The Destruction Of Each World Trade Center Tower Generated A Hot Density Current

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Editors Note: In relation to a pyroclastic flow generated by a volcanic eruption, the flows generated on 9/11 were smaller, slower, and cooler due to the lower mass and energy involved. The WTC dust clouds were hot, expanding, cauliflower shaped, density currents of heavier than air material, which are the defining characteristics of pyroclastic flows.


Pyroclastic eruptions are moderately to extremely explosive eruptions of ash and coarser material (tephra). A pyroclastic flow is a hot cloud of ash and gas that hugs the ground and flows over a hundred kilometers/hour. They are nearly impossible to outrun and deadly. (See USGS photo glossary/Vic Camp pyroclastic flows / Video eruption of Mt. St. Helens/ Video of Pyroclastic flow in Japan, Video and explanation of pyroclastic flow generated by collapse of World Trade Center ) salemstate.edu


Most of the effects of those collapses on adjacent structures and people were related to the kinetic energy of falling debris and the pressure on buildings exerted by dust- and particle- laden air mobilized by falling debris. It had, except for temperature, an effect very similar to pyroclastic ash flows that descend slopes of volcanoes. WTC_LDEO_KIM.pdf


"Running from the burning-hot cloud of ash and smoke I was certain that I was going to die. Ironically while all of this is happening, I was frustrated, almost angry at myself . . . I could not remember what day it was, September 11th or September 12th? I wanted to be conscious of the date I was going to die. I kept running, kept moving until I made it to the riverfront and turned to look back. No matter where I would go, in a few minutes I would be consumed by that cloud of ash, smoke, and burning jet fuel. The heat from the cloud began to burn the hair on our heads."

2001-10-01 - - September 11th or September 12th? I wanted to be conscious of the date I was going to die. (link)


World Trade Center Demolition

World Trade Center Dust

Broken Windows

Burnt Cars

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epa.gov

http://www.youtube.com/v/U8lrTy5mrZY

South Tower: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=67PMXROL

North Tower: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=YS0XHA8B

Building 7: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=EKPQ0VXM

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGaiSrxhRhU

Full Resolution: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=R8021M8P

I don't know what time later a loud rumble -- it sounded like an explosion. We thought it was a bomb. We ran under the bridge, me, Joe Cassaliggi and two police officers; I think one police officer and one Secret Service. We ran under the bridge. There's a column there, over here, right on the sidewalk, a big six foot round masonry column. We get behind that, and number two tower comes down and debris comes right around us. Heavy debris is hitting the front of the column, light debris is make it around, dust and little particles, and then the dust cloud hits us. Then it got real hot. It felt like it was going to light up almost. -Thomas Spinard, FDNY Engine 7 nytimes.com_p9

Thomas Spinard, FDNY Engine 7 Makes A Second Report Of The Heat Of The Dust In The Same Interview

"Instinctively I lifted the camera up, and something took over that probably saved my life. And that was to run rather than take pictures. I got down to the end of the block and turned the corner when a wave — a hot, solid, black wave of heat threw me down the block. It literally picked me up off my feet, and I wound up about a block away," - David Handschuh, New York's Daily News. fotophile.com


"As I turned to run, a wall of warm air came barreling toward me. I tried to outrace it, but it swept me up and literally blew me into the wall of a building. By the time I regained my footing, a hailstorm of debris was falling from the sky." -Don Halasy, New York Post fotophile.com


"It is also the nightmare of the hot billowing cloud of death chasing us through the narrow streets of lower manhatten, that haunts our memory." - "world+trade+center"+hot+cloud+dust+-thermite+-truth+-demolition&source=web&ots=bUWYmmLdg5&sig=nPS9VvqiiavFIr4WDgdnz84jWSY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=5&ct=result Andred Fagan


"As each building imploded, this burning cloud of asbestos laden dust spread out from river to river and as high as the original erect World Trade Centers. I imagine that most of the deaths of the rescue workers came from being enveloped in this thousand degree dust cloud. On one ambulance caught up in the cloud, all of the paint was burned off of one side, according to one radio report." alum.dartmouth.org


I looked up and saw the building lean over and that's all I saw. I just turned back around and tried to run even faster but I stopped because where I was running to the plume of smoke had already engulfed Broadway going north.

