Brian Clark (9/11 survivor)

Brian Clark (9/11 survivor)

Brian Clark is one of the survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.

One of only a few people in either tower to escape from a floor above the planes' impact, Clark is noteworthy because his testimony before the 911 Commission, where he detailed problems with the 911 emergency call system, has been widely quoted.cite news
url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/am-tapes0331,1,1820126.story?coll=chi-news-hed
title=Family hears son's WTC 911 calls
author=Samuel Bruchey
publisher=Chicago Tribune
date=March 31, 2006
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5004042/
title=Raw emotion marks 9/11 commission hearing: Police, fire chiefs grilled by panelists, booed by families
publisher=MSNBC
date=May 18, 2004
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
date=April 1 2006
title=9/11 Calls Reveal Confusion: Dispatchers on Recordings Seem Unsure How to Instruct People Stranded in Twin Towers
publisher=ABC News
url=http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1794282&page=1
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1901316
title=Sept. 11 Panel Focuses on Confusion in New York
publisher=All Things Considered,
date=May 18, 2004
author=Pam Fessler, Melissa Block
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
title=Distant voices, still lives, 08:00-09:35
url=http://observer.guardian.co.uk/waronterrorism/story/0,,776360,00.html
pulbisher=The Guardian
date=Sunday August 18 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
url=http://www.aegiscorporate.com/NewsArticles/NewsTemplate.asp?pg=news_20040518_911CommFlaws
title=9/11 Commission Cites Communication Flaws
date=Tuesday, May 18, 2004
author=Michael Weissenstein
publisher=Associated Press
accessdate=2007-08-05
] cite news
url=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/5/18/91954.shtml
title=9/11 Commission Cites Communication Flaws Among Rescuers
publisher=NewsMax
date=Tuesday, May 18, 2004
accessdate=2007-08-05
]

Early life

Clark was born and raised in the Canadian province of Ontario. He attended public school in Thornhill, Ontario, and married his high school sweetheart. After graduating from the University of Toronto, he worked for a year at Euro Brokers' Toronto office.cite news
url=http://www.magazine.utoronto.ca/02winter/testimony.asp
publisher=University of Toronto Magazine
title=Testimony to tragedy
author=Cynthia Macdonald
accessdate=2007-08-05
] He then moved to New York City to work for Euro Brokers in the World Trade Center. He and his wife bought a house in New Jersey and raised four children. He spent 27 years working at the World Trade Center before September 11, 2001.

The first impact

Clark was an executive vice president of Euro Brokers Inc. on the 84th floor of the South Tower at the time of the attacks. He also served as a volunteer fire-warden and began organizing an evacuation of their office immediately after the first plane struck the North Tower at 8:46AM.

About ten minutes later, the building security made an announcement over the public address system encouraging people to return to their offices. They told the tenants that the South Tower was secure.

The second impact

The second impact occurred at 9:03AM just a few floors below Clark's floor. He turned on his fire-warden flashlight, and gathered his remaining colleagues, a party of seven. They started down one of the three stairwells. When they got to the 81st floor they encountered two people who were trying to ascend to the roof, where they thought they could get fresher air.

The debate

The pair of people ascending from the lower floor described the stairs as impassable, blocked by fire and smoke. They tried to convince Clark's party to join them in climbing higher.

Clark rescues Stanley Praimnath

Clark was called out of this debate when he heard a voice calling for help. Some of the drywall that was supposed to enclose the stairwell had fallen away so Clark and his co-worker, Ron DiFrancesco, left the others to seek out that voice. DiFrancesco was soon overcome by smoke and returned to the stairway.

Stanley Praimnath was buried under some fallen debris. With Clark's help he was able to extricate himself. When they returned to the stairwell the others were gone. So Clark and Praimnath went down. According to an interview with both of them in a special documentary aired in 2005, Stanley was so grateful that Clark rescued him that he hugged and kissed his saver, rather surprising Clark.

Clark and Praimnath's descent

Clark and Praimnath's descent through the floors of the impact was impeded by some debris and smoke. But by removing the debris, it was passable.

The airliner that struck the North Tower had struck it perpendicular to the North face. And it is believed the impact severed all the elevators and all three stairwells. But the airliner that struck the South Tower struck at an angle. It apparently severed two stairwells but left Stairway "A," the one they were using, more or less intact.

A few floors below the impact they encountered one of Clark's colleagues, José Marrero, ascending and using a walkie-talkie. Marrero had received a call from another of Clark's colleagues above, David Vera, saying his party needed help. Clark tried to convince his colleague not to ascend but Marrero insisted on going higher to help Vera and the others.

At the Skylobby on the 44th floor Clark and Praimnath encountered a Port Authority employee, who was tending to a severely injured tenant. He told them that the phones were out on that floor. He asked them, when they had access to a working phone, to have someone send an EMT to care for this injured tenant.

The phones were working in Oppenheimer's offices on the 31st floor. Clark was on the telephone for over three minutes before his 911 call was understood.

This call might have been the only chance for rescue workers to learn that there was a clear stairwell that the several hundred people trapped above the impact could try to use to escape.

