Steven's September 11th Timeline
The following is a summary of the events of September 11, 2001 from Steven's point of view. Please note that some times are approximated.
6:00 AM – Steven McEnearney arrives at work for the 1, 2, 3 subway lines. He is scheduled to stay at this location until end of rush hour.
8:46 AM – The North Tower (1 WTC) is struck by American Airlines Flight 11.
8:47 AM – Steven boards Brooklyn bound number 2 train to investigate reports of an explosion at the Chambers Street Station.
8:59 AM – Steven arrives at Chambers Street Station and walks to street level to see the damage on the North Tower.
9:03 AM – Steven watches the South Tower (2 WTC) get struck by United Airlines Flight 175.
9:10 AM – Steven orders the next South Ferry bound number 1 train to stop and will not allow it to proceed to its next stop underneath the World Trade Center defying orders from Rail Control Center which requested train service remain uninterrupted. He orders the train at the South Ferry station to pick up as many customers as possible and get out of the station immediately. Train crews comply with Steven’s directions.
9:20AM – 9:30AM – Steven and his manager walk the tracks from Chambers Street Station to the World Trade Center Station to ensure no customers are left in the station beneath the WTC.
9:45 AM – The Pentagon is struck by American Airlines Flight 77 in Washington, D.C.
9:50 AM – Steven and his manager exit the WTC Station through the mezzanine lobby of the WTC building. They climb to the top of the building’s nonfunctioning escalators to street level. Police tell them to remain under the buildings ledge to avoid falling debris.
9:52 AM – Steven and his manager defy police recommendation and run through falling debris to the nearest street corner. They see the full damage to the Towers for the first time. They make their way to the Fulton Street Subway Station.
9:59 AM –The South Tower collapses. Steven and all customers at the Fulton Street Station are engulfed in a wall of smoke and debris. Steven and his manager lose each other in the chaos. Steven is unaware the tower has collapsed. He believes an explosion has happened in the subway station.
10:01 AM – Firefighters enter subway to find Steven and the customers. They ask him what to do. He leads a group of 50-75 people to the deepest point of the subway station to avoid the smoke and dust.
10:06 AM – United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Shanksville, PA.
10:10 AM – Steven is able to confirm that there was no subway explosion and leads the group back towards street level now that debris has stopped falling and smoke is beginning to settle.
10:15 AM – Steven helps carry a man having a heart attack up the subway station stairs and gets him into an ambulance. He is now on the street alone. The group he led to safety has now dissipated.
10:20 AM – Steven stands in ankle deep debris and directs any one he sees in the direction of Brooklyn Bridge telling them to get out of Manhattan at all costs. He waits until no one longer walks by and begins walking to Brooklyn himself.
10:25 AM – On his walk towards Brooklyn, Steven enters a cell phone store on the street. Steven uses the phone to call Rail Control Center. He learns the first tower fell. He then unsuccessfully tries his wife in New Jersey. He is able to reach is mother-in-law in Staten Island and confirms he is okay.
10:28 AM – The North Tower collapses. Being inside the store spares Steven from being hit by debris and dust.
11:00 AM – Dust settles and Steven goes back to the Fulton Street Station at the request of Rail Control Center. He starts checking station for stranded customers and transit workers and finds none. He walks the tracks towards Park Place and Wall Street to check for customers or transit workers but all train cars have been abandoned. Train crews had properly and safely evacuated customers prior to the towers collapsing. Steven finds uptown bound train at Wall Street Station with just train crew aboard and waits for orders to move train. The order never arrives.
12:20 PM – All train service to WTC and adjacent locations is officially suspended. Steven is stuck at Wall Street.
1:00 PM – Steven and train crew walk up to street level and enter the Regent Hotel. This is the first-time today Steven sees a news report and learns the true magnitude of what happened. He learns of the Pentagon attack and United Flight 93. Steven is ordered by Rail Control Center to check on the trains every hour or so. He does so twice before being told there is a water main break at the Rector Street Station.
1:15 PM – Steven begins the walk to Rector Street Station.
1:45 PM – Steven enters Rector Street station and finds no signs of a water main break. He beings to walk the tracks to the World Trade Center Station. He meets a man in the tunnel between stations who was disoriented and lost. Steven guides him back to the Rector Street Station and takes him up to street level. Steven does not return to the tunnel to walk to the WTC Station. He later learns that the tunnel he found the man in eventually collapsed. Had he continued to walk towards the station, he would have been killed.
2:00 PM – Steven finds a working payphone on the street and is finally able to reach his wife. He reports he is safe and then started walking towards the direction of Ground Zero. When he arrives, he stands at the intersection where the towers once stood. He takes in the enormity of the damage.
2:30 PM – Steven goes back to the Regent Hotel. He periodically checks in with Rail Control Center via phone for updates. He is eventually told he can go home.
5:00 PM – Steven learns no public transportation is available so he has to find his own way to New Jersey. He decides he will walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and then somehow get to his mother-in-law’s house on Staten Island. Steven learns that the SeaStreak Ferry is shuttling people to New Jersey so he decides to head to the South Street Seaport to try his luck.
7:00 PM – Steven arrives at the Seaport and boards the SeaStreak Ferry. Steven meets a man on the ferry who says when he will drive Steven back to his car once they disembark the ferry.
9:00 PM – Steven gets off the ferry. The crowd is divided into people covered in dust and those that weren’t. He is separated from the man who said he would drive him home. Steven is hosed down with a firehose and given a white paper suit to wear. All his clothes are thrown into a dumpster. He is identified and interviewed by various law enforcement groups.
10:15 PM – Steven finishes being interviewed and is released to finally go home. He emerges to the parking lot to find the man who said he would drive him home waiting for him. They begin the drive home.
10:50 PM – Steven gets in his car and drives to his house.
11:00 PM – Steven arrives at home. He takes a shower and then throws the paper suit in the garbage pail. After the shower, he heads to the hospital to be treated for dust inhalation.
September 12, 2001 2:00 AM – Steven calls Rail Control and informs them he is going to take a few days off and files an on-the-job injury report.
September 17, 2001 – Steven reports back to work and assigned to work the Chambers Street Station for the morning rush hour. A few months later, Steven is able to select a new work location. He chooses to work outside on the number 7 line. He did not want to be trapped underground should an event like 9/11 happen again. He would go on to continue to work on the outside 7 line until his retirement in 2015.