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Contributed by: Cecilio Gonzalez
Contributor's location on 9/11: Brooklyn Queens Expressway/ Queens NY
Contributed on: November 27, 2002

I am Sergeant with NYC Health Department Police unit, I just left my son 30 minutes earlier (8:05) at his new school in kew gardens Queens, from there I proceeded to patrol the sites I supervise and prepared to enter a meeting at 125 worth street for 9:00 am. I was going into manhattan through the BQE, I saw a sizeable amount of traffic, I was concerned I be late for my meeting, I look to my right there was tower one smoking, I called my chief of department to see what was going on , he replied a cessna flew into the world trade one, I said okay and montior radio traffic to see what was going on. I am hearing eyewitness accounts on 1010 WINS about the problem, I figure let me get off the highway, but I couldnt, I approached greenpoint avenue exit and saw emergency vehicles heading into midtown tunnel proceeding to manhattan. I thought to myself there's my brothers in red and blue doing what they do best, I hesitated to go with them figuring they could handle the job. I took!
the sidestreets of brooklyn to get to the Manhattan bridge, I am still listening to the radio" ....oh my god another one hit the twin towers" was screamed across the radio..I knew then it was a terrorist attack , I proceeded to contact my Chief again but the cell phone went dead, at this point I was flooring the gas to get downtown, traffic was hell, people was standing outside thier cars looking at the carnage, Health Department has a medical station at flatbush extension in Ft.Green brooklyn, I proceeded there. I arrived at 0915 hours, citywide call for first responderfs went out, first responders couldnt get through, I grab 2 officers from that medical station, and some health department civilian personell, we set up a incident command center for the Health Department at Ft.Green, and then proceeded to untangle the mess of traffic on flatbush avenue feeding from Atlantic avenue, we shut down the left lanes on opposites sides of the avenue to allow responders through, and!
diverted traffic away from the area.. to this day I regret doing that, I was able to get 3 engines and 2 ladders through, One of which was the ill fated engine pictured in the daily news crossing the brooklyn bridge. At 1000 hours I recieved help from NYPD recruits, that help allowed me to get repsonders and thier personal vehicles through. One of my officers said Sarge they are in need of medical supplies, I ordered civilians and 3 responding Health Police officers to empty the clinics of thier medical supplies and load it into my pickup truck, a redcross voulnteer appeared from nowhere and ask if he could assist, No problem I said , this whole time I had my back turned to Manhattan and I turned around and saw clouds of dust, people started yelling the buildings are collapsing," radio traffic deputy chief screaming to one of our detective to run to chambers street" ... about this time truck was fully loaded, and we proceeded to 125 worth street and foley square park !
where a triage area was set up. The journey was slow everyone was runnning out the city and crossing over the Manhattan bridge, I arrived at 1100 hours the scene was incredible ghosts walking through the canyon of hereos'..these were people covered in white dust, Red cross voulnteer was still with me after we drop off supplies, there was a major need for water, we retrieve 60 30 gallaon water bottles from health department offices at 2 lafayette street. We proceeded back to brooklyn where I was to meet other health police officers reporting for duty, I got back to flatbush extension, and responding NYFD firefighters were walking from Atlantic avenue and requested a drop into ground zero, I made 5 trips that afternoon. Red Cross still by my side help me answer a call for orange juice ( go figure). We went to northern boulevard in Queens to get fuel for our police vehicles, since all gas stations used by the city in brooklyn was out of gas. Red Cross saw a Western Beef Store a!
cross from the Merit Gas Station on Northern Boulevard, He said " I'll be right back" . As I top the tank off, he says I have a suprise for you, Western beef donated 300 half gallon containers of Orange juice, Lights and Sirens we loaded it up and got it downtown to the three triage areas that was set up at Pace, Foley square and 125 worth street, with that Red Cross disappeared and went to the Hot zone to retireve bodies. That night 20 health police officers, NYS court officers , and NYC police and myself secure the perimeters of lower manhattan, till this day I still see the yellow haze and feel the choking dust in my lungs, oh yeah I was given a souvenier "WTC Cough", 1 year later I still have it. September 13 I got the strentgh and courage to see the devestation, to sum up how i felt that day after seeing ground zero, ANGER ANGER ANGER, I cried for 3 days afterwards upon finishing my 16 hours shifts

Cite as: Cecilio Gonzalez, Story #8689, The September 11 Digital Archive, 27 November 2002, <>.
Archival Information: 886 words, 4884 characters
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