View Full Version : Getting down from the 87th floor of WTC the North Tower.

09.22.01, 12:22 PM
My name is Adam Mayblum. I am alive today. I am committing this to paper
so I never forget. SO WE NEVER FORGET. I am sure that this is one of
thousands of stories that will emerge over the next several days and

I arrived as usual a little before 8am. My office was on the 87th
floor of 1 World Trade Center, AKA: Tower 1, AKA: the North Tower.
Most of my associates were in by 8:30m. We were standing around, joking
around, eating breakfast, checking emails, and getting set for the day
when the first plane hit just a few stories above us. I must stress that
we did not know that it was a plane. The building lurched violently and
shook as if it were an earthquake. People screamed. I watched out my
window as the
building seemed to move 10 to 20 feet in each direction. It rumbled and
shook long enough for me to get my wits about myself and grab a co-worker
and seek shelter under a doorway. Light fixtures and parts of the ceiling
collapsed. The kitchen was destroyed. We were certain that it was a bomb.
We looked out the windows. Reams of paper were flying everywhere, like a
ticker tape parade. I looked down at the street. I could see people in
Battery Park City looking up. Smoke started billowing in through the
holes in the ceiling. I believe that there were 13 of us.

We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was
over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked
the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I
imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even
a bonfire. The phones were working. My wife had taken our 9 month old for
his check up. I called my nanny at home and told her to page my wife,
tell her that a bomb went off, I was ok, and on my way out. I grabbed my
laptop. Took off my tee shirt and ripped it into 3 pieces. Soaked it in
water. Gave 2 pieces to my friends. Tied my piece around my face to act
as an air filter. And we all started moving to the staircase. One of my
dearest friends said that he was staying until the
police or firemen came to get him. In the halls there were tiny fires and
sparks. The ceiling had collapsed in the men s bathroom. It was gone
along with anyone who may have been in there. We did not go in to look.
We missed the staircase on the first run and had to double back. Once in
the staircase we picked up fire extinguishers just incase. On the 85th
floor a brave associate of mine and I headed back up to our office to
drag out my partner who stayed behind. There was no air, just white
smoke. We made the rounds through the office calling his name. No
response. He must have succumbed to the smoke. We left defeated in our
efforts and made our way back to the stairwell. We proceeded to the 78th
floor where we had to change over to a different stairwell. 78 is the
main junction to switch to the upper floors. I expected to see more
people. There were some 50 to 60 more. Not enough. Wires and fires all
over the place. Smoke too. A brave man was fighting a fire with the
emergency hose. I stopped with to friends to make sure that everyone from
our office was accounted for. We ushered them and confused people into
the stairwell. In retrospect, I recall seeing Harry, my head trader,
doing the same several yards behind me.
I am only 35. I have known him for over 14 years. I headed into the
stairwell with 2 friends.

We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic.
At least not over panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was
pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining
a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were
right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones.
Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was
jammed. I heard that the Blackberry 2 way email devices worked perfectly.
On the phones, 1 out of 20-dial attempts got through. I knew I could
not reach my wife so I called my parents. I told them what happened and
that we were all okay and on the way down. Soon, my sister in law reached
me. I told her we were fine and moving down. I believe that was about the
65th floor. We were bored and nervous. I called my friend Angel in San
Francisco. I knew he would be watching. He was amazed I was on the phone.
He told me to get out that there was another plane on its way. I did not
know what he was talking about. By now the second plane had struck Tower
2. We were so deep into the middle of our building that we did not hear
or feel anything. We had no idea what was really going on. We kept making
way for wounded to go down ahead of us. Not many of them, just a few. No
one seemed seriously wounded. Just some cuts and scrapes. Everyone
cooperated. Everyone was a hero yesterday. No questions asked. I had
co-workers in another office on the 77th floor. I tried dozens of times
to get them on their cell phones or office lines. It was futile. Later I
found that they were alive. One of the many miracles on a day of tragedy.

On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the
stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help.
I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back.
But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He
hesitated, I don t know why. I said do you want to come or do you want us
to send help for you. He chose for help. I told him he was on the 53rd
floor in Stairwell A and that s what I would tell the rescue workers. He
said okay and we left.

On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were
hysterical. I said relax, I m fine. My father said get out, there is
third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What
did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I
couldn’t move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they
love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My
parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC K-9
units without the dogs, anyone with a badge, started coming up as we were
heading down. I stopped a lot of them and told them about the man on 53
and my friend on 87. I later felt terrible about this. They headed up to
find those people and met death instead.

On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details.
He said 2 small planes hit the building. Now we all started talking about
which terrorist group it was. Was it an internal organization or an
external one? The overwhelming but uninformed opinion was Islamic
Fanatics. Regardless, we now knew that it was not a bomb and there were
potentially more planes coming. We understood.

On the 3r floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling
coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon
itself. It was 10am now and that was Tower 2 collapsing next door.
We did not know that. Someone had a flashlight. We passed it forward and
left the stairwell and headed down a dark and cramped corridor to an
exit. We could not see at all. I recommended that everyone place a hand
on the shoulder of the person in front of them and call out if they hit
an obstacle so others would know to avoid it. They did. It worked
perfectly. We reached another stairwell and saw a female officer emerge
soaking wet and covered in soot. She said we could not go that way it was
blocked. Go up to 4 and use the other exit. Just as we started up she
said it was ok to go down instead. There was water everywhere. I called
out for hands on shoulders again and she said that was a great idea. She
stayed behind instructing people to do that. I do not know what happened
to her.

