It is the World Trade Center fire that will not go out -- the startling assertion in a book about ground zero that some firefighters not only looted stores there, but did so before the towers fell, even as severely burned people fled the buildings and other firefighters climbed unknowingly to their deaths. The claim, which angered firefighters and was seized on by reviewers, is near the end of William Langewiesche's critically acclaimed ''American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. Langewiesche writes that on an ''autumn afternoon'' in , a fire truck was unearthed at the base of the south tower ruins, and that it contained blue jeans -- ''tagged, folded, stacked by size'' -- that he implies were looted from a Gap store. Construction workers, who were tired of the firefighters' lionization by the media, jeered when the discovery was made, according to Mr. Writing without attribution, and in the omniscient voice he used throughout the book, Mr.
Patrick Drury, a freelance videographer who recorded the excavation for FEMA, said he saw no blue jeans. OEM reestablished operations temporarily at the police academy, where Mayor Giuliani gave many press conferences throughout the afternoon and evening of September In the days following the destruction of the towers, rescuers found scorch marks, likely made by a cutting torch on a basement doorway underneath Ceo private server WTC; this was thought to be the result of looters. Headed by then-Director Richard Sheirerthe agency was forced to vacate its headquarters, located in 7 World Trade Center, within hours of the attack. And Firefighters looting at the twin towers second thing that I found particularly troubling was the amount of thievery and theft that took place, and the obvious fact that it apparently was perpetrated by Fire Department or rescue workers or Police Department personnel. There was looting by everybody involved in the World Trade Center site-I mean, all the main parties, not every individual, obviously.
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There were many proposals on how to build the World Trade Center back however many lacked creativity. Langewiesche also denied saying that firefighters stole jeans from the Gap. Of course. Further exploration of the building's basement revealed that the vault contained large amounts of gold and silver in the form of coins, as well as gold and Top of penis bars. Those divisions were, in fact, as much the fault of, for instance, the construction workers as of any other group. Due to falling debris and safety concerns, he moved the incident command center to a spot located across West Streetbut numerous fire chiefs remained in the lobby which continued to serve as an operations post where alarms, Firefighters looting at the twin towers, communications systems, and other equipment were operated. Princess bell nude is impossible to believe that both victims and perpetrators of looting would conspire to keep silent. His larger point, he suggests, was that construction workers started rumors, such as firefighters looting, as part of group infighting at Ground Zero. Northeast Region placed their region personnel and assets on alert mere moments after they learned of the attack. The third, and Lesbian city example is the now infamous tale of "wild" construction workers jeering firefighters while a crew cab full of Gap jeans was unearthed, in the "fall" Part III. The South Tower fell at a. Retrieved July 12, We read about a "muscular and charismatic" field superintendent for one of the major construction companies who grew weary of the "moralistic airs" of the firemen - who, in their determination to find their own dead, kept shutting down his cleanup efforts.
By Laura Italiano.
- Objective evidence shows there were no blue jeans in the firetruck and no jeering construction workers.
- Shops and restaurants in the retail concourse beneath 5 World Trade Center were looted in the wake of last week's disaster, and police detectives are investigating whether rescue workers were responsible, law enforcement officials said yesterday.
- Very little needs to be said about the following photos of first responders on September 11th, and during the subsequent recovery efforts.
It is the World Trade Center fire that will not go out -- the startling assertion in a book about ground zero that some firefighters not only looted stores there, but did so before the towers fell, even as severely burned people fled the buildings and other firefighters climbed unknowingly to their deaths. The claim, which angered firefighters and was seized on by reviewers, is near the end of William Langewiesche's critically acclaimed ''American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center.
Langewiesche writes that on an ''autumn afternoon'' in , a fire truck was unearthed at the base of the south tower ruins, and that it contained blue jeans -- ''tagged, folded, stacked by size'' -- that he implies were looted from a Gap store. Construction workers, who were tired of the firefighters' lionization by the media, jeered when the discovery was made, according to Mr.
Writing without attribution, and in the omniscient voice he used throughout the book, Mr. Langewiesche wrote, ''It was hard to avoid the conclusion that the looting had begun even before the first tower fell, and that while hundreds of doomed firemen had climbed through the wounded buildings, this particular crew had been engaged in something else entirely, without the slightest suspicion that the south tower was about to hammer down.
For months bitter accusations from firefighters and their supporters have been met with energetic defenses by Mr.
Langewiesche and his publishers. Now George Black, a journalist and author with significant experience in historical reconstruction, has come forward to argue, after weeks of research, that the incident could not have happened as Mr.
Langewiesche described it. Black's analysis undertakes only the question of whether the incident with the jeans took place, and leaves unaddressed some of the author's unflattering depictions of the work of city firefighters at the recovery site -- portrayals that have led to a fierce campaign of protests by a wide range of Fire Department officials and supporters. But on the question of the jeans, Mr. Black says he is authoritative.
He began his research after his wife, Anne Nelson, wrote a play, ''The Guys,'' about a fire chief's efforts to write obituaries for members of his company.
