that the gallery was the place to flee September 11, 2001, resulting in fire and heat that caused the to during a fire or smoke condition because panic doors buildings to collapse. This case study does not discuss the every 100 feet (30 meters) were programmed to open as soon overall incident, but looks specifically at the successful evac- as they were touched. Although this worked during drills, in uation of employees, passengers, and trains from the PATH the actual incident the gallery filled with smoke, thus becom- rapid transit station under the WTC. ing a dangerous location. When firefighters tried to exit the gallery and enter the relative safety of the eastbound (unaf- Analysis of Pre-Incident Information and Events fected) tube, they were unable to find the keyholes in the doors. The firefighter who died was trapped in the smoke- PATH was acquired in 1962 by the Port Authority of filled gallery. New York and New Jersey from the bankrupt Hudson and The incident was attributed to lack of communication Manhattan Railroad. The system and its tunnels linking between the train operator and central operations, poor coor- New York and New Jersey, which had been built in 1908, dination, and errors of judgment, all of which made the inci- were the first passenger rail connections between the two dent a key factor in the development of National Fire states. Prior to September 11, 2001, the PATH rapid transit Protection Association transit industry guidelines (NFPA system of 13 stations carried approximately 260,000 week- 130) on responses to fire incidents [Ref. 2]. day passengers, about 67,000 of whom boarded PATH at the WTC station located about 70 feet (21 meters) below the WTC towers. References When the first plane hit the WTC at 8:46 a.m., the PATH Braun, E. (1978). Fire Hazard Evaluation of BART Vehicles. rush hour was not quite over. Yet within 5 minutes, despite the Washington, DC: Urban Mass Transportation Admin., Depart- surrounding chaos, a train dispatcher at the station had the ment of Transportation. (Final Report, NBSIR 78-1421) presence of mind to ask his control center what he should do Rubinstein, S. (1979, Jan. 19). "Key Questions in BART about passengers he had just unloaded and those who had Probe." San Francisco Chronicle, p. 1. just entered his train on Track 4. He was told to immediately San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District. (1979, take his train and passengers out of the station and back to Nov. 12). Cal-OSHA Reporter, vol. 6, no. 37. New Jersey. Although tapes released later indicated that at Stack, P. (1979, Jan. 18)."BART Fire Under Bay: One Dead, least one conductor did not think he would be able to reverse 46 Hurt." San Francisco Chronicle, p. 1. his train to get out of the 14th Street station, passengers at Stack, P. (1979, Jan. 19)."Fireman Tells of His Ordeal Under Manhattan stations were boarded or reboarded onto trains the Bay." San Francisco Chronicle, n.p. that traveled under the Hudson, returning them all to safety Wegars, D. (1979, Jan. 20). "PUC Order--No BART Under in New Jersey. Bay." San Francisco Chronicle, p. 1. The only train that was unable to leave the WTC station Williamson, G. (1979, Jan. 18). "BART Trouble Before Fire was found later on Track 4 with debris covering four of Reported." San Francisco Chronicle, p. 6. its seven cars. However, there were no fatalities because
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45 all occupants had fled the station before the buildings Damage and Service Restoration collapsed. An important part of damage control that pertained specif- ically to the PATH portion of the events of September 11, 2001, Analysis of the Incident involved securing the basin under the collapsed towers to ensure that the PATH system was not flooded beyond the Within minutes of the first plane striking the north tower immediate event. A 60-foot (18-meter)-deep cavern that of the WTC at 8:46 a.m., at least four PATH employees indi- became known as the "bathtub" formed the foundation and vidually contacted the PATH control center at Journal Square side walls of the basement levels of the WTC and kept out water in Jersey City to report that an unexplained explosion or fire from the Hudson River. If the bathtub had given way, water seemed to have occurred at the WTC. None were aware of the would have rushed into what had been the basement levels of magnitude of the event. Based on instructions from a PATH the WTC and subsequently into the two PATH tubes under the deputy director who was at the WTC, by 8:52 a.m. the system's river. Although some water damage occurred at the Exchange trainmaster began to issue instructions to conductors and Place station in Jersey City, had the water not been contained it operators to avoid the station. Had it not been for these could have reached the PATH terminus at West 33rd Street and prompt instructions, trains would have continued to arrive at Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, and from there flooded the station at 3- and 5-minute intervals, unloading passengers adjoining New York City subway tunnels. Further flooding was directly into buildings that would soon collapse. This would prevented, and it was eventually determined that much of the undoubtedly have resulted in a far larger number of deaths in water in the PATH tubes was not from the bathtub, but from conjunction with the WTC attack. broken water mains, firefighters' hoses, and rainwater. Staff aboard a train from Newark that was carrying about On November 23, 2003, PATH service linking lower Man- 1,000 passengers announced that passengers should reboard; hattan and New Jersey was restored at the temporary WTC the staff then moved the train out of the station and to the PATH station. The station, which opened 1 month ahead of Exchange Place station in Jersey City. The passengers who schedule, was the final part of Port Authority's $566 million had not reboarded were evacuated from the Trade Center by program to restore the rail service into lower Manhattan that Port Authority police officers and other operations person- was severed on September 11, 2001. It was the first public nel. A second train originating in Hoboken, New Jersey, and space to re-open within the WTC site since the terrorist also carrying approximately 1,000 passengers was scheduled attacks. Although the temporary station cost $323 million to to arrive at the WTC station just after the Newark train. The build, the station lacks many of the amenities of the original crew was ordered by the trainmaster to keep its doors closed, station, including heating, air conditioning, and features nec- move through the WTC, and loop around and proceed to essary to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Exchange Place. A third train scheduled to leave the Act (ADA). It is planned that these features will be included Exchange Place station for the WTC station was directed to in the permanent station. discharge all passengers at Exchange Place and to proceed to In addition to the cost of the temporary station, $106 mil- the WTC to evacuate any stranded passengers and Port lion was spent by the Port Authority to restore the PATH tun- Authority personnel. That train, which left the station at nels under the Hudson River. The interior of some tunnel about 9:10 a.m., was the last to leave before all city-bound sections had to be stripped, and equipment damaged by the trains were halted in New Jersey. The timely decision to evac- collapse of the towers and subsequent flooding (such as uate trains from the WTC station and to halt those heading tracks, electrical wiring, and train signals) had to be replaced. toward it resulted in no trains being trapped in the tunnels The $106 million also included restoration and enhancement when the towers collapsed and no passengers or staff being of the Exchange Place station in Jersey City. left in the station. The WTC temporary station is slated to be replaced with a proposed $2 billion permanent WTC Transportation Hub Fatalities and Injuries that will include underground pedestrian connections to more than a dozen New York City subway stations and an There were no fatalities or injuries in this portion of the additional connection to the Metropolitan Transportation incident. Authority's proposed Fulton Street Transit Center. Fire and Emergency Response Conclusions Fire and emergency response was not involved for this por- Based on normal ridership patterns, it is estimated that as tion of the incident. many as 3,000 PATH passengers were prevented from