Watch CBSN Live

World Trade Center Survivor: Scared to Return to Work

Kischa McGuire-Branch is 29 years old and married with a 19-month-old baby. She worked in tower 2 on the 87th floor and survived the attack, but since September 11 her husband says he doesn't even recognize her behavior.

Immediately after the attack, Kischa had a problem being left alone. For 2 weeks she had to have someone with her constantly. Her husband, Floyd Branch, said his wife use to be a very independent person, but now she has a fear of returning to work.

Before September 11, Floyd says she was fearless and outgoing and never had a problem taking a subway. Now she is a shell of what she used to be. She went from someone who was so independent to someone who doesn't want to be in the house alone, and she won't go out alone.

Kischa was a paralegal for a legal service company called the Corporation Service Company for almost 2 years. There were 30 people who worked in her department and they are all safe. However, 30 people went missing out of a total of 108 who worked in other departments on the same floor.

Her husband says Kischa is doing a little better now and is seeing a therapist. Her company has been trying to find a work location for her but she has not been ready mentally. Just this week she cancelled an appointment arranged by her employer because she couldn't deal with actually going out and traveling to a work environment.

Last week her company wanted to send her to another location that required her to take the subway but she doesn't want to be underground or in a tunnel. She hasn't thought about going back to work and doesn't think she'll ever be able to go back to lower Manhattan.

Kischa says the worst part for her is trying to go on with everyday life not knowing what's going to happen next, like the anthrax scare. She's also worried about another attack--not knowing when or where it will take place.

On the day of the attack, she got to work at 7:55 AM, her usual time.

She heard the first explosion and felt the floor rock. Another employee saw the wing of the plane and everyone started running around. One co-worker was yelling, "Fire, fire," and tried to get everyone out of the building. Some just froze from shock.

Kischa was the first person to leave the office and took the stairs. She left alone because others were not moving fast enough for her.

When she got outside she was immediately covered with rubble. She even had pieces of rubble in the hole of her pierced ear when she removed her earring.

She called her husband on her cell phone to let him know she made it out safely. Within seconds she heard the sound of her building falling down and her phone went dead.

It was her tower that fell first. She tried to call her husband back but couldn't get through.

She ran to the Pace University bookstore, which wasn't far from where tower 2 was. At one point she ran out of the bookstore and only got as far as one block when she felt like she was goig to faint. She saw people at Dumpsters throwing up so they could breathe.

There was an unidentified man who helped her and she wants him to come forward so she can thank him. With his help she was able to make it to the emergency room. Doctors checked her lungs and said she was okay.

She left the hospital and ran into someone she knew and they started walking uptown. Kischa lives on 143rd Street but couldn't take a train because the subways were closed and no buses were running. A driver spotted her and drove her ten blocks from her house and she walked the rest of the way. She said her legs were in pain for a week.

Floyd says he really doesn't want his wife to go back to work, but he does want her to get back to being how she used to be.

©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue