Statement at City Council
Safety Committee Hearing
Good afternoon. My name is Monica Gabrielle.
My husband, Rich, was killed at the World Trade Center on
September 11th. He worked for Aon Corporation at 2 World Trade on the
103rd floor. He was last seen waiting for an elevator on the 78th floor
Sky Lobby. He was injured when the second plane's wing tip crashed
through that floor. He was thrown, the marble walls collapsing on him,
crushing his legs and preventing him from continuing out to safety. He
was still alive waiting to be rescued.
The '93 bombing of the WTC was a very real wake up call to
the City of New York with regard to potential terrorist threats. I am
here today to address the critical issues relating to the emergency
response to the September 11th terrorist attacks at the World Trade
Center. I am deeply concerned about the information that has come out
through the media regarding the lack of cooperation between responding
The continuous turf wars must cease. The various agencies
charged with the safety of the public need to learn to work together. The
lives and safety of our loved ones are at stake. We must put aside the
competitive nature that has been in place for many, many years and start
anew. We must realize that the first and foremost responsibility is the
safety of the public, not the egos that get in the way of the job you are
I was also deeply disturbed to find that there was no
helicopter rescue available to those trapped on the upper floors of the
towers. When was the decision made to no longer attempt rooftop rescues?
Who made that decision? What was that decision based on? When was that
decision conveyed to the occupants of those towers? It has been written
that many occupants of the World Trade Center were confident in believing
that in case of an emergency or devastating fire, that they could be
rescued from the roof. Instead, many found that the doors were locked
leading to their eventual doom.
It is clear to me that there has to be a very concerted
effort made to take a hard look at what happened on September 11th. We
need to take a good look around this great city of ours. We need to be
aware of potential dangers. We need to find ways to work together ... each
agency charged with the life-safety of the citizens of New York ... to
ensure that if there is EVER another devastating event ALL concerned will
be aware of what needs to be done and can communicate those instructions
and dangers to others.
I keep hearing about "Lessons Learned." We are fast
approaching the anniversary of the nightmare of 9/11. What I find most
appalling is the fact that some of the simple issues have not yet been
addressed or changed.
How many meetings or reports does it take to come up with a
solution to get these agencies to work together? How many reports or
meetings will it take to make use of these "Lessons Learned?" I want to
see some positive action! My husband was killed because the lessons
learned after '93 were NOT implemented.
Skyscraper Safety Campaign
BACK TO TOP