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Volume 27, Issue 3

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October 25, 2007

World Trade Center Bombing

Written by  Richard Arnold, CDRP - Editor in Chief
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Shortly after 12:00 noon on February 26, 1993, over 900 businesses in the World Trade Center were victims of a Terrorist bombing.

The explosion shook all 110 floors of the building, killed six people, injured over 1,000 others and forced the immediate evacuation of the entire office complex.

More than 40,000 people within the World Trade Center were thrown into utter chaos.
Lights flickered, elevators stuck between floors, and thick, black smoke filtered upwards filling the complex with a dense fog. People within the complex waited for instructions on evacuation, but none followed.

There was no emergency sound system, or emergency lighting system to light the stairwells as the 40,000 people descended the stairs to safety.

As employees were descending, the New York Port Authority's police and fire officials were climbing up the stairs to make sure the evacuation was safe and complete.

By 7:15 p.m. EST the 220 floors and 199 elevators of the World Trade Center were completely evacuated.
Not only the World Trade Center was affected by the explosion. It knocked local radio and television stations off the air and welded the streets of lower Manhattan into a gridlock of traffic snarls. Drivers sitting bumper to bumper leaned on their horns, waiting over an hour to enter the Holland Tunnel. All major arteries and most side streets in lower Manhattan were closed to all but emergency vehicles.

The explosion shook all 110 floors of the building, killed six people, injured over 1,000 others and forced the immediate evacuation of the entire office complex.

The Port Authority’s emergency operations center (EOC) was originally located on the first floor of the Vista Hotel.
Even though initial inspection by authorities ruled the structural integrity of the towers to be safe, the Vista Hotel’s structural shoring needed re-enforcing. Consequently, the Port Authority’s EOC needed to find a new home.
Through the assistance of NYC Telephone Company and the NYC Real Estate Board, office space was made available for the Port Authority’s EOC in a building adjacent to the World Trade Center.

At this location the Port Authority set up a Tenants Assistance Center. Within 24 hours, the EOC was moved a second time to a vacant restaurant on the concourse of the World Trade Center.

Lynn Tierney, spokesperson for The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, reported that “In addition to taking care of the tenants and moving the EOC a second time, they also had to initiate search and rescue teams for casualties, conduct a search of the crater area for clues to the origin of the explosion, arrange for clean up of the facility, and assist the FBI conduct a criminal investigation.”

Tierney said, “This was all being conducted while the Blizzard of ’93 dumped record snowfalls on the city.”
As of this writing, the facility has re-opened for its tenants and currently has 85% occupancy.

A few of the tenants plan to stay at their alternate site until after April 15 tax deadlines. The first office to re-occupy the facility was Governor Mario Cuomo.

With exception to the Vista Hotel, which is under serious renovation and hopes to re-open mid summer ’93, it appears to be “business as usual.”

The other articles in this special report come from members of the disaster recovery community who were involved in the recovery from the bombing.


This article adapted from Vol. 6 #2.

Read 2204 times Last modified on October 11, 2012