We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I
commented to a friend that it must be under construction. Then we
realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks
the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the
fountain used to be. My first thought was of a TV movie I saw once about
nuclear winter and fallout. I could not understand where all of the
debris came from. There was at least five inches of this gray pasty dusty
drywall soot on the ground as well as a thickness of it in the air.
Twisted steel and wires. I heard there were bodies and body parts as
well, but I did not look. It was bad enough. We hid under the remaining
overhangs and moved out to the street. We were told to keep walking
towards Houston Street. The odd thing is that there were very few rescue
workers around. Less than five. They all must have been trapped under the
debris when Tower 2 fell. We did not know that and could not understand
where all of that debris came from. It was just my friend Kern and I now.
We were hugging but sad. We felt certain that most of our friends ahead
of us died and we knew no one behind us.

We came upon a post office several blocks away. We stopped and looked up.
Our building, exactly where our office is (was), was engulfed in flame
and smoke. A postal worker said that Tower 2 had fallen down. I looked
again and sure enough it was gone. My heart was racing. We kept trying to
call our families. I could not get in touch with my wife. Finally I got
through to my parents. Relived is not the word to explain their feelings.
They got through to my wife, thank G-d and let her know I was alive. We
sat down. A girl on a bike offered us some water. Just as she took the
cap off her bottle we heard a rumble. We looked up and our building,
Tower 1 collapsed. I did not note the time but I am told it was 10:30am.
We had been out less than 15 minutes.

We were mourning our lost friends, particularly the one who stayed in the
office as we were now sure that he had perished. We started walking
towards Union Square. I was going to Beth Israel Medical Center to be
looked at. We stopped to hear the President speaking on the radio. My
phone rang. It was my wife. I think I fell to my knees crying when I
heard her voice. Then she told me the most incredible thing. My partner
who had stayed behind called her. He was alive and well. I guess we just
lost him in the commotion. We started jumping and hugging and shouting. I
told my wife that my brother had arranged for a hotel in midtown. He can
be very resourceful in that way. I told her I would call her from there.
My brother and I managed to get a gypsy cab to take us home to
Westchester instead. I cried on my son and held my wife until I fell

As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was
behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand
information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man on the 53rd floor.
They helped him. He could barely move. My partner bravely/stupidly tested
the elevator on the 52nd floor. He rode it down to the sky lobby on 44.
The doors opened, it was fine. He rode it back up and got Harry and
Victor. I don t yet know if anyone else joined them. Once on 44 they made
their way back into the stairwell. Someplace around the 39th to 36th
floors they felt the same rumble I felt on the 3rd floor. It was 10am and
Tower 2 was coming down. They had about 30 minutes to get out. Victor
said he could no longer move. They offered to have him lead on them. He
said he couldn’t do it. My partner hollered at him to sit on his butt and
schooch down the steps. He said he was not capable of doing it. Harry
told my partner to go ahead of them. Harry had once had a heart attack
and was worried about this mans heart. It was his nature to be this way.
He was/is one of the kindest people I know. He would not leave a man
behind. My partner went ahead and made it out. He said he was out maybe
10 minutes before the building came down. This means that Harry had maybe
25 minutes to move Victor 36 floors. I guess they moved 1 floor every
1.5 minutes. Just a guess. This means Harry wad around the 20th floor
when the building collapsed. As of now 12 of 13 people are accounted for.
As of 6pm yesterday his wife had not heard from him. I fear that Harry is
lost. However, a short while ago I heard that he may be alive. Apparently
there is a web site with survivor names on it and his name appears there.
Unfortunately, Ramos is not an uncommon name in New York. Pray for him
and all those like him.

With regards to the firemen heading upstairs, I realize that they were
going up anyway. But, it hurts to know that I may have made them move
quicker to find my friend. Rationally, I know this is not true and that I
am not the responsible one. The responsible ones are in hiding somewhere
on this planet and damn them for making me feel like this. But they
should know that they failed in terrorizing us. We were calm. Those men
and women that went up were heroes in the face of it all. They must have
known what was going on and they did their jobs. Ordinary people were
heroes too. Today the images that people around the world equate with
power and democracy are gone but America is not an image it is a concept.
That concept is only strengthened by our pulling together as a team. If
you want to kill us, leave us alone because we will do it by ourselves.
If you want to make us stronger, attack and we unite. This is the
ultimate failure of terrorism against The United States and the ultimate
price we pay to be free, to decide where we want to work, what we want to
eat, and when & where we want to go on vacation. The very moment the
first plane was hijacked, democracy won.

09.23.01, 03:16 PM
bumping this. but let me say wow. amazing story.

09.23.01, 05:56 PM
That was a sad, but great story. smilies/cool.gif

09.23.01, 06:44 PM
smilies/smile.gif That's a great story!

09.23.01, 07:19 PM

Concur with the posters that precede me...

09.27.01, 04:07 AM
Amazing story. Not to sound like a cynic, but how sure are we that this is legit and not some yo-yo, writing all this out of his head? Where did you get this from OLO????

Not trying to be disrespectful, I just know there's plenty of BS flying around the Internet...


09.27.01, 07:14 PM
It was e-mailed to me by a freind. I have no proof if it is legit or not, I didnt claim it was legit. I hope it is true but if it isnt, its still a good read.