Debris was still smoldering when former NYPD detective and photographer John Botte began documenting the aftermath of 9/11 at ground zero.
Alongside a special security detail, Botte was in a unique position to capture the pivotal moment in history.
As a first responder and experienced police officer, Botte's images give viewers an opportunity to see the rescue and recovery effort.
Harsh conditions - including intense heat, smoke and dust - caused uncertainty as to whether the photographs, which were taken with film, could withstand the elements.
"Loading some of the film, if I didn't get the film in quick enough, it would actually curl the emulsion," Botte said. "I would have to throw the film out and quickly reload another."
The high temperatures also burned the enamel off the body of the Leica camera he was using.
When Botte was asked to pick which one of his images he would want people to see when they learned about 9/11, he selected the photograph to the left. "It has a visual impact that to this day, when I stare at it, I just don't take my eyes off it," Botte said.
This photograph shows William "Bill" Fischer - a NYPD Emergency Services Unit officer - who was involved in the rescue of Port Authority Police Officer Sgt. John McLoughlin. McLoughlin was the last man pulled alive from the ruins of the World Trade Center.