Q. So you were running into it or...

A. I was running towards Broadway but it made no sense because it's like a wave like water going down a canyon that plume of smoke was just already coming down Broadway. -NY Paramedic Phillip Ashby nytimes.com_p4


I actually had to scoop stuff out of his mouth, it was so thick with dust and stuff. I told him, "Mike, make yourself throw up. Get rid of that stuff." EMS was trying to hose him down and get the stuff out of his eyes. I was holding him down as they were squirting the stuff into his eyes to clean his eyes. They were clearing his eyes. It wasn't like dust; it was like rocks were in his eyes. It was bad. nytimes.com_p17


Aside from natural events, a very tragic example of a pyroclastic flow is what happened on the 11th of September, 2001. Huge amounts of rubble were brought up into the air as the Twin Towers collapsed, the rubble-laden air was heavier than the surrounding air, and it propagated down the streets of New York very rapidly. maths.org


So once I hit the sidewalk on the Federal Building, on Vesey, I turned right, which had me east on Vesey Street, and I started running. Then I looked up and I saw a dark cloud and I grabbed my helmet. The force knocked me down, blew me. I don't know how far I went, but I went forward pretty far. It knocked the wind out of me. I got covered with debris and just kept my hands on my helmet. Something pretty big hit me and knocked my helmet off. I felt a blast and just a lot of pressure when it hit me. So I had no helmet. I put my hands back on top of my head and I felt debris hit me. I felt weight piling up on my back and I figured I was going to be under what I thought was about 10 feet of rubble. -Eric Berntsen FDNY nytimes.com_p6


I could hear the chaos in the background and the horrified voice of my panic stricken mother. She was directed to walk north to the train station. She started walking north when the first then second towers collapsed forcing clouds of debris and dust gusting through the streets. It was like trying to out-run a tidal wave and eventually overtook the people and my mom. The force generated by this cloud of dust was so strong it pushed everyone off their feet and to the ground. She had only made it to the Wall Street area. When she lifted her head out of her crouched position, she couldn't see anything and actually thought she had been blinded. The dust was that dark and thick. She found a open building lobby and went inside with some other people. They all breathed in a lot of dust. From that lobby she called me from a phone. She was hyperventilating, hysterically crying and had no idea were she was, it was too dark. engr.psu.edu


Once all the debris and everything caught up, I was pushed over a four foot fence. -Richard Boeri FDNY Engine 44 nytimes.com


When I heard the 3 loud explosions, I started running west on Vesey Street towards the water. At that time, I couldn't run fast enough. The debris caught up with me, knocked my helmet off. I tumbled and then eventually I started running again. -Gregg Brady FDNY Battalion 4, EMT nytimes.com


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At that point everybody just took off in all different directions. As far as I know, we just went north up West Street. I would guess we made it up to Barclay, maybe, and whatever it was knocked us down, the force of the wind or maybe pieces -- I had a Scott pack on. It knocked me down. I had lost the face piece. I just crawled underneath a DOT truck, one of the trucks, and just waited it out. This time I thought we were so close that I was not going to make it. -Craig Carlsen FDNY Ladder 8 nytimes.com


When I was running, some hot stuff went down by back, because I didn't have time to put my coat back on, and I had some -- well, I guess between first and second degree burns on my back. -Marcel Claes, FDNY Firefighter 1st Grade, Engine 24 nytimes.com


I was trying to get back into one. I'm somewhere in between one and two, and I start feeling that rumble again, start hearing the noise. I didn't look up. I figured I've been through this once. I know what's coming now. I started running north on West Street. Stuff just kept hitting it seemed like right behind me. I got to past where I was. Somewhere along I passed one of the tactical trucks from the fire side, tac 1 or 2. I remember seeing a guys shoes there. I kept running past everything. I remember not seeing a lot of people. It felt like I was alone. I was running, and stuff was coming down. This time fire was coming down, because I could feel the heat. I grabbed a firefighter's turnout coat that just seemed to be in front of me. I grabbed it. I threw it over my shoulders. I didn't make it much further than that. I ended up diving down next to some kind of truck. I think it was an ambulance, a van ambulance, of somebody's. I just waited there. I just covered up. This stuff was really hitting the ground. The heavy stuff was really hitting the ground. It was somewhere -- it was shy of Vesey. It really wasn't very far. I didn't make it to the corner. I just waited there for everything to stop. It was really hot, because this time there was fire. I know that because my neck burned. I was just waiting. I just laid there. I didn't hear anybody else. I didn't hear anything else. I just laid there and tried to figure out where the hell I was going to go. -Louis Cook FDNY Paramedic Division 2 nytimes.com


AT THAT POINT I JUST HEARD A THUNDEROUS SOUND AND I LOOKED UP AND I SAW THE BUILDING START TO TOPPLE START TO SWAY AND IT WAS SWAYING OUR WAY AND WE JUST YELLED RUN AND I TRIED TO RUN AS FAST AS I COULD AND I SAW AN SUV PARKED AND I FIGURED THAT THAT WOULD TAKE SOME YOU KNOW SOME OF THE HIT BECAUSE I KNEW I COULDNT OUT RUN THE BUILDING AND BY THE TIME IT TOOK ME TO BREAK THE BACK WINDOW OF THE SUV MY SAFETY COAT WAS ALREADY ON FIRE MY SOCKS WERE ON FIRE I WAS ALREADY COVERED WITH SOOT AND ALL SORTS OF PARTICLES THAT WERE COMING OUT OF THE BUILDING I CLIMBED INTO THE TRUCK AND THATS WHEN PIECES OF THE BUILDING LIFTED THE TRUCK AND CAME THROUGH THE FRONT WINDOW AND FLIPPED THE TRUCK OVER AND I WAS TRAPPED IN THERE FOR APPROXIMATELY 25 MINUTES TO HALF HOUR. -RONALD THOMAS COYNE EMT BATTALION 44 nytimes.com


I HEARD LIKE EVERY FLOOR WENT CHU CHU CHU LOOKED BACK AND FROM THE PRESSURE EVERYTHING WAS GETTING BLOWN OUT OF THE FLOORS BEFORE IT ACTUALLY COLLAPSED I RAN NORTH UP THE WEST SIDE HIGHWAY SAL RAN WEST SOMEWHERE AND GOT BLOWN OFF GOT BURNT ON THE BACK OF HIS BACK AND WENT TO THE HOSPITAL BUT I RAN NORTH. -JAMES CURRAN FDNY LADDER COMPANY 8 nytimes.com

So we all looked up and what we saw was tower, I guess, 2, the south tower, begin to do this. The top kind of did this and there was a horrendous rumble.

Q. Now, your hand is showing that it's kind of tilted in one direction. What direction did it tilt?

A. It was tilting towards us, so it had been to be tilting eastward.

Q. East?

A. Maybe southeast. I'm not sure because at this point it's total pandemonium. At that point we hear the rumble and, you know, this is it. I figure I'm dead. I thought this tower was going to topple. So I start to run. I remember running -- I don't know which way I ran. I don't even know what street I ended up on to be very honest with you. I ran -- it must have been either this or Fulton. One of these two.

Q. Dey Street or Fulton Street?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know if there was a church next to you?

A. I don't know. I know there were stores up the block. So I start to run --

Q. So you definitely headed east; you're just not sure down what street?

A. Yes. I didn't want to go west. I figured let me go east. There's a subway station somewhere here, so it may have been Fulton maybe?

