Practical Failure Analysis

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 9–16 | Cite as

A rescuer’s perspective on the world trade center disaster recovery

  • Frank Heckendorn
Features Remote Operations


The World Trade Center (WTC) attack presented a terrifying but unique challenge to every American who observed or experienced that day. Everyone wanted to help in some way, but no one knew what to contribute that would be of value. The enormity of the disaster was beyond comprehension, and the feeling of most was “what can anyone contribute?”

While touching very briefly on what happened at the WTC, this article deals primarily with the human aspects of the disaster. Many people tried to do “something” to assist, although all felt inadequate to the task. The human interest stories are truly a positive side of Americans simply doing what they could to help. Virtually everyone we encountered did not want any credit for what they contributed, even when their contributions were enormous in the eyes of others. This article does not even attempt to cover a significant portion of the contributions because no one could from a single vantage point, but it does discuss a few of the many contributions. Figure 1 (above) shows the overall WTC view.


World Trade Center Federal Emergency Management Agency Fire Department Practical Failure Analysis Volume Remote Video 
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Copyright information

© ASM International - The Materials Information Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Heckendorn
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah River Technology CenterAiken

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