102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers

102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer, Kevin Flynn Read Free Book Online

Book: 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer, Kevin Flynn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jim Dwyer, Kevin Flynn
from a desk nearby. “I just saw a guy rip his shirt off because it was on fire and jump.”
    Vadas had just called his fiancée, Kris McFerren, to report that he was okay, and to tell her what he was seeing. He and McFerren had been dating for nine years, and after going to a friend’s wedding on Labor Day weekend, they had finally decided it was their turn. They would marry in May. McFerren was a physical therapist; Vadas had graduated from Boston College, a fine athlete, a competitive baseball player, and by age thirty-nine had gotten himself a waterfront home in Westport, Connecticut, and an apartment in Manhattan. Like his colleague Rick Thorpe, he too had been working at the trade center in 1993. The events of this morning were fresh horrors.
    “Don’t watch,” McFerren pleaded.
    “Listen, I really got to go. Could you call my mom?” Vadas asked.
    McFerren would. Even though Vadas’s title was senior vice president, he worked on a trading desk—a position that afforded little privacy, a world of the heavily armored humor of men, hardly the venue for expressions of tenderness. This morning, though, he had more to say to McFerren.
    “Let me tell you something,” Vadas said. “I just want you to know how much you mean to me.”
    Across the two floors of KBW, decisions to go or stay were made one at a time. Virtually the entire 88th floor cleared out, mostly people from the investment banking and research departments. A particularlyloud voice came from J. J. Aguiar, an investment banker, who swept across the floor yelling at people to leave. On the 89th floor, where the KBW trading desk was located, there was less certainty. Will DeRiso, a salesman, had always been anxious about working in the trade center, though his colleagues would often rib him for his worries. The night before, he had switched desks, moving to one near the door. A few moments after the explosion, he heard pounding on the door. Two women from the information technology department stood outside, frozen with fear. DeRiso decided it was time to go.
    Joseph Berry, the chief executive of the firm, stood outside his office, trying to figure out the best next move. He was yet another veteran of the 1993 attack, having spent hours trapped in an elevator when the electricity failed, and he knew about the painfully slow and sloppy descent of those who had gone down the stairs. Moreover, another reality kept KBW staff in their chairs. The traders made their money by staying on the phone, by being ready to move quickly. They did not leave for lunch. They barely stopped to go to the bathroom. Now Bob Planer, a vice president in sales, saw that some of the traders were peering out the windows. He heard other traders holler at them to get back to their seats. Planer left for the stairs. Bradley Fetchet, a twenty-four-year-old equities trader, called his father at work, then his mother, getting her answering machine.
    “Hi, Mom, it’s Brad. Just wanted to call and let you know. I’m sure that you heard there was … or maybe you haven’t heard that a plane crashed into World Trade Center 1. We’re fine. We’re in World Trade Center 2. I’m obviously alive and well over here. But obviously … a pretty scary experience. I saw a guy fall out of probably the 91st story … ah … all the way down … so”—he paused and cleared his throat—“you’re welcome to give a call here. I think we’ll be here all day. I’m not sure if the firm is going to shut down for the day or what. But … ah … give me a call back later. I called Dad to let him know. Love you.”
    One of those who got back to the KBW trading desk was Stephen Mulderry. Of the eight Mulderry children, Stephen was the sixth,
an All-American basketball player at the Division 3 level for the University of Albany. He took a call from his brother Peter, who had seen the news on TV at his own office.
    “What’s up, brother?” Stephen said, giving Peter his usual salutation.
    “Are you

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