Q. Yes, it was. It's a major station there.

A. I remember seeing that and I remember saying I'm not going down there because I don't want to be suffocated, I don't want to be suffocated. But as I ran, I got knocked down by it seemed like even someone punched me in the back, like a blast it seemed. It just kind of picked me up and knocked me down. I scraped my elbow, I twisted my ankle, my pants got all ripped, my glasses got blown off and the helmet came off. I get up quickly and all I can see now is just - it had to be on Fulton - the blast, this dark cloud coming at us, at me anyway, because I don't even know who's around me at this point. You kind of lose all -I lost all track of time. I lost basically all body movements and I was going on, and then we're engulfed in the smoke, which was horrendous. One thing I remember, it was hot. The smoke was hot and that scared me. I've treated in 18 years many, many people with smoke inhalation consequences of inhaling heat. So I got really scared. I tried to put my T-shirt over me. That didn't work. I couldn't see because my glasses were shot. I couldn't see because my eyes were irritated. Like one guy said, it was like breathing cotton balls, that's what it felt like, because your mouth was just full of this shit and your nose, everywhere. I'm running -- not running because I'm walking now. I'm afraid. I'm thinking in my mind I'm going to die of suffocation or somebody's going to run me over, because you couldn't see your hand in front of you. That's how dark it got. I walked into one or two poles. -Paramedic Manuel Delgado nytimes.com


I NEVER TURNED AROUND BECAUSE A SOUND CAME FROM SOMEWHERE THAT I NEVER HEARD BEFORE SOME PEOPLE COMPARED IT WITH AN AIRPLANE IT WAS THE WORST SOUND OF A ROLLING SOUND NOT A THUNDER I CANT EXPLAIN IT WHAT IT WAS ALL I KNOW IS AND FORCE STARTED TO COME HIT ME IN MY BACK I CANT EXPLAIN IT YOU HAD TO BE THERE ALL I KNOW IS I HAD TO RUN BECAUSE I THOUGHT THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION I RAN ABOUT 10 12 FEET UP THIS LITTLE GRASSY HILL AND BY THEN THIS FORCE AND THIS SOUND CAUGHT UP WITH ME ALREADY I THREW MYSELF BEHIND THE LAST SUPPORT COLUMN OF THE PEDESTRIAN OVERPASS IT BECAME PITCH DARK THE SOUND GOT WORSE THE FORCE JUST KEPT PASSING ME AT TIMES I THOUGHT IT WAS LIKE AN ORANGE LIGHT MAYBE COMING PAST ME I WAS UNAWARE WHAT WAS HAPPENING I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST MAJOR EXPLOSION I DIDNT KNOW THE BUILDING WAS COLLAPSING I WAS SITTING WITH MY LEFT SIDE TOWARDS THE SUPPORT BEAM TOTAL DARKNESS TOTAL NOISE I FELT BEYOND ALONE I FELT DESOLATED I FELT LIKE ALL I COULD SAY WAS PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES AND WHATEVER ALL I KEPT SAYING TO MYSELF WITHIN ME I DONT WANT TO DIE I DONT WANT TO DIE I DONT WANT TO DIE I CANT TELL YOU HOW LONG IT WAS BEFORE IT DIED DOWN I JUST FELT LIKE THE DARKNESS THE LONELINESS AND BEING ALONE WAS THE WORST THING I EVER EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE AND NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE THERE WAS NO AIR WHATEVER THIS EXPLOSION WAS SIMPLY SUCKED ALL THE OXYGEN OUT OF THE AIR YOU COULDNT BREATHE AND THE FEELING OF SUFFOCATION I CANT EXPLAIN NO FURTHER ON THAT -CAPTAIN KARIN DESHORE FDNY BATTALION 46 nytimes.com


I HAD A POLICE VAN IN FRONT OF ME ABOUT 6 FEET THAT I REMEMBER BEING THERE I SAW A PICTURE LATER ON IT WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED TWO FEET TO MY RIGHT THERE WAS AN OVERTURNED CAR WHICH I SAW LATER ON THE PICTURES ALSO I HAD STEEL BEAMS ALL AROUND ME. -CAPTAIN KARIN DESHORE FDNY BATTALION 46 nytimes.com


