Those multiple, high pitched alarms you here at 1:08:21. Those are PASS alarms. That stands for Personal Alert Safety System. Firefighters wear them on their turn outs or they are integrated into the SCBA. They start to sound an alarm after 30 seconds of no movement. It's to help find down firefighters in the dark and smoke.
Speaking as a firefighter I can tell you no one, not ever, just let a PASS go off without trying to turn it off. As soon as it starts to alarm everyone starts looking for the cause because someone could be hurt. So each alarm you hear is either one of two things. Either a SCBA that got abandoned in the rush to escape. Or a down firefighter.
Either way it's a horrifying sound to anyone in the fire service. Straight up nightmare fuel.
One of my childhood friend's father was a FDNY firefighter who died on 9/11. He is briefly seen in this doc engaging in rescue operations shortly before being killed when one of the towers collapsed while he was inside it.
Prior to this doc being released the filmmakers sought out his family so they could show them the footage. His widow found a lot of peace in seeing that her husband was calm and determined during his last moments.
I've always thought that the filmmakers' decision to learn the identity and fates of the firefighters they filmed and to privately show the footage to their families prior to releasing this documentary to the public was an extremely decent way to go about it. I'm not sure how widely known that part of the story is, so I wanted to share.
(Note: I do not know if anyone from from the documentary was present when my friend's family viewed the footage, only that they reached out to them with it prior to its public release. I also do not know if they asked permission to include the footage in the documentary, though I do know that my friend's family was would have granted it if they were asked)
They filmed the only high quality footage of the first plane hitting the North Tower. IIRC they were originally filming a documentary on NY firefighters when they heard the plane overhead and filmed the crash in broad daylight. It boggles my mind because to me it still feels recent, but this event happened at a time when almost nobody had access to a camera every day. If 9/11 happened today there would be hundreds of phone videos of the first crash, jumpers, inside footage, etc.
This is a great documentary. No other film about 9/11 can come close to this. It captures all the emotion, intensity and confusion that the firefighters experienced on that day. But I heed fair warning... there is a scene where they are in the tower and are trying to figure out what the loud crashes are. When they found out it was jumpers, it was at that moment the gravity of the situation truly sank in. And the sounds have also stuck with me as well. And I'm sure they will with anyone who watches this film.
What an incredible documentary. Its almost more story than documentary.
They aired this on CBS a few years after 9/11. Out of respect they did not edit it or bleep out the curses which was the first time I remember a major network intentionally airing cursing.
the crazy thing is every firefighter from the firehouse featured in the doc made it out alive, I swear if this was a movie it would be bashed for having an unrealistic ending.
Dude. When they are just casually walking out of the building after the first one collapsed not realizing what happened.
Anybody who haven’t seen this, please take the time to do it now. It is incredible.