In a page document replete with footnotes, maps, satellite data and aerial photographs, Mr. Black argues that the truck in question -- unidentified in Mr. Langewiesche's account, but a subject of rumor elsewhere -- was Ladder Company 4, based in Midtown Manhattan.
He then raises the question whether, based on interviews and Fire Department records he was provided with, Ladder 4's firefighters would have even had the opportunity to steal the jeans from a Gap store that was located yards away from their truck and on a lower concourse level of the trade center complex.
Ladder 4, he points out, arrived roughly 30 minutes before the collapse of the south tower and its members were seen by many eyewitnesses engaged in rescuing people from the building's elevators.
And he asserts, on the basis of the layout of the trade center complex, that the truck had been parked virtually underneath two retail stores stocked with scores of pairs of jeans, and that any pants found near the truck had most likely ended up there as a consequence of the tower's collapse. Black, who sent his report to Mr. Langewiesche's publisher, included a letter in which he asserted that Mr. Langewiesche ''passed off demonstrably unfounded rumor as plain fact, with a reckless disregard for both elementary procedures of verification and the likely harm his reporting would cause.
In his report, Mr. Black notes that all of the firefighters who went to the trade center on Ladder 4 died. Reached while traveling in India, Mr. Langewiesche chose not to rebut Mr. Black's critique because, he said, it indicts him for assertions he believes he did not make. But Mr. Langewiesche acknowledges now, as he has since the uproar began, that he did not himself witness the scene, and instead relied on the testimony of others who said they had been present.
I purposely did not name a fire company. It is like two objects sailing past each other. He is arguing about something that I am not arguing about. Langewiesche said. They have seen what happened to me. Langewiesche tried to tackle the dispute, writing, ''it is clear that the passage has been misinterpreted by many as an accusation.
Rebecca Saletan, editorial director of North Point Press, which published ''American Ground,'' said the passage concerning the truck and the jeans would be amended in the paperback version of the book, which is scheduled for this September. Saletan said of Mr. Langewiesche said his efforts to dispel the confusion would not include revealing his sources. Langewiesche has a reputation as a careful, thoughtful reporter. He won a National Magazine Award in for his account of the crash of EgyptAir , and his ground zero series is the favorite in the reporting category this year, according to several judges.
The book attracted attention -- from both readers and other journalists who covered the same story -- not only because of its compelling reporting about the epic recovery effort at the trade center site, but also because of its plain-spoken, unemotional approach to detailing some conflicts among the firefighters, construction workers and city and federal officials who worked on the cleanup.
Langewiesche was not alone in reporting that some looting, perhaps even by people in uniform, took place at the site. Ten days after the attack, The New York Times reported on the looting of stores in the trade center concourse and on efforts to determine whether rescue workers had been involved. Langewiesche's clear implication, however, that some members of the Fire Department stole jeans -- while some civilians were making a choice between burning alive and jumping to their deaths -- proved to be toxic, a highly charged issue that became the focus of numerous critics who regarded his broader depiction of the conduct of firefighters at the recovery site as flawed and unfair.
Black said. And on the other, you have a prestigious, award-winning author and his publishers. That framed the issue in a way that seemed to obscure the facts, so I thought there would be value in a third party looking into it. Black has experience in reconstructing hotly contested episodes. In , he was one of the authors of ''Black Hands of Beijing,'' a book about the Beijing massacre.
And, while working as a senior analyst for Human Rights Watch, he wrote an account of Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds. Black said he relied for some of his research on information gathered by the WTC Living History Project, a coalition of volunteers and workers from ground zero who are working on their own history of the cleanup.
Some of those involved in that group have been among Mr. Langewiesche's most emphatic critics. Black said his own inquiry used multiple independent sources of information and was free of bias.
Throughout the critique, Mr. Black used mapping data, textual analysis and interviews with fire officials to build his case. Black attacked the language of the passage, which Mr. Langewiesche has said was intended to protect his sources and make a broader point. The relevant section began, ''The looting was shadowy, widespread, and unsurprising. Langewiesche later wrote, ''Knowledge of it, however, cast a shadow on the use of the word 'hero,' and at least once became a source of embarrassment and bitter mockery.
Black pointed out that elsewhere in the book, rumors were identified as such, but he said there were no signals to readers that they had left the realm of events that Mr.
Langewiesche personally witnessed. The use of significant detail -- saying that the jeans were from the Gap, that they were ''tagged, folded, stacked by size'' -- gave the account a factual, you-were-there ring, Mr.
He concluded that the choice of language left ''no reasonable doubt that Langewiesche intended his account as a matter of plain fact.
Black used a grid map developed by the Fire Department, data from the WTC Living History Project and simple deductive reasoning to establish that the truck in question had to be from Ladder Company 4, and that it was removed from the ruins on Dec. Black pointed out that the truck was parked on Liberty Street, just to the south of two stores, Structure and Express, that stocked thousands of blue jeans.
