On 9/11, Jay Jonas of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and five other firefighters ascended a stairway of the North Tower on a search-and-rescue operation as both World Trade Center towers burned. When the South Tower collapsed, their orders immediately changed: get out as fast as you can. Heading back down the stairs, they stopped to assist a woman on the 20th floor who was having trouble walking.
Slowly, they helped her negotiate the stairs, floor by laborious floor. What they feared ultimately occurred only four floors from the exit — the building began to collapse.
Jonas describes his harrowing escape following the terrorist attacks in the latest issue of NFPA Journal. As the featured presentation at this year's NFPA Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, Jonas will share his harrowing story of survival while highlighting improvements he's seen in the fire service and building safety since 9/11. "I continue to have little revelations from 9/11," Jonas tells NFPA Journal. "One of them is that from the time I walked into the North Tower to the time I got out, the world changed."
Read the full Q&A in the May/June issue of NFPA Journal, and watch a clip of Jonas discussing some improvments to the fire service while being interviewed at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City: