Emergency Management

Puget Sound USAR team members say WTC scene is ‘unbelievable’
Posted By Sheri Badger on Sep 21st, 2001 at 3:02 AM

Tacoma, WA – September 21, 2001 – The Puget Sound Urban Search and Rescue Task Force departed from McChord AFB Sept. 19 for New York to assist with recovery operations. The 62-member team was placed on alert by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States. The team is on site and working 12 hour shifts day and night. The scene is described as unbelievable. Only about 1 percent of the debris has been moved so far. The base of operations has been established at the Javitz Center about 30 blocks from the operational area. Task leaders have been given a tour of the disaster scene, which covers a 14 block area, with heavy security and traffic congestion. Fires are still burning under the rubble, while workers are pulling debris off and hauling it away. When they hit a void space that area is searched. Many of the foundations of the surrounding buildings were damaged by attack and are below sea level with sea water beginning to seep into the area below the disaster site. Providing meals to workers on site is an immense job. Businesses in the area still are without power. More than 120,000 donation phone calls have been made. The list goes on. Six FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, including Puget Sound, are engaged in operations at the World Trade Center site. Three task forces are demobilizing and two are staging at McGuire AFB in New Jersey. Six additional task forces remain on alert. FEMA advises that donations can be made by calling the State of New York donations coordination hotline at 1-800-801-8092. Donations also can go to the following special relief funds: World Trade Center, New York State Relief Fund PO Box 5028 Albany, NY 12205 FEEA World Trade Center/Pentagon Fund Suite 200 8441 W. Bowles Ave. Littleton, CO 80123 New York City Police Department Memorial Fund One Police Plaza New York, NY 10038 The New York Firefighters 911 Disaster Relief Fund c/o Firehouse.com 9658 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 350 College Park, MD 20740