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Ironton native witnesses aftermath

NEW YORK – The day began in a normal manner.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

NEW YORK – The day began in a normal manner. It was about 9 a.m. when Stacy Fairchild got off the subway and walked toward her office building. It was at that point she noticed people in the streets all looking in one direction.

"It seemed like there were a million people in the street. I was on the other side and I couldn’t see what everyone was looking at. By the time I got to the middle of the street, you could see straight down to the Trade Center and you could see the flames and a huge hole. It looked like a rip in a piece of paper," Fairchild said.

An airplane had crashed into the second World Trade Center tower just before Fairchild had arrived. She went inside the building and joined her co-workers on the roof where they saw the second tower fall.

Fairchild works at "My Virtual Model," an apparel technology firm, which is located less than two miles from the World Trade Center. She said workers in other buildings were watching the events unfold.

"No one was in their office. Everyone was on a roof or in a window watching," she said. "I was surprised the buildings stayed up as long as they did. (The second tower) went down and you just couldn’t believe it. All you could see now was the skyline."

Fairchild, a 1987 graduate of Ironton High School and daughter of Dr. Kenneth and Phyllis Fairchild, has been living in New York for the past 10 years. She said the sights and events that ensured were very hard to comprehend.

"You looked out on the streets and there were three inches of concrete on the streets and it looks like sand. It’s over all the cars," said Fairchild.

Her boss’s son works on the 87th floor of the Trade Center, but he had just got a call from his son letting his father know that he had a bunch of vacation days and decided to take several days off.

"He worked right where the plane hit," Fairchild said.

With phone lines down and travel at a standstill, Fairchild said no one was able to do anything at the company or get any information about what was happening.

"It wasn’t really until I got home and saw the news that it all hit me. We didn’t get anything at work except on the Internet and it was moving real slow. It usually takes me 40 minutes to get home, but I had to walk and it took me an hour and a half," Fairchild said.

The walk home was another experience. There were no buses or subway trains running, and all the bridges and tunnels were closed. People had to walk.

"It was elbow-to-elbow people walking," Fairchild said. "It was like a marathon. That’s how many people were on the bridge. I walked in the streets on the way home. Everyone was being kind of nice. People weren’t shoving, but then people were starting to panic when they couldn’t reach anyone. Every phone booth had at least 10 people waiting."

Since people could not get out of the city, many people were without shelter. Every hotel was booked and many tourists were unable to get a taxi and found themselves stranded. Panic among others caused several strange occurrences.

"At first it was okay, but the later it got, people realized they couldn’t get out of the city. There was no way to leave or get back in," Fairchild said. "I saw a car that looked like it had 10 people in it. Some guy must have let everyone he knew in the car. They just wanted to get out of the city. They were normal, professional people. They were in suits and they were on top of each other. It looked like a clown car in a circus," Fairchild said.

Not only were there people stranded, but some people elected to abandon their automobiles.

"Traffic was down to one lane and no one could move. A guy just got out of his car and left his doors open. He was stuck. He must of already been downtown because his car was covered with dust," Fairchild said.

"The guy behind him yelled, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ The other guy just said, ‘I don’t care. I’m out of here.’"

Fairchild said the events were crazy, but she said the atmosphere was almost eerie.

"I saw military people camped out all over the city. Anyone who looked like a policeman was directing traffic. The only planes flying over the city were military planes. It was like in the movie Godzilla. It was like masses of people just running,"Fairchild said.

Lost in the events was primary election day in New York. Officials will hold the primaries at a future date and votes already cast will be disregarded.

"It’s been quite a day," Fairchild said.