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VIDEO: 'I Never Saw One Chair, One Desk' in 9/11 Rubble, Says Naugatuck Rescuer

Naugatuck firefighter and FEMA Task Force member Richard Alfes describes being at Ground Zero only hours after the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Capt. Richard W. Alfes, a now 27-year veteran of the Naugatuck Fire Department, joined the Massachusetts Task Force 1 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 1996.

As a rescue specialist and squad leader, Alfes and his task force were called as soon as the second tower at the World Trade Center was hit on Sept. 11, 2001.

The task force the went down to what would be known as Ground Zero — a 14-acre “crime scene” in lower Manhattan where the remnants of the Twin Towers once stood.

Their task was to assist in search and rescue operations, in finding some of the 3,000 people missing. He described the scene as “pure chaos,” and said the scene reminded him of Gotham in the movie Batman.

When the team first got there, one of its earlier assignments to do water testing — something that confused and frustrated members of the task force, he said.

“With over 3,000 people missing, we were wondering why we’d go and take water samples down to the fifth sub level below Building 5,” Alfes said.

But the reason had to do with the infrastructure below the World Trade Center. If the foundation was cracked, and water was coming in from the Hudson River, then it could undermine some of the other nearby high rises and cause them to cave in within a few days, Alfes explained.

Water samples were needed to see if there was chlorine in the water. Fortunately, there was, meaning the foundation was stable, Alfes said.

The only piece of memorabilia Alfes said he had from the site were two pieces of a stone pyramid structure built near the towers.

Apart from serving on 9/11, Alfes has responded to a number of natural disasters and other major events in the past 15 years, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Ike in 2009 and the power plant explosion in Middletown in 2010.

Editor's Note: Capt. Richard Alfes provided all attached photos to this article. They were declassfied by FEMA and have clearance to be published. All are scenes from Sept. 11, 2001, during the rescue operations.

