Day 4 – Friday 14th

At shift change in the morning Steve Clendenin explained that the weather at night had been horrible.  Steve said the lighting sounded like “the Hammers of Hell”.  Many of the night shift members had been caught out deep in the pile when the storm hit.  While they brought rain gear them they were trapped on the pile and the rain gear was at the Command Post and several members had to be rotated back to the Javits Center for dry clothes.

Rain continued in the morning and we decided to erect another Army TEMPER tent.  The Temper tents are 16 feet wide and consist of 4 eight-foot sections.  It takes about 8 people about ½ hour to erect the tent.  I noticed that the National Guard troops assigned to guard our area had no place to get out of the rain so I asked who was in charge and made a deal with the National Guard Lieutenant that they could have two sections of the TEMPER tent for their use if they erected the two sections we needed.  Everyone made out on this deal the National Guard got his or her own 16 by 16 tent and we got a 16 by 16 rehab tent where we wanted it.  From then on the National Guard and we were best of friends also, and any issues relative to crossing the barricades disappeared.

The rain finally ended in the early afternoon. The rain had a positive effect on the site as it settled most of the dust that had been in the area.  I can usually date a photo of the pile in front of Church Street, if the golden fountain ball is dull and dusty in was before Friday the 14th.  If the gold fountain ball appears dented and shiny it is after the rain stopped on Friday the 14th.  Unfortunately the rain did destroy 2 of our 6 man tents.

9/14, the Fountain ball becomes shiny again

Today’s technical challenge for our engineers is to determine if a crane can be located on the deck between building 4 and 5.  Operations on the pile have slowed down, even though the triple beams can be cut up they need to be lifted out of the collapse area with a crane.  Our engineers are confident that a crane can be located on the deck because they have inspected the columns under the deck.  It was also noted that old PATH subway station, which was robustly constructed, constitutes much of the structure beneath the deck.  Eventually they were able to spot a 150? Ton All Terrain crane on the deck.

 Our cache has also grown.  Thanks to donations from the iron workers union in Massachusetts we have gotten several truck loads of cutting equipment as well as dozens of oxygen and acetylene cylinders.  The rain last night also has caused our Logistics folks to set up several tents at Church and Dey for our cache.  Our Fort Apache has now transformed into a “Home Depot”.

MATF Logistics, 9/14, dry, heat, lights and pretty much any tool you need.

Another positive event was the installation of hard line telephones in our command post.  The Transit Authority still had active phone cables running below our command post and was able to reroute 4 phone lines from their phone system to our Command Post.   The hard lines into our Command Post also allowed me to connect my computer to the Internet and send email and photos of the WTC back home.

MATF CP, phones, FAX, internet courtesy of NY Transit Authority

Towards the end of the day our imbedded photographers from the Boston Herald and New England Cable News obtained permission to visit us at the pile.  They would be the first media allowed in our sector.  They travel to the pile on one of our school buses during the shift change.  They would bring back to the folks back home the first photos of MATF working at ground zero.

The 14th also brought the first hot food to our sector of the pile.  A volunteer group out of long Island set up and hot dog and hamburger stand in front of the cemetery on Church Street about 50 yards from our forward BOO and began grilling on an open fire grill…  Unfortunately our Team Medical Manager, Dr. Weir stuck a thermometer in the container they were using and declared the storage temperature to be too high for safe food storage.  There were many unconfirmed reports of our members not heeding the Doctor’s advice, and I did not follow up on these reports.  It should be also noted there were no reports of food poisoning on our team (that I was aware of).

Burger stand at Church St. Cemetery, see cemetery fence behind grill.

Day Five >>