Using detailed accounts of the collapse of the south tower, he described how both the truck and the stores were driven deep into P and P, two of the byfoot sections on the grid map. His chronology of Ladder Company 4, whose firehouse is at Eighth Avenue and 48th Street, used records of its departure and eyewitness accounts of its arrival to argue that the company's firefighters would have had little time for looting.
Ladder Company 4, according to Mr. Black, arrived about a. The south tower fell at , and he reported that in that half hour, its crew was engaged in a successful attempt to rescue some civilians trapped in an elevator that was being heated by a fire from burning jet fuel that had poured down the shaft. And he produced a detailed analysis of where the bodies of the firefighters were found, in M, M and M, grid cells immediately adjacent to the bank of elevators.
Neither Mr. Langewiesche nor his editors at The Atlantic Monthly or at North Point will debate the facts at issue. They insist he was tightly focused on an incident that occurred on what became known as ''the pile'' and based his report on reliable sources who have confirmed their account since the controversy arose. But a videotape made for the Federal Emergency Management Agency soon after Ladder 4 was found shows the buried rig and the efforts to dig it out, but no stacks of blue jeans or jeering construction workers.
Patrick Drury, a freelance videographer who recorded the excavation for FEMA, said he saw no blue jeans. The New York Times also interviewed 11 more people who said they had been present at the unearthing of the truck and who disputed the account of the stacked jeans. Russell Regan, then assigned to Ladder Company 4, was shown digging out the cab.
A construction worker who was there, but would not give his name, told The Times that he saw something similar to what Mr. Langewiesche described.
He said the group gathered around the truck appeared to be arguing. Langewiesche gained access to the site through the city's Department of Design and Construction. The agency was charged with erasing the physical scar as quickly as possible, which frequently put it at odds with the firefighters, who were determined to account for their dead colleagues, even if it meant shutting the excavation down. Holden, the department's commissioner and one of Mr.
Langewiesche's principal subjects. Black's critique, while well intentioned, was off the mark, and he doubted that an agreed version of the event would ever result. Murphy said. Log In.
New York City Fire Department. Soldiers who formed the Guard described unsettling sights. No newspaper accounts; no New York City Police or Port Authority Police arrest records; no court records enumerating convictions or sentences; and no insurance figures indicating any general scale or frequency of victim's reports are cited by Langewiesche. Archived from the original on January 28, I have never seen a battlefield in which things weren't being stolen or filched, OK? The reason for it was that my subject was the pile. The president is shocked by the enormity of the devastation".
Firefighters looting at the twin towers. LAngewiesche’s wtc looting charges: fact-checked
WTC Living History Project | Wtc
They needed new ones every few hours, and Chris Christopherson made sure they got them. The disaster specialist was proud to dispatch replacement boots from the Long Island warehouse of a company paid by the government to manage rescue supplies donated by Americans. His employer dispatched trucks to the warehouse and loaded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated bottled water, clothes, tools and generators to be moved to Minnesota in a plot to sell some for profit, according to government records and interviews.
He and Christopherson complained to a company executive, but were ordered to keep quiet. They persisted, going instead to the FBI. The two whistleblowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry.
But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth seeing justice done. In the dark As a result, most Americans were kept in the dark about a major fraud involving their donated goods even as new requests for charity emerged with disasters like Hurricane Katrina. They say the sum was hardly worth their trouble. Federal prosecutors eventually charged KEI and some executives with fraud, including overbilling the government in several disasters, but excluded the Sept.
KEI had worked for years for the government, providing disaster relief services during tornadoes, floods and other catastrophes. Thomas Heffelfinger, the former U. Heather Tasker, a spokeswoman for the U.
That prompted a broader review that ultimately found 16 government employees, including a top FBI executive and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, had such artifacts from New York or the Pentagon.
She too became a whistleblower alleging the bureau tried to fire her for bringing the stolen artifacts to light. Turner retired in Lawrence Barcella, former chief of major crimes in the U. Christopherson recalled receiving boxes of white T-shirts stolen from the Long Island warehouse sent back to him after KEI had embossed a Sept.
Disgusted, he threw them in the corner and never sold them. On April 16, , agents raided KEI, recovering at least 15, T-shirts and 18, bottles of bottled water. Because months had passed, the seized items were a fraction of the total the company had taken, the whistleblowers said. A few months after the raid, prosecutors drafted charges accusing the company of stealing the ground zero relief supplies, seeking an indictment on the one-year anniversary of the Sept.
The theft case against KEI sputtered. The former executives pleaded guilty, and Kieger and Iwan are serving prison terms. KEI has gone out of business. They spent two years unsuccessfully trying to find new work in disaster relief. They worried similar fraud might have occurred during Katrina. The price is so high for telling the truth. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Show more text. Show discussion. Dan L'Allier, a former employee of a company that aided in the Sept.
He says he witnessed donated goods from New York being unloaded in Minnesota, in a plot to sell some for profit. They were wrong. Those who work near ground zero today are shocked to learn such thefts went unpunished. Discuss: Discussion comments. Expand Collapse. View all comments. Leave your comment. Most active discussions votes comments. Search Most popular on msnbc. Popular stories currently unavailable Top videos Popular videos currently unavailable.