Ground Zero: Post 9/11


Ground Zero: Post 9/11



“One Survivor’s Story”
Five months after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in Lower Manhattan, Western New Yorkers were still lending support at Ground Zero.

One of the environmental cleanup experts, Steve Sherman, had found a wallet in the debris containing the Buffalo driver’s license of Sheri Leach. She had been on the 78th floor of Tower One when one of the wings of the plane that had penetrated the building made contact with her floor.

Sheri’s survival and her meeting with Steve Sherman is the basis of the first story in this collection of reports by Rich Newberg.

“Western New Yorkers Lend a Hand”
In February 2001, bodies were still being recovered from under the debris at Ground Zero.

Buffalo Salvation Army workers Barbara Janicki and Maj. June Carlson were among those giving help and encouragement to responders still on the scene.

Ron Papa of Buffalo helped assess damages to the Century 21 department store on the site. He recalls barely making his way through the cement dust following the September attack.

“Governor Pataki at Ground Zero”
In his final report in this series, Rich Newberg meets with New York Governor George Pataki at Ground Zero. The Governor was in Manhattan on 9/11 and shares his feelings after New York City firefighters brought him to the scene of mass destruction.


Post 2001


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Everyone has a story to tell about nine eleven. Tonight, senior correspondent Rich
Newberg has the tale of miracle of survival from the World Trade Center and a twist of fate that brought two Western New Yorkers together. When the first plane hit tower one, Sheri Leach of Buffalo was on the Seventy-eighth floor. She had come to New York City for a sales meeting. The wing of the plane made contact with her floor.
Where the plane had hit the fire had come around the building and just start coming towards our window.
Thoughts of her baby boy and husband filled her mind. She had to get out.
People were –people were burned.
Sheri hurried down 78 flights of stairs and held back her panic.
I would cry to the side so the people I was with couldn’t see me because I wanted to try to keep things together.
Sheri Leach has two reminders of her brush with death on September 11th. This piece of Tower One and her wallet which fell 78 stories when the tower collapsed. The wallet was discovered six days later in an almost unbelievable twist of fate. At ground zero, an environmental specialist from Buffalo assisting top federal emergency personnel noticed the wallet including a picture of Sheri’s son and her driver’s license among other things. He tracked her down and today met her face to face for the first time.
Uh it’s nice to see you alive.
Sherman had been overwhelmed by the destruction his first night at Ground Zero but then the discovery of the wallet.
Here was a connection to –to Buffalo, so for e it was very emotional and it took a few days to readjust to that.
He didn’t know whether Sheri Leach was dead or alive but finally made phone contact and remembers her first words. It’s me. I’m alive and all I remember was I-I was just started crying and it was very emotional for me.
The wallet will be the key to many stories yet to be told to Sheri’s son.
I want him to know how it’s important to have family and that’s what drove me out of that building. My son- we drove out of my building knowing to see my son and my husband and my parents again. That was it.
Rich Newberg, News Four at Six.
When New York Coty was attacked on September 11th, Volunteers from Buffalo were quick to respond. In tonight’s special report, senior correspondent rich Newberg and photographer Mike Mombre take us to Ground Zero now five months later to find Western New Yorkers still at work.
How do you mend a hole at the heart of a city? How do you pay homage to 3000 innocent lives suddenly snuffed out? Every day, workers are lowered into the pit where bodies have yet to be recovered. American flags are everywhere. People are working together for a common cause but scars for some run so deep that they can see nothing good ever coming out of this disaster.
For me at this point to say that anything good can come of this that I can see anything good coming out of this. It’s a – that’s a long way away. I thought this couldn’t be even be the United State. It looked like a war zone.
Barbara Janicki knows how difficult it is. The Salvation Army worker from Buffalo was here in September and has come back again. You have a-a bond. It’s a bond that nobody understands unless they’re here. It’s a special bond. At the huge white tent called the bubble workers take a break for food and drink. Sometimes a little counseling.
