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Court officer Edward Kennedy was leading a woman to safety out of the north tower of the World Trade Center when the south tower went down. “The aftershock just took her whole body. All I had left was her arm,” said Kennedy. “One minute she was there and the next she was gone.” Coated in concrete dust, Kennedy and two fellow officers leaned against a car off of Centre Street, stunned by the destruction and death they witnessed during their rescue effort and relieved to be alive. When the first plane tore into the north tower of the World Trade Center, the officers of 111 Centre Street assumed, like everyone else, that it was a plane crash. Ten court officers, many of them emergency medical technicians, grabbed their first aid gear, hopped onto a jury mini-bus and sped downtown to help treat the wounded. But by the time they arrived, a second plane had crashed into the south tower. At about 10 a.m., the south tower collapsed. “We got within three blocks of the building and got out of the jury bus,” said Court Officer Bill Faulkner. “We were treating the evacuees and then, all of sudden, the whole place blew up.” “Then everything went black,” said Kennedy. As the force of the explosion blew bodies down the street, near 5 World Trade Center, Faulkner said, “Me and Eddie jumped behind a pillar. If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t be talking to you today.” The force of the collapse of the south tower threw Court Officers Teddy Leotsakos, Joe Ranauro and Ty Bacon into the basement of the north tower. “We were evacuating people out of there and then we heard the rumbling,” said Ranauro. “The windows started to buckle and then the wind just picked us up and blew us into the building,” Leotsakos said. “You couldn’t see an inch in front of your face.” Rescue personnel broke through the wall of an adjacent Borders Bookstore to extract people from the basement just before the collapse of the north tower. Bacon was trying to evacuate a young girl who had burns on about 60 percent of her body when they were blown into the building’s basement. “When we got there, there was a bunch of severely injured people, but she was the one in the most critical condition,” said Bacon. “Somebody yelled, ‘Get down,’ and there was this big rush of air and we were pushed inside.” “There were hundreds of police and firefighters in that building when it went down,” Bacon said. “It’s horrible.” A GHASTLY PARADE Throughout the morning, emergency personnel tried to evacuate civilians from the downtown area, sealing off the area block by block. By 12:30, Centre Street resembled a ghastly parade route, with the only spectators being the hundreds of white uniformed court officers lining the sidewalks. Some officers were assigned to traffic duty, chasing away civilian vehicles and opening the way for a steady stream of police and emergency vehicles that were trailing debris as they sped uptown. Others milled about in small groups, shaking their heads, uttering the common refrain, “This is New York’s Pearl Harbor.” When one officer broke down and wept, others moved to comfort him. Kennedy and Faulkner had no time to take satisfaction in the role they played in the successful evacuation of over 2,000 people from the north tower before the two buildings collapsed. “There were people jumping out of the World Trade Center dozens of floors up,” Faulkner said. “They were desperate.” But of the 10 court officers who rode the jury bus down to the World Trade Center, one unnamed officer was unaccounted for as of 1:40 p.m. Faulkner, his leg bandaged, climbed back aboard the jury bus with other officers to head downtown to look for their fellow officer. “We’re going back,” Faulkner said. “We’ve got one missing.”

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