FBI Plea for 9/11 Responders to Register for Health Benefits (Social Media Version)
FBI personnel who responded following the 9/11 attacks encourage other 9/11 responders—including thousands within the Bureau—to sign up for health benefits to ensure everyone who worked the expansive crime scenes in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania is plugged into the health resources available to them.
Kara Sidener: We actually saw the Pentagon get hit. Literally passed in front of us and and hit the Pentagon.
After the Arlington County Fire completed their rescue mission and it turned into a recovery mission, and the Bureau took the lead in that effort, a lot of the debris that was right where the plane had hit was moved out to the north parking lot by large dump trucks. And we sifted through the material.
Bradley Bellows: I responded on the third day. We were doing three-day rotations between our offices. On the 110 loop that goes around the Pentagon and 395 that goes right beside it, all of that area, if you had your windows down you would smell the jet fuel. It was still burning.
Michelle Rankin: While we were in the building or working on the rubble pile but then you come 50 yards away and you're now out of the crime scene and you're taking your equipment off. But everything is still in the air there. I mean…so I think we were safer when we were in the building but I don't know how, you know, in hindsight, how safe we were standing around the building.
John Nagashima: A lot of the evidence was moved to a warehouse facility nearby to photo document a lot of that evidence. It was dusty. It's a warehouse environment. There's not a lot of filtration and there wasn't an effort to filter anything. So when you're spreading out the debris, you still have all the dust and the dirt that had been on it when it was collected.
Rankin: We had to open the doors every morning for a while to let the place air out because the smells would build overnight. And so it was just a dark and dingy warehouse It smelled of burnt materials and jet fuel. We really didn't wear masks there. They had some dust masks available and I wore one a couple of days and nobody else was wearing them so I stopped wearing them, which was not a decision I would make again. But I remember being in the warehouse and if you had to blow your nose or anything, everything coming out was black. You were breathing in all that carcinogenic air and the burnt-out air.
Sidener: Stories started coming out, mostly from New York because they had such a large contingent of first responders of New York fire and New York police getting ill. I probably didn't put myself in the same category as those responders because they went in buildings, right? And they were trying to rescue people. I didn't put myself in that same role. I was there after the fact on a very different mission.
Nagashima: I first learned of it when people in our office started getting rare forms of cancer. Bob Roth was one of the first ones that I remember getting cancer and passing away. Next was Wesley.
Sidener: I'm part of the programs that are being offered.The World Trade Center health fund as well as the Victim's Compensation Fund.
Because we do this job, as all FBI employees do to think of others before us we don't necessarily think that we have to protect ourselves, too. And that's vitally important because if we're not here to do the job, then the job's not going to get done.
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