They constantly meet to be encouraged to know someone cares about them, to know there’s something spiritual here who can take care of their spiritual needs. Volunteers from Buffalo were there from the very beginning giving help and encouragement in many different ways. Helping to rebuild lives and property. That Century 21 Store right on the edge of disaster is making a comeback and a Western New Yorker is right in the middle of making it happen.
How you doing? Ron Papa’s National Fire Adjustment Company based in Buffalo had to appraise damages in the tens of millions of dollars. He could barely make his way through the cement dust back in September. It was just everywhere. It was a – it was a white powder that was just everywhere and we were here maybe a half hour or an hour. We had a real problem breathing. The only problem now is meeting tomorrow’s grand opening deadline but Century 21 is coming back. I think it’s just done giving a message to everybody that we are not, not going to put it, We’re not going to take it. That’s all and the people, people in New York and- and all over the world could see that nobody’s going to kick us around.
From a-top Century 21, Ron Papa has gotten the big picture of the task below while helping the Department Sore secure enough money to get back in business. He too says it all makes a statement to the world.
If there’s any city or any nation that’s going to be able to do it, it’s going to be ere and it’s going to –
The grand re-opening of Century 21 will be carried by TV stations all over the world. It was the biggest and the closest business to ground zero and Ron Papa of Buffalo is credited by the store owners with helping the business get back to its feet.
Well those are some amazing pictures there and you have more coming up at six now. I walk with the governor around Ground Zero and he hasn’t forgotten our needs in this neck of the woods.
Okay, thanks. We’ll see it at six.
New York Governor George Pataki was in Manhattan when terrorists struck the towers on September 11th. Five months later the Governor walked through Ground Zero with our senior correspondent Rich Newberg.
It was just incomprehensible. I mean these buildings around us were all on fire.
Governor George Pataki was brought to Ground Zero by the New York City Fire Department within hours of the attack. Everything was covered with inches of dust from the pulverized concrete that, that just looked like something out of a nuclear nightmare. He appreciates the sacrifice and courage of those who also suffered losses but are still on the site helping out any way they can. That’s in an… to minds that no one will ever forget this. And we never will. For those who work in the so-called pit where bodies are still found – they are enveloped in the horror. You look at it and you’re looking up and it reminds me of a large grave site and I’m uncomfortable down here and you know, I’m uncomfortable anybody has to be there.
Yet public viewing platforms accommodate thousands of tourists a day. Some people feel compelled to come here to see the reality for themselves. They couldn’t confront the realty through a television alone.
It just seems like a, a movie. Something that didn’t actually happen because we are so are removed from New York City where we live in Wisconsin. I think it’s important that you allow people to come and pay their respects. Should they rebuild? I think it’s too soon . This is sacred ground. Uh almost 3000 people dies here and many of their remains have not been recovered.
But the Governor’s focus must now be on rebuilding not only lower Manhattan but a state economy that has been weakened. While we’re using Federal funds for Lower Manhattan, I proposed an empire opportunity fund. Two billion dollars targeted to upstate to help communities like Buffalo – to help them fight for jobs, to help them redevelop themselves as we redevelop Lower Manhattan. Wat about the Falls? We’re going to keep moving the floor with the Falls, The funding commitment for the USA and Niagara is absolutely there and we are going to do it. The Governor has said USA and Niagara will redevelop the falls with the same commitment the state made to revitalize Times Square.
Excuse me Governor, I was wondering if I can impose upon you to sign this for my …
Sure, I’d be happy to. Thank you very much.
I’m proud of you guys. It’s more than five months after the attack and yet the spirit is still there. The sense of mission, the sense of unity, the sense of purpose that might not have existed on September 10th is still there.
It’s all mind boggling. Well the governor says 20 billion dollars for rebuilding Manhattan will come from the federal government. His two billion dollar plan to help cities like Buffalo must be approved by the state legislature.
Don and Carol..
Thanks very much, Rich.

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