Clark described how he and Praimnath did not feel a sense of urgency, and after calling 911 they each made one brief personal call.

When they got to the Ground floor there were rescue workers, and one advised them to run, once they exited onto Liberty Street on the south side of the complex.

Clark described how, when they had got about two blocks away, his new friend Stan told him he thought the buildings were going to go. Clark was skeptical, repeating how solidly built the Towers were -- he didn't finish the sentence when Tower Two started to slide down.

Afterlog

Stanley thanked Clark for saving his life. He feels that the act of going and freeing Praimnath drew him out of a debate that might have ended with him joining the others who went up to their deaths. Ron DiFrancesco, who had initially turned around because of the smoke, mustered the strength to resume the descent, and was one of the last people to escape the South tower before its collapse. They were lucky. All told, they were among only four people who managed to escape from above the impact zone in Tower 2. Richard Fern, also of Eurobrokers, was the fourth. It is worth everything that an additional fourteen escaped from the impact zone itself, mostly from the upper sky lobby which bore the brunt of the impact, and left scores dead.

Sixty-one of Clark's colleagues were killed in the attack. Clark was later appointed by his company's management to be President of the Euro Brokers Relief Fund, created to help take financial care of the families of those who were lost.

Roof rescue

It should be noted that roof rescue from a fire is problematic. Like most high rise buildings, the roof doors to both World Trade Center towers were kept locked (mainly due to the roof's attraction to suicide jumpers and for insurance purposes). Even if the doors were open, there was a strong updraft from the smoke and flames that would have made a helicopter landing very difficult.

Finally, even if a helicopter was able to land on the roof, they generally do not seat many people. This fact combined with the relatively short amount of time it took for the towers to collapse would have only resulted in a small number of people being rescued.

other

On 09.11.2007, he told his story at Tower Heights Middle School where his daughter Ms. Rasch [married name] worked as a teacher.

References

External links

*cite web
url=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/wtc/above.html
title=A Survivor's Story
publisher=PBS Nova
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/special/attack/cheney/survivor05.html
title='Teflon man' moves on and finds new joys in life
author=Peter Cheney
publisher=Globe and Mail
date=Wednesday, March 13, 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/sept11/2001/12/19/usat-escape.htm
title=Four survived by ignoring words of advice
author=Dennis Cauchon
publisher=USA Today
date=December 19 2001
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/11/se.61.html
publisher-CNN
title=9/11: What Really Happened
date=September 11 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
publisher-CNN
url=http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/07/smn.03.html
title=Four Above WTC Crash Zone Tell Stories
date=September 7 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
accessdate=2007-08-05
url=http://www.ctv.ca/special/sept11/hubs/canadian/ctv_lopes_survivors.html
title=A miraculous descent
author=Christina Lopes
publisher=CTV News
date=Friday, September 6 2002

*cite news
accessdate=2007-08-05
publisher=USA Today
url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-09-10-tribute-center_x.htm
title=Families created Tribute Center out of love
date=September 9 2006
author=Olivia Barker

*cite news
url=http://archives.cnn.com/2002/US/09/09/ar911.last.ones.out/index.html
title=An improbable escape: Two men defy odds and find a way out of the WTC
author=Michael Okwu
publisher=CNN
date=September 9 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/health/highrise_safety/clark.html
title=Brian Clark's story: A high rise disaster survivor
date=October 24 2001
publisher=CBC
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.cbc.ca/clips/ram-lo/smith_survivors010912.ram
title=Interview with Brian Clark
author=Allison Smith
publisher=CBC
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/09/11/survivor-story.html
title=Canadian survived attacks with help of instinct and a flashlight
date=Monday, September 11 2006
publisher=CBC
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
publisher=Cooperative Research
url=http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?investigations:_a_detailed_look=wtcinvestigation&timeline=complete_911_timeline
title=Complete 911 Timeline: World Trade Center Investigation
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/911/transcript.html
title=Witnesses to Terror: The 9/11 Hearings
author=Deborah Amos, Catherine Winter
publisher=American Radio Works
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/911/c2.html
title=The Response on the Ground
author=Catherine Winter
publisher=American Radio Works
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.skyscrapersafety.org/html/article_20040519.html
title=Surprising and Important Ways New York Was Unprepared for Disaster
publisher=New York Times
date=May 19, 2004
author=Jim Dwyer
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/worldtradecenter.shtml
title=The Fall of the World Trade Center
publisher=BBC
date=Thursday March 7 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.pittsburghlive.com/images/video/2006/2006-09-11_anniversary/911-page3.pdf
publisher=Pittsburgh Tribune
title=Inferno Below: Only a few escaped from tower's upper floors
date=September 10 2006
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.prosaix.com/pbos/book-5-30.html
title=NOTES: 9 Heroism and Horror
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite news
url=http://www.oism.org/ddp/wtc.htm
publisher=Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
title=Did Litigation and Junk Science Help Bring Down the World Trade Center?
author=Andrew Schlafly
date=July 27, 2002
accessdate=2007-08-05

*cite web
title=Zero
url=http://www.zerofilm.it/IlFilm/LeFonti/tabid/63/en-US/Default.aspx
accessdate=2007-08-05


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