Then we saw a black cloud come out, and I told everybody to run. We ran as fast as we could as far north as we could. At that point we had gotten separated. We couldn't outrun a cloud. As for me, I got knocked down. I thought it was the day I was going to die. I got knocked down and I put my mask on and it was full of debris in my face piece. When I started inhaling, I took a lot of stuff in from whatever was caught in my mask. I thought I was going to have a heart attack initially. I heard my heart pumping, and when you're encapsulated with the helmet and the mask and the face piece on, it was kind of horrible. After that, I still thought it was an explosion. I thought it was some kind of thermal explosion where I'm either going to get burnt - and I had kind of ideas that it was going to be something like Hiroshima where all this heat was coming at me and we were going to get burnt - or if the heat didn't burn me, I thought that all the parts coming out of this building, the windows, metal, all the things like that, that I might be severed in half. It turned completely black. -George J. DeSimone, Lieutenant FDNY Engine Company 224 nytimes.com


So I always wonder, if we had just shown up a minute earlier, we would have just been right up there in the front where the other ambulances were, because when the cloud cleared and I went towards the front, I saw all the ambulances parked like not even a hundred feet, maybe closer than we were and they were all torched and destroyed and nobody was in them and fire trucks destroyed and I was like oh, my god, we were just like not that far back and we could have been this close. -Trinh Dinh FDNY EMT Battalion 44 nytimes.com


The roar became tremendous. I fell on the way to the parking garages. Debris was starting to fall all around me. I got up, I got into the parking garages, was knocked down by the percussion. I thought there had been an explosion or a bomb that they had blown up there. The Vista International Hotel was my first impression, that they had blown it up. I never got to see the World Trade Center coming down. I got into the garage, knocked down, buried by the debris, buried in the dust, laying there in the parking garage about 40 feet in and just waiting for the roof of the parking garage to collapse on top of me. -Captain Michael Donovan FDNY Division 14 nytimes.com


We heard a tremendous noise and it was coming from the south tower, and we looked up and it was coming down. I basically froze and Rich Banaciski shoved me and told me to run, and I remember there being a large number of people behind us as we turned to run. I remember making it into the tunnel and it was this incredible amount of wind, debris, heat.... We didn't know what happened. We just thought it was debris or an explosion or a secondary explosion or another bomb inside the building or another plane. -Brian Fitzpatrick FDNY Firefighter Sixth Grade Ladder 22 nytimes.com


I looked over my shoulder, and you could see the dust cloud of debris and determined we couldn't out run it, so I'm not sure if I yelled to guys to try to take cover or I just motioned to them. I really couldn't see them that well. At this point, it was obviously chaos. I had in my mind to try to get behind something, because I didn't know what was going to be in this debris cloud. I didn't know if there was going hot steel rolling down the street or fire ball, or shock wave, whatever. I ran a little bit further, and I came to a Fire Department suburban parked perpendicular to West Street and just dove behind that, and within a second or two, the blast from the collapse hit the rig. The street went completely dark. Very difficult to breathe. I was covered with dust and soot, and the concussion blast actually rocked the vehicle that we were leaning against. -Captain James Fody FDNY Engine Company No. 6 nytimes.com


The building came down and, of course, the concussion from the impact blew me down and knocked me down and blew my helmet off my head and sent me flying down I guess it was the hallway of the main entrance of the building. There was a tremendous crash and glass and then the same effect that had happened the first time. It went from day to night. A huge, huge blast of hot wind gusting and smoke and dust and all kinds of debris hit me and blew me over and covered me, and the same thing. I just tried to get my head down into my hood and my face inside of my coat where I could try and breathe again because it was the same thing. I couldn't see and I couldn't breathe. It was just a repeat of the same thing that happened to me the first time. -Firefighter Louis Giaconelli nytimes.com


I COULD START SEEING THIS CLOUD COMING AT ME I WAS JUST ABLE TO TAKE MY HELMET OFF AND GET MY FACE PIECE ON AND JUST GET MY HELMET BACK ON WITHOUT SNAPPING IT AND I FELT BLAST IT MIGHT HAVE KNOCKED ME TO MY KNEE AND THEN GOT UP IT WAS ALL ORANGE IT WAS PAPERS ON FIRE I COULD SEE IT WAS PAPERS ON FIRE I COULD FEEL A LITTLE HEAT ON THE BACK OF MY NECK AND MY EARS IT SURROUNDED ME AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN IT JUST TURNED BLACK BLACK ASH -Firefighter GRADE WILLIAM GREEN FDNY ENGINE 6 nytimes.com


YOU CANT OUT RUN THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE CONCUSSION WAS IT WAS DEAFENING AND THIS HOT SUPER WIND BLEW AND IT JUST GOT DARK AS NIGHT AND YOU COULDNT BREATHE BECAUSE OF THE DUST AND WE DIDNT HAVE OUR WE DROPPED OUR MASKS -Firefighter TODD HEANEY FDNY ENGINE 209 nytimes.com


I ran down West Street, made a right on Albany before it caught up to me. It knocked me down, blew me over. -Chief Art Lakiotes FDNY Safety Command nytimes.com


We all thought it was secondary explosives or more planes or whatever. -Chief Art Lakiotes FDNY Safety Command nytimes.com


Almost all the rigs were on fire, the ones that were close to Liberty. -Chief Art Lakiotes FDNY Safety Command nytimes.com


Then I just remember that, distinct noise like an airplane being on a runway and it's ready to take off. I heard the loud roaring of like the engines, and I thought another plane was hitting the building. Someone yelled run. I looked up, and the top of the tower I saw was starting to move over. It was bending like it was going to come down. Everybody started running. I ran up the block, and I didn't know what to do. I was all confused. I mean, everyone was running. People were falling on the floor. Nobody was helping to do anything. Everybody was just running for their life. I know I made it about a third of the way up the block, and I went to go get underneath a car, the trunk area of the car. I slid underneath there. And as I slid underneath there, this big blast just came and knocked me down the rest of the way. I remember my helmet falling off, and I was in the fetal position underneath the car. As I turned my head to see what was going on, to see if I could see underneath the car, because I really didn't know what was happening, I thought a plane had actually hit the building, a third plane. It was just this huge blast of smoke that hit me in the face, white smoke. Then it was pitch-black. I couldn't even see. I didn't think I was going to die from stuff falling; I thought I was going to die from the asphyxiation. It was just incredible. I couldn't breathe. I was trying to spit this stuff out. I'm feeling around for my helmet because I really don't know what's going on. I looked over my shoulder. It's pitch-black, and I remember seeing this ball of flames shooting down the street, and then it just sucked right back into itself. It went away. -Bruce Medjuck FDNY nytimes.com


Then you look up and it's like holy shit, the building didn't come down, it shot straight out over our heads, like straight across West Street. Holy shit, there is no fucking way we are going to out run this thing. Everybody, asses and elbows, we ran south on West Street, turned the corner on Albany Street and

Q. Towards the water?

A. Towards the water, yes. I ran into somebody. We both went down. The person got up and kept going. By this time all the shit was hitting the ground. I was like maybe three or four cars up from the corner on Albany Street. I crawled underneath the car. It was a Caprice, blue Caprice, like ours. I crawled underneath the front bumper. All the shit starts coming down. The fucking car keeps whacking me on the back and the shit is hitting me. When the whole thing came down and everything went black, it got real hot. I felt something digging me in the side. It felt like it was burning me. This is fucked up. I'm going to fucking burn to death, sitting here under this car. First I thought I was going to be crushed under the car. Every time it hit me, it was like everything kind of quieted down. Okay, I wasn't crushed, that's one good thing. I started feeling around, I'm not burning, so that's another good thing. It was completely black. -Fire Marshal John Murray nytimes.com


But the whole row, up and down West Street, every car, every rig was on fire. -Fire Marshal John Murray nytimes.com

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