Terri Takacs September 09, 2011 at 06:46 PM
Thank you to Capt. Alfes and others who responded. Great piece Ron on this sad anniversary.
Nancy 1 September 10, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Everyone who responded to work at that site are heros in my eyes.
Jessie Sawyer September 11, 2011 at 03:54 PM
This is a fantastic video, Ron. Capt. Richard Alfes' story and the images are very powerful. Thank you for sharing!
Skreemin Foetus September 12, 2011 at 06:33 PM
...yet they found two hijacker passports within hours, if you believe the official story.
Nancy 1 September 12, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Well, Skreemin.....I DON'T believe it was a conspiracy!
Skreemin Foetus September 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM
con·spir·a·cyNoun/kənˈspirəsē/ 1. A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. 2. The action of plotting or conspiring. By definition, there was definitely a conspiracy, whatever story you choose to believe. After literally hundreds of hours of research, I conclude that there were different plotters. In fact, even the media story differs from the 9/11 commission's, the FBI and the CIA.
Nancy 1 September 13, 2011 at 12:58 AM
O.K., by definition I agree it was a conspiracy, but I absolutely do not buy into the belief that we did it to ourselves.
Skreemin Foetus September 15, 2011 at 02:23 PM
We have done nothing to ourselves. Some few rouges have. It is a coincidence that the Bin Laden Group, Carlyle and Haliburton got most of the reconstruction contracts. It is a coincidence that the hijackers were trained at US military bases. It is a coincidence that Israelis were caught filming the event and that Pakistani ISI wired Mohammed Atta 100k shortly before the attacks. The FBI admits they did not have enough evidence to indict Bin Laden for 9/11, and KSM can't get a trial. All I am saying is that we are being deceived. I wish I believed as you do, your life is easier this way so forget I wrote this stuff and don''t look into it please, it's horrible. I wish you the best.
Walt September 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Can someone tell me why our tax dollars were used to compensate the people in the towers? Anyone? Hello? If I get hit by a bus do I get two million dollars?
brutus September 11, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I always wonder the same thing. why did the victims of the CO massacre get their medical bills waived? likewise, why do victims of hurricanes get government assistance, and why did victims of 9/11 get millions of dollars? do we only care when a lot of people are affected at once? people die tragic deaths every day and we do nothing for them. why? because they died alone and not with 3,000 other people? people's homes are ruined by storms every day, and again, we do nothing. why? because it was a freak storm that only affected a couple of houses and not a hurricane that affected a couple of states? really dumb if you think about it.
Daniel Patti September 11, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Each family received compensation in return for agreeing NOT to sue the airlines and ( I believe ) the owners of the WTC properties.
Walt September 11, 2012 at 06:42 PM
But why did tax dollars go to paying them off? Was the government admitting responsibility? Most people have life insurance, and if they wanted to sue the airlines and silverstein, let them sue! Why did the rest of us pay just because they were in those buildings?
Rob September 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Yeah... would someone explain that one?
Mr D. September 12, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Right... The government can't even balance the damn budget, but somehow someone pulled this off with 1/2 dozen foreign government and spy agencies and no concrete evidence ever came out...
Craig Zac September 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
yes our govmnt is was and always will be into some really dark, shady things but 9/11? c'mon, do you seriously b elieve it was an inside job by the Bush administration? realy? in your soul? I ask, does anyone have any proof, concrete proof, not you tube videos or some internet blog or conspiracy site.. i mean hard proof, secret documents, official "Top secret " reports smuggled from the gvmnt. I really cant think of ANY reason why or gvmnt would work with anyone, friend or foe, to kill over 3000 innocent people and destroy one of the biggest cities in the worlds biggest attractions. it doesnt add up or make sense.
Craig Zac September 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM
probably because it was considered an act of war or something. Personally, id would much rather have my hard earned tax $$$ to go to something like the 9/11 VICTEMS than to people sitting on their duffs collecting welfare and not even trying to find work. I would rather help the VICTEMS of 9/11 than pay off layabouts who do nothing, contribute nothing but will take, take, take.
Craig Zac September 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Carlyle and Haliburton, both friends of the Bushes and Cheney.. so ofcourse they get the contracts. as far as The Bin Laden Group..I have never heard of them. is that real? I dont recall them having any hand in the reconstruction efforts. well, except for killing 3000 innocent people who were just guilty of working to feed their families. I also never heard the hijackers were us trained at military bases, i do know they took flying lessons at some private flight school. Dont you need to be in the military to train at a us military base? were the isralies actually filming it or did they just happen to be filming the new york skyline when the s**t hit the fan? As I recall, someone said they saw them celebrating the towers being hit by the plane.. could it be they were just celebrating having caught it on video, believeing they were among the very few to have done that and thinking they were going to be rich after selling the tape? A news crew also caught the hit on video as did a bunch of still photogs... they must all have had prior knowledge of the attack, how else would they know to be there filming and shooting the scene. Yes, not enough to indict Bin Laden because there was no one who came forward with any proof except for him taking credit for it. not enough to convict. We just added it to the list of reasons to get him. and he was on the fbi most wanted list before 9/11 anyhow.
Mr D. September 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Craig: the Bin Laden group is a large construction conglomerate founded by Osama Bin Laden's father. It, and the Bin Laden family, have nothing to do with Al Qaida. They're very involved in large construction projects in the Arabian penninsula, and did some work in Iraq.
Skreemin Foetus September 15, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Mr. D. You are right. Of course they would tell us they are affiliated with Al Queda in their mission statement, that would be excellent for business. I am just saying, what are the chances in a world of seven billion souls? Win the lotto much? "Al Queda" is not really a group, it is a group of groups which were collectively named Al Queda by the CIA/State Dept. "Al Queda" are funded and supplied by the US and NATO to fight regimes in Syria, Bosnia, and Libya. However, the US fights against and kills "AL Queda" groups in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Criag, do you have any concrete proof the 9/11 conspiuracy happened the way the media tells, or the somewhat contradictory story that various agencies of the govt tell? Or maybe you have proof that the 9/11 commission was telling the truth, even though the head council Farmer said they were blocked and lied to in every direction?
Craig Zac September 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Thanks for the info Mr.D as I had never heard of them before.
Craig Zac September 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I will believe till I die that 9/11 happened as i saw it. two hijacked jets flew into the towers causing them to collapse. I have not one single reason to believe our government had anything to do with it, unless they did without knowing it. I can sorta believe that Israel may have had word of a potential attack but not warned us figuring that if something did happen here in the states we would finally join them and let them destroy their Muslim enemies. Theres just too much reason not to believe in all the conspiracy theories out there. there were eye witness accounts of the planes being jacked. if the government was going to do this why would they go through the trouble of hiring middle eastern hijackers sneak onto the planes and actually hijack it? why not just have someone fly it into the towers without all the BS? I can also believe that the crashed flight could very well have been shot down as it was headed for the capitol. but for our gvmnt to kill 3000 and destroy the twin towers all just to go to war is ridicules. Bin laden and alquida have done enough to earn an a** kicking, bush co just had to say the word and we would have went there.

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