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9/11 Tapes Evoke Horror, Heartbreak

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A fire official described near chaos inside the World Trade Center, with communication becoming increasingly difficult as firefighters tried to reach people trapped by a devastating blaze raging high overhead, recordings released Wednesday of emergency phone calls from the Sept. 11 attacks show.

"We're in a state of confusion," said Chief Dennis Devlin of Battalion 9. "We have no cell phone service anywhere because of the disaster ... Bring all the additional handy talkies."

Devlin tried to get a rundown of all the companies dispatched to the burning 110-story buildings. He was still inside the south Trade Center tower when it collapsed.."


'I'm Going To Die, Aren't I?'
A desperate woman calls for help from the burning 83rd floor of World Trade Center.
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The same mix of concern and confusion was evident in recordings of more of the 1,613 previously undisclosed emergency calls made amid the horror in the towers after the hijacked planes hit the trade center.

"One of the towers just collapsed," said a fire lieutenant on another call. "Everybody's got to be inside of it. ... There's got to be thousands of the people inside it. One of the towers just came down on everybody."

Frantic callers trapped on the upper floors of the burning World Trade Center sought help from emergency operators, who were unable to offer much more than words of encouragement.

"There's heavy smoke and flames and the building management is announcing that everything is all right, and it's not and they're confused," said one fire dispatcher after fielding a phone call from someone trapped on the 82nd floor.

Another operator, speaking to someone stranded on the 103rd floor, promised, "I'm going to do my best."

"I want you to go on the floor. Kneel on the floor. On the floor," said another operator. Another, speaking to a woman stuck on the 83rd floor, offered hope of a rescue team that never appeared.

"Listen to me, ma'am," that operator told a panicky Melissa Doi during a 20-minute phone call. "You're not dying. You're in a bad situation, ma'am."

A portion of Doi's end of the conversation was played for jurors in April at the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

"I'm going to die, aren't I?" Doi asked the dispatcher.